Krya Saturday Update: 5 New products and a dark brown shade

Reading Time: 9 minutes

It has been a super busy week at the Krya factory. The Hair Color project is in full swing, creating several shades of browns and reds. Our brown shades have come out spectacularly well, and we owe it all to some fine sleuthing and sourcing of high quality raw material by our purchase team.

More about hair colors and herbs that dye hair

Indigo (Indigofera tinctoria), a traditional Indian herb used both to dye fabric and hair and in Ayurvedic indigoformulations to reduce fungal infections is a leguminous herb. The use of Indigo to dye fabric is reputed to be at least 9000 years old!

Indigo leaves contain a colorless substance called Indican. When these leaves are powdered / crushed and soaked in water and partially fermented, the Indican molecule breaks down to Beta-D-glucose and Indoxyl.  It is the Indoxyl molecule that migrates from the indigo paste and binds to the Keratin on hair to dye hair.

henna flowerHenna (Lawsonia inermis) is another traditional dye producing plant used for hair and for body art. Henna is extremely cooling, and strongly anti fungal in action, so it is used variously in Ayurveda to treat heat conditions and fungal infections. In the recent Chennai floods of 2015, Krya manufactured and distributed herbal anti fungal powders to those who waded in dirty flood water to prevent infections – this fungal powder contained Triphala and Henna – 2 powerful anti bacterial and anti fungal herbs.


Henna is generally grown as a hedge row plant in arid and semi arid regions to prevent plants from being blown away of destroyed by the strong, sandy wind. Fully grown henna leaves contain 0.3 – 3% of a pigment called Lawsone – it is this Lawsone pigment, that migrates from the henna leaf to your hair to dye it.

A combination of these dyeing plants and additional herbs like the Indian gooseberry, Eclipta alba (Bhringaraj), and other hair nourishing herbs like Terminalia chebulia / Harad, went into our dark brown shade.

The extent of dyeing depends upon the high quality of herbs used – so if we used Henna leaves with Lawsone pigment percentage of .3%, it would obviously leave a much lighter shade compared to using something that has, say a 3% Lawsone content.

We tried about 6 different combinations of herbs to achieve a deep, natural brown-tending-towards-black shade on pepper and salt hair – the results are there for you to see in the picture.

This week also saw us completing a few pending products – we finished making our damage repair Hair wash and our damage Repair Hair mask to go with our very popular damage repair hair oil.

The Krya Hair Damage Repair system – now with a Hair wash & a Hair Mask

Severely chemically treated hair becomes extremely porous because of multiple injuries to the hair cuticle. hair damageWhen tested in water, this kind of hair will absorb water and sink to the bottom as its porosity allows water to invade the hair. In this state, hair is vulnerable to the many chemicals that are applied on it and will absorb all of them increasing damage. Colors also permanently damage the hair shaft as they lift the cuticular structure and inject chemicals like PPD inside the hair shaft to ensure the hair color stays longer without getting washed out. (The lack of this kind of chemical in natural hair colors is why they wash out much faster from your hair compared to your salon brand of hair color).

Chemically damaged hair also contains a layer of toxins on the scalp as this kind of hair is regularly coated with synthetic conditioners and treatments to artificially smoothen it and “condition” it externally.

Because of the permanent nature of the damage wrought by chemical treatments, we have to ensure that the existing hair is conditioned and boosted with moisture so that it is more manageable and new growth is stimulated with better nourishment being given to new hair growth to ensure the hair is stronger. The regenerative capacity of hair of course depends upon the body’s state of health and the food being eaten.

The Krya Damage repair Hair wash for severely damaged hair uses a different mixture of herbs compared to our other hairwash products. In order not to damage the cuticular structure further, the Hair wash is sifted much finer than usual. We use a high proportion of shine enhancing, repair and nurturing herbs like Indian gooseberry, fenugreek seeds & curry leaves. We also use Chamomile, Moringa and Oatgrass for their rejuvenative, soothing and moisturizing properties. We also add flaxseed and kokum butter for their natural anti-oxidant and hair restoring properties.

