The Search for Safety – or why chemicals dont grow on trees

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Reading Time: 8 minutes

Prologue: With great power comes great responsibility

Formulating a consumer product for commercial use places a great moral responsibility on the person creating the product. On an average day, an adult using mobile, internet & TV can be exposed to more than 300 types of advertising messages. A neighborhood supermarket carries over 6000 products (in SKUs) on its shelves.

In the middle of this information overload, the consumer depends entirely on the brand’s key advertising message or the main declaration on the pack to make a decision. Nearly 100% of consumers make a purchase decision without complete awareness of every single ingredient or a complete understanding of the safety of each ingredient. This is why I stress upon the moral responsibility of the formulator or brand owner.

Let me illustrate this with the examples of three commonly used chemical preservatives and how the krya team manufactures genuinely natural products using Ayurvedic principles.

  1. “Green-Washing” the consumer with natural claims

Most commercial hair oil brands in India contain a very high proportion of liquid paraffin also known as mineral oil. Liquid paraffin is a petroleum derivative and is an inert substance that interferes with the normal functioning of human skin and scalp. Liquid paraffin has no place in a personal care product for humans, yet is it very widely used across the world. Even leading global brand baby product brands contain over 90% mineral oil in their hair oil & massage oil formulations.

mineral oil or coconut oil

Mineral oils can be tumorigenic and high levels of exposure to mineral oils can increase the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer. 

In this scenario where there is a significant dialogue amongst consumers on moving away from mineral oils, a TV yoga guru, has launched a hair oil which claims to be a  pure natural oil free from harmful mineral oil. This is at best a partial truth and actually a bit mis-leading. While this “natural” hair oil does contain a number of  herbs like neem , amla , bhringraj and a base of til / coconut oil, it also contains “BHT”, which is mentioned prominently on the pack.

However nowhere is the full expansion or function of “BHT” explained on the pack. BHT is Butyl HydroxyToluene , a very common preservative used in food and cosmetics to prevent rancidity and prolong shelf life. However like other common classes of preservatives like parabens or bromates, there are a number of safety concerns over BHT. Europe, Japan , Canada , Australia have banned the use of BHT in food products. In cosmetics, BHT is a known skin toxicant and allergen 

  1. The Krya hair & skin oils: with zero chemicals and NO preservatives

 So given the norm of adding preservatives everywhere, is it even possible to manufacture personal care products without using synthetic preservatives? Here’s an example from Krya .

For our range of skin and haircare oils, we follow the classical Ayurvedic “Sneha Kalpana” protocol, in which we extract the herbs in water & oil and then finally simmer the herb extracts in the base oils for 6-8 hours to create the final product. The Ayurvedic protocol defines 6 different stages or “paka” of progress and gives us two diagnostic tests (wicking and fire-sparks) that demonstrate that all the water from the mixture has been evaporated and that the levels of anti-oxidants are adequate to give long shelf life.

By cooking our oils on slow heat over 8 hours, and following the protocol to determine that the moisture has been eliminated completely from our mixture, we can ensure that our oils are free from bacterial and fungal contamination. As the base oils are processed along with herbal decocotions, swarasas and herb pastes, their tendency to turn rancid is checked . The herbs we use themselves also have potent anti bacterial and anti fungal action. So the Sneha kalpana process, the time taken to make the oil, and the herbs used, together eliminate the need for a chemical preservative like BHT.

Sneha Kalpana Process resized

However the process we follow at Krya is a very labor, fuel and time intensive process – there are no shortcuts, which is why very few manufacturers use it.

The short-cut process is to blend a very small extract of herbs in a base mixure which is mostly Liquid paraffin to which a small amount of vegetable oil is added along with perfume, and then add a synthetic preservative like BHT. This also helps it cutting costs to ensure a lower priced product- but is it really Natural? Is it genuinely Ayurvedic in thought, spirit and action ?

The Sneha Kalpana process gives a hair oil with a shelf life of 9- 12 months. It does not produce a product with a shelf life of 3 – 5 years. So if you come across a product that claims to be “natural” and indicates a shelf life of 3 years, you should suspect the use of preservatives like BHT.

  1. Paraben-free , Sulphate-free ( But still contains bromates & benzoate)

As a result of a global consumer back-lash to chemical cosmetic products sold by the big brands, a number of new start-ups have emerged to provide “natural” and “organic” cosmetics to discerning consumers. A common way in which they distinguish themselves is by declaring proudly on the their packs that they are “Paraben-free” or “Sulphate-free” since there is a clear global consensus that parabens and sulphates like SLS are not fit for human use.

However if you carefully read the label of such “natural” products, you will find that they use sodium benzoate and potassium bromate as preservatives. Once again you must ask for yourself some simple questions – on which tree does sodium benzoate grow? Is potassium bromate found naturally on the hillsides of Himalayas? Then on what basis do the brands that use bromates & benzoates call themselves natural?
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Sodium benzoate is a very common food and cosmetic preservative. Ascorbic acid which is one form of Vitamin C is also commonly used in food and now even cosmetic products. These two chemicals can react to release benzene, which is a known carcinogen. Today with the current research, several brands which claim to be safe and parabens-free are using benzoates and bromates. However once enough research is conducted on the toxicity of such chemical preservatives , we will have to re-evaluate their use in everyday products.

Your suspicion should be further aroused when these so called “organic” and “natural” look and work similar to chemical shampoos & conditioners. A genuinely natural product like Krya which strictly follows the Ayurvedic wisdom maybe presented in formats that are at first a little inconvenient to use – for example the Krya hair-wash range is in the powder format – which is the prescribed format according to traditional medicinal systems which delivers the power of whole herbs to you. Interestingly this is also the most environmentally friendly format for hair-care unlike liquid shampoos & conditioners, which are environmental hazards apart from being a hazard to your hair.

So many of the Krya products will present a learning curve before they become a part of your life but the end results for you, your family and the planet will make it a wholesome win-win solution.In this blog post we are very happy to share the journey of how & why, Savitha from Chennai made the switch to Krya.


We are a Krya Family ! – written by Savitha Saranathan

I had been on a lookout of an organic hair care product for more than 3 years because I felt that the synthetic ones weren’t good for our environment (well I didn’t know that they caused so much harm to our system as well until I read about the posts on the ingredients from Krya).

