Product Review, Reviews

Best “Natural” Brands in India

By Juhi Bansal & Team CB

Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post.

We think twice before we let our kids eat outside food right? Why can’t we do the same with our skin. Just because a former beauty queen endorses a soap brand or a top actress claims to use some face cream you think it’s good for you as well? The chemical laden products that you use on your skin and hair are more damaging than you can ever imagine.

So, does that mean you stop using beauty products altogether or should you start whipping up face creams at home? No, I am not suggesting either. Just be a little mindful of the ingredients before you pick up a beauty product and buy “natural” as much as you can.

But, first things first. What is a Natural Product?

In the simplest of words, a natural product means something that has been made using products or extracts found in nature in their purest form. There are no chemicals or synthetic additives.

How do you select a Natural Brand? Or how do you know it’s truly natural?

Here are some simple key words for you to be able to differentiate between a natural and not-really-natural product. Be on the look out for these words on the packaging and other media and you should be good to go.

Homemade, handmade, small batch production, vegetarian/vegan, no preservatives, paraben and SLS free, no alcohol, 100% cruelty free, no artificial fragrance, no silicones, no synthetic colours, no animal testing etc. It’s not a real natural product if it’s not good enough to eat!

But, the market is flooded with so called “natural brands” so how do you know which one is right for you?  

CB decided to invite brands to participate in the “Best Natural Brands in India” article. We received an overwhelming response with over 40 brands participating. We’ve excluded brands like Forest Essentials, Fab India, Lotus, Biotique etc from the survey. As much as I love some of them, we truly wanted brands that do – handmade and small batch production.

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I would like to mention again that this article is NOT SPONSORED by any one. The CB Team and I have had a busy last several weeks trying out over 120 products across 35 plus natural brands! Yes! We’ve tried every single product before we shortlisted it for the mention. Believe me it was very difficult to arrive at the final list. We started with a story of 3, made it 5 and then settled on 7. There are still many brands which deserve a mention and we might do a Part 2 soon but right now here’s our list of the BEST NATURAL BRANDS in INDIA.

Some of these are well known and some names you would read for the first time. That’s the thing with handmade products. They don’t have huge budgets to advertise but we’re not complaining. They qualify on almost all of the parameters above. Some even go a step ahead by following Ayurveda recipes and using biodegradable packaging (I kid you not!).

Here are some of my favourites (in alphabetical order):

  1. Hedonista

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What I like most about them is that each product is decadent and luxurious yet guilt free. Their products include exotic ingredients like Oudh, Night Blooming Jasmine, Wine, Chocolate, Argan Oil etc.

Price Range: Rs. 500-Rs.2000

What we recommend:

Argan oil: I have been using it on both my hair and face

Gourmet Salt Soap: Indulgent and heavenly

Hair Perfume: Very innovative. I never realized I could get by one more day of washing my hair by just spraying this 🙂

Estore: http://hedonista.in/

  1. KAMA Ayurveda

1477502053050

You’ve probably heard of them. They are quite popular globally and are used by some of the world’s leading hotels and spas. Their products are created using authentic Ayurveda prescriptions and are both safe and gentle.

Price Range: Rs. 200- Rs. 3000

What we recommend:

Mridul Soap Free Cleanser:  Doesn’t dry out your face like regular facewash.

Neem Cold Pressed Oil:  Good for both hair and skin. Have been using it along with the Hedonista Argan Oil on myself.

Insect Deterrent Body Spray: The little one also uses it. Very effective.

Estore: https://www.kamaayurveda.com/

 

  1. OMORFEE
Don't you just love the bottles?

Don’t you just love the packaging?

Apart from the goodness of herbal and organic ingredients, their packaging is out of the world too! Their products are stringently packaged in pure bamboo jars and eco- friendly recyclable plastics.

 

Price Range: Rs. 350 –Rs. 2000

What we recommend:

Melting Hand Moisturizer: It actually melts the moment you put it in your hand! And leaves them feeling softer for a long time.

Body Softening After Shower Oil: A concoction of some of the best body oils (jojoba, olive, lavender, lemongrass, rosemary and sweet almond). Have been using it after shower everyday. Skin feels as soft as silk! Psst: I cheat and use it on my face as well.

