Have you had a closer look at the ingredients on the soap that you use daily? Though common the world over, very few of us actually know what we are applying on our skin.
Most soaps available in the market are heavily concentrated with chemicals like parabens, surfactants, triclosan, petrochemicals, preservatives and sulfates which are deadly for your overall health! Most of these chemicals strip moisture from your skin leaving it dry and itchy, and others are carcinogenic.
Ask Anvita W, 36, a freelance make-up artist in Goregaon, Mumbai and she’ll tell you. Anvita has a skin issue called Keratosis Pilaris which leaves her skin with red acne-like bumps. This condition gets worse when the skin gets dry.
“I realised about this condition quite a few years back as my father has it too. But as it kept getting worse, I wanted to use organic and natural products that my skin would react well to,” says Anvita.
She was looking for products that contain natural ingredients like shea butter, and oatmeal. This is when she stumbled across Green Sage’s soaps. She went on to order the Shea butter and activated Charcoal soap, and Aloe Vera and Lavender Moisturising Cream.
“The soaps are really good and work really well with my skin. Usually, my skin gets really dry but I haven’t really faced it with these soaps. For others who don’t have any skin condition, I reckon they would not even have to use any moisturiser,” she says.
These soaps and moisturisers are all made at home by Rakhi Pikle under the name, ‘The Green Sage’ founded on 9 April 2019. The 38-year-old quit her job four years back in the corporate sector after 10 years to spend time with her son who was only three-years-old at the time.
“They say necessity is the mother of all inventions. I did not want my son to be using soaps, creams and moisturisers that contain harsh chemicals. At this point, I started researching and reading a lot about making hand-made soaps, creams etc.,” says Rakhi.
How these products are made
The Green Sage is a beauty and wellness brand that manufactures cold-process soaps, skincare, body and bath products. All the products are handmade and handpacked by Rakhi.
To learn how to make these products in natural and environmentally friendly manner, Rakhi attended various workshops on cold-process soaps, moisturisers, creams and lip balms two years ago.
“Except for the cold-process soaps which have a curing period of about three months, I make the other products in small batches so that when my customers order it, it retains its freshness,” she said.
Using these soaps has several benefits. These soaps not only clean your body of dirt, but they also ensure that your skin is properly moisturised. This soap-making technique allows the use of the best natural ingredients and essential oils, making the product gentle even for those with sensitive skin.
Rakhi says that one of the bestselling soaps, that is also one of her personal favourites, is the Pure Ghee with French Clay. “I formulated this soap with pure ghee which I had made at home. I am so glad that I experimented and came up with this soap,” says Rakhi with excitement.
Rakhi is a very environmentally-conscious person, which is evident in her choice of ingredients. “I knew that whatever I start as a passion or as an entrepreneur will be eco-friendly. This is why the main ingredients that form the base of my soaps are olive oil and coconut oil. I do not use palm oil as it contributes to environmental degradation,” says Rakhi.
The products are also packaged in a sustainable way either in paper packaging, glass jars or tin containers.
Since the brand is in its nascent stage, there are a few challenges that Rakhi faces. “For me the challenges are operations related, like designing the packaging material, getting it printed, keeping stock of the raw material, sourcing cost efficient eco-friendly containers,” she informs. Despite these challenges, Rakhi has built herself a loyal customer base.
Deepam Yogi, 36, an HR advisor who runs a consulting firm, is one of the first people who personally tried and tested the products that Rakhi came up with.
The two were going to the same gym where they met and struck a conversation about work. “Rakhi told me that she had just quit her job and was planning on starting her own brand of products like soaps, creams and lip balms,” recalls Deepam.
She was completely taken by the idea and admired Rakhi’s entrepreneurial skills. Now, Deepam orders and uses these handmade natural products on a regular basis.
“I love the Cocoa Butter and Peppermint Lip Balm. I really think this combination is so unique and I like its flavour,” she says. Deepam is also a big fan of their aloe vera and lavender moisturising cream.
In the past five months, since she started selling her products commercially. Rakhi has already sold around 65 units of her products. Rakhi has now gained the confidence and is experimenting with new ingredients in her products. “I have recently come up with the Moringa soap and Dalchini soap, which are also my favourites. Both of these feel wonderful on the skin and have various skin benefits,” she says.
So, what lies ahead for this one-woman army?
Rakhi says that she truly wants to stay true to her values of sustainable living where natural ingredients will be a driving force in her product line. By the end of the next year, she aspires to secure a Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation from Formula Botanica, which will be an added feather to the many hats she has worn.
“I feel that my thirst for knowledge is something that is always going to fuel whatever I aim to achieve with my brand. I want to always keep trying to bring forward the best formulations for soaps, skincare and bath products. I see ‘The Green Sage’ as a leading brand in Natural Skincare in next 5 to 7 years,” says determined Rakhi as she signs off.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)