The Krya Damage repair Hair Mask goes ballistic on restorative herbs – We have used deep orange Marigold, Green Tea, Rose hips & Rose petals and Basil for their powerful anti oxidative action that stimulates collagen production and boosts the growth of strong hair. We have used strongly conditioning herbs like deep red Hibiscus flowers & Yashtimadhu (which we had blogged about a few days ago). We have added many hair restorative and repair herbs like Rosemary, Lemongrass, Brahmi, Amla and Bhringaraj to detoxify hair, balance sebum secretion and promote healthy hair growth.

The Krya extra conditioning hair mask – goes with the Krya extra conditioning Hair Wash

We had introduced the Krya Classic Hair Mask to complete the Krya Classic Hair regimen a few weeks ago. Today, we complete the Krya extra conditioning hair regimen by introducing the Krya extra conditioning hair mask with Orange flower & Liquorice.

The Krya extra conditioning hair wash and our hair oil is one of our best selling products (as indeed are all of our hair care products). We designed this regimen for hair that tends to be extra dry, frizzy, curly, tangles easily and has been occasionally subjected to chemical / heat treatments that leave it drier. Our conditioning hair wash is extremely gentle on hair and cleans it without damaging the hair’s cuticular structure further. The extra conditioning hair oil is full of luscious herbs like carrot and kokum butter and is reasonably light, highly penetrative oil that is absorbed easily by the scalp.

The Krya extra conditioning hair mask completes our extra conditioning hair regimen. We have designed this hair mask to give hair natural gloss, smoothness and softness. For this, we have used both traditional and new age herbs that condition hair naturally, restore health, help in taming the frizz and de-tangling hair and give hair a whole lot of health. Some of these herbs include the soothing and calming Orange flower, very moisturizing and demulcent Palmarosa, the aromatic and scalp detoxifying nutgrass, & the hair growth promoting Guava Leaf.

The Krya anti acne face mask – goes with the Krya Anti Acne Face wash

Almost all our products are tried internally before launch, and we have on file a list of all Krya employees’ hair and skin types, so that the appropriate product can be matched to and tested on them. Acne is a condition that has been carefully studied and analyzed in Ayurveda and Siddha. Both systems of Indian medicine treat this as a Pitta-Kapha disorder which increases in the presence of Pitta food, Pitta lifestyle and Pitta weather.

So summer will always see a severe triggering of pitta caused acne, as will the consumption of foods high in pitta like pickles, citrus fruits, mangoes, tamarind, jal jeera and other spicy or sour food.

This acne may come in combination with burning, itching skin rashes, prickly heat and strong body odor – all of which point to vitiated Pitta.

Generally, pitta skin orders will be followed by Pitta hair disorders – so acne sufferers may see hair that changes in colour and becomes reddish brown from their natural black, hair that is very fly away or fine, and hair that grays prematurely, especially when Pitta is vitiated.

Pitta vitiated skin is quick to burn – so a common complaint an acne sufferer would have is that a product is causing their skin to burn or break out – which means an increase in Pitta. So traditional medicine recommends Pitta reducing, Kapha balancing, bitters and astringent feel products for calming Pitta skin conditions.

So our anti acne face mask uses astringent and Pitta reducing Daruharidra (Berberis arista) which is commonly called Tree Turmeric. This is a climbing vine like herb which grows in hilly regions. The stem has a yellowish colour, and because of this and its pharmacological properties that are near identical to Curcuma longa (regular turmeric), this herb is called Daru Haridra / Mara Manjal / Tree Turmeric. Daru Haridra finds its way into many important Ayurvedic formulations including one for improving eyesight.

In the Krya anti acne face mask, we use it for its astringent, bitter, skin clarifying, inflammation reducing property. Apart from Daruharidra, we use other renowned, skin clarifying bitters like Neem, Mint, Sweet flag and Triphala.

To cool and moisturize skin, we use herbs like Moringa leaf, Vetiver & Fenugreek Leaf. Guava fruit and Liquorice add anti oxidant support and damage repair. Lodhra and our special herb steeped lentils improve micro circulation, cool skin further and lighten blemishes.

