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Updated: May 22, 2014 17:11 IST

Naturally yours

PRIYADARSHINI PAITANDY
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BODY CARE From Nature Photo: K.V. Srinivasan
BODY CARE From Nature Photo: K.V. Srinivasan

How about your soap customised just the way you want it? Perhaps with a dash of orange or peppermint? Try this…

Sugar, spice and everything nice — that might have been Professor Utonium's recipe to create the Powerpuff Girls, but the formula seems to be working just right for spas and luxury skin care products manufacturers as well. Body butter, fruity-tasting-almost-edible lip balm, chocolate and turmeric face masks, cinnamon-, sugar- and salt-based scrubs... notice how more and more products from your kitchen are making their way into your beauty products?

Goodbye chemicals

A lot of luxury skin care brands are steering clear of chemicals, and resorting to natural and organic ingredients. For, they believe that what you apply on your skin should be good enough to be put in your mouth. Well, if you try it and don't keel over, you know what you are using is good stuff. Don't believe me? Ask Rashmi Prithviraj, owner of Skinsense-Natural Luxury. The entrepreneur says all her products are natural and don't have chemicals, alcohol or preservatives. “In fact, the farthest I go is using a flavouring agent, and that too only the ones that are used in food,” says Rashmi, who started her brand last October. “Right from my school days when I was in Dubai, I was interested in making skin care products. I started by making my own cleanser and moisturiser.” She learnt and researched heavily, and jokes about herself being the guinea pig as she tried and tested the products on herself. She says they worked well, and on a serious note adds: “None of them is tested on animals.” What started as a hobby graduated to a full-fledged business after Rashmi shifted base to Chennai.

“When I moved here after my marriage, I was developing a skin allergy on my back, and it just wouldn't go. So I made a basic soap with neem oil, vegetable oil and coconut oil and it worked. And, the allergy hasn't returned since.” Gradually, her friends started placing orders, and as word got around, her client list swelled. She is just back from an exhibition in Coimbatore, where her products got sold out.

Rashmi's line of products includes soaps, massage bars, body butters, body dusting powder, scrubs, and hand-and-foot balms. Her soaps are hand-made, following the cold process and then cured for 28 days. It takes nearly a month to prepare them. Vegetable oil and speciality essential oils such as Vitamin E, rice bran, sweet almond, evening primrose, olive and wheatgerm are the main ingredients that enrich the range. These products have a mild fragrance that comes from essential oils such as holy basil, peppermint, orange and patchouli. And, if these fragrances don't appeal to you, you could get Rashmi to infuse your favourite oils or better still, ask for scent-free products. Good news is that she also takes customised orders, even if it is for just one item. “Different clients have different specifications. Some of them are happy with what's on the racks, but a few of them may want a different base or have a particular skin concern, or some may simply like other fragrances. I address these concerns, and give them what they require depending on their food habits and lifestyle.”

As of now Skinsense functions out of Rashmi's residence in Besant Nagar. The cosy little boutique displaying the line can confuse you as you enter. It smells a little like a bakery, and some of the soaps and scrubs look temptingly edible. They are neatly hand-packed, and also make for good gifting options.

The reason she hasn't yet retailed them through other outlets is because she wants to meet her clients and tell them about the products herself so they know about their benefits. “Once that's done, I'll retail only the soaps because I am particular about how the body butter and lotions are stored. They have to be refrigerated.” Rashmi has plans for an exclusive Skinsense spa.

(For details, visit www.skinsensenatural.com)

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