Pakistani women entrepreneurs are striving to educate and bring about a change in local skincare practices. Here are 10 brands to check out.
“We ensure the best formulations”
For a long time, people in Pakistan have relied on skincare DIY methods for a quick fix.
However, nowadays consumers are becoming more intentional about the products they put on their skin and the brands they support.
Over recent years, we have seen quite an influx of local skincare brands that promise to fulfil the evolving needs of the Pakistani people.
Ahead are 10 women-owned Pakistani brands striving to bring a change in the Pakistani skincare industry.
Primary Skincare, founded by Nida Faisal, is a women-run business that offers utter and absolute ingredient transparency.
Nida Faisal told Profit: “Pakistani women had very few options when it comes to skincare.”
Primary Skincare started with a few products. Since then, they have been expanding their product range.
They outsource their products and then sell them under the Primary Skincare label.
There are many skincare misconceptions in Pakistan, however, despite the challenges, this brand believes in educating people.
The words ‘acid’ and ‘skin’ together may sound intimidating, until you learn more about them.
In skincare, different acids work by either sloughing off dead skin cells (AHAs and BHAs), attracting hydration into the skin, and slowing down skin ageing.
The founder of the brand, when talking to Profit about the use of Desi ‘totkas’ in Pakistan, said:
“I recall that when I showed my product to a relative before its launch, he told me to remove the word ‘acid’ from it.
“What people fail to realise is that lemons have a pH level of 2, which is highly acidic.”
“The acids such as hyaluronic, salicylic acid and niacinamide, are not as acidic and are beneficial, even though they have the word acid in their name.”
Their most recent launch is their BHA pimple patches which are hydrocolloid patches infused with salicylic acid that goes deep into the pores to unclog them.
Over the years, Primary Skincare has built its credibility by offering quality products without any skincare nasties.
The brand strives to educate people on their primary skincare needs – their Instagram posts focus on educating people about skincare.
Primary Skincare’s most well-loved product is its Cerapair Barrier Repair Moisturiser.
It contains niacinamide, panthenol, vitamin E, and nourishing, non-comedogenic oils like jojoba oil and argan oil, paired with shea butter as the occlusive.
According to the founder of this brand, the philosophy or goal behind Mehwish Mehr is simple – basic, affordable, and essential skincare for everyone.
The founder says: “Educating people and bringing them on the right track is super challenging. People in Pakistan do not trust easily but I guess this is a process.”
Mehwish Mehr gave an overview of how the manufacturing process takes place: “All of our ingredients and packaging are directly imported. Manufacturing and final packaging are conducted at our lab and warehouse.
“At our warehouse, we maintain a certain temperature to make sure that our products’ shelf life won’t be affected. Moreover, we restock thrice a month.”
Speaking about the challenges of leading a skincare brand in Pakistan as a female entrepreneur, she says:
“People have developed more acceptance. There are cultural drawbacks but strong brave women will easily overcome such hurdles and make it easy for young girls to come forward easily.”
Given the rising inclination towards organic skincare brands, she addresses the misconception most people in Pakistan have about natural ingredients.
She says: “Due to lack of knowledge, people do not understand that actives are also natural ingredients – technically they are derivatives of plant extracts.”
She continues: “They (active ingredients) can be derived from other sources unethically but all of our ingredients are plant derivatives.”
Mehwish acknowledged: “It is not about chemicals and natural ingredients, it is about understanding what your skin actually needs.
“However, I strongly believe in a perfect combination of both to give the best.”
Aima Skins & Beauty was established by an influencer in 2020, to bring innovation to local skincare brands.
Aima says: “The main goal is to make people aware of the importance of skincare in one’s life and providing the best quality products to cater to all skincare concerns.
“We ensure the best formulations under Korean chemists that are beneficial to everyone.
“We have a variety of options for our customers to choose from for their skin concerns.”
On the Aima Skins & Beauty website, you can find a range of serums for different skin concerns in addition to high-end makeup products suitable for Pakistani skin.
In addition to being approved by FDA/SGS, the brand’s products are vegan and cruelty-free.
Giving us a rundown of how these products come into being, the founder explained: “As for manufacturing, formulation, design, and packaging takes over 12-14 months this does not include next months of research for the product.
“We manufacture our products in a facility in China that caters to many other renowned businesses.
“And all our products are formulated with the help of a team of professional Korean chemists.”
Speaking about Pakistani women-led businesses, she said: “I think under the recent influence and voicing for women empowerment, we have so many options to seek help from.
“As a woman-led business, we did not face any concerning challenges.
