Niki Newd - the Pioneers in Fresh Skincare (Review)

There are many green and eco friendly Finnish skincare brands, but nothing quite like Niki Newd. They are a new artisanal skincare brand based in Helsinki that makes 12 batches of fresh skincare products in a year. Today I’m chatting about their philosophy of “gourmet nutrition” and reviewing a couple of products I was kindly gifted to try. Enjoy!

*Products marked with asterisk(*) are kindly gifted for consideration.
My thoughts are honest & my own.

Niki Newd Fresh Skincare Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

About Niki Newd

The inspiration for the brand came when the co-founder Kirsi’s shared her family’s skincare recipe with her biochemist friend. This facial recipe was passed down from mother to daughter where food grade, quality ingredients were used for a fresh skincare facial. Fast forward and the brand Niki Newd was born, with similar core principles: everything is hand-made, top quality with full traceability, purest, freshest, organic ingredients.

Many eco skincare brands use luxury ingredients, but not food grade. Even organic cosmetic grade ingredients are not meant to be edible. Niki Newd wanted to create a “gourmet” luxury brand where every ingredient is food grade, naturally sourced and inspired by the Nordic superfoods. Niki Newd uses zero fillers, no alcohol, preservatives - on the contrary the products are made in small batches with a limited (‘fresh’) shelf-life of marked on the packaging. Read more about their philosophy. The product line now includes masks, soap, cream (must be refrigerated), facial oils and balms.

Fresh Batch of Skincare

Niki Newd doesn’t joke when they say everything is made in small batches: they are made to order. In May you may order products for June and forward, delivered globally. I chatted with the founders of Niki Newd and learned that some customers choose to place an order every month, some every other. If you’re stingy with a product it may last you longer than ~1 month, but everything is best when it’s fresh. The maximum shelf-life/“use within” of certain products is 3 months. All products (except soap and mask powders) are packed in the highest grade of violet glass.

Niki Newd Fresh Skincare Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Niki Newd Oatmeal Soap

I was very excited to try this soap, I liked the idea of a solid cleanser and heard it would also remove light makeup. I also love anything oats and oatmeal. Unfortunately I felt this soap is way too drying for my face. While I liked the texture and cleansing properties of this soap, I feel the lather dried out my skin every time. I don’t like the “squeaky clean” feel it leaves. I was talking with the other founder of Niki Newd and she mentioned it make take a while for skin to get used to the difference, if the skin is used to cleansing milks. I tested this soap with a friend who has more combination skin on her T-zone and she loved the results.

Since it’d be a waste to not enjoy the high quality, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant rich ingredients of this soap, I think I will use it for my body. After all, these products were meant to use head to toe. Someone with much more combo or oily skin might enjoy this soap, but for now it’s not my first recommendation. €45 for 2x20g soaps and linen washcloth.

Oatmeal Soap INCI: Sodium Rapeseedate, Sodium Cocoate, Aqua, Avena Sativa Bran, Linseed Acid, Faex

Niki Newd Yogurt Face Mask

The idea of this mask is lovely: you get a sachet of the mask and a small bottle of Spring Water from Lapland. You mix them in a lovely dish and apply to your skin, wait until the mask starts to dry and crackle - then wash off. For extra effectiveness you can wear the mask in sauna. I think this also wasn’t my thing. I loved the ritual of mixing the mask - even my cat wanted a bite (he likes oatmeal), I have a whole post about using powder masks right here.

I was having a stressful moment when applying the mask and didn’t feel much difference when I washed it off. I smelled like oatmeal cookies, but that’s about all. Beta glucan has antioxidant and skin-soothing properties, but I think this mask would probably better suit for sensitive skin to tone redness. For me €35 is also too pricey for a single-use mask. I want to mask as much as possible!

Yogurt Face Mask Powder INCI: Oatmeal, yogurt powder, potato starch, yeast
Water INCI: Aqua

Niki Newd Fresh Skincare Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
Niki Newd Fresh Skincare Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Niki Newd Velvet Skin Oil and Skin Butter

The Skin Velvet is a “heavier” type of facial oil – again, can be used head to toe, even on the eye area. I could tell it’s high quality even by the feel alone: its golden color and non-artificial scent that’s like a hint of berries mixed with camelina oil. Only a few drops is enough, but I’ve slathered this on generously. It sinks in, pampers, moisturizes intensively, but doesn’t feel greasy or leave a residue. It’s truly luxurious and lovely, I’m happy to find a facial oil that utilizes whats local and natural for me and my family: Nordic berries.

