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Exclusive Founder Interview - Rasula Timekeeper Journey, Inception & More!

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With the skincare world brimming with new products and fleeting new trends, sometimes beauty truly lies in simplicity. There comes one magical product, that is created with innate passion for self care and vast amounts of research while retaining its heart and soul in the homeland that completely changes the skincare game for good! Featured in Vogue and endorsed by the likes of Vasudha Rai herself, the Timekeeper by Rasula is a testament to Ayurvedic roots, Indian rituals along with modern science and technology. We sat down with the wonderful founder Roshni Laura George, who spilled the tea on the multi-beneficial elixir for absolutely every concern and shared her inspiring story exclusively with us.

1. Tell us about the background and inception of the brand, and your journey so far

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My roots are from Kerala, but I was born and brought up in Delhi as my parents had a successful garment business operating from there. We were 3 sisters growing up so the house was always full of life and chaos. Coming from a Keralite family Ayurveda and Ayurvedic rituals have been a part of our upbringing right from day one. From small everyday things like drinking warm water, drinking water while being seated, oil pulling etc, while the weekends were reserved for oil baths and hair packs.

Rasula for me means a divine manifestation of this feminine energy. The symbolic representation of the power of the Trinity and Prakriti. RASULA (is an acronym from the first two letters of my name and my sisters Rachel and Susan), and is born out of much needed passion.

The singular aim when I was looking to create the brand was to create category-defining, natural skincare products for photo-aged skin. My personal experience was my biggest motivator, having suffered from extremely sensitive skin and with my love for the beach and outdoors I couldn't find a natural solution that actually worked to heal my skin. Most brands that offered sophisticated natural solutions were all international. Indian remedies that worked were mostly Ayurvedic.

Our products have been extensively researched and crafted with dynamic clinically tested and tried ingredients proven in bio-age defence and prevention. It’s a modern fusion of science, nature and anti-ageing results - the next generation of natural beauty.

2. What is Rasula Rosehip oil?

The common name of this flowering wild plant is “The Himalayan Musk Rose”. Come May, all the musk roses bushes burst into bloom. The hip is the fruit that is left after a rose has bloomed and the petals have fallen. Rosehip Oil is a fruit oil extracted from the hip of this rose.

3. Why did you choose to explore 'Rosehip' as an ingredient to create the Timekeeper?

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Rosehips have a recorded medicinal history that dates back to over 1500 years (western literature). But its worth in modern times was discovered only in 1984 when a Chilean university conducted the first research and study on the plant.  Since then, it has been one of the most preferred anti-ageing oils due to its high content of essential fatty acids. 

Well, I got introduced to the beautiful Rosehip initially through a friend of mine while studying in England. Rosehip Tea and products (range from edibles to syrups to cosmetics) are quite well known there, as it grows well in colder regions. Due to the high content of Vitamin C, the British would make Syrup out of the fresh berries and use that to combat Scurvy and various other ailments prevalent at that time. It’s a powerhouse ingredient packed full of vitamins, antioxidants and EFA’s. I was hooked on it. As a believer in a natural way of living, incorporating Rosehip into my life was one of the best health decisions I took. 

Fast forward almost a decade later, I quit my job (at Peroni, which itself was an amazing job) to begin my dream project - RASULA. The first challenge was to find an ingredient that inspired me, that was new and that I could offer to the world. I travelled and researched extensively but finally it was when I reached Kashmir that I found what I was looking for. There’s something special about the soil of Kashmir. It has something so unique and mystical and magical about it. The Himalayas are truly a treasure trove of medicinal goodness. And there are so many plants yet to be studied fully and discovered. 

They grow abundantly in colder climates hence the Rosehips have long been a part of European food, beauty, medicine and culture.  In India, however, this is a recent discovery. Most Rosehip products currently in the market are either international brands or raw oil coming in from China. We are the first and only brand in the country or rather I would say world to source it from Kashmir.

The Timekeeper is a testament to the power of single ingredient products. We believe that fewer products made from the very finest, multi-beneficial ingredients in the world serve not only the skin better, but also our planet. This very well could be the big discovery from India for the global market. 

4. Tell us about the ingredients that go into creating the Timekeeper and how they are beneficial for the skin?

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The Timekeeper forms a deep connection to your skin and allows it to amplify its own powers of renewal, balance, and radiance.