I was looking to move all my water pipes to the ground and so I was clear that I could not use synthetic products. Traditional homemade shikakai powder wasn’t doing a good job of removing oil and rendered the hair rough. That’s when, more than 2 years ago I bought the first ever Krya hair wash powder. I didn’t really appreciate it at first, because I was finding it difficult to mix the right amount of water and it did leave some kind of fine powder on my hair. And did not go despite repeated washing.

But then once I started using it regularly, I started appreciating the fact that it did a far better job than the other synthetic products that I have used so far.

Things that changed significantly in my case are the hair growth speed, hair texture, and hair density. I used to have thick, black, straight hair until I was in school (because amma was absolutely against shampoo and I had to sneak in a small pack of heads and shoulders. I thought shampoos do a far better job than natural hairwash powders). Post college, there was a significant loss (read: more than 40%) in my hair density. That was my first sign to move out of synthetic products.

My hair texture used to be straight and silky but post shampooing repeatedly for more than a decade, it became dry and wavy and broke frequently. And now, with my switch, my hair texture and density are back to where it used to be.

And this is not a post where actresses on TV with long shiny black thick hair (likely to be a wig) market a hair product. This is something that I have used for more than 2 years repeatedly and I have seen results.

My daughter who was 1 year old when I started using Krya, had sparse hair despite tonsuring more than two times. I was very clear that no synthetic products will be used on her. So, I used Krya (both hair oil and hair wash) and now, it has grown significantly more.

Seeing these results, the husband also has moved away from shampoo to Krya’s haircare products.  We are a proud Krya family! 🙂

Savitha pic Savitha works with a big data start up . She is a passionate advocate of living a life that is light on the planet. She is an enthusiastic gardener, home composter and monitors her home’s water footprint to ensure that she recycles as much of the water that she uses as possible. She lives in Chennai with her husband and two kids.


Krya would like to thank Savitha for several things – for her long term, sustained support of our work, for her environmental advocacy and walking the talk, and for this generous piece despite her busy schedule.

The search for safety can lead you down murky paths to many suspect products. At Krya, we are quite proud of our dark green credentials and the transparency and integrity we follow while designing and manufacturing our natural, good for your goodies.

Hair care is an especially murky path with most companies using toxic, health damaging, suspect carcinogenic ingredients in their formulations for temporary aesthetics.

Krya Hair Olympics challenge FB post Aug 1 2016If you are sick of the toxins and synthetics and are perpetually having a bad hair day, try the Krya switch this month. Throw away your toxin filled synthetic shampoo, conditioner and hair oil and try Krya’s goodness filled hair oils, hair masks and hair wash products instead. Your hair will thank you for this switch.

 

 

Every Krya hair care product for adults carries a special discount only in August 2016

  • 10% off if you buy a single piece of any Krya hair care product for adults
  • 20% off if you buy 2 or more pieces of any Krya hair care product for adults or a Krya hair care system for adults

Explore Krya’s huge range of good-for-you hair care products here.

 

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Is your natural product really natural? – an ayurvedic doctor’s perspective

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

This is a guest post written by Dr.Anupama Santosh of Shreshtha Ayurvedic Centre, Bangalore, an Ayurveda Centre that offers authentic, high quality and effective, personalised Ayurvedic therapies to meet people’s health needs . Dr.Anupama Santosh and Dr.Santosh, regularly prescribe Krya’s hair and skin products to their patients.

At the end of most consultations involving complaints related to hair& skin, I am often posed with this question:

“Doctor, what do you suggest to wash my hair with? Not that I use any brand, I am very careful and choose only herbal shampoos. Hope that’s fine, Doctor!”

In my practice, spanning over 15 years, I have tried to answer this query in various ways. I have often told my patients, what the label “herbal/ayurvedic product” can mean and to what extent, it can be herbal and (un)safe. A labeled herbal product can get away with containing a miniscule amount of herbs in it bringing a great deal of advantage to a pharma company which can just add a herb for namesake and marketing it.

I also mention my 7 years of experience as a consultant in the pharmaceutical companies where I am also involved in product development. I use this as a background to explain the concept of fillers, preservatives, artificial coloring agents and other additives to products. Thankfully, the understanding and acceptance of this kind of information is much more now than ever before.

So, after the shock and incredulity passes, their next question is this: “OK, doctor! Please give us some better and safe options and make them available.”

And this is exactly where I became less chatty. Not with an intention to hold back, but because of the lack of trustworthy products. Recommending a product to a patient, is a huge responsibility which I am not willing to take unless I am really, really sure.

Over the years, I have suggested herbs which patients can mix and use, which is practical only for a handful people who have the time and willingness to do it.

Krya blog post aug 8th - indian haircare herbs pic

At our clinic, we do make a lot of our own medicines and we did try and make a herbal hair wash and a hair mask which worked really well. But, we did not have the bandwidth and time to pursue these products for long. And another major requirement is also to have various options of hair washes and hair masks to suit specific needs like prakriti/dosha/roga/age. After all, Ayurveda is rogi-specific not roga-specific (specific to the patient and not specific to the disease)

And in this long pursuit for safe and effective hair care products for my patients, I came across Krya products. I was ecstatic to find their thoughts reflected mine. I immediately ordered a few products and started prescribing them. Initially, I had to spend some time educating patients (mostly the younger lot) about methods of washing hair with a powder as opposed to washing with a frothy shampoo. After a couple of months, the feedback has been really good.  Some of them have become more aware of the other unsafe products they have been using and have started picking up the face wash range as well.

My husband Dr.Santosh, specializes in treatment of Skin problems and is relieved to have found Krya products which he confidently prescribes to his patients with eczema and scalp psoriasis.

We are prescribing Krya products regularly for about 6 months now and are extremely glad to associate with their team. Thank you, Krya, for helping us to further our endeavor towards safe and chemical free healthy living.

About Dr.Anupama Santosh:

Dr Anupama SantoshDr.Anupama is an Ayurvedic consultant at Shreshtha Ayurvedic Center based in Bangalore. She believes that the Ayurvedic way of living is more relevant today than ever before. Her success in treating infertility cases has earned her immense love and gratitude from her patients. She is also a medical consultant for some Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical companies and advises them on product formulation and development of proprietary Ayurvedic medicines.

