N° 3 – Why Nilotica?
Posted by Thea Kocher on
A producer in Uganda with a dollop of raw Nilotica, and then preparing it for jarring.
The modern beauty industry relies upon Shea butter. Shea (Vitellaria paradoxa, formerly Butyrospermum Parkii, from West Africa) comprises the majority of formulation in everything from Nivea Daily Lotion ($7.49) to La Mer’s The Moisturizing Lotion ($240) and La Prairie’s Cellular Radiance Night Cream ($630).
The ingredient is hardly modern – it is said that caravans bearing jars of shea butter followed Cleopatra during her travels. Indeed, Shea has been a precious commodity with healing powers for thousands of years.
So why are we focusing on reinventing a known ingredient? We believe in beauty in action™, so we aren’t settling to be like everyone else. We are dedicated to innovating at the top of our ingredient listings, not just the bottom.
If you compare ingredient listings of top-selling, prestige skincare creams, you will first be shocked by the often unfamiliar, potentially perilous chemicals. The next thing that will stand out to you is how similar the ingredient listings are until about halfway down the list. By law, ingredients are listed from highest percentage to lowest, so it’s noteworthy that most brands are formulating exactly like one another for the bulk of their recipes.
As an exercise, compare these three ingredient listings (first 10 ingredients only) from different brands, all top-selling moisturizers at a major luxury beauty retailer in North America:
- Water, Glycerin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Pentylene Glycol, Methyl Gluceth-20, Peg/Ppg-18/18 Dimethicone, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Magnesium Sulfate, Butylene Glycol
- Water, Glycerin, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Isoamyl Laurate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Shea Butter Esters, Triheptanoin, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol
- Water, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Dimethicone, C10-18 Triglycerides, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Glyceryl Stearate, Lactobacillus Ferment, Jojoba Esters
The top product is close to $400, the middle close to $100, and the bottom more like $40. Try to ignore the nerve-wracking ingredients for a second (Cyclopentasiloxane is a known silicone skin irritant and wreaks havoc on the environment…oh, we could go on), and check out the common ground: Water, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Shea Butter, etc. Isn’t it difficult to believe that one of these is literally 10x the cost of the other?
The trend in the industry has been to innovate below the midpoint, in tenths of percentage points – mere trace elements. Sometimes this approach makes perfect sense, as too much of an ingredient may cause irritation or adverse interaction with another ingredient.
We are following suit and including percentages of botanical extracts when we know a little bit will go a long way. (Example: see Melaleuca (Tea Tree Oil) at the bottom of a few of our ingredient listings.)
However, LXMI is pushing the envelope by revolutionizing the top of our Crème ingredient listing with Nilotica. Nilotica is an age-defying butter extracted from the fruits of East Africa’s Vitellaria nilotica tree nuts, a related but distinctive sub-species of the more common Vitellaria paradoxa. Velvety soft without processing or refinement, this butter melts into skin like a butter transforming to an oil, providing healing, anti-aging nourishment in the purest way possible. It is superior to typical Shea – more than 25% extra oleic acid (the monosaturated fatty acid that contributes to its luxurious texture and ability to more deeply penetrate the skin), and without the polarizing aroma of the West African counterpart. It is one of the most natural ways of providing skin with age-defying vitamins A & E, and it does so without harmful chemicals, emulsifiers or preservatives.
Why haven’t other brands transitioned over to Nilotica if it’s so much better?
It’s rare and difficult to access, given that it only grows near the source of the Nile River in Uganda, a country that has been in the throes of civil war in recent years.
Additionally, even if you gain access, it’s expensive because supply is low and wild-harvesting is required, so large companies with demanding shareholders are constantly cutting back costs.