CHENNAI: Vitamin C serum, aloe vera gel, and turmeric oil are lined along with testers for display. Curious fashionistas, skin care specialists and bloggers go around checking out different beauty products. We are at the vegan store, The Earth Story, for a session on ‘Vegan skin care and aromatherapy’ by Deepa Chahal, a Dehradun-based aromatherapist and founder of Amayra Naturals. Deepa has a BSc in medical technology and has completed a course in advanced aromatherapy and reflexology from the School of Natural Health Science, London. She is a certified therapeutic reflexologist with 25 years of experience.
How does the combination of aromatherapy and vegan skin care work?
I’ve been practicing aromatherapy for around seven years. We’ve been trained to use the healing power of plants. Considering plant-based ingredients play an important role in veganism, they go hand-inhand. We use materials like essential oils extracted from the leaves, soy wax, kokum, almond milk, soy milk, and a few herbs.
Why is vegan skin care important?
Vegan skincare is against animal cruelty, adds anti-oxidant, vitamins and minerals and is gentle to the sensitive skin by preventing allergies.
Tell us about your brand.
I started a brand called Amyra Naturals in 2017. I work with a research lab called Green Chemistry. Our main focus is to avoid paraben, sulphate and artificial chemicals. For instance, if you take sulphate, it is a commonly used ingredient for foaming and as a cleansing agent in shampoos. We replace it with coco glucoside made of coconut, fruit sugar and corn.
What are the products used in cosmetics?
Several products sourced from animals go unnoticed. Some of the commonly found ingredients in your daily cosmetics include lanolin — a wax extracted from sheep wool, gelatin in gels from pigs, carmine, a colour-inducing chemical is extracted from insects. Even the keratin cream for hair treatment is extracted from sheep’s wool. In vegan skin care, the basic philosophy is to use simple and fewer ingredients for a better result.
Can you suggest a few musthaves for this summer?
Chennai has humid and hot weather. Sunscreen is the most important product. We have aloe vera gel made of chamomile and papaya. It acts as a great sweatabsorbing agent and does not leave white patches on the skin. Most importantly the SPF matches with the pH of the skin — 5.5. And there is vitamin C serum for face. It comprises aloe vera and rosewater that works as a great cleanser for face and keeps it cool. Third, is the turmeric oil to prevent hair from getting greasy. Night creams can also be used once a while since they’re heavy. Scrubs and argan oil are a must.
What are the common complaints by Chennaiites?
Demographically, the city has extended summers. Most people are worried about pigmentation, dry skin, and dry hair.
What are the challenges in this industry?
Sourcing sustainable alternatives is a task. We have a set of volunteers who conduct a pilot study before introducing the products to the commercial market. However, people are skeptical when it comes to trying out natural and vegan products because the fragrance is low. The use of plant derivatives produces less froth and fragrance. They’re timeconsuming to prepare and expensive.
What are your future projects?
Our new baby range is titled AIKO. The highlight is our talcum made of carrot powder, tapioca, starch, lavender oil, and calendula oil. We also have two products for adults — nine-herb shampoo and kokum and hibiscus butter. vw
The brand has launched a new line, AIKO. The highlight is their talcum powder made using products like carrot powder and tapioca.