As a woman, I use many personal care products in the course of a day. Separate cleansers for the skin, body and hair, moisturizers, conditioners and more, in different formulations, from different brands. Going by statistics, I'm not the only woman who uses all these, and this is a huge industry in itself.
However, even after constant use of products that claimed to improve my skin and hair, I didn't notice any benefits. On the other hand, my skin got drier, hair got frizzier and things just got generally worse. I decided to look at the ingredients of these products and I was stunned.
Nearly all the products I was using were packed with chemicals, many of which are toxic, like phthalates, parabens, sulphates and others. It explained everything I was going through, and why things weren't improving.
I thought back to my childhood, when I had lush, thick hair and glowing skin. Then it was my mother and grandmother who cared for my skin and hair, with homemade scrubs and cleansers made using local herbs and flowers. If it worked for me then, why wouldn't it work for me now?
That began my quest for natural personal care products. However, looking at existing 'natural' products in the markets was disappointing - despite their claims, most products still contained chemicals to make them smell good or increase the shelf life. They were anything but natural.
Meeting Sohini was the turning point in this journey. Sohini is an International Holistic Counsellor and Herbalist, and she told me that as a human race, we had come very far from our roots, and going back to a simpler, more natural lifestyle is the only way forward.
And that, my friends, is the story of Soundaryah. We started Soundaryah as a community for natural wellness for women, to spread awareness an share information about using Mother Nature's bounty to heal and improve ourselves. As time passed, more women joined us, sharing their stories of how replacing their toxic products with natural solutions reaped benefits. Everyone was surprised at how just a few oils and basic ingredients were far more effective than complex chemical formulations!
However, there was still a problem - many people were facing trouble sourcing the right ingredients and mixing them the right way. Everyone wanted to know where we could get chemical-free, 100% natural solutions, but unfortunately there was nothing in the Indian market. So we decided to fill the gap, and the rest, as they say, is history!
Today we are proud to have launched Soundaryah's very first range of personal care products made with traditional herbs and ingredients, just the way our ancestors made them. Each and every product has been personally put together by us after months of sampling, testing and feedback.
These products are completely free from chemicals, fragrance and preservatives of any kind. What's more, the ingredients are sourced from places that practice sustainable farming and are packaged responsibly. Speaking of packaging, what you'll see in our latest range is nothing short of art!
The Story of our Packaging - Artwork that is rooted in Nature
The art work featured on the packaging of our latest range is something that's close to our hearts. We have nine different avatars of women, each one having her own persona and appearance. While they have their individual characteristics, at the core, each woman is the same - she is you and me. She is a woman comfortable in her own skin, who knows that she deserves the very best when it comes to self care. Here is a more detailed look at each of the nine Soundaryah avatars and what they stand for.
One look at Aristha and you know she means business. She has decided to take her self care into her own hands - she is a doer. The first thing you notice about her is her long thick braid, a result of the herbs she is grinding with her mortar and pestle. You can almost hear the sound of her bangles as she pounds the neem leaves.
This art features hibiscus flowers on the four corners of the frame,. The green background reminds us of Amla, as well as neem and fenugreek. Aristha appears on the packaging for the Anti Dandruff Herbal Hair Mask that contains neem, hibiscus, fenugreek, amla and oats. These ingredients work to get rid of dandruff while also offering relief from itchiness and promoting hair growth. That's why that thick braid is devoid of white spots or flakes!
Haritha is Nature's daughter, a symbol of prosperity and abundance. This is also reflected in the basket she carries, which is filled to the brim with flowers of the Indigo plant. Like her name, Haritha is dressed in a green saree, and has lush black hair falling down her back and shoulders. The background reflects the color indigo, as do the flowers in other areas of the artwork.
Haritha features on the packaging of our 100% Natural Hair Color Kit, which is a combo pack of Henna and Indigo leaf extract. Haritha looks confident and comfortable where she is - because she knows that her hair health is guaranteed, thanks to the goodness of True Indigo - a completely safe alternative to hair dye. What's more, it conditions hair making it appear shiny, just like Haritha's hair here.
When you look at Jaivi here, she looks like she's in a celebratory mood. She's decked up in elaborate jewelry and an embellished outfit - even her hair is all bouncy and alive. You can imagine that her hands are also decorated with Henna in a lovely, intricate pattern. The background color is also indicative of Henna's natural color, a gorgeous green.