The Skin Velvet consists of cold pressed avocado and camelina oils mixed with Nordic berry oils: sea buckthorn oil, strawberry seed, oil, lingonberry seed oil and blackcurrant seed oil. The oils are naturally high in omega -3, -6, -7 and -9 fatty acids that topically applied soothe, reinforce, treat and protect dry skin. It’s also packed with antioxidants, carotenoids, Vitamin E and CoQ10, all which help with signs of ageing.

To my nose the Skin Velvet has a leafy scent, reminds me of blackberry leaf juice my Grandma makes. I never liked the juice, but the memory brings me back to our summer cottage, next to lake and birch trees.

Skin Velvet Oil INCI: Persea Gratissima Oil, Camelina Sativa Oil, Hippophae Rhamnoides Oil, Fragaria Ananassa Seed Oil, Vaccinium Vitisideae Seed Oil, Ribes Nigrum Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Extract

The Skin Butter is a soft, creamy skin balm with a yellow hue. In room temperature it’s soft enough to be picked with a finger (or a spatula) and spread on the face. You can also warm the balm between your fingers and then massage. This is the most refined balm on the lips as well. Your skin is left feeling soft and moisturized, if you layer or mix this with the Skin Velvet it’ll take a moment until everything sinks in.

The scent of the Skin Butter is more buttery, soft and creamy. I’ve used coconut oil, shea butter, olive oil in multiple products but they never smell this concentrated and “real”. Not to be confused with coconut or shea perfumed things, this is the real stuff.

The Skin Butter INCI: Cocos nucifera oil, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter, Hydrogenated Olive Oil, Cera flava, Tocopherol, Lactic Acid

Niki Newd Fresh Skincare Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
Niki Newd Fresh Skincare Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Final Thoughts

The prices are high and amounts are small, true luxury, but Niki Newd believes in a minimal routine with multi-purpose, powerhouse products that you can apply head to toe. The price is similar to other highly luxurious skincare oils like Vintner’s Daughter, for example. Let’s say the Skin Velvet lasted you only a month, the price would be ~2,7 euros/day (two applications). If you can skip daily takeout lattes and want to invest them in skincare, I think it’s doable treat. Expensive, yes, but if I prefer to spend on something in my beauty routine, it’s serums/oils. In my experience Niki Newd Skin Velvet and Skin Butter were the most exquisite: if you want to start from somewhere, I’d pick the oil.

Let me know if you have any questions, I’ll find out! What do you think about ‘fresh skincare’?

Best Eye Makeup Remover? (eco, luxury and mid-range)

I used to skip eye makeup removers and micellar waters altogether - except for Bioderma when its hype was big on YouTube. I was sceptic if rubbing your eyes with a cotton pad would damage the skin and be very wasteful. After discovering the good removing technique and good products my opinions have switched. I might not use a separate makeup remover every single day, but I’ve tried a few from different categories. Enjoy today’s post!

Best Makeup Removers and Micellar Waters | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Do You Need to Use A Separate Makeup Remover?

If you’re good at double cleansing and don’t wear a lot of waterproof makeup, I’d say no. But having a good eye makeup remover or micellar water in your stash can be life changing for touchups or taking off very stubborn makeup. I’ve done some looks on my friends and a couple of clients, and I’ve always liked to start with a quick micellar cleanse and a moisturizer. Having bio-degradable cotton buds and some makeup remover are excellent for fixing a cat eye or smeared mascara.

My favorite way to use a makeup remover is pour some on a cotton pad and press it against my eye, very gently. After 30 seconds or so I gently swipe downwards and avoid pulling any lashes. This should take off the bulk of your makeup and get you ready for 1st proper cleanse (such as oil, balm, etc.). Same with strong matte lipstick or lip tints: press, wait and remove. Don’t tug or be too harsh!

Next, let’s see some eye/general makeup removers I’m using:

Best Makeup Removers and Micellar Waters | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

ACO Micellar Cleansing Water*

€11.3 / 200ml at Yliopistonapteekki (FI)

This Swedish micellar water is a gentle and simple formulation, I personally like to use it all over the face. Especially on those days when I’ve worn a lot of makeup, I’m feeling grimy and want to do a hot cloth cleanse without staining the muslin too much - I reach for ACO. This bottle has a fine spray nozzle, which I’ve only used on cotton pads but technically, you could spritz it all over the face. Maybe not.

This micellar water doesn’t remove the most stubborn Japanese or 38°C mascaras, but otherwise it’s pretty effective. I like how it doesn’t leave any residue behind if I want to remove my makeup first and wash my face properly a little later. The bottle is big and you only use a small amount, so this one lasts for a while! As I said before, the ingredients list is short and sweet with water, emulsifier, some humectants and a couple of preservatives.