The Krya Body wash for Sensitive skin with Lodhra & Lotus flower

We have been doing custom formulations for more than 4 years at Krya. We first started making custom formulations in our home care products – we have customized detergents for whites, dish wash products for a machine, fragrance free dishwashes and many other variants.

When we started our skin and hair care line, we started getting a wide variety of customization requests like atopic dermatitis, eczema, a psoriasis cure, severe hair fall, etc. In this requests, we saw a consistent pattern of requests for skin that tends to be sensitive or prone to atopic dermatitis, non weeping eczema and recurring psoriasis. Hence we decided to launch our Sensitive Skin Body wash as a permanent product.

All skin and special conditions need to be treated with the right diet and lifestyle change. So we normally advise that people coming to us for these conditions visit a good ayurvedic vaidya at the onset, to ensure that they eat the right food for their condition.

The Psoriasis diet – in brief

PsoriasisIn certain skin conditions like psoriasis, Ayurveda advises a special psoriasis diet which makes certain dietary modifications like avoiding dairy products. Ghee is allowed as an exception if the vata / pitta in the body is vitiated.

The psoriasis diet also advises reducing substances that increase Kapha and pitta together. Psoriasis is considered a primary Kapha disorder with a secondary vata /pitta / both also changing in their nature. The vitiation in Kapha causes the skin to produce many layers and thicken, and the vitiation of vata causes the entire region to become hard, dark and dry and the skin tends to thicken and sometimes harden.
Sesame seeds, urad dal, jaggery are examples. Lentils like tuvar dal (pigeon peas) are advised to be avoided, as is frequent consumption of fermented foods like idly and dosa (in a typical Indian diet) as this can increase Pitta. Curd is to be completely removed in the psoriasis diet, as it is considered high in pitta and Kapha, and is considered “abhishyanadi” (blocks minor srotas or channels in the body leading to an excess of ama).

Skin cleansing and care in Psoriasis and other special conditions

In all these cases, Soaps and sulphates irritate and dry out skin further. So the skin becomes dryer, itchier, and the skin tends to flake unevenly. Conventional moisturizers can also irritate this kind of skin as the parabens, and fragrances in them can further trigger secondary issues like contact dermatitis.

We generally advise the use of pure, raw, organically cultivated, filtered kokum butter as a moisturizer in these skin conditions. While it smells a bit strange in its raw state, it is an excellent salve for skin and helps make skin more flexible and reduces the vata induced hardening and scaling that we notice in skin.

And to cleanse the skin, we’ve just formally launched our Krya Sensitive Body wash with Lotus flower and Lodhra.  The primary cleansing ingredient in this Body wash is the soothing and moisturizing Oat flour (Avena sativa). We then add Barley, again for its very gentle cleansing properties, and follow it up with 2 types of medicated green gram that has been steeped in 2 separate herb decoctions for over a day before being dried and processed. Into this cleansing base, we add herbs like Babchi (Psoralea cordifolia) renowned for its skin healing ability especially in conditions like Psoriasis, Lodhra (Symplocus racemosus) – an important skin repair herb, Nutgrass – a skin soothing, deodorizing and rejuvenating herb and many others.

The Krya “real bath” challenge – Have you tried our all-natural Soap free cleansers yet?

luxury bath tubThe Krya range of all natural body wash powders makes an excellent soap-free alternative that helps cleanse skin naturally.

Synthetic products have a strong artificial fragrance that lull you into feeling that you are much cleaner than you actually are. If you use soap on your skin, it will dissolve the sebum layer which is required to keep your skin moisturized and keep your barrier layer strong. Soap works on the outer layer of skin and dissolves oil and removes surface level sweat and dirt using a typical detergent action. But the sweat that emanates from the body in a few hours time continues to smell stale and unclean.

The Krya body wash powder / ubtan on the other hand is much more subtle in its action – it combines exfoliant, temperature altering, scrubbing, micro polishing and surfactant benefits all into one. The Krya body wash / ubtan works by actually opening up and removing mala (toxins) from the minutest of pores in your skin – so the instant difference after a bath is a feeling of lightness and refreshment. If you smell yourself a few hours later, your skin will not stink, even if you have been sweating profusely.

