Clean Beauty today has become more than a movement, it has become the need of the hour. With an umbrella of brands catering to this shift around the world, some of the very best ones have their roots in our own country. One such brand is Organic Riot - a brand that lays its emphasis on giving the quintessential global Indian a quality homegrown product that is safe, cruelty-free, vegan and minus any nasties. It is a complete ingredient-centric brand that believes in going above and beyond to source the best ingredients from across the globe, from the Western Ghats of Maharashtra to the rainforests of South America.
Every product is formulated using a powerful combination of modern science and the purest elements of nature and is designed for a specific purpose and skin concern. Moreover, sustainability for them goes above and beyond their product offerings and is a key part of their underlying philosophy. Their thoughtfully curated formulations are certified by ECOCERT, the largest organic certification in the world, to provide consumers with the best, safe and toxin-free products that do not compromise on human health in any way.
We sat down with founder Siddharth Somaiya for a quick tête-à-tête, to understand his journey, his thoughts on safe skincare and how Organic Riot is making a difference to empower the discerning Indian customer of today.
Discovering his background, journey and the inception of Organic Riot
Siddarth Somaiya is an artist by training with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art and Technology. He has worked in a specialty chemical company for over five years, where he was given the opportunity to sell to some of the largest personal care companies from various countries such as France, Japan, Korea, USA and Brazil. During his journey, he stumbled upon the realisation that the availability of safe and non-toxic skincare available in India is far behind other countries and that most problem-solving creams have a minimum of one hormone disruptor or Carcinogen in it! This came as a complete and utter shock to him and led him to reevaluate the skincare industry and market, where he realised that Indians despite being world class consumers, are always the last one to leave a shopping mall overseas, due to the unavailability of skincare that is safe and not ridden with harsh ingredients in our own country. This spark ignited a match that led to a fire, which is the inception of his brand Organic Riot. To him, Organic Riot is more than a business, it is a greater cause. It is not just a skincare brand, but an honest movement.
Decoding the inception of Organic Riot and its vision
Organic Riot may seem like a new brand, but Siddharth has been working relentlessly on its Research and Development since mid-2016. Their intensive process involved scanning over 2,000 raw materials to narrow down on ingredients that would work well on Indian skin, and effectively give them the results they were looking for. He believes that his vision has not come to fruition yet, and he has only just begun, with the future holding both immense promise and hope for a better tomorrow.
Understanding Organic Riot’s mission and approach towards skincare
At Organic Riot, skincare is not just about choosing the right products to apply on your skin. It is about becoming a conscious customer who makes better-informed decisions every day. He believes that if you love skincare, it is only fair that you educate yourself about every aspect of it. He strongly recommends doing your own research, looking up the ingredients of the products you are using, speaking to a professional/doctor and gathering as much knowledge as possible. At its heart, his goal is to empower you by making you a discerning consumer.
Explaining what ‘safe skincare’ means to him
For Organic Riot, it all comes down to the ingredients you use on your skin, where there should be zero compromises or risk whatsoever. He believes in making no sacrifices to your internal health to achieve external beauty.
All their products are formulated in collaboration with one of the world's most reputed and well-renowned formulators, who has a lifetime of experience in the skincare industry. Together, they have created products that use the safest, natural ingredients that are certified organic, and approved by ECOCERT. They use a combination of wild-crafted ingredients, plant-based cold-pressed oils and therapeutic essential oils without any artificial fragrances. All their products address common skin concerns such as sun damage, acne, pigmentation, dryness, etc. They have weaved sustainability into their packaging as well, and their packaging is 100% BPA-free plastic and is made using strictly recycled paper, apart from being super quirky and eye-catching.
Why did he choose New Zealand as a sourcing option
As a brand, Organic Riot is an ode to the purity of New Zealand. This island country is tucked away at the bottom of the planet and is so rich in natural biodiversity. From being surrounded by vast oceans, to be the land of volcanoes, it has an abundance of plants that grow with optimal strength and life-enriching qualities. For Siddharth, what he found very unique about the plant life here, is that it evolved without needing to protect itself from mammals, as only birds lived there before humans. This means that the plants possess unique qualities that are commonly found, which he decided to harness for healing and health purposes. This led to the decision of not only sourcing ingredients and extracts from the pristine land of New Zealand, but also manufacturing the products there.
