As one of the most common beauty industry myths, the word natural is anywhere on the labels and shelves today. Fahari Naturals does not take this word just as a mere marketing ploy, but the very antithesis. Offering 100% NATURAL and 0% HAZARD anti-allergenic ingredients, the brand boldly fights back with a deeply-ingrained educational purpose and fool-proof transparency. Guiding the light as innovators, the founders, Harriet and Margaret, vow to deliver diligently combined natural formulas to fit all skin and hair types, and help customers acknowledge the actual ingredients used in their cosmetics. They have created a line of universal and inclusive personal care products to make pure compounds and toxic-free living accessible for all.
Words: Hanna-Amanda Pant
What led you to creating an all-natural, 0% hazard cosmetics and personal care products line?
Skin allergies and reactions to product ingredients led us to create an all natural personal care product line. I (Harriet) was diagnosed with a long list of environmental and food allergies. After removing those foods from my diet, I continued breaking out in hives. I then documented my food intake for a few months and tracked which personal care products I was using plus their ingredients. Margaret also kept track of which products were giving her breakouts and reactions. We compared notes and realised our hive breakouts were coming from the product ingredients and not just the food. We then did extensive research, because we assumed the government surely makes sure that our products have nothing toxic that would make us sick, and our whole world changed. This is when we realised we have to do something and help other people who may have similar skin concerns, or those who are conscious about what they put on their skin.
What are the skin conditions that your range helps to fight?
Our range helps fight acne and blemishes, reduce inflammation caused by eczema or psoriasis, scalp issues, such as dandruff or itchiness and dry, brittle hair.
Harriet and Margaret, you are both engaged in different fields within the company. Yet, your brand started out when you both showed a keen interest in making your own harmless skincare products, linked with a personal story. What is the one most valuable skill you have both learned from each other?
(Harriet handles the U.S. side of the business, dealing with manufacturers, sales, customers, vendor events and social media. Margaret handles the African side of the business and deals with sales, customers and vendor events in Kenya.)
Harriet: I think the one skill I have learned from Margaret is research on ingredients. Her medical background has helped us during our search for ingredients.
Margaret: The one thing I have learned from Harriet is strategic positioning and planning. Harriet has an amazing ability to visualise, plan and execute. She thinks in big picture and then fills in the details.
"The law regulating cosmetic product and safe ingredients in the U.S. is from 1938. Can you believe that?"
Why is transparency an important value for Fahari in this day and age?
Transparency is such an important value for us at Fahari, because we feel like we have been duped for so long and spent so much money on personal care products, yet we continued experiencing ailments connected directly to the ingredients we thought were natural. Transparency allows our customers to feel confident that we not just bottling stuff in bottles, but we are truly sharing every single ingredient that is in the product. So they can be empowered and informed when they shop with us.
What makes your products inclusive and universal?
Our products were not designed with one skin care type or hair care type in mind. We want everyone who is looking for allergen and toxic free products to be able to use our products and experience visible results.
One of your goals is to educate people on the importance of taking care of their skin. What helped you reach this goal of having a further educational purpose ingrained into your brand's core?
When we started this journey, we realised how little information was out there for us to learn about ingredient safety and understand toxic ingredients in products. We truly want people to know what they are putting on their skin, because when the consumer is informed, we can make changes in the beauty industry and ensure there are no toxic ingredients in any personal care ingredients. We do not want to see people get sick, because they did not know how their skin is affected by product ingredients. In addition, there are so many products and choices out there that we want to educate people to decipher the information, and make the most informed decisions for their family and the products they use.
Winter can be a terrible season for our bodies and skin. The season requires a change in skincare routine accordingly, as our skin is more receptive to dryness and eczema. Any tips for taking care of our skin and hair in the cold weather?
One tip we have both incorporated into our routine is using a face toner during the colder winter months, because our face tends to get dry in the winter. We also use the Unity Oil as a bath oil in the winter, to help seal in the moisture as the skin tends to dry up, too.
"Transparency allows our customers to feel confident that we not just bottling stuff in bottles, but we are truly sharing every single ingredient that is in the product. So they can be empowered and informed when they shop with us."
Which of your products might be lifesavers, here to help to our skin and hair cope with dropping temperatures?
Our favourite products for the winter are the Skincare Bundle (Face wash, Toner and Moisturiser), the Unity oil which can be added to all products, the Fair Creme (Which is excellent for eczema and dry skin) and the Co-Wash (which is really moisturising for your hair during harsh winter months).
What are your three most favourite ingredients to work with and why?
These ingredients are our favourite ingredients because they are so versatile to work with. Each ingredient has benefits for more than one problem and we just love them.
Aloe Vera - Soothes, Improves skin’s ability to hydrate itself, helps remove dead skin cells and contains anti-inflammatory properties.
Jojoba Oil - Acts as a natural skin conditioner, helps control oily skin and scalp, anti- inflammatory agent that soothes irritated skin, contains antibacterial properties which help fight acne, acts as a moisturizer and forms a protective layer over the skin to help relieve dryness and itching, Contains Vitamin B and E which help repair damaged skin.
Organic Green Tea - Contains antibacterial agents that fight acne, Antioxidant, helps neutralise harmful free radicals, anti-inflammatory properties that reduce redness.
What are the key innovations and technologies you use to develop your formulas and consistency?
Honestly, experimentation is what we have used to develop our formulas. We did not know the first thing about chemical formulations when we started. We use a manufacturer and chemist now where we are working together when developing formulas.
What else is unique about your products we should definitely be aware of? What's that one product we should include in our Xmas wish list?
Some of our products are multi-purpose. You can use them for the hair or the skin and the results work well for both.
The Unity Oil & the shampoo are both products that can be used for skin and hair. For the Xmas wish list, I would include our Starter Kit. It includes 5 products. 4 of them are in try-me sizes and the essential oil is full size. This provides you the opportunity to try multiple products at the same time.
"People are tired of multiple products, and would rather have multi-purpose products. This aligns with our brand's story because our goal to create easy-to-use products that can be used for all family members, or that have a dual purpose."
Did you, at some point, encounter a personal realisation about the beauty industry at large? What were perhaps the biggest beauty myths in the industry you have come across on your journey?
We realised that more and more people are seeking a minimalist lifestyle when it comes to beauty. People are tired of multiple products, and would rather have multi-purpose products. This aligns with our brand's story because our goal to create easy-to-use products that can be used for all family members, or that have a dual purpose.
The biggest myth we encountered in the beauty industry is the word 'natural' on labels. We realised early in the journey that just because a product has the word 'natural', it does not mean the product is actually natural. This is one of the key reasons we strongly believe in label transparency. We do not want people buying our products and not know what ingredients are combined to create those products.
Another myth we learned is the cosmetic industry is not regulated as we thought. It is a self- regulating industry, at least here in the U.S. The law regulating cosmetic product and safe ingredients in the U.S. is from 1938. Can you believe that? So, it is really up to makers of cosmetic products to self-regulate.
What has been the biggest surprise for you in the process of creating your brand, Fahari Naturals?
The biggest surprise for us in the process of creating Fahari Naturals is learning how to communicate our message through our brand. When we started creating the brand, we found someone and created a logo, but we had so much to say. After a few months, we found a brand manager who has been a lifeline for us in helping us communicate our core values and mission through our brand.