To inspire more and more people to try out the uniquely refreshing and very Zen like bath you could have with a Krya body wash or an Ubtan, we have a special promotion going on till the end of July 2016. Our herb and goodness filled body cleaning products are available at a discount of up-to 20% for the first time EVER.

Do explore the Krya Body-Wash Offer Here.

romantic luscious bath


Dye another day

Reading Time: 7 minutes

It almost always comes back to water. On the Krya blog we focus on sustainable urban living. We explore the many different ways in which urban living is stressing the environment and equally the many interesting ways in which we can return to a holistic, sustainable way of living.


And we are constantly amazed by the myriad ways in which water gets polluted. Ground water and water on the surface of the earth (both fresh and saline). While 70% of the planet is water, there is no good reason to go around trashing this precious resource. This is simply because it takes only a moment to pollute water but an eternity (and a ton of money) to clean it again and make it fit for consumption – by humans, plants and animals. This seems obvious yet the daily massacre of water that takes place compels me to point it out here.


The textile industry is a leading source of water pollution. World Bank estimates that 20% of all industrial water pollution comes from the dyeing of textiles. The textile mills release millions of gallons of wastewater containing pollutants like chlorine, formaldehyde, lead & mercury into our freshwater bodies. Some 72 toxic chemicals had been have linked to textile dyeing. A single T-shirt made from regular cotton requires 2700 litres of water and uses 150 grams of chemicals in the production process.

How did the textile industry sink to this state of affairs?


Dyeing is an ancient art, as old as humanity.

6. cuneiform tablet

The original dyes were mostly plant derived, from roots, berries, fruits and bark. They used simple methods like crushing or boiling to dye fabric. Dyeing was in fact a secretive subject and only a select few could access it, wearing dyed clothes as status symbol.

5. charlemagne's coronation

The medieval depiction above of Emperor Charlemagne’s coronation by the Pope, shows the Emperor wearing am indigo robe and the Pope wearing a  white robe. Indigo and purple in ancient times were worn only by royals. Similarly, in Indonesia, the batik process of dyeing used several symbols and certain symbols could only be worn by royals. People could be placed in the pecking order just by looking at the symbols on their batik clothes.

Some of the most famous ancient dyes were red madder, extracted from the roots of the Rubia Tinctorum and the blue indigo from the leaves of the Indigofera tinctoria.

Indigo, the original king of dyes

Apart from the glorious deep blue colour that the Indigo plant delivers, it was the king of dyes from ancient times for a number of reasons. Most dyes require a mordant like alum, common salt or salts of aluminum, chromium etc, to fix the dye to the fabric and ensure colour fastness. Indigo is unique in that it uses a fermentation process to release the coloring molecules and fabric can be directly dipped into the indigo and dried to get the desired blue colour.

7. dyeing wool

In ancient times, many households would mix the ingredients required into a vat, let the mix ferment for a week to get the dye and then dip the fabric into the vat to colour it. This indigo vat then can be maintained for many years on a continuous basis, adding some indigo as and when the dye dilutes. Some Indigo vats have been known to be used for over a hundred years continuously. It was common for many households to have their own indigo vat. This was a very local, DIY, contained process and very environmentally friendly.

4.badshahmiyan indigo

The picture above, shows Master Dyer Badshah Miyan of Jaipur following this traditional Indigo dyeing process today in Jaipur. Of course we cannot all wear Indigo and other colours are needed. The fundamental unit of living has also changed and we cannot all have an ancestral indigo vat running to meet our clothing needs. Further with the growth in demand for the dye, indigo cultivation started replacing other food crops which made it a precious commodity.

Around 1850 several organic chemists began research into synthesis of indigo from chemical sources. By 1897, BASF had developed a commercially viable chemical synthesis that eliminated the need for the leaves of the Indigo plant. In due course in the 20th century all natural dyes were replaced by their synthetic equivalents. Unfortunately what started off as an innocent quest to replace natural indigo with a cheaper chemically synthesized alternative ended up in an global industry that freshwater with toxic chemicals inexorably.