INCI:

Aqua, polyglyceryl-4 caprate, sorbitol, betaine, glycerin, sodium hyaluronate, panthenol, sodium hydroxide, phenoxyethanol, benzoic acid

Evolve Liquid Crystal Micellic Cleanser*

€19.9 / 100ml at HouseofOrganic (FI)*

Evolve is my current favorite mid-range eco brand. Known for their hyaluronic acid serum, I’ve found some products I’ve quite enjoyed from this brand and have high hopes as I test more. While the ingredients list of this micellic cleanser include rose water, hydrating glycerin and sodium hyaluronate, aloe leaf juice powder etc. I don’t really care for the pump packaging and find it very difficult to remove eye makeup or lipstick with this product. Maybe if I wanted to remove my foundation and face makeup but keep the eye makeup and brows on I would reach for this. If you hate splashing your face with water in the mornings this could be an alternative cleanser, but personally I’m a fan of actually washing my face morning and night. I will try using the Evolve Liquid Crystal Micellic Cleanser, but I most likely won’t purchase a new one..

INCI:

Aqua (water), Rosa Damascena (Rose) flower Water*, Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Fruit Extract*, Aloe barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder*, Sodium Levulinate, Sodium Anisate, Sodium Lactate, Sodium PCA, Mannitol, Lecithin, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Benzoate, Sorbic Acid, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Sodium Citrate. *ingredients from organic farming

Best Makeup Removers and Micellar Waters | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Lancôme Bi-Facil Double Action Eye Makeup Remover

€16.9 / 200ml (sale price?) at Eleven (FI)*

Lancôme is famous for its cult classic bi-facil or bi-phase eye makeup remover: when the bottle sits on the shelf you can see watery and oily parts separating, you shake it and blue, a bit oily liquid comes out of the top. If you want an excellent makeup remover and enjoy a bit of luxe, this makeup remover does the job. Dry matte lipstick, pommade brows, gel eyeliner, waterproof mascara - it takes them all off. There is a little residue left behind, so I often go after with my ACO Micellar Cleansing Water if I’m redoing my makeup and only removing mascara, for example.

When it comes to the ingredients.. I can’t say they’re too good. The emollients and solvent do give the Lancôme Bi-Facil its slippery, silky feel, but the amount of perfume, citronellol and geraniol (which give the rose-y scent) can be irritating. Some of the preservatives can also be potential allergens. I wouldn’t recommend this to sensitive skin types, acne or leave this on my skin for a long period of time. It’s too bad, as the makeup remover works well, but for this price I think it’s not worth it.

INCI:

AQUA / WATER / EAU • CYCLOPENTASILOXANE • ISOHEXADECANE • SODIUM CHLORIDE • POLOXAMER 184 • HEXYLENE GLYCOL • DIPOTASSIUM PHOSPHATE • BENZYL ALCOHOL • POTASSIUM PHOSPHATE • QUATERNIUM-15 • BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE • PARFUM / FRAGRANCE • CITRONELLOL • GERANIOL

Best Makeup Removers and Micellar Waters | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Overall thoughts

These are all good, but for me, the overall “winner” is.. ACO! I will be purchasing a new one once I run out of it. Gentle, effective, non-drying and good packaging. The price is also very good in my opinion. Sadly the Evolve one is too ineffective and Lancôme has some questionable ingredients, for me anyway. I will use them up, but then I’m done with them. I much prefer reaching for ACO and my cleansing oils/balms to remove makeup.

Do you have a favorite makeup remover? Especially for touchups? I’ve seen that BYBI recently released one, I can’t wait to check it out!

*ACO and Evolve cleansers were gifted for consideration.
All thoughts are my honest and my own. This site utilizes ad links to support the blog.

Luxury In a Bottle - Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser Review

If you know green beauty, you gotta know Tata Harper. She’s a pioneer in luxury skincare whose aim is combining efficacy with eco products. Last Summer I had a pleasure to meet her at Naturelle’s Master Class and I gotta say that she glows from the inside out - and I’m not only talking about her skin! Her personality and philosophy is so radiant it was contagious. Today I’m taking a closer look at her famous Regenerating Cleanser**, I hope you enjoy the review!

Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Tata Harper and Regenerating Cleanser

Like many green beauty founders her brand has a personal backstory: her stepfather got diagnosed with cancer and Tata started paying attention to product ingredients. She couldn’t find something effective, safe and 100% natural that was a pleasure to use, so she decided to make it herself. All Tata Harper Skincare is made in Vermont, but her passion for beauty comes from her Colombian background.

Regenerating Cleanser is Tata Harper’s daily exfoliating treatment cleanser for dull and congested skin. It provides a gentle physical and chemical exfoliation with the combination of apricot microspheres and BHA from willow bark. 100% of total ingredients are from natural origin, 82% from organic farming. See certifications here. 125ml pump bottle retails for €82 / $82. Available at Sokos, Stockmann and Naturelle (in Finland) and Cult Beauty* (worldwide).

Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Ingredients

Hordeum Vulgare Leaf Juice*, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Olivate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Propanediol, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Seed Powder, Sorbitan Olivate, Aqua/Water/Eau, Lactobacillus Ferment, Lactobacillus/Punica Granatum Fruit Ferment Extract, Leuconostoc Ferment Filtrate, Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Arnica Montana (Arnica) Extract*, Borago Officinalis (Borage) Leaf Extract*, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract*, Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Extract*, Spiraea Ulmaria (Meadowsweet) Extract*, Coco-Glucoside, Cetearyl Glucoside, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil*, Kaolin (White Clay), Sclerotium Gum, Cetyl Palmitate, Sorbitan Palmitate, Sodium Phytate, CI77491 (Red Iron Oxide), Aroma**, Alcohol, Citral, Limonene, Linalool *Ingredients from Organic farming ** Clinical grade essential oils blend

This cleanser is in a in a barley base with emulsifying agents based from olive oil. After moisturizing sunflower seed oil, the apricot seed powder is high in the ingredients list, making this creamy cleanser generous with mechanical ‘scrubby bits’. The apricot seed powder is very fine, more like fine sand than very gritty. Personally I can use this cleanser on a regular basis, but you might want to sample it first if you’re sensitive or very prone to redness.

What I really enjoy in this formula are the amount of fermented ingredients (Lactobacillus and Leuconostoc from pomegranate and radish root) and BHA delivered from Willow Bark Extract. Willow bark naturally contains salicylic acid, which helps the skin shed dead cells and clear pores while stimulating new cell growth. Salicylic acid is one of my favorite exfoliants, to get the full benefit I would leave this cleanser on a couple minutes as suggested on Tata’s website. Notice that this combination of manual and chemical exfoliation will make the skin more sensitive to sun and I always recommend using a sunscreen.

After Willow Bark Extract the formula is packed with many botanical leaf extracts such as arnica, borage, calendula and alfafa. There is also a small amount of white clay that helps to pull out impurities. Overall this ingredient list looks very safe and well-balanced to my eyes. There is a small amount of essential oils if you’re very sensitive. To battle acne I might use a BHA toner instead and not aggravate the skin with too much scrubbing.

Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Using the Regenerating Cleanser

Tata’s cleansers are among the most beautiful and luxurious I’ve ever tested. I love it how their website provides information on different cleanser types and what are suitable for specific skin concerns. For dull and congested skin she recommends using this cleanser in a combination with her strong enzymatic mask, the Resurfacing Mask. If you’re curious, you can read more tips on this article. At the Master Class I tried topping the Regenerating Cleanser with the Resurfacing Mask for 5 minutes for deeper exfoliation, but for this review I’ve used the cleanser on its own.

In my opinion, the Regenerating Cleanser is best suitable for mornings when you feel extra gunky, sweaty, oily or as a second step after thoroughly removing makeup. You get the whole exfoliating effect by massaging the cleanser on dry skin by using circular motions and buffing. Most times I’ve applied the cleanser on damp skin for gentler results; I use strong acid toners regularly so I don’t want to over-exfoliate my skin too abrasively, but if you suffer from a lot of congestion or build-up you might want to apply the cleanser on dry skin time to time. If there isn’t many acid containing products in your routine already, one way to get all the benefit from the willow bark extract is to leave the cleanser on the skin for a 5 minute mini-mask.

The texture of the Regenerating Cleanser is creamy with sand-like particles called ‘apricot microspheres’. I used to be afraid of manual scrubs because I didn’t want to get micro cuts on my face, but since they are called spheres I assume it’s safe. To be honest, I’ve grown to like a little scrubbing from time to time. The Regenerating Cleanser feels especially satisfying on the days when I’ve worn sunscreen and makeup for hours and my face feels extra grimy.

Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Final Thoughts

What I love about this Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser is its simple efficacy. Of course I take the luxurious user experience into account when I’m using a cleanser this $$$, but nothing beats how clean, fresh and radiant my skin feels after each use. There’s no greenwashing, gimmicks, unrealistic magical promises or fancy feeling fragrances. Yes, the price is very high for a cleanser, but you get what you pay for: certified organic ingredients, a perfected formula in a generous 125ml heavy glass pump bottle. If you’re on a budget I highly recommend picking up an acid toner and a good serum first, but if you want to treat yourself I think the Regenerating Cleanser is lovely.

In the end I think it’s your choice what’s worth it for you and if you want to splurge on a cleanser or skincare in general. Will I be buying a new bottle after finishing the sample? Yes. I’ll be saving up and keeping my eyes open for sales! xx

**This bottle was kindly gifted for consideration.
My thoughts are honest and my own.