Hemp and how
BENGALURU: For Tehrin Shaikh, the best thing she has done as an artist is giving up the use of chemicals. “What can I say, I’m a environment bhakt,” she says with a laugh. And making a switch from regular paper to a hemp variant has helped her take her eco-friendly goals a step further. According to her, besides having an inbuilt rough texture, the paper also has the ability to help natural paints last for over 1,000 years. “Once you start using the coating effect, it naturally settles the paint to a smooth finish, which we cannot achieve using normal paper. Also, when hemp paper is used, gold or metal gliding doesn’t catch any fungus,” explains the artist.
Shaikh is one among the growing tribe that is turning towards hemp, or as Harshaavardhan Redi Sirupa describes it -- the sister plant of marijuana but one that doesn’t have any intoxicants -- be it for fashion, beauty or art. According to the founder of Namrata Hempco, a company that sells wellness products made with hemp-seed oil, it’s only recently that people have started to recognise the many benefits of the ingredient. “We sell 2,000 products a month, of which 350-400 are purchased by Bengaluru customers,” he says, adding, “People like the fibre for its toughness, eco-friendliness and anti-bacterial properties.”
Agrees Rishi Shukla, a brand strategist who, after making the switch to hemp clothing, also started using a hemp bedsheet. Like the clothes, the bedsheet too helps regulate temperature, which helps Shukla attain sound sleep. “There’s also the fact that hemp has anti-fungal properties. So I don’t have to worry about changing the sheet too often or it getting contaminated,” says the 28-year-old.
And it isn’t just fashion that hemp is transforming. According to Shibani Shetty, the founder of Less, which sells hemp-based products, skincare is one of their most popular products, with around 30 orders for it coming in from Bengaluru every month. While Shetty prefers these products for their beauty benefits (“The soap is ultra moisturising and the oil really seeps into my skin”), Larisa Rohana prefers it for its biodegradable nature. “Most toiletry waste has a large volume of chemicals from soaps and shampoos. But with this, I can reduce my share of waste generation,” she explains. And though the product’s chemical-free nature does leave her hair slightly dry, it’s a price worth paying. “I just use some fresh aloe vera gel to combat that,” she says with a shrug.
And while these products seem to be slowly gaining traction, there is still some confusion about it’s association to marijuana. “People still ask me if using a hemp-based soap will get them high,” shares Sirupa. Shetty too recalls similar instances, including one where her mother was initially apprehensive about her selling such products. “It took her 7-8 months to come around to the idea,” she says, adding, “It’s still a challenge that needs to be demystified for people.”