About Shreshtha Ayrvedic Centre, Bangalore

Shreshtha Ayurvedic Center, founded in 1997, is run by leading Ayurvedic consultants Dr.Santosh and Dr.Anupama. Though the center is located in Koramangala, Bangalore, patients from various parts of the country visit, owing to the genuine Ayurvedic treatment made available here. Apart from the consultation services, the center is equipped with a good pharmacy stocking Kottakkal medicines and organic lifestyle products. A Panchakarma center is also maintained at the center, which offers none of the spa kind of massages ( which is often confused for Panchakarma), but authentic, classical chikitsa with curative effect. To reach out to the growing demand of patients outside Bangalore, Shreshtha Ayurvedic Center started their Online consultation portal and also shipping facilty for prescribed medicines, which has had an overwhelming response.

You can explore more about Shreshtha on their website and facebook page

Team Krya would like to thank Dr.Anupama Santosh and Dr.Santosh for their generous support of our work. We are privileged that such reputed Ayurvedic Vaidyas have found Krya’s products useful for their patients.


 

To inspire a change to toxin-free natural products and to give your hair a much better shot at real health, we are celebrating the Krya Hair Olympics Challenge this August.

Looking for thicker, healthier, stronger hair this August? Throw away your synthetic hair care products and replace them with Krya’s nourishing hair care products instead.

Every Krya hair care product for adults carries a special discount only in August 2016

  • 10% off if you buy a single piece of any Krya hair care product for adults
  • 20% off if you buy 2 or more pieces of any Krya hair care product for adults or a Krya hair care system for adults

Explore Krya’s huge range of good-for-you hair care products here at very special prices.

 

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The Krya Classic Hair nourishing system

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“Dear Team Krya , thank u so much for your product. Both my daughters hair is so soft n beautiful. Couldn’t have asked for more. In love with your product. Thank u! Also I have to add the amount of hair fall has drastically reduced. When I used SS synthetic shampoo for them, esp my elder daughter, bunches n bunches of hair used to come out as I wash. Today I hardly had 5 – 6 strands in my hand (Which is very normal).

Also I need to know whether I can send this for my relatives in Australia. do pls find out n let me know. Thank u “ – FP, a recent Krya consumer.

 

Why does using the Krya hairwash cause an immediate reduction in hair fall? This is one of the questions our customer service team often asks during our internal product training sessions. Ayurveda considers hair an extension of the Shushumna – the Shushumna is considered the energy spine and along with the Ida and the Pingala forms the 3 mains “Nadis” – The nadi system carries the life force energies  / “Prana” throughout our body.

Hair is said to be an extension of this Shushumna, and it reflects the condition of the overall body, as healthy hair comes only from a healthy body. Hair can change because of an inherent lack of balance in the 3 doshas – this lack of balance can come in from what we eat, and the lifestyle we are wedded to, and can be exarcebated by the products we use.

Damaged, falling or prematurely graying hair is usually a sign of too much pitta in the system. This pitta can come from the food we eat (a fondness for and a tendency to constantly choose spicy and sour food), and the kind of work we do (working in a hostile environment, for instance). It can also increase by certain chemical treatments and products we use – hair treatments that increase heat (colouring, “deep conditioning”, excessive use of a blow drier) can also increase the pitta in the body.

For pitta damaged hair, we generally advise the use of cooling foods (ashgourd, pumpkins, fresh, seasonal local vegetables), the addition of herbs like Amla to your diet and a change in hair regimen – like adding a good herb oil, switching to a natural shampoo and boosting hair health through special herbs.

Vata is another dosha that tends to get deranged, especially in urban city dwellers. Deranged vata leads to sleep disorders and insomnia, and increases basic dryness in the hair.

Vata is a dosha which increases with the use of drying products on the hair and skin. Vata also increases in the presence of drying substances like synthetic soaps and synthetic shampoos with SLS & SLeS. Even in body types that have an excess of sebum, consistent use of these synthetic cleaning aids removes moisture from skin and hair leaving both dull, lifeless and with a tendency to get damaged easily or break (in the case of hair).

Oiling forms an important, inescapable part of a healthy hair regimen, especially when the Vata is deranged. For people with extremely dry hair or hair that has a tendency to break easily, feels frizzy and gets tangled easily and desperately needs a synthetic conditioner, we advise adding oil generously to their regimen.

Night time hair oiling is especially beneficial in these cases. This allows the herbs in the oil a much longer window to soak through and work on damaged hair. It also helps calm deranged vata which has accumulated through the day and calms down a hyperactive mind allowing restful and deep sleep.

Oil is the major weapon in the ayurvedic arsenal to control vata. Oiling is extremely beneficial even for the body, especially when you notice signs of vata derangement like frequent catches in the spinal system, an inability to sit still and stay focused, a tendency towards insomnia, etc. Traditional medicine recommends using cooling herbs and base oils like coconut, almond, and sesame for this.

In addition to our hair oils and hair washes, we have long been contemplating adding a nourishing series of herb masks for different hair conditions. We already have started this in our skin care range with our very popular after sun face mask and our classic face mask.

Every product comes with a basic core functionality. Most short action wash off products are designed to cleanse. So while we can add beneficial herbs to them, the action of these herbs is restricted because the product stays for a short while on the skin.  Plus the main function of a cleansing product is to remove superficial dirt and dead cells – so the herbs chosen help maximize this function.

Our masks therefore give us a way to load high quality herbs on skin and hair for much longer. Our after sun face mask for instance, uses our special medicated mung bean which steeps for over a day in herbs like lodhra, liquorice and Manjishta. Apart from this, we use expensive, high quality fruits like mulberry, guava and other herbs which cool skin, remove excess pitta which increases as a result of high sun exposure,  and bring the skin back to its normal state. Regular use brings down skin tanning and blemishes due to sun exposure. Obviously, the product works both because of the herbs used and the amount of time the mask stays on skin.

We already have a hair mask which is a part of our dandruff fighting system – many consumers report successful control and relief from dandruff when they use all three products (oil, hair wash and hair mask) together to combat dandruff. We have been able to make  difference in even decades old dandruff with our system within 2 – 3 months of regular product usage.

This week, we worked on another hair mask, this time as a part of our classic nourishing hair system. Our classic system already has our Bhringaraj and amla based hair oil and our ever popular Classic hair wash. We recommend it for hair that is reasonably healthy, does not have special problems like dandruff, and is not especially dry. Consumers love our Classic hair range because they notice a quick reduction in hair fall brought by the use of synthetic shampoos. The oil is also extremely cooling and beneficial for the scalp, and we have had good reports of improvement in hair texture and hair fall as a result of using this oil.