The skin care advice he swears by
He recommends doing a quick yet thorough scan of the ingredients and composition of a skincare product to choose formulations that are kind of the skin without any harmful nasties that can cause severe harm to human health. A quick scan can play a huge role in leading you towards being an educated, informed customer who is making a conscious choice to choose better for his/her skin.
Understanding the challenges behind starting a skincare brand
For them, the hardest part was the creation of their product formulas. They spend over 3 years developing them, to come up with effective solutions that would tackle the problems the conscious Indian of today is looking for. Finding the right pricing followed. Another huge challenge they faced was educating customers on what safe practices were. Despite the challenges, Siddharth reiterates that it was totally worth it as they saw an immense change in people's lives with good skincare. Hearing from their customers that Organic Riot changed their lives made all the challenges worth it!
Three words that best describe Organic Riot
Safe, honest and effective.
His favourite clean ingredient that he swears by
Manuka Extract! For all the skincare newbies out there, Manuka is a type of honey, which comes from the Manuka Flower, a scarce natural resource that is native to New Zealand and has powerful health-healing properties. It is not only antibacterial and antiviral, but also reduces inflammation and soothes the skin, and has the ability to replenish the skin’s natural balance and address the damage caused by blue light exposure and pollution.
A change he would like to see in the skincare industry in India
More transparency. He strongly believes that we need to do away with the concept of “Key Ingredients' immediately, and become more honest and upfront about what we are ultimately delivering to the customer.
Trends he predicts for the skincare industry post COVID-19
The pandemic has been a wake-up call for most of us in many ways. From reevaluating our consumption to being more mindful about our lifestyle choices, skincare has been a significant part of it. According to Siddharth, the skincare industry is going to boom in the upcoming few months post-COVID-19, as people want to improve their skin and are moving beyond concealing their “issues” with makeup. During this time, he believes that skincare essentials have become the ultimate quarantine companions, and that has been a wonderful change!
The future plants for Organic Riot
They will stick to their philosophy of providing problem-solving skincare. They take into consideration what their customers want and the need in the market to launch products that effectively cater to those needs.
Delving into their range
Organic Riot has a wide range of products addressing specific skin concerns, such as:1. Zap – Anti-acne Serum: Zap is an invisible, non-drying spot treatment that helps fight acne. It contains Tamanu and Manuka oils that fight acne and help soothe any inflammation. 2. Dazzle – Anti-pigmentation Serum: Dazzle is a powerful formula that brightens and tackles pigmentation, dark spots, acne scars and any other form of unevenness in skin tone. The formula is safe for sensitive skin and is designed to be suited to all skin types. It is non-comedogenic as well and can be worn under makeup too.3. Spotlight – Anti-pigmentation Body Cream: Spotlight is a luxurious yet fast-absorbing cream that delivers intense moisture and nourishment to dry skin. It also helps fight any discolouration on your elbows, hands and knees.
4. Smog block – Anti-pollution Cream: Through the course of the day, our skin is exposed to many environmental stressors – dust, pollution, debris, heat etc. Smog is a cream designed specifically to shield our skin from these stressors. It helps strengthen the skin’s natural barrier while fighting pigmentation and dullness. Suitable for all skin types, smog has a lightweight non-greasy texture and can even be used as a hydrating primer to prep the skin before applying makeup.
Organic Riot is an honest movement, that is taking the cause of sustainability further, and providing effective solutions to everyday skin concerns. Their quest is for a safer world, where there is zero compromises on quality and a strong focus on restoring your skin to its natural form. Their belief in a shift in consciousness is what takes them a long way, in being one of the brands not only changing the Clean Beauty dynamic and industry in India but also is at the very forefront of it.
- By Krisha Jhaveri & Gauri Sindhu