Nandita Sharmin's journey to give organic skincare a new identity
Amlaki, founded by Nandita Sharmin, now has more than 30 active products for skincare and haircare
In her early days in the UK, Nandita Sharmin, a former banker, got familiar with luxury organic skincare brands like The Body Shop, True Botanicals, Bath & Body Works, etc.
Impressed by the quality and formulation of these products, Nandita started thinking about how to establish a quality brand in Bangladesh.
"The weather of the UK is not very friendly for agriculture. Yet, they managed to grow the necessary plants which gave birth to all these international luxury brands and sourced them from different regions. On the other hand, the soil of Bangladesh is full of potential. We just need the right knowledge," said Nandita.
Nandita is a holistic therapist and an active promoter of organic skincare products.
Ambiguous as it might sound, but there is a fine line between herbal and organic products. Herbal refers to the products prepared from plants for their medicinal value. These plants can be grown naturally, using either chemical or organic means.
On the other hand, organic products are prepared and handled using only organic means. These products do not contain any kind of harmful chemicals, pesticides, artificial colours, preservatives, or fragrances, and are processed minimally.
After several years of research and development, Nandita conceptualised her organic skincare and haircare brand named "Amlaki" in 2017.
A foundational knowledge of herbalism in the family
Nandita did her bachelor's in accounting from Cardiff Metropolitan University. From the same Alma Mater, she did her MBA in management. After that, she worked for a UK-based bank for more than four years until she founded Amlaki.
"My grandfather used to be an ayurveda practitioner. My father is a banker, but he also practised ayurveda on the side. So, I have been familiar with this since my childhood. Foundational knowledge in this field runs in my family," said Nandita.
From childhood, Nandita was a skincare enthusiast and was always curious to learn about the herbs and shrubs around her.
In 2014, she enrolled in The School of Natural & Health Science and got an SNHS degree in Herbalism. In 2016, Nandita learnt natural skincare formulation from The School of Natural Skincare.
Amlaki started with only four products (Moringa Brightening Face Pack, Signature Hair Oil, Rice Flour Scrub and Skin Glowing Oil). Now they have more than 30 active products for skincare and haircare. Last week, the brand launched three more products — sunscreen, moisturising cream and anti-ageing cream.
Moringa face pack, one of the debut products by the brand, happens to be its best-selling item.
"This is what I love about herbal skincare. Simple ingredients that we are very familiar with are capable of doing wonders to the skin, and we are simply unaware of it. Moringa is a popular vegetable in our country. The other uses of this magical herb are still to be brought under light," added Nandita.
Moringa powder and oil help slow down the signs of ageing. It rejuvenates your skin if it is dull and dry. As it is packed with antioxidants, it prevents free radical damage. This is extremely important as free radical damage harms your skin tissues, leading to formation of wrinkles.
Starting early can save us from future complications
The best thing about organic skincare is that it is absolutely free from side effects, and anyone can start it at any age. Generally, in the existing prejudice, parents often discourage their teenage daughters from practising skincare with market-established products.
"Using chemical products is definitely a threat to baby skin. But organic products are harmless and gentle on every skin. Anyone from babies to middle-aged women can use these products, and they only bring positive outcomes," opined Nandita.
Nandita also shares that starting early in the skincare journey saves us from a lot of future complications.
"If you put effort into taking care of your skin, your skin will thank you in the future. Proper cleansing, moisturising, and applying organic face packs with ingredients that suit your skin goes a long way. Apart from keeping your skin healthy for the time being, these processes will save your skin from early ageing," she added.
Handpicked raw materials from different corners of the world
When it comes to the ingredients, Nandita is very sceptical and refuses to make any compromises. So, she travels to different parts of the world to collect them.
"I source Indigo stone from Morocco, red sandalwood from North America, and lavender from France. In fact, I even formulate the active charcoal myself to ensure the best quality," she said.
Nandita is well aware of the purchasing power of the mass people in the country. Keeping that in mind, the price range of Amlaki's product has been kept within an affordable range, starting from Tk140 and going up to Tk1,400.
Nandita also believes that "trying is believing". Hence she launches her products in different quantities, starting from a mini unit of 20g to a regular unit of 200g.
Encouraged by her success in Bangladesh, Nandita is planning to launch her brand in the UK soon.