Our classic hair mask relies on both traditional and non traditional herbs and oils. We have added a huge amount of organic, shade dried red hibiscus flower – this herb is renowned in traditional medicine to cool the body and add texture and volume to hair. Apart from hibiscus, we also add the classic Amla and Bhringaraj which go into both our Classic hair oil and our Classic hairwash.  Bhringaraj is a master hair herb in Ayurveda, Siddha and TCM and it helps cool the seat of pitta, the liver and the entire body’s metabolism.

Our classic hair mask also uses certain unusual hair herbs. We add organic guava leaf which helps boost micro circulation, stimulates the scalp and aids hair growth (this also goes into our classic hair oil). Rosehips which are extremely high in Vitamin C, and help detox the scalp also goes into the mix. And to top it off , we add raw, organic kokum butter and apricot oil to add much needed texture and moisture to hair.

So that’s our Saturday update from Krya: the Krya classic hair nourishing system with a hair oil, hair wash and a hair mask.

Because, good hair (and good skin) comes with doing a few simple things, consistently, every day, and is built brick by brick.

Here’s where you can explore our Classic Hair nourishing system:

  1. The new Krya Classic hair mask
  2. The Krya classic hair oil
  3. The Krya classic hair wash
  4. The Krya classic hair nourishing system (a bundle pack of all 3 products)
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Krya Herb Wednesday – the Magic Mulberry

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Reading Time: 6 minutes

We are often asked about the nutrient value of the many herbs we put into our formulations. Our herb display at the Krya Lab fascinates visitors to the Krya facility, and most of them linger on there to touch, smell and experience the herbs. Many of us have been born and brought up in cities where the opportunities to experience and understand the healing power of nature are fewer.

The Krya herb Wednesday series on the Krya blog was born to revitalize our collective interest around herbs and give us a chance to talk about and hopefully demonstrate how diverse, long reaching and powerful herbs are in their action.

We start the Krya Herb Wednesday series with the Mulberry (Morus alba, Morus indica, Morus nigra and other sub species). Krya’s Classic face mask uses the Mulberry Leaf and the Mulberry Fruit.

The Wealth of India, that venerable comprehensive compendium of India’s flora and fauna, lists the Mulberry as a species that is now cultivated across India. An exact origin point is hard to pinpoint . The Mulberry is said to be indigenous across Persia, China, Korea and certain parts of India.

The Mulberry is now cultivated across India for its leaf which forms the primary food for silkworms. The fruits find their way into indigenous cuisine and are delicious and full of nutrient value. The wood of the Mulberry tree is used for the manufacture of hockey sticks, tennis and badminton rackets, cricket bats and stumps.  Mulberry bark is also used to make a special kind of paper which has a silk like texture.

The Mulberry in popular culture:

In the plot that clearly inspired William Shakespeare to pen his tale of ill fated lovers, Roman poet Ovid’s Metamorphoses speaks about the star crossed lovers Thisbe & Pyramus. When Pyramus arrives pre-arranged to meet Thisbe under a mulberry tree, he sees Thisbe’s torn scarf with drops of blood on it and assumes in every star crossed lover’s fashion that she is dead, and proceeds to stab himself with his sword. Pyramus’ blood is said to have stained the fruits of the Mulberry a reddish black.  Naturally Thisbe does the same when she sees Pyramus’ body. Moved by the lovers’ torments, the Gods themselves change the colour of the Mulberry to represent the blood spilled by Thisbe and Pyramus for their love.

The Mulberry Tree” is a painting painted by Vincent Van Gogh a year before his death. This painting was done during his year’s stay at the Saint Paul asylum at Saint-Remy. While Van Gogh painted any aspects of his life during his stay at the asylum like the doctors, the hallways, the flowers around the asylum, the wheat fields, etc, he described the painting of the Mulberry tree as his favorite.

In the 1961 Kurosawa film, “Yojimbo” there is a mulberry themed scene that defines the Toshiro Mifune character. When asked his name, Mifune looks at the mulberry fields outside the window  and takes the name “Kuwabatake  Sanjuro” ( thirty year old mulberry field). His no –nameness defines him. This proved so popular  that Kurosawa made a sequel called “Sanjuro” the next year.

Mulberries in popular culture - krya blog 1

 

Nutritive value of Mulberry Leaf:

The Mulberry leaf is extremely high in protein content, especially tender leaves. As the leaf ages, its protein content decreases and is carbohydrate content increases. This could explain why silkworms generally pick and eat tender mulberry leaves. Studies show a direct correlation between the strength of the silk produced and the composition of the leaves that are eaten / fed to the silkworm.

Because of the high protein content of mulberry leaf, research indicates that it could make a good nutritive supplement to diets that are protein deficient.

mulberry and silk blog image 2

 

The leaves are also a good source of ascorbic acid – 100 gm of dried leaf contains upto 200 mg of ascorbic acid. The leaves also contain carotene, Thiamine, folic acid, folinic acid and Vitamin D. The leaves have also been studied to contain Glutathione, an important anti-oxidant that helps prevent free radical and heavy metal damage to the cellular structure.

Mulberry leaves are also a rich source of calcium, potassium, phosphorus and silica.

We use the Mulberry leaf in the Krya Classic face mask for its anti oxidant and free radical damage limiting action. Through its regulation of melanin synthesis, the Mulberry leaf could with frequent use, help clear up small blemishes and dark spots on skin.

Nutritive value of Mulberry fruit:

Mulberry fruits are eaten fresh or made into jams, tarts and juices.  Fresh mulberries contain 88% water and are said to be a low calorie snack as a standard cup (140 gm). Of course as they are usually consumed dried, this makes them less low calorie. At 12% protein content in their dried form, they are considered a relatively high protein fruit. Mulberry fruits are also an excellent source of Vitamin C, Iron, Vitamin K1, Potassium and Vitamin E.

Vitamin C and Vitamin E are vitamins that are important for skin health. Vitamin C is important for general skin health and Vitamin E helps in limiting oxidative damage.

The Mulberry in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) :

Reading up on TCM is always of interest to me. It is an equally ancient system of Medicine and is said to be atleast 2500 years old. TCM has many parts to it that are very similar to Ayurveda including herbal medicine, massage, exercise and emphasis on right eating.

