Faced with skin flare-ups, she launched a clean skincare brand of her own

 Faced with skin flare-ups, she launched a clean skincare brand of her own

Botnal Founder Himangi Dhir and her products

Rajkumari Sharma Tankha

The makings of the skincare brand Botnal started in 2019, when Hemangi Dhir was desperately look for some skincare solutions for herself. She suffered from numerous skin problems that caused her skin to flare up for long periods. She tried everything from dermatologists to a 10-step skincare programme, but nothing helped. Fed up, Dhir began researching natural skincare ingredients and soon realised that every chemical element had a natural counterpart. This led her to prepare her own DIY packs and formulae, which effectively treated her skin troubles, making her realise that skincare is all about using potent skin-loving natural components.
Hence was born Botnal, a natural, botanical and sustainable skincare brand. “With Botnal, I want to educate people about the importance of using targeted skincare products,” says Dhir, who founded the brand in 2021, adding that while the wellness industry is saturated with serums, there is a clear lack of understanding of essences. Excerpts from an interview:

What sort of research went into it before you came up with the products?
After tasting success with my DIY packs and formulae on my own skin, we did a market research to find out the most pressing prevalent issues, and began developing those products. I started working with skin experts to develop natural blends and formulations for skin issues. My team went through a meticulous procedure to ensure that each ingredient was procured naturally and locally.
For R&D, we have an in-house team consisting of me and a cosmetic chemist. From formulating a product sample to working on quality, texture and ingredients and formulations, we do it all in-house. Once we agree upon a formulation we closely work with the R&D department of our manufacturer (an FDA-approved cosmeceutical producer) to make sure all formulations are subjected through stress tests, quality control and all ingredients are certified before sending the product for FDA approvals.
The manufacturing process is fully automated, and the highest level of sanitation is maintained. Hair knits, gloves, and shoe muffs are required to be worn at all times by our employees. Our ingredients are inspected for quality and stored in shelves or boxes. All formulas are run via a digital machine to eliminate human mistake in ingredient quantities. Each product is bottled, labelled, packaged, and sealed separately. There is a strict quality-control at each level.

How has been the last one year of your journey?
Our online presence across platforms such Amazon, Flipkart, Trell, and Mind & Mom, as well as on our website has contributed to our growth in the last one year. In addition, Covid-19 has greatly changed the perception of skincare enthusiasts in the last two years. People are now willing to try products that help them address targeted skin issues. There is also an upward movement in customer self-awareness which has contributed towards the growth in the industry. Also, it is becoming more transparent customers now demand information on the ingredients used in the products and their benefits.
Having said that, the fact that the market is currently saturated is our biggest hurdle. But we have had a few accomplishments like increased industry transparency, a slow but steady growth in customer knowledge, and an increase in demand for targeted skin care products.

What all products are there as of now? Which is your best-selling product.
Our range of products includes neck creams, essences and anti-pollution serums like Berry Booster: Re-Texturising Essence, Boozy Beard- Beard Softener, Forty Winks – Night Cream, Garden Aperitif – Blemish Essence, Gumica – Cleansing Butter, Kare Taker – Neck Cream, On The Rocks – Detox Serum and Ying Yang Drops – Hydrating & Plumping Essence. The best-selling ones are Forty winks and Ying Yang drops.

Do you plan to enter other segments of beauty care?
Yes, we will be venturing into men’s skincare, baby skincare and makeup formulated with natural ingredients in the near future.

What is the USP of your beauty products? Amid the many natural and botanical based skincare brands, how do you make yourself stand out?
We offer products that aren’t currently available in the Indian market such as essences, neck creams, and anti-pollution serums. We offer targeted solutions with customer education.
Our strategy is simple; we keep our ingredients as minimal as possible. We believe in skinmalism and aim to offer our customers the right kind of ingredients to solve targeted issues, rather than layering your skin with multiple ingredients, a waste of time and money.
Further, we have kept our price point affordable without compromising on product quality. The same ranges from Rs. 299 to 799.
One feature that sets us apart to address the above mentioned opportunity is that each of our products are made using a unique natural ingredient.
Moreover, each product in the brand portfolio is made using at least one unique natural ingredient. Some of our key ingredients include Bakuchiol, pomegranate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Uva-Ursi, Gingko Biloba, Seaweed, Licorice Root, Evening Primrose, Green Tea Extract, Orange Extract, Aloe Vera, Argan Oil, Shea Butter, Prickly Pear, Apricot Kernel, Vitamin E

Please explain the importance of these ingredients in skincare.
Bakuchiol is derived from the Ayurvedic Babchi plant, and has been shown to smooth signs of fine lines and wrinkles to refine skin’s overall appearance.
Prickly Pear is a type of cactus originating from Mexico which is rich in omega 6 and 9 and vitamin E and additionally, promotes faster cell turnover.
Evening Primrose is a non-fragrant plant oil whose fatty acids have significant skin-soothing and emollient benefits for skin while also helping ward-off pore clogging bacteria.
Pomegranate helps skin regenerate, detoxes the skin and protects against UV radiation.
Apricot Kernel is a lightweight oil which is easily absorbed and helps improve radiance, skin tone and softness. With the presence of Vitamin E, apricot kernel oil boosts the skin’s ability to retain elasticity and clarity by helping to protect cells from damaging free radicals.

What are your future plans?
In the next two years, we are looking to launch 48 products with unique ingredients  for men, women, and children. We also plan to introduce new product categories such as face moisturisers, sunscreen, body serums, hair serums, and baby care.



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