Ivory Station

In an era where natural beauty has become a buzzword, new startup d’you is creating science-led skincare products

In an era where natural beauty has become a buzzword, new startup d’you is creating science-led skincare products

Ivorystation speaks to founder and CEO Shamika Haldipurkar of d’you, a homegrown skincare brand, about their new ceramide product ‘in my defence’, the benefits of using the right amount of the ingredient in your skincare routine and shares her views on lab-created skincare in India

Shamika Haldipurkar, founder and CEO of d’you

With an aim to build high-quality skincare products for the Indian market, lawyer-turned-entrepreneur Shamika Haldipurkar founded a science-centric D2C beauty label d’you in 2019. Her very first offering, Hustle, a premium skin care serum was developed as an antithesis to the single-ingredient skin care trend. She says, “Hustle was the solution to the confusion around skincare actives (an ingredient in a product addressing whatever skin concern it’s meant to target), and how to effectively use them together. We made a product combining multiple essential actives in one bottle and called it Hustle.” Priced at ₹3,200 for a 30 ml bottle, Hustle claims to protect, nourish, hydrate and brighten your skin

After the success of Hustle, Haldipurkar wanted to fill a gap in the market in the moisturiser category, which she did with the launch of ‘in my defence’ on January 25, 2022, d’you’s second and the latest product. Priced at ₹3,500 for a 50 ml bottle, in my defence claims to defend your skin barrier (the outter most layer of the skin that locks in water and keeps the bacteria away) with its patented 5 ceramide blend. It’s the first-of-its-kind ceramide product in the market that uses 1 per cent pure ceramides (20X higher than industry standard) along with your skin’s essential lipids (cholesterol and fatty acids) in the optimal ratio of 3:1:1.

When asked Haldipurkar what makes her brand stand out in this saturated beauty market, she says, “d’you was founded to present a different brand to today’s smart consumers. As a beauty brand, we wanted to stay far away from fear-based and gimmicky marketing. We wanted to make an intelligent brand that would speak smartly to today’s informed and educated consumers.”

“Innovation is at the core of our ethos. We thought of making products that are high-performing and innovative and aim to offer something that isn’t already being served to the consumers in the market. Despite being in a saturated market, we try to develop products that aren’t yet available in the market. We try to find gaps in the market and make products to address these gaps, and so we can provide a solution to real consumer pain points.”

The response to your all-in-one formula serum was fantastic, tell us about your newly launched product ‘in my defence’?

Each product that the brand launches has a different underlying premise. We found a gap in the market in the moisturiser category which we have tried to address with ‘in my defence’. While there are plenty of ceramide moisturisers in the market, most don’t reflect the correct research done on ceramides. Research has shown that unless ceramides are added in a formulation in the optimal recommended ratio of 3:1:1 along with cholesterol and fatty acids, they don’t effectively penetrate the stratum corneum (outermost layer of the skin barrier) to repair and protect this moisture barrier. We created ‘in my defence’, a ceramide moisturiser that mimics the composition of your natural skin barrier by combining the skin lipids in the optimal ratio of 3:1:1. We also used a patented dispersion technology that could enable us to use a very high concentration of pure ceramides in 1 per cent, which is almost 20X higher than the industry standard.

d'you beauty startup

d’you’s ceramide moisturiser in my defence

What are the benefits of using the right amount of ceramide in your skincare routine?

Ceramides constitute about 45-50 per cent of our skin’s moisture barrier. As we age these ceramides are depleted from our skin barrier. Also, the many skincare practices one tends to follow such as exfoliation, harsh cleansers, at-home chemical peels, too many actives in the incorrect order, etc. can damage our skin barrier. So,not just repairing a damaged barrier, but proactively protecting it is of utmost importance and that’s where ceramides come into the picture. Adding barrier lipids, especially ceramides in the right ratio will help in maintaining a strong and healthy barrier that can defend your skin against all external stimuli.

Have you seen any changes in purchasing patterns of consumers recently?

Consumers today want and demand well-researched products. They are far more intelligent and aware today than even 5 years ago. As consumers demand better, brands have to put forth well-researched products and educate their users about their products and the science behind them.

What is the difference between Ayurveda and natural skincare viz-a-viz science-led skincare?

In my opinion, everything is science-led. Whether natural or synthetic. Wherever there is an interaction of molecules – that’s chemistry. Whether you formulate a product with an ingredient sourced from nature or from a lab, this ingredient (molecule) interacts with other ingredients (molecules) and that is simple chemistry and that is science. So, every brand and product is the result of science. It’s just that the marketing nomenclature distinguishes that nature is free of chemicals and therefore not science-backed. Everything, including the water we drink, the air we breathe and our bodies is a molecule and a chemical. There is nothing that’s chemical-free. I believe that the problem isn’t whether natural products are science-backed (because by definition they are) but the problem lies in popular myths around the ‘natural’ beauty trend, with customers getting ambiguous messaging about ‘free-from’ lists, fear-based selling, green washing, etc.

What are your views on minimalistic beauty routines?

When you look at the functional aspect of skincare (away from the indulgent aspect of skincare), one truly only needs a few essential products. Everything else is an add-on luxury. To really downsize and take a minimalistic approach towards skincare, it is essential to first understand how the skin works. Skin is the largest organ of your body. It is efficiently equipped to do everything for itself, for which people today rely on products. Our skin can self-cleanse, self-exfoliate, and self-moisturise. Of course, these abilities slightly deteriorate with age, but the skin is still very much capable of doing all this on its own. So, the reliance on skincare products should only be to give that slight nudge, the assistance to your skin to be able to function on its own. The aim shouldn’t be to overwhelm your skin into submission by using so much skincare that you damage your barrier and it’s unable to regulate its own health. Once you understand this key functional aspect about your own skin, then your entire viewpoint towards skincare products shifts. You automatically downsize your routine to only the essentials that will assist your skin do its job the best way.

Decode top 5 beauty and skincare trends of 2022?

I think a minimalistic approach towards beauty is what will be in focus this year. Multipurpose products will be a huge trend in makeup as well as skincare. The active ingredients will continue to trend in India for a couple more years, and you’ll see deeper market penetration even in tier 2 and tier 3 cities.

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Also Read: Best winter care products to hydrate your skin