Acne is considered an imbalance of heat in TCM, similar to Ayurveda which considers it a pitta imbalance disease. Similarly, blemishes and dark spots are also considered an imbalance in heat.  TCM prescribes Mulberry leaf in both these conditions to cool and balance skin.

So there you have it – that’s a brief window into the amazing health and nutritive properties of the Mulberry fruit and Leaf. The Mulberry leaf and fruit are just 2 of the many hundreds of whole herbs we use to make our nutrient dense skin, hair and home care goodies.  Our whole herb goodies are completely plant based, use whole herbs that are carefully processed and use absolutely NO synthetics in their making – the result are toxin free, kind on the planet, vegan and cruelty free skin , hair and home care solutions that actually work.

A happy Wednesday and a fantastic week ahead to you from all of us at Team Krya.

 

Skin not feeling its best? Try the Krya Classic Skin range:

The Krya Classic face wash was one of our earliest launched face care products. We beta tested the product in Jan 2014, and now hundreds of consumers have used and loved the product across different climatic conditions all over India. The Classic skin care range has been designed for normal – oily skin . Consumers love it for how soft, smooth and non-taut their skin feels. Many consumers report seeing a lightening in small blemishes and scars and improvement in skin quality with frequent use. This is one of my favorite skin care products at Krya as well also because of the amazing fragrance it has (which comes with the addition of high quality, Kumaon grown organic Chamomile).

Krya classic face wash

Here are some testimonials:
“Hi Team Krya, am so impressed with your classic face wash that I have officially become ur brand ambassador. My skin has become softer and younger . I am ordering hair care products for me and my daughter rite away. Thanks ” – AK, Chennai

“Krya classic facewash is my staple face wash. I absolutely LOVE IT. “- Surabhi S, New Delhi

“Good morning!!! It’s been almost 2 weeks I’ve been using krya classic face wash..its very very good:) I have lot of black heads on my nose n believe me..it’s come down drastically..I am using it like a pack once in 2 days n face wash twice a day:) the fragrance takes me somewhere else:) thank u.” Anu SH, Bangalore

The Krya Classic face mask  (newly launched) contains both Mulberry Leaf and fruit and dried guava fruit. We have designed this mask as an addition to those who use our Classic face wash with Green tea & Chamomile.

Krya classic face mask

This mask (and wash) is meant for normal – oily skin. It helps clarify skin, balance oil slightly, and give facial skin a nutrient boost.

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Shampoo Seppuku – Throw away that shampoo part 2

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Reading Time: 7 minutes

Our last post on SLS in a synthetic shampoo has set the cat among the pigeons. We have received a huge number of emails, calls and messages from You stating your concern on the issue ( and you should be concerned!).

We’ve also had several of our consumers sending us pictures of the labels of their current brand of shampoo – and we’ve played Sherlock decoding the labels to them. Almost every brand of “natural” or gentle shampoo label that has been sent to us contained Sodium Laureth sulphate (SLES), that we write about and some other toxic animals like Methyl and Propyl Paraben.

And that is the point of this post. If you thought the only villains hiding in your shampoo were SLS, SLeS and silicones like DiMethicone, well, you were mistaken, weren’t you.

Instead your Shampoo has an entire secret society of villains hiding in it – (yes, we love DC Comics and aren’t ashamed of it !)
If SLS was the Lex Luthor in your shampoo, meet The Wizard, Gorilla Grodd, and the Funky Flashman, right here.

 

MEA, DEA and TEA (Monethanolamine, Diethanolamine and Tri-ethanolamine)

DEA, TEA and EA (Ethanolamine) are produced when aqueous ammonia reacts with ethylene dioxide.

Ethanolamines are clear, colorless, viscous liquids which reduce the surface tension of oil and water combined products so that the oil and water can mix together without separating. Ethanolamines are found therefore in shampoos, face washes, body washes, bubble baths and gels, sunscreens, hair dyes, eyeliners, mascaras and also in dishwashing detergents, liquid detergents, metalworking fluids, paints and printing inks.

TEA is commonly used in cleansing milks or creams – because it is so strongly alkaline (a 1% solution of TEA has a pH of 10), it is used as a dirt remover in ironically named “gentle cleansing creams”.

What the Industry says about MEA, DEA and TEA – rinse fast, and thoroughly:

Even industry supported and funded bodies like the cosmetics Ingredient review Panel (established in 1976 by the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance association and supported by the U.S FDA), recommended that TEA and DEA concentrations should not exceed 5%.

They also recommend that if you use a product containing any Ethanolamine, you should use the product briefly, and not continually and thoroughly scrub and rinse to ensure there is no ethanolamine lingering on your skin or scalp.

This recommendation does not take into account the fact that most of us linger when we use wash off products (and definitely more than the recommended 5 minutes). It also does not address the issue of continuous usage – many of us have now graduated to shampooing every single day. Nor does it answer the concern of DEA in leave on products like conditioners, and skin care products like mascara or even medicine like ear drops which are supposed to linger.

tea dea lingering prohibited

Why you should keep away from MEA, DEA and TEA

Effect on hair:

The excessive use of shampoos containing TEA and DEA can irritate your scalp, make your hair feel dry and lifeless, and breakdown your hair’s keratin structure,

Contact dermatitis:

3 studies spaced several years apart found that TEA based products occasionally cause contact dermatitis – the products studies were as diverse as a sunscreen, and ear drops.

Environmental toxicity:

When TEA hits water bodies, as is common when the shampoo we use goes down our drains, into our sewers and into our rivers, it can potentially cause acute and chronic toxicity in several aquatic species.

The last word on TEA:

TEA is a scheduled chemical listed in Schedule 3, Part B of the chemical Weapons Convention. This Control treaty outlaws the production or stockpiling of dangerous chemicals or their precursors that can be use to create chemical weapons.

So if we manufactured or used more than 30 tonnes of TEA every year, we have to declare this, and allow ourselves to be inspected just to make sure we weren’t manufacturing weapons. And we cannot export TEA to countries who have not signed off on the Chemical weapons Convention treaty.

Not so Fun fact: TEA is used to manufacture Nitrogen Mustard a chemical warfare weapon. In World War 2, several countries manufactured and stockpiled Nitrogen Mustard but did not use it (thankfully!). Nitrogen Mustard has a strong cytotoxic (cell destroying) effect and is today used in cancer chemotherapy.

