We had the pleasure of interviewing Abha Sharma, Founder of TOSé Apothecary, who shared with us her passion for natural and holistic skincare, the story behind her brand, as well as offering some valuable tips on how to look after your skin during the summer.
Here’s 5 minutes with Abha…
Tell us a bit about your background and how you got into the natural skincare business?
I have a master’s degree in business administration and I started my career close to seven years ago as a consultant in human resources. I worked there for about three years and then moved to the UK to get married to my lovely husband. I’m originally from India, and as a child I was always very interested in DIY skincare. My mum very much encouraged that we made things ourselves at home or in the kitchen, which is something that’s quite a traditional thing to do in Indian culture.
When I moved to the UK in 2013, I realised my passion for holistic living, and in 2014 I started taking courses to learn how to formulate natural and organic skincare. This is what kick started everything for me.
When did you launch your business?
I launched my business in June 2016, but leading up to that I spent a lot of time researching and learning all about natural and organic formulas and ingredients. I started making skincare for my family and friends and received really positive feedback, I was also seeing really great results with my own skin. So that’s when it all started, but it took about a year and a half to actually plan and get everything tested, I wanted to get the formulas perfect before I could officially launch as a brand.
What’s the ethos behind the brand, and is it something you’ve always had a passion for?
The ethos behind my brand essentially comes from my personal belief in being very attentive to everything and everybody around me, being true to my whole being and true to my sole. I believe in the power and purity of nature, and also being very open and upfront about our ingredients and formulations, as well as how we manufacture our products.
We know your products are cruelty free, why is it that such an important thing for you?
I have such a huge love for nature, so it’s very important that my products are cruelty free, we never test on animals and we’d never ever source from any suppliers who did. Animals make such lovely companions, they’re meant to be loved and cared for, definitely not tested on with harsh chemicals and toxins. I believe that animal lives are just as important as ours, and that’s integral to the values of my business.
Why did you choose to make skincare that’s plant based, chemical free, with holistic properties, and what are the benefits?
I think that natural ingredients are far more superior to anything that’s artificial; they have long-term health benefits in terms of people generally feeling a lot better in themselves, and over a period of time it can help with things like immunity, as well as helping the body get rid of toxins.
From my own experience, I saw such an improvement in my skin and in how I was generally feeling, so that’s definitely the reason that I decided to go natural.
Tell us a bit more about the ingredients in your products.
The ingredients used in my products are all plant based and 100% pure and botanical. We use plant oils, which we extract from fruit and grains, and they’re all unrefined and cold pressed. We choose to use unrefined, cold pressed oils for our formulations as they’re richer in their constituent makeup and also provide better nutrient benefits to our skin. Unrefined oils and butters are stronger in colour and scent than refined oils, making them trickier to work with but we believe the extra effort is worth it.
Are your products suited to all skin types, or do you focus on a niche market?
I’d definitely say our products are suited to most skin types, the oils we use are very gentle yet effective, and because they’re chemical free, they’re not at all harsh on the skin.
For anyone who isn’t sure whether to convert to natural skincare or doesn’t know much about it, what would you say the benefits are?
Firstly, I’d say definitely do your research, there’s so much information out there and some have quite conflicting ideas. My advice would be for people to understand that by converting to natural skincare, the results aren’t instant. It can take a bit of time to show results, but it’ll be worth it, as it definitely shows over a period of time. Unlike the harsh chemicals that you find in normal skincare products, the natural ingredients help to balance and strengthen the skin.
What are the biggest challenges and what do you enjoy the most about your business?
I get so much satisfaction from what I do; I absolutely love the creativity, the self-expression and independence that comes with having your own business. I really love actually formulating the products and researching ingredients, drying and testing, and then seeing all that work come together in a finished product. I think every bit of my business excites me to be honest, I’m so passionate about the work I do, and I know that this is what I’m meant to be doing.
What are your main plans for the future of TOSé Apothecary?
I’m definitely looking to expand my product lines within the next year, we’ve been asking our customers what they’d like to see within our range, and we’ve come up with some really exciting ideas together. At the moment I’m busy formulating something very niche, developing facial masks and cleansers to compliment our current facial range. I’m also working to develop our body range by expanding the body oils, experimenting with nut oils, and bathing salts- all of these things are at the testing stage right now so they should be available by the end of this year. I’m very excited about it!
To round things off do you have any top tips or advice for looking after your skin in summer?
I think one of the most important things is to keep sufficiently hydrated, as well as taking in all the vital vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that you get from a healthy balanced diet; our diet really does play a major role in keeping our skin healthy. When it comes to following a skincare routine, I think cleansing, toning, and using moisturiser goes without saying, but what is essential is that people follow a weekly routine to deep cleanse their skin. Maybe that could be done through things like facial steaming and aromatherapy, which you can easily do yourself at home, you don’t need to go to a salon to get it done. Also making DIY face masks out of readily available ingredients, perhaps a face mask that’s fruit based, I’d definitely recommend including that as part of your summer skincare routine.
Thank you to Abha for taking time out to chat with us. To listen to the full interview, click the link below!