A Clean Conscience
By Shafiya Nawzer
Caring for your skin is one of the easiest ways to ensure long-term healthy skin. Skincare products have always offered a never-ending carousel of options and well-funded marketing campaigns; it can be confusing and expensive to shop. It’s no secret that certain products work, and while sometimes it’s worth splurging on skincare products, it doesn’t automatically mean you’re buying a better product.
Natural and organic skincare combine essential vitamins, botanicals, and minerals that heal and restore our skin without harming the environment. Over the past couple of years, awareness and focus on natural and organic products has risen, which has led to the increase in demand for products that are not just good but great for your skin.
Nue Body Basics produces natural skincare products from plant-based butter, oils, and essential oils. They educate consumers about the benefits of natural ingredients and the long-term health and environmental risks of commonly used synthetic additives. Their packaging is plastic free and can either be composted, collected or dropped off for reuse. Using nature’s most restorative and nourishing ingredients, they offer something for everyone.
Shabnam Farook is the founder and brainchild behind the brand. With a past work history and experience in media, she diverted her career path, choosing to pursue her passion. “Academically, I have a background in English Language, Teaching and Psychology and now slowly building up my credentials in formulating natural cosmetics. Just like most young women, I loved using branded skincare and believed in the restorative powers they promised,” she added.
Excerpts from an interview with Glamour:
What motivated you to begin Nue Body Basics?
I am sure I am not alone when I say I have sensitive skin and a bit of a battle with body odour. I was addicted to using commercial skincare products, which at the time I never realised were causing skin irritations and sensitivity. Once I recognised how harmful they could be, especially for someone like me with sensitive skin, I wanted to make the switch to a safer natural product. However, the lack of good quality, natural skincare that was affordable and easily available, pushed me to research the effectiveness of homemade natural skincare, and that’s where the Nue journey began. It’s encouraging to see several other brands enter the natural skincare space which helps the development of this industry in Sri Lanka.
Our logo was designed by my husband, Shafraz which is inspired by my desire to create a skincare brand that promoted safe all-natural skincare, free of synthetic chemicals and prioritised the health of your skin, rather than the colour.
‘Nue’ translates to naked in French, which is a reflection of us being inspired by nature, and wanting to be as natural as possible. If you look at the logo closely you would see it encompasses the naked human form, which again reinforces the philosophy of embracing the skin you’re in. The logo also has a circle and leaf that represent our attempt to be sustainable and close to nature in our formulation process and promote the concepts of reducing, reuse and recycle in everything we do.
As for the packaging, from the get-go, I wanted the packaging to be sustainable. Initially, we looked at several options, including paper packaging. Unfortunately, paper packaging designed for skincare is nearly impossible to find in Sri Lanka, and difficult to purchase in small quantities. Sustainable packaging options which are available in most other countries are not feasible to import due to taxes, and I didn’t want customers to spend an exorbitant amount on it either. So, we chose glass jars, which are widely available in Sri Lanka at an affordable price, to package our products. We also recycle our glass jars whenever possible, which reinforces our goal of being sustainable.
Tell us a bit about your product range and some of your best sellers.
Our main product is our all-natural deodorant that comes in three variants. We have Peppermint and Lemon, Lavender, and Turmeric and Mandarin for those with sensitive skin.
We also have a range of nourishing body butter made with either cocoa butter or shea butter that are blended with essential oils and are highly beneficial to the skin. This also includes a shea butter-based moisturiser that combines lemon eucalyptus essential oil, which is great at protecting your skin from small insects.
We have body scrubs, a foot soak and a selection of palm oil free soaps. We recently added a healing salve, a lip balm and a hand spray as part of a new wellness collection.
Our best sellers are our natural deodorants, followed by our body butters. Our healing salve, which is a mild balm that has a refreshing blend of essential oils known for their soothing and healing properties, is becoming quite popular too.
How does the formulation of your skincare products differ from other organic skincare brands?
The key to our formulation is simplicity. I personally don’t believe in overcomplicating the formulation process, so we choose a combination of ingredients that are effective together and require the least amount of processing.
We are constantly learning and improving the formulation process, with every batch. As a small batch manufacturer, that’s the greatest advantage we have.
What would you say to consumers who haven’t yet made the switch to natural beauty and skincare?
It all begins with a change in your mindset. Most consumers are familiar and used to commercial skincare products that smell and behave differently to a handmade natural skincare product.
Natural skincare requires commitment, patience and understating. You need to understand that natural skincare won’t produce immediate changes but there are innumerable long-term benefits to your skin, body and wellness. Once you understand that your skin is the largest organ in your body and that it needs to be loved and treated better, you would make the switch and never turn back.
In what ways does sustainability play a role in Nue Body Basics overall process?
It’s a core value that we try to uphold to the best of our ability. We have always looked into ways to reduce waste, maximise the efficiency of the resources we use and recycle at all times.
For example, at our regular stall at the Saturday Good Market, the display stands that we use at our regular stall are made with cardboard boxes that some of our ingredients were packed in. My husband has been instrumental in coming up with innovative ways to reduce, reuse and recycle whatever we get our hands on.
Can you share some of the things that you consider when creating a new product?
I spend most of my time reading, researching ingredients and formulation techniques. My first priority is the safety of the consumer. I also focus on creating skincare that is suited to our local skin types and the Sri Lankan climate.
What are the biggest misconceptions about natural skincare?
Most people believe that there wouldn’t be any consequences, misusing natural ingredients and products.
Just like with everything else you need to be mindful of what you put on your skin. Misusing any product, even a natural ingredient, without a proper understanding of how it works, can cause an adverse impact on your skin.
Is there any beauty or wellness advice that you want to share with our readers?
Read the label. Take your time to read the label of the skincare products you buy. Be aware of the ingredients that are used to create these products. Your skin shields you from harm; it’s your protective barrier so you need to take care of it.
Don’t expect your skincare product to work miracles. Generally, it takes 28 days to see the results of a skincare product, and sometimes it takes longer as you age. So be patient, don’t keep switching skincare products after one try, just because there isn’t an immediate change unless of course there is an allergic reaction. And this applies to both natural and commercial skincare products.
Be kind to your skin; having healthy skin is far more important than having fair skin.
Most of all, love the skin that you are in and care for it.