“Social media paves the way for marketing and awareness at minimal costs, and banks to cater to women-led businesses although that’s something we never had to seek help from.”
The Pakistani skincare brand Fuzed is a women-owned brand with the concept of a “fusion of natural ingredients with their best chemical counterparts.”
The brand owner, who is a pharmacist herself, elaborates on the goal behind Fuzed Skincare:
“Our goal is to give international standard products to our local consumers in Pakistan and at the same time educate the consumer to use the products in a way that would be their long-term goal to achieve the best skin they want.”
She continues: “In addition to this, we’re against using harsh chemicals for our products.”
Every product adheres to the Fuzed philosophy of combining the best nature has to offer with science, not to mention the super cute and fun packaging.
Their best-seller is the Fuzed Superfood Moisturiser, which is a water-based moisturiser developed specifically for Pakistani skin and weather conditions.
The owner adds: “We procure our ingredients majorly from European suppliers or we source from farms locally who are using organic methods of growth.”
As for the challenges associated with running a skincare brand in Pakistan, this is what the brand had to say:
“There are a few challenges, like people who don’t take us as serious entrepreneurs in the business.”
As the name suggests, OG Organix is about creating original innovative formulas using organic ingredients. It’s a purely Pakistani brand created by Shiza Lakhani.
In an interview, the brand owner talks about the story behind the inception of OG Organix.
Frustrated with the lack of effective and safe products in the local industry, she created a local brand that uses high-quality, organic ingredients to bring innovative and effective products to the local market.
She says: “OG is everything I wanted as a customer, skincare made with effective, simple, clean ingredients, transparent labels and ingredient lists, no-nonsense marketing, a brand conscious of its carbon footprint and one that understands the science and chemistry behind each ingredient.”
The brand offers complete ingredient transparency, and the products are cruelty-free and have safe and research-driven ingredients.
Unlike a lot of Pakistani skincare brands, this brand utilises natural and organic plant-based products without jumping on the green-washing bandwagon.
Their 2% BHA Solution is a dupe for the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA liquid exfoliant.
Talking about the challenges of leading a brand in Pakistan, in the same interview, she says:
“From sourcing to formulating to testing, every day there seems to be a new challenge but with the perfect team it makes it all easier going through all the highs and lows together.”
Spa In a Bottle by Rabia is a popular brand that produces products inspired by renowned international skincare products.
The brand aims to make such products accessible at a much more reasonable price.
The founder of this brand explains: “Essentially we want to provide popular international products locally at reasonable prices.
“So, we recreate international skin care products and make them available for the local market.”
Their 24K Gold Serum is inspired by the cult-classic high-end Farsali Rose Gold Elixir.
The Pore-refining Serum and Unbelieve-a-Peel are also affordable local dupes for the hyped Niacinamide + Zinc serum and the Peeling Solution from The Ordinary, both of which can be a bit pricey in Pakistan.
Spa In a Bottle’s best-selling product is its Advanced Vitamin C serum.
While she believes that spending on either international skincare or local skincare is entirely a personal prerogative, she also believes local products can be positively promising.
She says: “Some local products show far better results than international ones as these are designed keeping our skin and weather in mind.
“But some international products are made using cutting edge ingredients which are not locally available.
“So it’s a trade-off and depends on your personal skincare knowledge and ability to choose from myriads of available brands and products.”
In 2018, Pakistani doctor and entrepreneur Rabia Sohail founded her brand, Entice Skin. The brand offers skincare, makeup and couture.
The founder of Entice Skin says: “My initial goal was never to branch into different niches.
“I started with cosmetics then expanded into skincare and then couture. I feel I enjoy working on skincare the most.”
Everything from the packaging to the product itself offers a luxe, high-end experience.
While all of their products have nice packaging, an absolute favourite is their lip pots that come with a mini spatula.
On the Entice Cosmetics website, Rabia says: “Being a medical professional, my vision for Entice was not only to provide the best enchanting beauty products but also to cast a spell and permanently engraved its name into the hearts of everyone who orders.
“This was done by choosing well thought out ingredients that not only beautify but also benefit the skin.”
In the league of local skincare products, the brand’s SunFix Sunscreen Spray has been a game-changer for many.
Expressing her thoughts about the renowned SunFix Sunscreen Spray, she says: “SunFix Sunscreen is one product that Mashallah never stays in stock.
“It’s so popular and that’s because it has a very unique formula. Usually, sunscreens make you look greasy or chalky but SunFix gives a very beautiful glow.
“It doesn’t only sun protect it also has a lot more ingredients that help regenerate your skin over time.”