Estore: http://www.omorfee.com/

 

 

  1. Tvam Naturals

1477502130317

Tvam means “you” in Sanskrit. Founded by Crisy Vasan who is a Computer Engineer, they use natural ingredients that pamper your skin and nurture your soul.

Price Range: Rs. 500- Rs. 2000

What we recommend:

Woody Sandalwood & Honey Shower Gel : The natural fragrance makes the start to your day very pleasant.

21 Herbs Anti-Stress Hair Oil: Instantly helps you let off some steam.

Estore: http://www.tvamnaturals.com/

 

  1. Vana Vidhi
love the potli that the products came in

Love the potli the products came in

Vana Vidhi skincare luxuries encapsulate the essence of the forests. Their collection goes much deep and beyond Buddhist, Zen, Yogic, Spa and Forest inspirations.

Price Range: Rs. 250-Rs.3000

What we recommend:

Romantic Rosa Flower Breast & Body Massage Oil: Packed with Rose & Geranium Oil this is Vana Vidhi’s signature formulation. Also contains sesame, almond and cotton seed oils.

Wild Harvest Aloe Vera Intimate Wash: I was surprised to see this. I did not know you could get an organic intimate wash. This is definitely a wish come true!

Estore: www.vanavidhi.com

 

  1. Votre

1477502236650

Researched and developed in association with ace-laboratories in France & Tokyo; VOTRE has always harnessed ingredients both rare and effective,with cutting edge Bio- technology and patented molecules and finest botanical extracts and blends.

Price Range: Rs. 500- Rs. 4000

What we recommend:

Multivitamin day and night crème– perfect to end my CTM routine with. I’ve been religiously using both the day and night creams every day since I got them. An organic night cream- yes yes yes!

Face Toner Mist: Been using it for my CTM routine right before the night cream.

Face Serum: Gives an instant glow! I’ve been using it as a make-up base.

Estore: http://www.aplava.com/brand/votre.html. Psst: Votre is now also available at select Sephora stores in the country!

 

  1. Wild Earth

1477502311364

Founded by Shabia Ravi Walia, ‘Wild Earth’ was born out of her attempt to provide natural quality products which young, old and babies can use without any fear of side effects of harsh chemicals.

Price Range: Rs. 175- Rs. 550

What we recommend:

Refreshing Ginger Lemongrass Body Scrub: Because the body needs scrubbing too. It’s smells heavenly!

Grape Shea Butter Lip Balm: made with a blend of shea butter, cocoa butter and kokum butter, it leaves my lips feeling softer.

Estore: https://wildearth.in/

These were some of my/Team CB’s favourite picks. Each of these products has been personally tested by us before it was shortlisted.

Organic/Natural products are not a fad. Apart from being gentle on the skin, they’re also better for the environment. Having said that, it doesn’t mean they are allergy free. If you are prone to allergies please read the ingredient list carefully and do a patch test before going all in with the product.

Let us know if you have any suggestions of your own to add to the list.

Stay Gorgeous xx

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39 Comments

  • Reply Kusum Bassi October 28, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Happy Diwali Juhi

  • Reply ReverieBox December 26, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    so Glad to see this @closetbuddies @vanavidhi

  • Reply Charul Mohta September 10, 2017 at 10:21 am

    Juhi, just one question- are the manufacturers of all these products using any kind of chemical to act as a preservative to increase shelf life? Every natural product has a life and typically, doesn’t last long.

    • Reply Juhi Bansal September 11, 2017 at 4:13 am

      Charul most of these products have natural or food grade preservatives. Since, they are not high on preservatives their shelf lives are much shorter (typically a few months) and you may be advised to refrigerate them in some cases especially once you open the packaging. Some products like oils and powdered packs/ washes don’t need any preservatives.

  • Reply Shradha Goyal September 10, 2017 at 11:07 am

    This post is amazing dee..Perfect answer to my questions.. I’ve been trying really hard to settle for some good ayurvedic/natural products ! Thanku so much.. love love love :-*

    • Reply Juhi Bansal September 11, 2017 at 4:14 am

      Shradha this is a year old article. My team and I are now compiling a list for this year with smaller and newer brands.

    • Reply Shradha Goyal September 11, 2017 at 4:56 am

      Now u help me understand from where should I buy these? Online?

    • Reply Juhi Bansal September 11, 2017 at 8:58 am

      The estores are mentioned in the article.