Ageing causes the skin’s collagen fibres to fragment, or break down. Essential fatty acids play a key role in the maintenance and regeneration of the collagen and elastin fibres that keep skin firm and youthful. The essential fatty acids and vitamins in Rosehip Oil are readily absorbed by the skin and help to slow the breakdown of these fibres. With its neutral pH balance and anti- inflammatory properties, it keeps skin balanced and healthy, helping to protect against cell degeneration caused by bacteria and oxidants. 

Our Rosehip oil, The Timekeeper is Rich in Linoleic Acid, Vitamin F, Oleic Acid, and Provitamin A (topical trans-retinoic acid).

The superfine oil is easily absorbed by skin and doesn’t leave behind any oil residue. This quality makes it a "dry oil" perfect for daytime use. It helps to reduce scars, burns, lines, acne, stretch marks, dryness, sun damage, uneven skin tone, pigmentation, rashes, eczema and psoriasis. It works for a charm for sensitive, oily, and dehydrated skin too!

6. The TimeKeeper does not use a cold-pressed method of extraction. Tell us about the unique process that goes into making it? 

We use State-of-the-art technology for our extraction process known as Supercritical CO2 Extraction. Most Rosehip Oil available in the market today is made by cold-pressing, where only the seeds are crushed between rollers, sometimes with the addition of a solvent, which squeezes the oil out of the seed. Our Rosehip Seed Oil is different, as it is made using state-of-the-art supercritical CO2 extraction.  Under this method the oil is extracted from the seeds and skin by flushing supercritical CO2 under high pressure through the seeds, which gently removes the oil. Compared to other extraction methods, CO2 is the most efficient method of selective extraction of active ingredients. This environmentally-friendly process uses no solvents and removes more of the beneficial bio-active compounds from the Rosehip seeds, producing a much more concentrated, cleaner and superior quality oil than cold pressing and offers a longer shelf life. The process is expensive and timely, but ensures that the maximum amount of goodness is captured.

Our extraction process is certified organic, REACH compliant, Halal and Kosher certified.

7. How does the Timekeeper differ from other Rosehip Oils available in the market?

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We are the most unique and potent Rosehip oil brand currently in the market because of 2 key reasons. 

We prioritise both certified-organic and wildcrafted ingredients, and we take our sourcing very seriously, tracing ingredients to their origins and ensuring that their cultivation and production are sustainable for the local community as well as the environment.

It is the way that our Rosehips are sourced: grown, picked and extracted and packed that makes all the difference. 

Rasula's ethical sourcing of wild grown organic Rosehips is the first and most important step in ensuring the highest quality rosehip oil. Rasula uses 3 of those species/varieties, mainly Rosa Brunanii, Rosa Moschata and Rosa Multiflora. Rasula rosehips are hand-picked by the local women of the Kashmir Valley, in India, at soaring altitudes from the Himalayan Range. Untouched by our human intelligence; which means that no artificial fertilizers or pesticides were ever used on that soil.

Rasula uses the whole fruit/hip, skin and seed of the rosehip to extract rosehip oil. The seed and skin are a rich powerhouse in many of the essential nutrients that make our rosehip oil so good for the skin and are responsible for giving oil its rich amber- ruby colour. We do not bleach, colour or deodorize it either.

Second, We use State-of-the-art technology for our extraction process known as Supercritical CO2 Extraction, which makes all the difference in the quality as explained above.

8. In your research what did you find out?

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Rosehip oil does not contain any Vitamin C! Yes. You read me right, the oil has absolutely no Vitamin C content in it. 99% brands that sell Rosehip Oil will sell it to you on the proposition of it containing it. So why all the confusion about vitamin C?  Well, fresh Rosehips are really rich in vitamin C, about 50 times more than oranges.  More specifically, their skin contains tons of vitamin C, while their seeds contain very little but most of the oil.  This is important to consider since Rosehip Oil is usually pressed from the seeds.  Considering this and the fact that vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, you can see why the oil doesn't contain much vitamin C at all. Also, Vitamin C is present in the berry skin only when it is fresh and once they are dried all vitamin C is lost due to oxidation. And anyone who knows Vit C knows how susceptible it is to oxidation. So, there you go!

However, it does contain high amounts of Vitamin F and Beta-carotene.

9. Is there an ideal consumer for the Timekeeper, or is it more along the lines of 'one size fits all'?  

The Ideal consumer would be someone who has sun-damaged skin. And as we know that starts to happen pretty early on nowadays. 

This ingredient has been widely researched and studied in the last 3 decades and is considered suitable for all skin types and all age groups. Safe for pregnant mothers, children and men too as most importantly this is a gender-neutral product. 

