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What’s honest skincare? Just ask this new Indian not-made-in-India beauty brand

The world of Indian skincare is going through a massive churn. The past couple of months have seen a number of homegrown labels debut, with several international ones also making inroads into the country. Amidst all this, we found a brand  rooting for ‘honest beauty’. Organic Riot is a not-made-in-India new-age label that vows to make this world a better place, one anti-acne cream at a time.

When we spoke to founder Siddharth Somaiya, safety is a word that came up often. He says he looks at Organic Riot as a cause, as a label that’s ingredient-centric (local and global of the highest quality). Whether it’s from the rainforests in South America or farms located near volcanoes in New Zealand or ones sourced from the Western Ghats, the brand is all about giving the quintessential global Indian a quality homegrown product that’s safe.

The Organic RiotSomaiya wants to create a new path in the beauty business, and in a country where Ayurvedic labels rule the roost, Organic Riot comes as a refreshing change. Their Instagram feed is filled with memes, funny anecdotes, excellent graphics, delicious packaging, and small one-minute videos on parabens and evil ingredients in skincare, all speaking to a woke, idealistic generation.

All the products feature safe, natural ingredients that are Ecocert-approved, and employ only food-grade carrier oils and recycled or recyclable packaging. Somaiya has also gone one step further to give the ‘Make for India’ tag a new spin by manufacturing all products in New Zealand, with purity as the focus.

We spoke to Somaiya to know more about the label and why it marks a new beginning in Indian beauty.

The Organic Riot

How did the idea of Organic Riot come about?

I’ve been working on Organic Riot since 2016. We’ve gone through 2,000+ natural raw materials to hone in on this range of products for Indian skin. I have worked in a speciality chemicals company that catered to personal care companies in France, Japan, Korea, USA, and Brazil for five years. The one learning I got from there was that we are leagues behind in terms of safe skincare. Most problem-solving creams I have seen here have at least one hormone disruptor or carcinogen in it. We are global Indians consuming luxury at every step, so why don’t we get world-class skincare that is safe and devoid of harsh ingredients? That’s how the journey began.

What’s different about Organic Riot?

Organic Riot is not just a beauty brand, it’s a space to discover one’s own beauty effectively and safely. That means, educating the consumer on what makes a particular ingredient or process work. And not just ingredients, we have cluttered our shelves with products we might not even require. So we managed to cut down the skincare routine into the bare bones and only provide the essentials. What came out was versatile, multi-purpose products that make your skincare regime a realistic, minimalistic one and an effortless one for the woman-on-the-go. The range also caters to skin problems such as acne, pigmentation, and of course pollution – all problems that Indian skin faces on the daily.

The Organic Riot

Challenges in creating an honest label

The toughest part was the creation of our own intellectual property – the formulas. We spent three years developing them and going through more than 2,000 natural raw materials to come up with safe, problem-solving skincare. Then it was about pricing it just right. For us, the biggest challenge will always be educating customers on safe skincare practices. 

Bestsellers in the label

Our Anti-Pollution product is a clear winner because it addressed a daily problem. There is traffic, gases like nitrogen dioxide that are linked to the formation of dark spots, and worse, the effects of pollution when combined with ultra-violet radiation, lead to damage at a cellular level.

The Organic Riot
How is sustainability being the raison d’etre at Organic Riot

We understand that sustainability is not black and white. It is extremely nuanced and full of dilemmas and ethical quandaries. We want to be in the business of caring, not just skin, but for every facet of our supply chain. So there are a number of ways we look at sustainability. Our outer packaging is strictly made of recycled paper, and our tubes are BPA free. We also don’t use any stickers or labels on our tubes, which mean no adhesives left behind. We save 850 ml of water per box, don’t use any natural ingredients that have links to child labour, and try our best to use wild-crafted ingredients to make sure our products have a positive impact on the biodiversity of a region.

Unique ingredients we will find in Organic Riot

Wildcrafted Manuka extract, which has strong antibacterial and antifungal properties, while being gentle on the skin. It helps reduce scars and replenish the skin’s natural balance, and addresses damage caused by pollution and blue light. Then there is Cupuaçu Butter – ours is organic, cold-pressed, and is known for its powerful antioxidant properties that improves skin’s elasticity. Our particular Kiwi extract has won international awards, given its powerful antioxidants. It is extracted in a safe manner from an area next to volcanoes in New Zealand.

Being a successful beauty label in India means…

…putting India on the map as the country to find the best sustainable brands in the world. When you think of Korea for trendy skincare and sheet masks, I would want us to think of India as the land of the conscious and caring. Integrity and honesty are my definition of success in beauty.

All images: Courtesy Organic Riot

What’s honest skincare? Just ask this new Indian not-made-in-India beauty brand

Latha Sunadh

Deputy Editor

When she's not trying on a new serum, researching on yet another classic fragrance and sharing lip balms with her 5-year old daughter, Latha Sunadh keeps it reined in with a nice song and a good book. Special skills include obsessing over handmade, home-made and handcrafted luxuries.


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