Krya WTF moment: What the fish is a chemical scheduled under the chemical Weapons Treaty doing in your shampoo / sunscreen /shaving cream / ear drops?

Here are some avatars of Ethanolamines you could find in synthetic products around your home – our recommendation? Toss em out:

  1. Cocamide DEA
  2. Cocamide MEA
  3. DEA-Cetyl Phosphate
  4. DEA Oleth-3 Phosphate
  5. Linoleamide MEA
  6. Lauramide DEA
  7. Myristamide DEA
  8. Stearamide MEA
  9. Oleamide DEA
  10. TEA-Lauryl Sulfate
  11. Triethanloamine

 Parabens

Parabens are a class of synthetic preservatives widely used in cosmetics, personal care products and medicines. They have been used in these products for about a hundred years now and are the industry standard for anti bacterial and anti fungal properties.

You can find Parabens in almost every single synthetic cosmetic and personal care product from shampoos, to skin creams to under arm deodorants. They are also used in fragrances, but as fragrances are considered trade secrets, manufacturers do not have to disclose what goes into their fragrances, including deadly villains like Parabens.

What the Industry and Governments say about Parabens:

In spite of extensive literature on the hormonal effects of Parabens, the 2006 Cosmetic Industry Review compendium trivializes the problem. They maintain that Parabens “must certainly be considered safe”.

However, after the work of many consumer awareness groups like EWG, companies like Johnson & Johnson pledged to remove both parabens and formaldehyde from its baby care and adult skin care products by 2015 including brands like Aveeno & Neutrogena.

Globally most governments have not re-examined the safety of parabens. Some outliers are the Danish government which has banned the use of products for children below 3 years. In India parabens are commonly used in cosmetic and other applications.

Why you should keep away from Paraben containing products:

Effect on skin and Hair – aging and cell damage

The irony is not lost on us. Parabens are commonly found in anti aging products. However, research shows that they actually accelerate the skin aging process!

Researchers from Meijo University, Japan concluded that Methyl Paraben could cause carcinogenic skin damage when people who used the compound in skin care products were exposed to sunlight irradiation. Similarly, Researchers from Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Japan concluded that UVB exposure to Methyl Paraben when used on skin significantly increased cell death and oxidative stress in human skin.

Endocrine disrupting function

The European Commission on Endocrine disruption have listed Parabens as a category 1 priority substance because they easily penetrate skin, and interfere with the function of the hormones. In our body, Parabens can mimic estrogen.

Penetrative ability into the body:

Parabens have been detected in urine, serum, breast milk and seminal fluid, but the most worrying fact has been their detection in breast tissue from patients with breast cancer. In one important North American study, it was calculated that the average person is exposed to 76 mg of parabens every day, with 50 mg from cosmetics, 25 mg from pharmaceuticals and 1 mg from food.

Research from the CDC’s National Centre for Environmental Health found that the blood of over 60% of the children surveyed during the National Health and Nutrition examination survey was contaminated with more than 8 toxins including significant levels of 3 kinds of parabens.

One alarming property of parabens is their ability to enter the body through the skin, something that most people are not aware of. This has been widely studied in underarm cosmetics like deodorants and whiteners. Breast cancer research shows a higher concentration of parabens in the upper lateral breast near the armpit corresponding to the use of deodorants which contain parabens.60% of breast cancer tumors occur in the precise area where we use deodorant sprays!

 

An important point to note here is the route we allow to Parabens when we apply then on our skin and hair. While eating Parabens in your food is not the best thing to do, in the oral route, Parabens are metabolized better, and are less estrogenic.

However in the dermal route, we allow Parabens to directly enter our blood stream and make their way to our organ systems, increasing our exposure risk.

Effect on Male reproductive health:

In addition to Paraben’s estrogen like properties, this chemical has also been associated with interfering with the Male reproductive system. Studies report low sperm counts, and decreased levels of testosterone in Men linked to the absorption of Parabens form personal care products.

Intersex fish:

Boulder Colorado in 2008 undertook a multimillion dollar upgrade of their waste water effluent plant. Until then, intersex fish were a common sight – stimulated by the chemicals in personal care products like shampoos and pharmaceuticals like steroids, male fish across species developed female characteristics. This multimillion dollar plant has not removed the problem – however, with efficient sewage treatment, the male fish are taking slightly longer to get feminized.

Krya WTF moment: What the fish (pun intended) is a gender bender chemical that has been found in cancerous breast tumors, decreases sperm count and ages skin and hair doing in your shampoo? I mean, really?

krya wtf moment 2 - parabens

Here are some labels Parabens hide under in your shampoo or skin care product:

  1. Benzylparaben
  2. Butylparaben
  3. Propylparaben
  4. Methylparaben
  5. Ethylparaben
  6. Isobutylparaben

This isn’t over – far from it. Look out for our next post on this September on more Super villains hiding in your synthetic shampoo.

A happy hair month to you!

This article is a part of Krya’s series on healthy and happy hair, which we are writing all this September. Through the Krya healthy hair series, we hope to inform, educate and inspire you to restore your hair to its natural state of great health. Synthetic shampoos and hair products contain a huge host of suspect industrial chemicals that are not just toxic for us to use, but are polluting and toxic to the planet as well. The natural world is full of safe, environmentally sustainable, cruelty free options to care for your hair, and our series will try to present atleast a small part of this exciting world to you. 

 

Consumers love our all natural, synthetic free, gentle hair washes- explore more here. We are running an introductory offer on all of our skin and hair care products this month – just subscribe to our super useful newsletter above to get the coupon code in your inbox.

 

If you would like to explore our series further, here’s what We’ve written about hair health before this piece:

  1. What goes into your Shampoo – part 1
  2. What’s the deal with SLS and SLES – and why it shouldn’t come anywhere near you or your hair
  3. What is your hair supposed to be? A trial? A challenge? Or simply, your best friend
  4. Is beauty external? We think not
  5. What should you be looking for on that product label?  
  6. Common carcinogens implicated in breast cancer found in your home 
  7. Is it a conspiracy? A pre-planned genetic supremacy race? Or simply misinformation? Some reasons behind common toxics & why they continue to be used 
  8. Are we putting our children at risk by using these products on them? Here are 3 toxins that plague children through the products we use on them. 
  9. Do the products we buy contain toxins? How do we decode what goes into them? Here’s Urban Survival 102 telling you how to decode a cosmetic label
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The SLeS & SLS free soap: bathing without sulphates

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Krya’s skin and hair care products contain an interesting declaration which we are proud of. It states that our products are free from SLS, SLES, Parabens and other synthetics including (but not limited to) chemical fragrances, colours, thickeners, fillers, foam boosters and any other weird substance you could think of. This means that our cleansers (both hair and body) are an answer to your search for an “SLS free soap” or an “SLES free shampoo”.