This superfine oil is easily absorbed and can be applied during the AM and PM. Just place 3 to 4 drops on the palm of your hand and gently dab onto damp skin and massage using upwards and circular motions.  Can be used just as it is, can be layered and even blended with other oil based products. Recommended use is under your sunscreen, make-up and generously at night just on its own. 

10. What were the challenges in creating both Rasula and the Timekeeper?

When I first discovered the Rosehips in Kashmir I was thrilled as I had found the inspiration for my product range, the next step was to identify vendors who had worked with it and could help in crafting my vision. During this time is when I learnt that all the Rosehip Oil being sold in the country was coming in from China. And we did not have a single vendor who made this in India. This was a very frustrating period. This was also a very difficult ingredient to source and was very costly to do the same. Just trial and error I have spent lakhs. I was doing a course on organic skincare formulation at that time with Formula Botanica (UK) and also attending many trade-fairs and workshops hosted by CSIR, India. Somehow none of the scientists or planters/farmers had even heard of this plant and its potential. Everyone was a master of Ginger, Lavender, Amla, Tulsi, neem. But no jacks for newer ingredients. In my desperation one day I wrote directly to the director of IIIM-Jammu as one of last resorts to help identify the plant and its properties, help source and extraction techniques (Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine is a premier institute located in Jammu under the Council of Scientific and industrial researchGovt. of India and dedicated to the research of drug discovery through Indian medicinal plants.). And then he replied! That was an Amen moment. I then shared my existing research and data on the plant and then he got an entire team to research the plant too. He was pleasantly surprised at the properties as he hadn’t heard of this plant either.  Me and his chief researcher took literally 2 years going back and forth in identifying the right extraction techniques. 

We continue to work with them for ingredient procurement and development. Our vision is to one day soon; be able to work on a large-scale Rosehip Cultivation project for J&K and help create a new sustainable means of employment for the local population (especially the women). 

Then it took me almost 3 years researching this one particular plant - as nobody in the country had worked with it this closely before.

Clean Packaging was another major challenge.  We are Anti-Plastic! 

The Earth gives us everything and we desire for our efforts to give back. We encourage environmental thoughtfulness in every step of our production- from the growth, harvesting and processing of our raw ingredients to packaging of our products. An extraordinary amount of effort goes into sourcing, ensuring not just authenticity and freshness, but also that our planet and the well-being of our farmers has been considered.

All our products are handcrafted and hand-packed. Our retail boxes and glassware are recyclable. We pack our boxes for shipment with recycled paper materials, send digital receipts and minimise branding collateral that is often tossed upon delivery. 

11. Three words that encapsulate Rasula's philosophy and vision?

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12. Any words of wisdom for the skincare beginners out there reading this? Any skincare advice you swear by?

Please read labels. Please study the ingredients that you choose to use and always use sunblock.

To fellow entrepreneurs,  I would like to tell you all that the cosmetic industry is a billion dollar unregulated industry. The system is flawed and is built that way. The journey is tough but the rewards are sweeter. Find your niche, and offer something truly beautiful to the world. There is immense joy and satisfaction in the success of that. 

13. Why is your brand a good fit for Sublime Life and how does it resonate with our philosophy?

Simple, Sublime Life is a pioneer in the Indian Clean Beauty space and Rasula proposes inspirational clean dermatology. Our core values align. And we both want to introduce game-changing products to the world. 

14. How do you feel the pandemic has affected both skincare and self-care? What trends do you predict post Covid-19 for us as an industry?

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Change is in the air for sure. 

Customers are looking to streamline their beauty routines, while also seeking out brands that align with their values like those that limit their environmental impact. Transparency, sustainability and value are important to these consumers. 

Truth be told, less is more when it comes to the best beauty practices. And natural skin never really went out of style. 

Skinimalism is a movement toward embracing your real skin — less makeup and fewer beauty products — and allowing your natural glow to shine as opposed to heavy layers of makeup and contouring that often reflect unrealistic beauty standards commonly seen on social media. Skinimalism is all about, well, minimalism in your beauty and makeup routines to let your natural skin texture shine through. In short, it’s about simplifying your skincare routine. 

15. What are your future plans? What can we expect from Rasula as a brand? 

Our next big step is to start international distribution. Made in India with love- for the world. Ooh and then we have some exciting Rosehip products in the pipeline too!

- Krisha Jhaveri

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