The Making of Ayurvedic Herbal Shampoo and Conditioner
How Holistic Herbalist got started with Personal Care range of products, the challenge and tough focus of over 30 months!
Ayurveda empowers health with natural herbs and oils. Holistic Herbalist does have a good range of hrebal supplements, herbs and Ayurvedic herbal oils. However, these could not be used to wash the hair in their powder and decoction form.
If you use only chemical shampoo and conditioner - loaded with sulphates, silicones, parabens, artificial colors and frangrances - these personal care items do more harm to hair and scalp even though these appear to benefit in a superficial manner.
So, at Holistic Herbalist, I delved deeper into issue this around July 2015.
Initially, my plan was to have some herbal shampoo and conditioner that is loaded with herbs and natural oils. I was visiting a B2B fair along with two of close friends and thought to have this kind of shampoo. One of the two friends is also a close business associate from Italy.
The Italian friend casually remarked, "Can we have a shampoo that is as much natural as possible?" And he insisted to try this out.
As I do have some good connection in Industry, I met two senior cosmetic chemists. At that time, I was not even aware of even names of ingredients of personal care products.
We went to collaborate with the chemist and provided them some herbs and oils. And, we were happy that the great product will come out. The chemists team appreciated the free gifts of herbs and oils that we gave them for their use.
After one week, the great cosmetic chemist team sent us 30 ml of shampoo for testing. We laughed so much that who would use it first to test, who would use it again!
I requested to send at least 1 litre of sample. Reluctantly, they sent few items of the ingredients. Rest of the items were to be procured from some big MNCs. The initial cost for such procurement was above two million Indian Rupee or about 40000 Euros.
It is at that time, that I decided to enter into this stuff myself, with two of my great critics - my wife and Deepak, a friend in Delhi.
I went into good study almost monomaniacally for 3-4 months, so that the chemical names do come even in dreams.
Then, I was able to talk with experienced cosmetic chemists with names, and all the why-it-has-to-be-there.
Normally, in Cosmetics domain, chemists dominate and just take the feedback about looks and feel and price. Even the company owners seemed to be more conscious about the price.
I left the consideration of price far behind and focused upon why it has to be there in our shampoo. And whether it is natural or naturally derived.
During this testing phase, or trial and error phase, and I call it the error and error phase and will explain you why I mention it so.
I came up with several dozen of the versions. Initially, the first set of 20+ trials were big failures. When I gave it to my wife for use, and asked feedback, the consistent reply was, "Who will use it? Nobody!"
During this period, I was quite depressed and thought to drop this idea vehemently. My friend, Deepak, also asked me to take a break for one or two weeks.
But, next day upon getting up, I used to start again with a new trial. I planned so much on paper, interviewed and discussed with many experts.
Some entrepreneur friends warned that you will burn if you go into this route. Follow what is usually happening and is a norm in the market.
It might be a practical advice but it didn't settle down within me. Perhaps, I was so heavily invested into this project that I could not think of laying it aside or letting it go.
The second group of 20+ trials gave good results but the main trouble was of stability. Gradually, it was overcome after testing more than half a dozen ingredients for this sole purpose.
I started to feel some comfort and confidence that we are moving closer. At this time, we gave the products to about one hundred different persons in India, managed to send 100+ pieces to Italy,Hungary, France and New Zealand.
At this time, I used to touch my hair several times during the day, as if I had developed some obessive compulsive disorder. I tried to touch the hair two young kids and my wife as they were getting ready for school in the morning.
They always made annoyed faces and frowns and came up with unwelcoming words. But they knew that I will touch their hair and ask for feedback almost every day.
It was the phase that every tiny feedback and complaint was so important. I was eager to get it from everywhere, everyone, India or abroad.
The next trial phase of 30+ began. It was more focused and subtle as I have to work on the conditioning.
Again, there had been discussion and interview rounds. On one day, I got up around 3.30 am and had an idea of an oil rich natural herbs. I brainstormed other such herbs, make a list for two hours.
Next few days, the trials were started.
Finally, after two more months, I found that there is one choice left, it is to test 5 different ingredients as conditioners. Everything is figured out.
One of these is from Sweden, Another two from French and another from US. Within months, the samples have been gathered and all of these are tested.
All of this resulted in....Yes, it is done. Nothing is left to chance.
The results are great. We got over all the complaints.
I don't say that it is the ultimate product in shampoo and conditioner.
But, it is the ultimate product with natural herbs and as much naturally derived ingredients as possible. If I limit myself within this boundary - natural and naturally derived - yes, this is the ultimate one.
Why and how am I to make the above mentioned bold claim?
Friends, I am an Ayurveda doctor and have always been rational and logical. Even, you could never find me over the board or hyperbolic about any of the excellent line herbal products,in any of the written content, videos, facebook or twitter.
I will share about this bold claim in another write up.
I am thankful to my family - wife and two sons - for bearing me throughout these more than two years, and Deepak, my friend who constantly motivated me.
And all of these three, even though a close part of the family, were the great critics who were many many times had been tough to survive! Now I extend my gratitude and thanks to these four guys.
And finally, to Mukesh Chander, my friend and business associate from Italy, whose words have motivated to start this fulfilling journey and entry into Natural Personal Care Range of products. He supported me very well through all this endeavor and helped to get the feedback from Europe. He had been a very pleasant and soft adviser. Big Thanks.