Science and social media are the tools for success at d’you. We talk to the homegrown skincare label’s founder, Shamika Haldipurkar about their new launch, ‘in my defence’.
Not everything natural is good for you. Yet India’s beauty industry is scaremongering the idea that anything natural, organic, herbal and Ayurvedic is good while chemicals are bad. It was in midst of this controversial quest for beauty that Shamika Haldipurkar formed d’you in 2019. The homegrown skincare label was formed “to dismantle the chemophobia” that exists in the industry. On observing the disconnect between Indian brands and skincare chemicals she decided to create a brand that focuses on scientifically backed, clinically proven and biocompatible ingredients.
The brand’s first offering was Hustle, a nourishing serum with 11 active ingredients that caught the fancy of beauty bloggers and celebrities like Aditi Rao Hydari, Kriti Sanon and Shaheen Bhatt. The lilac hued bottle made plenty of appearances via Instagram ads, influencer posts and shelves of beauty editors. Yet none of it can overshadow the products’ brilliant formulation that’s packed with essential vitamins and nutrients.
So when the brand announced a new product, there was cause for palpable excitement. d’you’s latest formula, ‘in my defence’, is a ceramide product (with 20 times the usual percentage) that mimics your skin’s natural barrier and fortifies it. Ceramides, for the uninitiated, are a part of a complex family of fats or lipids that are naturally found in our skin but can also be synthetically created in skincare to replenish your loss. We talk to Shamika Haldipurkar about d’you ‘in my defence’ and what it takes to wipe away chemophobia.
d’you’s founder Shamika Haldipurkar about their new ceramid product, ‘in my defence’:
Tell us about d’you’s latest formula, ‘in my defence’?
Ceramides, although a very popular and buzzing ingredient in the industry, unless formulated correctly don’t aid much in barrier repair. It can in fact delay barrier repair if formulated incorrectly. ‘in my defence’ (IMD) formulation mimics the skin’s natural barrier composition by combining the lipids in the optimal ratio of 3:1:1 of ceramides to cholesterol to fatty acids. This is the ratio in which these lipids are naturally present in our skin barrier. By using this ratio IMD’s formulation can penetrate the skin barrier to heal the skin barrier from within.
Can you break down the ingredients for this formula and what they do for your skin?
The primary ingredients are the 3 main lipids – ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids. There are 5 Ceramides (in 1% pure concentration being Ceramide NP, Ceramide NS, Ceramide AS, Ceramide AP, Ceramide EOP), Fatty Acids (Stearic Acid, Arachidic Acid, Palmitic Acid, and Oleic Acid) (in 0.33%) and Cholesterol (in 0.33%) in the optimal ratio of 3:1:1 that together penetrate the skin barrier and fortify the lamellar matrix of the moisture barrier from within. We’ve also used Phytosphingosine which is a precursor to ceramides, and an ingredient that is naturally found in our skin barrier.
Additional to this we have replaced the base water of the formulation with soothing Purslane Extract juice (a powerful anti-inflammatory agent) in over 40% concentration. This adds increased soothing and calming properties to the overall formulation. There are also a few more supporting ingredients in the formulation which enhance the overall efficacy of the product.
How is the formula different from other ceramide products in the market?
While there are a plethora of ceramide products in the market, not all the products have been developed to mimic our skin’s natural lipid ratio called the Golder Ratio of 3:1:1.
Most products have an extremely low concentration of ceramides which provide very few functional benefits to the skin. The research done on ceramides indicates that 0.8 to 2% is effective to promote the recovery of the barrier. However, the ceramide complex that is commonly used in the industry yields a mere 0.015-0.05% or at best 0.1% ceramide content which is approximately 10-20X lesser than what ‘in my defence’ contains. Additionally, in most products ceramides have been either used in isolation or combined with cholesterol and fatty acids in the wrong ratio which actually impedes (delays) rather than accelerates the barrier recovery.
Many ceramide products are unable to use ceramides in adequate concentration because ceramides are: (i) a very expensive ingredient, and (ii) a very thick, waxy and unstable molecule to work with. So brands prefer to use them in lower doses to control the feel, texture, and stability of the end product. We overcame this issue in ‘in my defence’ by using a patented dispersion technology that allows us to use pure ceramides in a highly stabilised form and at a high dosage while still making a very lightweight formula with a pleasant texture. ‘in my defence’ using ceramides in a high dosage of 1% pure concentration and in the optimal ratio of 3:1:1 ensures lipid penetration into the stratum corneum (top layer of the skin barrier) such that it actually repairs your skin barrier over time and gives it resilience and strength to defend its own self. With continued usage, your skin’s lipids are fortified to reduce its own water loss and retain more moisture on its own.
Active ingredients in skincare are often a hard pill to digest, how can ease new users into the process? Have you faced challenges in convincing people to use the same?
On the contrary, we feel the awareness and demand for active ingredients amongst Indian consumers have increased quite steadily in the last couple of years. Even when a customer has never used actives before, we’ve found that they are quite willing to try because of result driven efficacy that they’ve heard active ingredients can provide.
Tell us a bit about the nomenclature of the brand and its product. What made you take this unconventional route?
d’you phonetically is derived from the word “dew”. We wanted to indicate healthy and dewy skin. But at the core of the brand ethos is the customer i.e. YOU. So, we decided to play on the spelling of the word to write it as d’you instead of dew. The apostrophe in the word and our logo indicates a dewdrop.
The product names come from a lot of brainstorming. We like to convey in a fun manner what the product actually does for your skin. In the case of Hustle – we wanted to indicate that it’s a product that will literally hustle for you instead of you hustling over trying to figure out how to pair your actives. In the case of ‘in my defence’ we want to indicate that this product in the long term is going to enable your own skin to defend itself; and that this product and your skin is going to stand “in your defence” against all external stimuli.
d’you relies heavily on influencer marketing. How does the brand hope to establish trust in the minds of the user that is now questioning influencer promotions?
Contrary to popular belief, d’you did not start influencer marketing from the get-go. The brand only began influencer PR in the 5th month since its launch. This was done intentionally because we wanted the initial product feedback to come from the customers themselves. However it so happened that a few influencers themselves bought the product in the initial months, and their organic reviews on the product helped us gain customer credibility as well. Going forward we will continue to rely on influencer marketing as this is a great tool for creating brand awareness. But we aim to approach influencer collaborations in a very transparent and authentic manner which will hopefully convey the brand and the influencer’s authenticity to the audience which will impact their purchasing decisions in a positive manner.
All Images: Courtesy d’you.