Our post today will focus on SLS and SLES and why we believe that these 2 ingredients should NOT be present in any personal care product. The post will also focus on many natural alternatives to SLS and SLeS.

The original SLS free soap: made from 2500 BC

Detergents, car washes, pet washes, shampoos, baby washes, face washes – if something foams a lot, and comes from your favorite brand of hair/skin/home care (other than Krya), the chances are it uses Sodium Lauryl Sulphate or Sodium Laureth Sulphate as a surfactant.

Originally the only cleaning products in the western hemisphere was a a soap. And it tended to be a naturally SLS free version.

Soap has a hoary old history and we have archaeological evidence of the Babylonians making it in 2500 BC. Soap isn’t the greatest or gentlest product you could use on skin – but it is an efficient cleanser. So it was used when people were direly in need of thorough cleaning.

soap and candle maker in medieval times project gutenbergSoap & candle maker in medieval times - Project Gutenberg

After the world war, the use of old fashioned soap started to go down as synthetic detergents derived from petroleum started taking over in all cleansing products. Synthetic detergent surfactants like SLS and SLES were cheaper than soap, made thicker and denser foam, were much stronger degreasers, and did not react with calcium present in water to form soap scum or “soap rings”.

SLS and SLES started out purely in detergents. As their popularity grew, they appeared in personal care products like shampoos, body washes, face washes, products used on babies and even toothpastes.

It’s safe to say today that if you are using any kind of synthetic foaming product, it almost definitely contains SLS, SLES or some form of sulphate surfactant.

5 reasons why you should ditch SLS / SLES in your personal care product:

  1. Dry skin and hair every time you wash

Dirt on skin and scalp sticks to the natural oil layer secreted by the body. This oil layer, called the sebum, helps naturally moisturize skin and creates a protective barrier keeping it free from harmful micro organisms.

 Xeroderma_knucklesXeroderma – acute dry skin which cracks, scales and itches. Associated with low relative humidity and frequent bathing or hand washing with harsh soaps

SLS and SLES dissolve this sebum layer and strip skin of all its natural oils leaving you with dry skin and hair. “The lathering power of liquid soaps is actually an enemy. It can bubble the oil out of your skin” says Dr. Marianne O’Donoghue, associate professor of dermatology at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center and spokeswoman for the American Academy of Dermatology.

  1. Aggressively oily skin and hair sometime after you wash

Skin below 35 years reacts aggressively to this systematic stripping of sebum. With the increased use of Sulphate containing product, you may find your skin and scalp becoming oilier, creating a vicious cycle where you are compelled to wash more frequently.

oily samosa

“My hair would feel like a wrung out oily papad or samosa, a day after washing with a synthetic shampoo” – verbatim quotes from Krya consumers complaining about the after effects of using a synthetic shampoo

This is very common among users of shampoos that contain SLS and SLES. If you find that your hair is getting greasy and oily a day after shampooing, then you need to investigate your shampoo – the excessive harshness of this product usually forces a defensive skin reaction where the scalp starts to aggressively produce sebum to make up for the loss every time you shampoo.

Of course this will only prompt you to use more shampoo to counter this greasy defense – the result damaged and dry hair and scalp.

  1. Aggressive washing can harm your body’s natural micro biome layer

Our skin contains more than 1000 species of micro organisms that live in it. Nearly a trillion bacteria are estimated to be a part of this rich and complex micro biome layer. A study by the National Genome Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland found that there was also a large fungal diversity across the body. The human heel alone, hosts 60 different species of fungi and nearly 40 species just between the toes!

microbiome layer of skin - courtesy nature magazine

The human microbiome – a wonderful, natural shield that envelopes our skin protecting us – source Nature.com

In their natural state, these beneficial bacteria almost act as an invisible shield on our body. They prevent harmful bacteria from colonizing our skin, and even stimulate our immune system’s response in case there is an attack on us. The bacteria present in our sweat, secrete lactic acid that helps keep our pH at a range between 4 – 4.5. This acidic pH of our skin is one of the major ways in which our skin prevents the entry of harmful micro organisms.

Under alkaline conditions, (for example when you use a soap, which is a known alkaline product), the bacteria on our skin are detached and removed easily. Our skin also swells under alkaline conditions, opening up and allowing embedded micro organisms to float and move out of its surface. This also leaves the cell structure open and naked, shorn of its protective micro biome layer.

microbiome injury

 

When the microbiome is destroyed – extent of devastation after a simple bath or hand washing with synthetic soaps

Intensive use of alkaline products, aggressive surfactants (SLS, SLES) or the use of antiseptic liquids and soaps can lead to a higher degree of infectious attacks by gram negative bacteria as your beneficial micro biome layer is ripped apart.

 

  1. Skin irritation, cankers , and cavities

SLS is a knownskin irritant. Constant exposure to SLS irritates skin. Animal studies indicate that it can irritate eyes as well on contact. It can also aggravate skin problems when skin is already sensitive.

pre molar dental cariesDental caries in the pre molar tooth – SLS is linked to interference with the flouride pathway in teeth

In toothpastes, studies show that the incidence of canker sores increase with the use of SLS based toothpastes. Separate studies also indicate that SLS interferes with the fluoride pathway in teeth, preventing the deposition of fluoride on tooth enamel – fluoride deposition helps keep teeth stronger and cavity free.

  1. Possible carcinogenic activity due to contamination with 1,4 dioxane

SLES is the ethoxylated compound of SLS. During the process of ethoxylation, SLES can get contaminated by 1, 4 dioxane, which then shows up in products that contain SLES, (sometimes upto 279 parts per million). The US National Toxicology programme classifies 1, 4 dioxane as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen”. It is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a Group 2B carcinogen: possibly carcinogenic to humans as it is a known carcinogen on animals”.

