The Rise of Natural Beauty Products (Chitchat with GreenChicME.com Founder Vila Vasoodaven)

For centuries, women have been turning to nature for reliable beauty rituals, ones enriched with the power of natural ingredients that have only recently been hyped by marketing gurus in the beauty industry. DSC_4981

I for one love to experiment with churning up my own recipes. At other times, I explore the shelves of commercial counters. But then I discovered Green Chic, a UAE-based online shopping site that does the homework for you… the site curates interesting natural beauty brands in one place, all affordably priced and delivered all across the UAE.

But why turn to natural beauty products? What’s new in the market? And what makes GreenChicME.com a great site to shop at? Today I introduce you to the very lovely Vila Vasoodaven who gives us an insight on all this and more…

 

Please give us a brief intro on Green Chic. How did the idea of creating this online shopping site arise?

Green Chic is an online store that provides a curated selection of organic and natural beauty products in the UAE. It launched just 3 months ago so I am very excited to finally get it out there after working on this for about a year.

The idea first came about from my personal experience – as a natural beauty enthusiast, I found buying natural beauty products a tricky process. A key problem was there were many products claiming to be natural when they really weren’t. So, I wanted to create a safe place where people could buy products knowing there were truly natural, ethical and of course effective.  All the brands available on the website went through a screening process to ensure that they are natural and meet our standards ( there’s a list of 14 ingredients that are prohibited such as parabens, SLS and phthalates).

 

Have you always worked in the beauty industry? Please give us a brief intro on your background. Any tips for budding entrepreneurs? 

Actually no! My background is in healthcare research, where I used to work for the local government in the UK and investigate the link between the wider determinants of health (i.e. poverty, education) and health outcomes. When I moved to Dubai over 2.5 years ago, I worked in strategy consulting, working on healthcare-related projects. And it was during this period in Dubai that I started thinking about this business idea. It was when I realised I couldn’t stop thinking about it, did I know that I needed to explore this idea further. I continued working full time while researching and interviewing skincare users before quitting late last year to work full time on this.

For budding entrepreneurs – if you have an idea that you are passionate about, explore it! Find out if it is a viable idea, speak to people to see if its something that is needed and once you realise it is….be persistent. Networking is a great way to learn about things and meet new people so find time to connect with people. I have just started on this journey and despite the steep learning curve, I am really enjoying it.

 

Where do you source the brands, and what is the criteria for having them onboard Green Chic?

Well it is a mixture of which brands we can easily source in the UAE as well as what brands we would love to have onboard. We first look at what natural brands are trending and which ones people are asking us for. If the brand can be easily sourced in the UAE, we then start the screening process by look at the brand’s ethos and list of ingredients to see if it is something that we are happy to provide to our customers. There are loads of amazing natural beauty brands that are not available in the UAE yet so hopefully there will be more present in the future.

 

Please elaborate on the importance of natural/organic beauty regimes in today’s world.

We are seeing more people using natural beauty products as they become more aware of the health harms associated with quite a few ingredients in synthetic products. Like many others, I began using natural beauty products when I started questioning what was in my products. And when you have the European Commission banning the use of certain ethanolamines because of its link to cancer or learn that SLS is a skin irritant found in so many products, then you start becoming more picky with what you use. So natural beauty products are important as they play a key role in changing the way the beauty industry operates and our perception of what to expect from our products.

We are also seeing natural beauty ‘trending’ right now. I think people are starting to see that they are also just as effective as they are natural. And again this shows that they are a legitimate part of mainstream beauty these days.

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What does your personal beauty regime comprise of? What are your personal favourites?

When it comes to skincare, my skin prefers a ‘less is more’ approach so I try to keep it minimal, which can be tricky when I am testing products. I have dry sensitive skin so I do go through the normal cleanser – toner – serum – moisturiser routine but I tend to look for ingredients that will keep my skin moisturised and that are packed with antioxidants and vitamins. And since it is so warm now, I skip moisturiser when I’m out and go straight to SPF. And to add to that, I exfoliate once a week. While these steps are important, the key ones I find that make a difference are exfoliation, serum and sunscreen as they cover 3 key functions – cleanse, nourish and protect

Oh goodness, it’s so hard to pick favourites but here are my 3 current and old favs

  1. Absolution Le Soir et Matin – This is one I have just started using. The concept of a micellar water is quite new to me and it takes some getting used to but so far, I’mloving it! Lots of good ingredients including witch hazel to hydrate, tone and gives skin a lovely glow.
  1. Shirley Conlon Organics Rosehip Oil – I do love Rosehip oils for its ability to regenerate and repair skin. This is the first product I ever tried from Shirley Conlon and one of my favourites. I tried this out when I started getting acne on the lower part of my face and it not only got rid of it, but had a lovely brightening effect on skin.
  1. Sunscreen is a must and the one I have been using for a while is the Moisturising Face Sunscreen and Primer from Suntegrity. This is one of my favs as it is a natural sunscreen with zinc oxide as its active ingredient but I love that it doesn’t cause any breakouts on my skin and gives a great glow!

 

Given the heat and humidity of a UAE summer, please list your top 5 must-haves from Green Chic.

My top 5 are:

  1. Rose Floral Water from Melvita – floral waters are something I recently grew into. Especially good at hydrating and cooling skin after sun exposure. Just spritz a couple of times and you will feel a lot more refreshed.
  1. Carrot Butter Cleanser from The Organic Pharmacy – the combination of sweat, makeup and grime can clog up pores so keep it clean with this amazing balm cleanser from The Organic Pharmacy. This is one of my favourites as it is great for removing all makeup including eye makeup but leaves skin feeling clean and the spa-like scent is the icing on the cake.
  1. La Creme Gommante (Exfoliating Cream) from Absolution – .  if you have dry sensitive skin such as mine, this is a good exfoliator to have. Exfoliating can strip some of the moisture from your skin so this cream is great at gently exfoliating and replenishing moisture back into skin.
  1. Shea Butter Body Balm from Shirley Conlon Organics – the combined exposure to the heat outside and air conditioning indoors can leave skin pretty dry, especially the soles of your feet. She butter is extremely hydrating so it is especially good at treating cracked heals and moisturising dry patches of skin.
  1. Argan Oil from Izil Beauty – your hair can take quite a hit in hot climates so keep it in good condition by using organ oil, which is known for its ability to strengthen hair while restoring shine to dull hair.

 

And what about children and men? Do you stock products for them too? 

That’s something I am seriously considering. Currently, the demand has been for beauty products  but I have had a few queries about natural products for children. There are products on the website that are suitable for children but I am looking into whether to include products specifically for children.

 

Happy shopping at www.greenchicme.com

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