Welcome to the latest installment of the new Meet the Maker posts, a series of questions and answers with some of the faces behind the brands that make a big impact on our skincare routines. It is great to find products that can transform our beauty regimes for the better but I wanted to find out more about the people behind the brands and discover what motivates them to formulate the products within their ranges.
Today we’re talking to Rupa at Kri Skincare, a brand that is the epitome of ethical beauty with minimal branding and packaging that reflects upon the transparent nature of their ethos. Their passion and dedication to cruelty-free beauty is apparent in their product range that caters for all skin types and ages. I have a very special place in my heart for Kri Skincare as they were the brand that truly ignited my own passion for green beauty and their products remain an integral part of my everyday skincare routine…
Emma: Hi Rupa, thank you for featuring on Meet the Maker. The first question I’d like to ask is about your own beauty journey. Have you always been a lover of green beauty and ethical skincare?
Rupa: Hi Emma, thanks for having me and I’m thrilled that Krī ignited your passion for kinder products.
It’s been a mixed journey for me. I had very demanding jobs and travelled a lot for business, so my main concern was a functional and capsule skincare routine that didn’t require a lot of time or thought. I primarily used mainstream unfragranced products and always checked that they’re vegan, which is important to me. But I rarely glanced at the ingredients list and just trusted the marketing claims. I don’t think I considered whether something was ‘green’.
Then in my early 30s, my skin started to change and I began suffering from acne and sensitive, dry skin. It destroyed my confidence, so I started paying more attention to my skincare and regularly visited a dermatologist. It’s hard to imagine now, but I’d banned oils from my skin!
At the same time, I became increasingly aware of the environmental impact of my consumer habits. I started reading ingredient lists and researching to see if they were biodegradable. This opened up a can of worms because I also began better understanding the ingredients and questioned what I was putting on my skin. Interestingly, the ingredients that better aligned with my values were the ones I’d been avoiding during my acne flare-ups. But as I read more about them, I realised that my skin would benefit from them so I learned how to formulate and started introducing them to my routine in basic, minimal formulas. The difference was remarkable and I now no longer struggle with acne or dry skin.
Emma: I think reading ingredient lists is a great place to start when beginning your green beauty journey but it is so interesting to hear of the ethical, environmental impact of ingredients too. What motivated you to actually create your own brand?
Rupa: Quite simply, because there wasn’t a range that ticked all of my boxes.
My face reacts to essential oils, which unfortunately seem to be a prerequisite for most natural skincare formulators. I also felt there were just too many ingredients in the bottle. How do you know what’s working/not working when there’s upwards of 10 botanicals in a single product? Also, I don’t shy away from using beneficial nature-identical synthetics in our products. They are often much more sustainable and effective than botanicals.
Above all, I wanted highly efficacious vegan products using ingredients that minimise the impact on the environment, and fewer of them in the bottle.
Starting a skincare brand (that’s not run out of your kitchen) is a significant investment, so it was a big gamble. But thankfully it paid off and we’re now lucky to have a wonderful community of loyal customers who trust in our products and ethics.
Emma: I’m sure i’m not the only one who is glad you took that gamble! So my next question is what are the main challenges you face as a formulator of skincare products?
Rupa: Packaging and preservatives. We’re committed to only using glass bottles and we need to ensure our water-based products can stand up against bacteria. There’s a lot of scaremongering about preservatives, but the reality is that a poorly preserved product could damage the health of your skin. Weaker natural preservatives are just not compatible with glass packaging that doesn’t include [non-recyclable and non-reusable] components like airless pumps and plastic inserts. Effective preservatives are essential and I won’t compromise on that in my formulations.
Emma: Talking of formulations…what are your favourite three ingredients to work with and why?
Rupa: Niacinamide is by far my favourite ingredient. It’s backed by a solid body of research as a proven skincare workhorse. It regulates oil production, strengthens the skin barrier and helps tackle hyperpigmentation. I’ve seen the positive benefits of niacinamide on my acne-prone skin and for many around me. I couldn’t imagine not having it in my routine.
We recently introduced Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (THDA), which is an oil-soluble vitamin C ester. I’d spent over a year researching and testing almost every variant of vitamin C and finally decided on THDA because it’s gentle, stable and very effective. As well as its brightening skin properties, it helps keep acne under control.
Melon seed oil has become my favourite carrier oil. I initially chose it for a product made for combination skin because it’s a thin, dry and non-greasy oil with no notable scent (most natural oils don’t smell very nice!). It’s now my go-to oil when formulating, so don’t be surprised if you see it in future products.
Emma: Three very beautiful ingredients there! How long does it take for you to formulate a new product and what stage is your personal favourite?
Rupa: There are so many variables. When conceiving and formulating a new product, we have an extensive checklist that must be met. This includes (but is not limited to):
– Proven ingredient effectiveness backed by reliable data
– Skin tolerance and skin feel
– Packaging suitability
– Ingredient availability
Due to all of these requirements, we try not to put a time limit on things.
My personal favourite stage is researching ingredients and their functionality. So much happens at my desk before I even walk into the lab, and it helps speed up the physical formulation process because everything has already been considered in detail.
Emma: I think it is so useful to see the process as we often forget the time and effort that goes into our beauty routines. What would be your desert island product or item?
Rupa: Sunscreen. Every other product is pointless if we don’t protect our skin. Especially when stuck on a desert island!
Emma: It’s also incredibly important to remember that SPF is not just for the Summer months too, something which would be great to see promoted a little more in the beauty industry. What products would you love to add to the Kri Skincare range in the future that you haven’t already got within any of your collections?
Rupa: Sunscreen! It’s one of the most requested by our customers. But it’s a long and expensive journey to get there for a small brand due to the extensive testing that’s involved.
Emma: That would be something I would love to see 🙂 During the Winter months, what skincare tips or product recommendations would you give to people?
Rupa: Heat from radiators can suck the moisture out of our skin so keeping it hydrated is important. Serums containing glycerin and hyaluronic acid are excellent at reducing water loss. Winter is also the perfect time to benefit from a good quality face oil. Apply a few drops at least twice a day. I also like to top up with a little oil after I’ve been out in the cold as it helps soften my skin and restore nourishment.
Even though most of us in the northern hemisphere look to be stuck indoors for a while longer, that doesn’t mean we should neglect cleaning our skin every day. Emulsifying oil cleansers are the most gentle – and easy – way to lift daily impurities from our skin without leaving it feeling dry.
Thanks Rupa for taking the time to feature on Meet the Maker, it has been great to find out a little more about you and the ethics behind Kri Skincare.
Also be sure to follow Kri Skincare on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter to keep up to date with new launches, in-depth product information and amazing promotions. You can also get 20% off your first order by using the code EMMASENTME.
If you’ve enjoyed this installment of Meet the Maker then you haven’t got long to wait for our next brand to feature. I’ll be asking Lisa over at Lime & Lilac Skincare questions about her natural beauty journey and the reasons why she started her own beauty brand.
Emma @ Beauty Folio x