Jaivi appears on the 100% Natural Hair Color Kit, which provides a beautifully natural hair color without any chemicals. Jaivi means 'the victorious one'. With Jaivi, you can declare victory on those ammonia-filled hair colors that do more harm than good. Henna has been used for coloring hair for centuries, and it has many health benefits for the scalp and hair. Explains the bounce in Jaivi's hair!
Simply looking at Kasthuri here makes you feel so calm. She looks content, like she's really enjoying this time she's taken out for herself - absolutely guilt-free. She's dressed very simply, no jewelry or elaborate clothes. What really shines through is her skin, looking pink and healthy because of the red sandalwood featured in the art work.
You'll find Kasthuri on the Youthful Glow Herbal Face Wash, made from ingredients we've all been told to use from our childhood, like sandalwood, gram flour and turmeric. In fact, even the background in this art work reflects the golden glow of turmeric and gram flour in this herbal face wash.
'Kesh' refers to hair, and Kesya here is proud of her lush tresses that she can't stop caressing them. If you look at Kesya's attire, you'll notice that it's got a fusion vibe to it - it's a mix of many colors and textures. The entire scene has an instantly cooling feeling - maybe it's because of the blue background, or the snow clad hills in the distance. She looks so happy, as if time has stopped still in this moment.
Kesya features on the packaging of the Deep Conditioning Hair Mask, a herbal mixture of traditional hair-friendly ingredients like Bhringraj, Tulsi ,Fenugreek Seeds, Hibiscus, Shikakai , Amla, Reetha and Neem, herbs you can find in Kesya's basket. Just like her, this hair mask is soothing for the scalp, and it also strengthens hair and promotes better growth.
This is Nyra, who looks absolutely blissful as she indulges in her daily self care routine, which explains that rosy glow on her face. The art work focuses on roses; they're in her hair, in the background and in the frame. It's understandable, since Nyra means rose in Sanskrit.
Another reason could be because Nyra appears on the package of our Brightening Face Masque, made with high grade, organic Kannauj rose petals. These roses are known for their skin-rejuvenating properties. With ingredients like orange, sandalwood, turmeric and Bentonite clay, this mask is surely a luxurious addition to your skin care routine.
When you look at this art work of Ojas, you instantly experience a burst of energy. It feels like the art work is alive; there is a sense of movement in the way the drape flows and the hair tosses around. Like the meaning of her name, 'vigor', Ojas is energetic and ready to face the world.
It's hard to ignore the lotus in Ojas' hand, or in the surrounding artwork. This relates to the fact that Ojas is present on the packaging of Soundaryah’s Intensive Body Polishing Ubtan. This ubtan contains traditional ingredients like turmeric and gram flour, but it also contains a few extra ingredients like lotus, sandalwood and Kannauj rose for a truly royal skin care experience.
Srishti is no ordinary woman; she is a queen. She is not one to settle for mediocrity; she demands excellence and she gets it. She trusts in the wisdom of her royal ancestors, and she holds in her hand the secret to her long, black hair - herbs like neem, shikakai, reetha an Kannauj rose.
These are the same ingredients that are present in the Royal Herbal Hair Wash, the packaging of which features Srishti on it. This hair wash is the same formulation that was used by ancient Indian queens and princesses, carefully prepared by gathering the individual ingredients and mixing them in the right proportion. Modern hair cleansers cannot hold a candle to this!
In ancient India, Veds or Vaids were the learned men of the land. They were the ones people went to when they needed healing or solutions to their problems. Vedini is one among them; she is sensitive to your problems and she is wise enough to know the right way forward. She looks directly at you as if she knows what's troubling you, and she has the answers.
With her special abilities, it's not surprising then that Vedini appears on the packaging of our Anti Acne Healing Face Pack. This is a remedy for acne caused due to oiliness or inflammation, and also undoes all the damage done by chemical products. It is soothing to irritated skin and also gets rid of acne scars.
With Soundaryah, we have tried to embody the concept of 'earth to bottle', in terms of the product as well as the packaging. Our artwork is inspired by the outfits of women across different states of India, and different historical periods. We have tried to use art to be our connection with our roots, to a time when Mother Nature had the remedies for everything. Let's go back to that era, and you'll see that your skin and hair will thank you for it.