In recent years, consumers have become more aware of the chemicals that are present in everyday skincare products. These days, it has become increasingly necessary for users that such items are paraben, SLS and cruelty-free.
Enter Marcia Gandhi, whose all-natural skincare label The Raw Rebel is totally devoid of chemical additives. As a teenager, Marcia suffered from terrible acne and tried numerous products to combat it. She even took antibiotics, which didn’t work either. “I thought, ‘you know what, I’m going to make my own stuff and see if it works’, and it did,” she says.
With the encouragement of her sister and friends, Marcia began selling her skincare products. When she started out, she noticed that this segment was dominated by flowery and pink packaging, but she wanted to be different. “The Raw Rebel is not the cookie-cutter product you find on store shelves. I focus on raw ingredients and try to use clear packaging so that you can see what’s inside the jars,” she explains. Her products also have quirky names like Jaded Java, Nefarious Neem and Can’t Bite This.
What is impressive is the detailed process that Marcia puts her products through before she pushes them out. After choosing a core ingredient, she does extensive research and regularly consults a pharmacist. She mixes and tries out different variations, keeping in mind that certain products are only good for specific skin types. Her final concoctions are then given to her test group and pharmacist to use for two to four weeks before she gets feedback and improves on her creations. It is only then that her new skin saver is ready for sale. Marcia also makes tattoo aftercare, which she created with input from tattoo artists. “A lot of back and forth, a lot of talking it out and then finally we got something that I and they were happy with,” she says.
The Raw Rebel’s selling point is that all its products are customisable and needs-specific with customers able to consult Marcia directly. “People are more informed, they want to know more, which is great. I always say you can ask me any questions you want because I need to know more about your skin background to give you the right stuff. I’m really leaning towards the idea of using less but with more results,” she says.
The majority of The Raw Rebel’s products are in powder form to increase their shelf life without the use of harmful additives. Marcia is, understandably, strongly against chemical use. “After a lot of reading and research, I found that the long-term effects of those ingredients are very harmful to your health and to your skin. I like to use natural things — something you can find in your own kitchen.”
Having left a steady writing job for this enterprise, Marcia’s one-woman show is a work of passion. “I like the freedom of working by myself and doing something that I’m really proud of,” she says.
This article first appeared on Apr 2, 2018 in The Edge Malaysia.