The Palm Oil Prologue
My interest in this Austrian brand — one that manages to create a complete range of skincare without any palm kernel oil based ingredients — was sparked thanks to my dear friend Claudia, their German pr. She is one of those fabulous pr ladies who understand their journalists’ and writers’ pain points, pet peeves and loves. (Presumably there’s a huge flashing neon sign saying palm oil free over my head in her address book.)
Given that conflict palm oil is one of the greatest threats to our survival, it’s pretty obvious that green beauty companies are well aware of it and will try to source it in the most ethical way possible. Unfortunately, even certifications can leave a bad taste in your mouth. Case in point: the most popular RSPO “Mass Balance” certification level which is what some companies like to adorn themselves with only guarantees for 50% of the palm kernel oil to be fully trackable to sustainable farmers — the other 50% are completely “black box”. But most companies will also tell you that palm kernel oil is a great, sustainable-if-not-for-the-farming-methods raw material that helps create those lovely textures we love in our skincare.
die Nikolai is proof that you can do without.
Certified Organic, Palm-Oil Free Skincare From Austria: die Nikolai
“die” (read: dee) is a German noun marker for the grammatical feminine gender.
Nikolai is self-explanatory.
die Nikolai skincare stems from the anthroposophic winery Nikolaihof in Wachau, a picturesque Danube valley in Austria known for quality wine. Nikolaihof wine — and die Nikolai skincare — are certified by Demeter, the label for the world’s strictest holistic bio-dynamic standards.
All raw materials for die Nikolai products are processed by hand; deploying traditional ingredients with long-forgotten skin benefits. Not a single ingredient is derived from palm oil.
The Grapeseed Intensive Serum that I have tested — one of the latest additions to the range and ideal for the cold season over here — only counts 5 ingredients: Water, Grape Seed oil**, Alcohol** (organic, thus not same as denatured alcohol), Glyceryl Stearate citrate (a natural emulsifier), Grape seed extract**, where ** denotes bio-dynamic quality. The packaging is plastic-free; the price is very reasonable at 55€.
The bottle comes equipped with a glass dropper. When you open the bottle, you’re greeted by a light smell of grapes. The serum has a liquid, almost runny texture that the dropper holds beautifully, never allowing the product to spill. The serum itself spreads really beautifully across skin, even across very dry and dehydrated skin, and doesn’t need any additional moisturiser. Mineral makeup, both liquid and dry, adheres to skin prepped with the Grapeseed Intensive Serum as if to primer-treated skin. By the way, the pretty, pale sunny yellow you see through the transparent glass bottle is the serums actual colour.
die Nikolai, welcome among BEAUTYCALYPSE Trusted Brands!