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Soni Zuberi Shah - an Oxford graduate, mother of two and entrepreneur - has recently founded Halo Skincare. Here, Soni shares with Kucha her reasons for launching the Halo brand.

My inspiration for Halo Skincare came in December 2005 when I was preparing for a spiritual journey and I was thinking about what things I might need in addition to my faith and patience! I remember being told that we were not permitted to apply perfumed toiletries, and this meant rethinking my deodorant, toothpaste, moisturising cream, shampoo etc. It’s funny how we get so used to life’s comforts, and take for granted our favourite daily ‘necessities’. Anyway, this got me thinking that there was very little choice of suitable skincare products out in the market that met this need.

What’s more, the experience of being a mother of two children, who both suffer from asthma, eczema, and allergies, has made me conscious of the many potentially sensitizing ingredients in our food, drinks, detergents and everyday cleaning products around the home. When buying skincare for my children I avoided buying ones with artificial fragrances and colourants and looked for the more natural ones, or those that claimed to be kind to sensitive skin. Most of us are blissfully unaware of the fact that more than 60% of what we apply onto our skin is absorbed into our bodies. This fact alone should give us all good reason to check the ingredients in our chosen haircare, body care and skincare products.

These two personal experiences, combined with the fact that there was clearly a gap in the British skincare market for affordable, natural, unperfumed vegetarian and halal certified skincare, made me think that I could do something about it. So that’s how the idea for the Halo brand came about –through a simple unmet need.

Two years on, Halo skincare launched its first product, a Light Moisturising Cream, which has proved very popular and successful with customers from all walks of life- it is used by mothers who apply it on their sensitive children, and even daughters who buy it for their 80 year old mothers! It is packed with active natural ingredients rather than unnecessary synthetic ones, and we avoid using artificial fragrances, colours and parabens. The Halo natural range is deliberately mid-priced, as I believe the affordability factor associated with switching to more natural or organic skincare brands can sometimes be prohibitively off-putting.

I would like to encourage consumers to be aware of, and make informed decisions about what they apply on their skin. Just as we fastidiously read the label for foods, we should also do so for skincare products.

The biggest challenge for me has been getting the first product right, getting the perfect formulation was a painstaking process that involved working with a team for several months and making many subtle variations until we got it just right. The product was not tested on animals, rather on a range of willing humans including myself, friends, family and complete strangers! I remember taking a prototype cream to a dinner party once and trying it out on everyone there. Creating a premium yet affordable moisturiser that people would like instantly is quite a tall order, this involves experimentation and skill. Furthermore, the notion of making the product in a way that meant it was also suitable for those with stricter demands on their skincare i.e Vegetarians, and those seeking Halal approved products represented the quite a challenge in itself. Halo Moisturising Cream was formulated by British skincare experts and made in the UK, and therefore met the rigorous standards set by the EU, but more importantly to me, the formulation had to withstand scrutiny from both independent bodies-the Vegetarian Society and the Halal Monitoring Committee of UK (HMC) and their strict auditing team. Halo Skincare became the first British Skincare company to receive the HMC mark, and armed with a great product which I passionately believed in, the brand was launched.

The business has been built on the quality of the product, customer recommendations, and the growing interest in our unperfumed, paraben-free and certified product. We have experienced a great demand from our existing customers for more Halo products, and more products are planned for the near future!

Click here to view and purchase Halo Light Moisturising Cream >>

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