There is no known safe limit for this possible carcinogen. Testing by the FDA has found 1,4 dioxane being present in even children’s shampoos upto 85 ppm – Remember this is an ingredient that should be to be completely absent in any skin or personal care product.

To sum up:

Why SLS - SLES are Nos - blog infographic

 

What are my options? And why shouldn’t I use soap to clean my hair and skin?

A reader may be excused for feeling alarmed now that the foam has been wiped away. We’ve just made SLES and SLS extremely unattractive options to clean with. We’ve also firmly told you to get rid of your bar soap, unless you are super filthy.

What is one supposed to do without soap, you may question, rather indignantly.

Recorded history suggests that the Babylonians were making soap around 2800 BC and the Phoenicians definitely knew about soap making by 600 BC. The first “hard proof” of soap making is in Roman times. The Pompeii ruins have a soap factory complete with finished soap bars.

Despite their knowledge and use of soap, the Romans did NOT use soap to bathe in. They instead used a mixture of olive oil and sand to scrub their body. A scraper called “the strigil” was then used to scrape off this mixture along with any dirt, grease and dead cells from skin. The roman “bath” was the finished off by moisturization using herb infused salves.

Even Galen did not recommend soap for all purpose bathing by everyone – he recommended the judicious use of soap ONLY in certain skin conditions which required the harsh but through cleansing that only soap can give.

 

Our solution: grain, clay and herb based cleansers

If you trace bathing and hygiene across warm and tropical climates, you will find a consistent use of herbs, oils, muds and clays to keep skin clean. In these areas, bathing frequency was higher and skin diseases arose as a result of sweat, and the pervasive nature of insects, and micro organisms which flourished in these warm climates.

Traditional Indian systems document hundreds of herbs that can be used in combination with grains, lentils and clays to make safe, effective skin and hair cleansers.

Here are 5 grains / herbs and clays you should be exploring to substitute SLS / SLES personal care products:

  1. Mung Beans – Traditionally used in skin care India, the Mung bean is an excellent skin cleanser. It exfoliates and gently lifts away dead cells from skin, yet is gentle and safe enough to be used evn on a very small baby, as it is even today in traditional Indian homes.

Wash, sun dry and powder organic whole Mung beans to form the base of your daily skin cleansing product. It can also be used as an excellent hair cleansing base for young children.

  1. Rice Powder – Fabled in traditional Japanese culture for its skin lightening and exfoliation properties, rice powder is another invaluable ingredient in your skin care arsenal.

 Wash, shade dry and powder finely, organic Rice powder. Add this to your face and body cleanser to give your skin an even tone and texture. Limit usage if your skin is extremely dry.

  1. Amla / Indian Gooseberry – Amla also called Embellic myrobylan is one of the 3 great Myrobalans in Ayurveda, Siddha and traditional Tibetan medicine. It is a kayakalpa herb, that rejuvenates, revitalises and regenerates body tissue. It is tridoshic and satisfies all 6 rasas / tastes, according to Ayurveda.

A small amount of cleaned, washed, cored, sun dried and finely pounded Amla powder is a fantastic adition to skin and hair care products. It helps keep the pH of the product in the acidic range, and is a strongly cleansing and toxin removing ingredient.

  1. Cyperus rotundus / Nutgrass / Mustha – Nutgrass also called Nagarmotha or Mustha in Sanskrit and Cyperus rotundus in Latin, is a gorgeous underground tuber that is used in Ayurveda and Siddha for various ailments. Despite its name, it has nothing to do with a nut, and is a starchy underground tuber that has been eaten by many ancient civilisations. Cyperus rotundus is native to Africa, Southern & Central Europe and Southern Asia.

Its pharmacological properties include anti inflammatory action, anti pyretic and analgesic action. Nutgrass is one of nature’s deodorizers – which makes it a great addition in a body wash product.

 Look for forest collected (and not cultivated or sprayed) nutrgass. Scrub the tubers thoroughly to remove traces of clay, sun dry and powder finely. Add this to your bodywashes for a refreshing , naturally de-odourizing product.

  1. Fuller’s Earth / Multani Mitti – Clays (of different kinds) have been used across various cultures to cleanse and care for skin and hair. Depending on their origin, different clays are good for different kinds of skin. The international skin care world has already gone gaga over Rhassoul clay and French green clay. In India, we have the sandal coloured, fine multani mitti available.

Multani mitti is an oil adsorbing clay and works very well on oily skin and greasy scalps. It is a very gently cleansing alternative to foam based surfactants and can be used effectively in both skin and hair care products.

 When used on hair, ensure it is used on oiled, or already greasy hair. Do not let it settle on scalp as it becomes harder to wahs off hair as it dries. Look for unadulterated, Multani mitti – buying clay blocks and powdering them yourself help check any contamination or adulteration.

 natural herb magic

 

9 Krya alternatives to SLS / SLES :

1. SLS + SLES + Paraben + Synthetic free face washes – Try our grain, lentil and herb blended face washes with aromatic herbs like liquorice and peppermint. Tested and researched for over a year, our face washes work gently to cleanse facial skin without stripping it of moisture. Explore more here, there, and there. Also, here’s one for Men (yes, you do deserve to look after your skin).

krya face wash classic

2. SLS + SLES + Paraben +Synthetic free body wash – The all new deodorizing Krya bodywash uses herbs like Lemongrass, and Palmarosa to give you delicately scented and smooth skin – no SLS/SLES, no sebum stripping

krya bodywash classic

 

Explore more here.

3. SLS + SLES + Paraben +Synthetic free hair washes – Try our gently foaming, scalp loving range of hair washes. Our shampoo gently lifts dead cells and dirt from scalp and hair without destroying hair’s cell structure or its acid mantle. Leaves hair feeling cleanse, light and alive.

Explore more here and here.

4. SLS+SLES free home cleansers – Try our all natural detergent and dishwash, made from soapberries , and other herbs like lemongrass. We use only organic and forest collected herbs and both our cleansers work great on clothes and dishes, help save water and are gentle on skin.

Explore more here & here:

We are on the warpath against SLS, SLES and all the nasties that go into stuff that we are supposed to use on ourselves. We think we deserve to use better products.

Do you think so to? Do you have a story to share or a comment for us? Write to me : preethi@krya.in

A happy, toxin free, nourished and clean day to you.

 

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