Moreover, all the products are formulated in Korea and are free of drying alcohol or artificial fragrance.
Dusky Skin strives to provide high-quality skincare at fairly affordable rates so that it is accessible to most people.
The founder says: “With our formulations, we use an accurate, honest and authentic approach, that is, every ingredient is used at a specific and proven percentage to deliver results.”
With their ‘Nothing to Hide’ ingredient list, they let consumers know exactly what is going on in their products to have a better idea of what they are putting on their skin.
The brand was launched in 2022, to promote more love for our brown skin, hence the brand was named Dusky Skin:
“Living in a society where white complexion/fair complexion is praised and preferred, making people with brown complexion don’t like their skin colour, we want to make an effort for the people to love themselves regardless of skin colour since all complexions are beautiful.
“You will not find any whitening products in our line. Our formulations target skincare concerns like acne, dry skin, hyper-pigmentation etc.
“All these are basic and very common issues in brown skin types.”
Besides being a woman-owned brand, Dusky Skin is operated from a very small city in Pakistan:
“We have faced several issues regarding so many matters, for example, sourcing good quality ingredients for manufacturing but there wasn’t anything that we weren’t able to do.”
Each of their products consists of key ingredients along with supporting ingredients to enhance the efficiency of the product.
Their products include the First Peel Exfoliating Serum with 15% Glycolic Acid, Clear Up Clarifying Toner with 2% Salicylic Acid, Barrier Repair Hydrating Serum, and the But Better Brightening Serum.
All of the products are free of drying alcohol or synthetic fragrance.
CoNatural is a natural and organic Pakistani skincare brand founded by two sisters, Myra Qureshi and Reema Taseer.
In Pakistan, people are inclined toward natural ingredients to solve skin and hair problems, and this is precisely what CoNatural offers.
On the CoNatural website, they state: “Our aim is to use natural and organic ingredients formulated into potently effective products to give you the best skin and hair care results you deserve.”
The CEO, Myra Qureshi told Profit: “What we saw is that local products were all either by FMCGs or whitening creams.
“We wanted to make good and effective natural products for Asian skin that go with our belief in beauty beyond colour.”
Again, speaking to Profit about the white-washing of the Pakistani skincare industry, Myra Qureshi said:
“Four to five years ago, skincare products in Pakistan were marketed to show that a whitening cream could get you a better job, married, or promoted.
“We wanted to change the paradigm of fairness-based advertising whilst encouraging women-led business.”
Their packaging and marketing strategy stand out.
Among the wide range of products they offer, the CoNatural Rose Face Wash, their hair care range and the cold-pressed oils are worth splurging on.
Serendipity by Rooj is a Pakistani skincare brand created by the well-known influencer Urooj Fatima.
As a woman entrepreneur, she had to face many challenges which she discussed in the Happy Chirp podcast with Humna Raza.
On the brand’s website, she states: “Serendipity by Rooj is a venture started by me in the quest of finding a happy miracle for our skins.
“As a skincare enthusiast- serendipity represents everything I have absorbed and understood through these years when it comes to our skins.”
The brand not only offers skincare products but also makeup products.
For now, they have come up with a total of 8 skincare products. The rest of the products include their amazing range of skin tints that people seem to be loving.
Serendipity by Rooj markets its products toward men as well.
They offer two moisturisers – Moisture Surge Cream for winters and Skin Douse Gel-Moisturiser for summers.
Skin toners for different skin concerns include the Tea Tree skin toner for acne-prone oily skin, Turmeric skin toner for brightening, and Moringa skin toner for nourishing the skin.
The newly emerging local brands offer some great products that are continuing to win the hearts of many.
Some other honourable mentions include Accufix Cosmetics, Poof and Hira Ali Beauty.
Accufix Cosmetics was founded by Yasmeen Naseer who for years, dealt with acne herself and made the brand possible in the hope of helping others with problematic skin.
Poof, which is a woman-owned brand, focuses mainly on the healing process of the aftermath of acne. The brand spreads acne positivity through its Instagram posts.
Hira Ali Beauty was founded by Hira Ali, a leading fashion designer from Pakistan.
Hira Ali Beauty formulations are made with research-backed ingredients that deliver results.
Such newly emerging skincare brands are focused on educating people, hence influencing them to divert from potentially harmful Desi ‘totkas’ to well-formulated products.
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10 Top Women-Led Pakistani Skincare Brands – DESIblitz
Pakistani women entrepreneurs are striving to educate and bring about a change in local skincare practices. Here are 10 brands to check out.