    • Reply Shradha Goyal September 11, 2017 at 9:21 am

      Oops..Missed that.. thanks ..

  • Reply Mansi SN September 10, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    I don’t know about the rest in the list but you may wanna recheck the contents in Kama brand.. definitely not Ayurveda or natural.. and also there’s a legal lawsuit against them recently for using the word Ayurveda and not complying with them.. although their ubtan paste is natural.. btw, most of them have preservatives which are not natural but chemical based.. even the argan oil brand is not pure.. pure argan oil is thick and viscous… That particular brand is mixed with olive to reduce the viscocity like castor oil.. for marketing purposes..

    • Reply Charul Mohta September 10, 2017 at 2:52 pm

      Mansi, another acquaintance told me exactly the same thing. Maybe, CB should recheck.

    • Reply Mansi SN September 10, 2017 at 4:03 pm

      Yup charul, I have been trying my best to stick to natural stuff since 6 years.. haven’t used any branded lipsticks or hair products since 3 years now… It’s very very difficult to find natural stuff.. except the local market.. all bcs we don’t have a legal body which draws the lines … The certification laws are very ambiguous… I stopped using Kama way back in 2012 after I carefully read the contents of all their products in a store.. any idea about forest essentials — some of the their stuff is pretty good…

    • Reply Juhi Bansal September 11, 2017 at 4:19 am

      Looks like I missed all this discussion last evening. Mansi thanks for bringing the lawsuit to my notice. I had no idea about it. Infact, I did a quick google search on it and couldn’t find anything on it. I have however written to the brand (I have been in touch with all the featured brand owners/ senior managers) to get their response on this. As far as them using preservatives, like I said most products have food grade or natural preservatives. I still personally use most of the brands and products mentioned in the article. In fact, this article is almost a year old and I have had so many people write in to me to say they bought these products and loved them.

    • Reply Juhi Bansal September 11, 2017 at 4:20 am

      As for the Argan Oil, like you said it is so thick they have to mix other oils in it- which is how it is and they disclose it on their packaging as well. Argan Oil forms majority of the solution but it also contains coconut and olive oil.

    • Reply Juhi Bansal September 11, 2017 at 4:28 am

      Mansi SN Charul I have had detailed discussions with these brands, used their products and still using most of them extensively. However, I haven’t personally visited their facilities so cannot comment on the veracity of their packaging disclosures and their own verbal claims. I have slowly moved to natural products over the last one year and it’s been an eye opener in some cases. But, in a nutshell, the article is an attempt towards moving people away from the likes of P&G, HUL which use too many chemicals. I’ve also moved Iyra to natural product and Kama is one brand I use on her as well. I remember when I was doing this survey last year a lot of brands would ask me if KAMA was also participating in the survey. Having said that, I will always say that all advice should be taken with a pinch of salt. Epecially if you have a sensitive skin like Mansi’s. Always do a patch test or may be consult your dermatologist before trying a new brand. As for Forest Essentials, we purposely did not incllude it in the survey last year because small batch production was an important criterion for us for shortlisting the brands.

    • Reply Charul Mohta September 11, 2017 at 4:29 am

      Mansi, my sister is completely off any hair shampoo or conditioner since the past one year. She makes her own shampoos and trust me, my jaws dropped when I saw her hair a few months back. My mom is 60+ and has jet black hair (sigh) and she does not use any dye but makes her own dye at home with everything which we can find in our kitchen. Natural products are THE best, but a lot of patience and commitment is the key. Plus, people like my mom n sis do not spend a bomb on the packaged natural products.

    • Reply Mansi SN September 11, 2017 at 5:20 am

      Sensitive skin??? Mine?? That’s news to me.. lol

    • Reply Mansi SN September 11, 2017 at 5:25 am

      People love a lot of things .. even loreal. That’s not my criteria.. marketing rocks.. all I can say is you may wanna take a look at the contents list and see if all those contents are food grade and natural preservatives.. google them and you ll get your answers..

    • Reply Mansi SN September 11, 2017 at 5:33 am

      Rahi baat argan oil ki, to fall in the category of organic and natural it has to be cold pressed.. you cud check on the guidelines of worlds regulatory bodies and also it generally makes sense.. cos heat not just reduces but kills all the nutrients.. so when you say coconut oil is mixed or Olive oil — what about their way of produce and their contents.. there r coupla pages on FB – ppl who make their own products including lipsticks without any so called food degradable preservatives and their shelf life can’t be more than 3 months provided you refrigerate it..

