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regular-article-logo Monday, 22 April 2024

Clean Beauty is no longer the future but the present and all-natural brand Arata is here to help

From packaging to products, everything is built on the idea of a clean future, saying no to chemicals and embracing recyclable plastic for packaging

Shrestha Saha Published 22.04.21, 12:47 AM
Few products from brand Arata

Few products from brand Arata Sourced by The Telegraph

Dhruv Bhasin and Dhruv Madhok hadn’t envisaged that a chance encounter with a mom-made hair gel from flaxseeds would pave the path for a brand that now boasts of products for skincare, haircare, oral care and body. All-natural, completely vegan and sustainable, this brand is slowly making its mark for those who are increasingly choosing to take a ‘clean-beauty’ approach in life. A boon for people following the Curly Girl Method, their hair care range is one that they swear by, with main focus being on the original hair gel that is a super hit amongst brand loyalists! From packaging to products, everything is built on the idea of a clean future, saying no to chemicals and embracing recyclable plastic for packaging. We spoke to Dhruv Bhasin about the Arata journey and why it’s important for everybody to embrace clean beauty now. Excerpts…

What was the path that led to Arata?

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It was in 2016 that I used my mother’s home-made flaxseed gel to style my hair. Madhok immediately noticed and asked me about hair fall and whitening concerns and was amused when I conveyed that it was completely natural.

The next day, I sent Madhok a sample that he tried and noticed that this gel held his hair just as well as any other hair gel in the market. He immediately called me and said, “Let’s make this for everyone looking for a safe alternative to style their hair.” We discovered that the same ingredients that caused hair fall and hair whitening were being widely used. Not just in styling products, but in virtually every single personal care product in the country.

A larger problem became apparent. Chemical ingredients, known to be carcinogens banned in North America and Europe, were still being used in products made and sold in India. In fact, international brands often have double standards with regards to what they sell in India and what they are allowed to sell internationally.

From that day forward, we envisioned an honest personal care company that would offer trustworthy and credible products, made of the highest quality ingredients that were safe and clean. Based on that vision, with the help of a very talented group of people, we brought Arata to life.

Singer Kavya and popular travel blogger Navneet swear by Arata products

Singer Kavya and popular travel blogger Navneet swear by Arata products

How aware of the curly girl movement were you when you launched the haircare products?

Sixty per cent of the world’s population has curly or wavy hair. The curly girl movement has been thriving abroad for quite a while now. The movement in India, however, came into light only recently. We thought it would be interesting for us to join the narrative, wherein curly girls are empowered and not shamed for their locks. By creating a range of formulas that are sustainable, non-toxic, curly hair-friendly, and reasonably priced, we wanted to not only enable curlies to find suitable products in the Indian market but also wanted to guarantee them a premium experience.

What are your thoughts on the CG community?

As more and more curly girls are coming out of their shells and working with their hair textures, instead of against it, we’d say the community has come a long way. We have seen curlies embrace their natural hair pattern, ditch the sulfates, recommend/review products and encourage newbies to love their tresses! It’s a very promising and uplifting space, a safe haven that pushes curlies to discover their hair’s true potential.

Dhruv Madhok and Dhruv Bhasin (right) pose with Arata products

Dhruv Madhok and Dhruv Bhasin (right) pose with Arata products

How has the brand evolved since its inception?

Arata has come a long way from where we began. We first started the company as a single product (hair gel) company selling only to men. Two years on, we’re a unisex plant-based brand, selling 17 individual products across hair, skin and oral categories. We started by selling our products in virgin plastic, being yet another brand polluting the environment, and as soon as we were able to, we switched to using recycled plastic across our entire product range. We now cater to both women and men, we’re good for the environment and we’re good for you.

What plans for the future with Arata?

So many plans! Our immediate plans are to launch a range of products specifically designed for all curly hair needs. This is something which we’re looking to do super soon. Other than that, we’re going deeper into the skin category and launching products aimed at the face category, powered by effective and safe-plant based ingredients.

What are your three biggest learnings along the way?

Never underestimate how much your customers want to know. Brands that are hiding nasty ingredients under the garb of Ayurvedic licenses or through ‘greenwashing’ are facing the wrath of customers across the world. We learned that the more we were informing our customers, the more they wanted to know, so we dug deep. From full ingredient disclosures on our labels to detailed ingredient information on our website, we have created a space for customers to make a fully informed decision about what goes on their bodies.

It is indeed possible to be a fully sustainable and profitable company. We’ve learned that sustainable and ethical business practices should be a new normal, showing how business can empower human and environmental resources of organisations and all associated partners. We’ve found that financial success can be achieved even while taking these aspects into consideration.

This is why we are leading the charge and looking to make sustainable packaging and practices a mainstream topic –– an era of brands taking responsibility instead of passing the buck on to customers needs to come to an end. We take plastic from the oceans, landfills and other garbage sites –– sanitise it, pelletise it, melt it and remould it into the Arata packaging you see.

A true brand cannot be built overnight. We’ve heard people tell us this, but we only realised the relationship between time and trust when we started our business and started asking customers to trust our brand. It’s the small everyday changes and improvements over a long period of time that create not just a good brand but a great brand.

Few products from brand Arata

Few products from brand Arata

Do you have a message for those confused about beginning this completely natural journey or are sitting on the fence about it?

In today’s world being sustainable, conscious, and future-proof is key. With naturally derived formulas, you won’t just be looking after yourself, in the best, cleanest way possible but you’ll also be looking out for the planet. Hence, to everyone who’s confused or on the fence, we’d say — take the plunge! It is life-altering and you’ll soon realise that the grass is definitely greener on this side.

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