The T-Shirt Town in Tatters

Tirupur in Tamil Nadu is a leading textile center accounting for 80% of India’s knitwear exports. Tirupur textiles accounted for over $ 4 billion in revenues per year in recent times. It provides employment to over 6 lakh people.

This is really commendable from the economic point of view.

But the environmental costs of the past few decades have been terrible too.

According to one Tamil Nadu pollution control board report, each year the Tirupur textile industry generates 833,000 tonnes of toxic waste including bleach and sulfonic dyes, much of it directly dumped into the nearby Noyyal river. This untreated chemical effluent drains into the Kaveri river and then finally washes up in the Bay of Bengal. The textile industry in the past few decades has contaminated around 80,000 acres of cropland in this area ,mostly rice fields. The locals have in the past found that the red chemical dye from the Noyyal river water was absorbed by the coconut trees on the banks, dyeing the coconuts a deep red colour.

2.noyyal runs black


The Audubon magazine has this to say about the state of affairs in Tirupur

“The Noyyal is now essentially an open sewer. At Kasipalayam, where the river slows down and effluent accumulates, the water runs brown and smells unbearably of human waste. The banks are strewn with plastic bags, aluminum cans, and other garbage. Close inspection sometimes reveals a splash of unnatural green or purple from the upstream dye factories.”

The environmental risks are similarly severe at other Indian textile hubs like Tirupur.

The pollution is not new news

Since the 1990’s several groups have taken legal action against the polluting units near Noyyal  and a lot of legal back and forth has happened through supreme court orders. In the meantime effluent treatment technology has also improved. To manage the high costs of effluent treatment, common effluent treatment plants ( CETP) have been in vogue for some time now. In Tirupur some 18 CETPs handle the liquid waste of 350 dyeing units. However these CETPs still discharge varying levels of harmful matter into the rivers. With the further development of Zero liquid Discharge ( ZLD ) technology , it is possible to reuse all the waste water from the dyeing units.


Treated  & Untreated Samples from Tirupur ZLD plant


This prompted the Supreme Court in January 2011 to order the Tamil Nadu government to close all polluting units that did not comply with zero liquid discharge norms. While the Tirupur exporters association claimed in December 2012 that they had achieved 100% ZLD levels, a February 2014 report in The Hindu states that pollution of the Noyyal river continues unabated.


What next?

At the start of this piece I noted that it takes only an instant to pollute water but an eternity ( and a ton of money) to undo the damage, which is why each act of pollution must be avoided.

So a number of questions arise.

Can the entire clothing of the planet be met through sustainable textiles, right now ? this year ? How do I know if my brand of clothing uses sustainable practices ?

I checked out the sustainability report of the first brand that popped into my head, Fabindia.

Now this is the information on the Fabindia website

“We use both vegetable dyes and commercial dyes with the goal of minimizing our impact on the environment while striving for the best color properties. For our bleaching process we use only hydrogen peroxide which is totally biodegradable.”

This information gives me 2 concerns straight away

  1. I am not comfortable with the vague term “commercial dyes”. So the next time we hit Fabindia , I need to ask the store staff for only the vegetable dyed items
  2. Hydrogen Peroxide is not inspiring me at all. I have many concerns about the biodegradability of hydrogen peroxide. My simple test is as follows : Can I pour a glass of peroxide into my plants ? I have serious doubts. While I still cannot rule out the safe use of hydrogen peroxide in bleaching textiles, I at least know that fabindia does not use Chlorine bleach in its process, which is considered to be far more toxic as an effluent.

However the more I try and find details about brands with global supply chains with extremely opaque information flows, I realize that it is easier to discover local brands that have clear picture of the entire process. It is my one person satyagraha.

For example, as I type this , I am wearing a shirt from Tula, a brand that creates clothes from rain fed organic cotton, which is hand dyed with vegetable dyes and hand woven.

3. Tula

The entire supply chain is contained within a 500 km radius of my home. It cannot not get more sustainable than this. I cannot get everything that I need from Tula, but I can certainly get a few fantastic shirts, which is a good start.

So how sustainable is the garment that you are wearing right now?


To read more about sustainable fabric start here:

  1. Our introductory post on the sustainable fabric series
  2. On the One Person Satyagraha