    • Reply Mansi SN September 11, 2017 at 5:38 am

      Find out about the owners and marketing team of Kama and you ll get your answers.. P.S :- patch testing is known even to a teenager these days.. looks like you know more about my skin than I know.. LOLLLL..

    • Reply Mansi SN September 11, 2017 at 5:45 am

      Btw, I can go on about this cos I ve been doin a lot of reading, reasarch, visits, etc etc etc.. since 2007.. I would like to extend an invitation to you to come over to my office or home for a chai and I ll show you lotsa stuff and material.. and also my sensitive skin.. seriously wonder where you got that from.. u put anything lab made chemical – food degradable or not.it’s not organic.. their molecular structure is such that they only break down to a certain extent.. rest go in your blood stream and mimic a hormone of our body and that is called xenoestrogen.. LOL

    • Reply Mansi SN September 11, 2017 at 5:48 am

      @charul – same here.. ditto.. although I must admit that I do use lacto calamine which again is not natural.. infact I also have a 99% plastic free kitchen.. very difficult but still trying..

    • Reply Mansi SN September 11, 2017 at 5:55 am

      For decades, Johnson baby products were thought to be the mildest and safest .. even adults used them thinking it’ll cause less harm than the rest. Untill coupla years back when it came out that it’s the worst.. and PEOPLE loved it too.. 🙂

    • Reply Mansi SN September 11, 2017 at 5:58 am

      If you really want natural stuff u may wanna check out this page called the farmers market on FB… Probably you can help the local ppl by buying them.. also there’s a place in ashram road, where you can find a lot of natural stuff…

    • Reply Juhi Bansal September 11, 2017 at 7:20 am

      Mansi my apologies. I did not mean to imply I know more about your skin than you do- I simply misinterpreted one of our conversations long ago. Anyway, I take my words back about commenting on your skin. As for the oils being cold pressed or not. Some of them are, some not. It is mentioned clearly on their packaging. Just because cold pressed is more pure does not make any other extraction process completely unpure. The degree varies and costs also go up accordingly. The best is ofcourse to have our own farm, grow our own ingredients and make our own products. Depending upon how much effort we are willing to make for ourselves. None of these brands can match that. I would love to come over and have coffee…you know we’ve been planning to do that for ages- not that we need an agenda but this definitely makes for one but it hasn’t happened. But, we should talk more about your research and exprience because frankly I’ve only recently turned “natural” and I am still learning everyday. My idea is not to mislead my readers or promote a particular brand. All of these products have been used by me and I can vouch for them. But, what works for me may not work for someone else. Also, I spend a lot of time with thousands of teenagers at the University. Most of them can’t even tell their skin types and just run after products that their friends use. I seriously doubt they know about patch tests.

    • Reply Mansi SN September 11, 2017 at 7:27 am

      Understandable…I personally love CB page and I wudnt want ppl to think that CB doesn’t have the right info… Catch up soon over a natural and organic session… 🙂

  • Reply ArmCandy September 10, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    What about Forest Essentials?

    • Reply Closet Buddies September 13, 2017 at 3:58 am

      @ArmCandy we did not include Forest Essentials in the survey because “Small batch production” was an important criterion for us while shortlisting brands.

  • Reply Prishita Bansal September 11, 2017 at 4:25 am

    me too

  • Reply Juhi Bansal September 11, 2017 at 8:57 am

    Offo!

  • Reply Juhi Bansal September 12, 2017 at 7:10 am

    Mansi Charul just heard from the KAMA team on the points raised by you. Please let me know should you have any further queries:

  • Reply Juhi Bansal September 12, 2017 at 7:10 am

    1. Lawsuit – I can confirm there is no and has never been any such lawsuit against our brand.
    2. Kama as being truly Ayurvedic – For the benefit of your readers I would like to clarify that the word ‘Ayurveda’ is not a word that can be trademarked by any brand which is why a vast variety of brands use this as part of their brand names or positioning. As an honest and kind brand, we do not comment on other brands claiming to be Ayurvedic but I’m happy to share a few pertinent facts relating to our brand with you –
    i. Our research partner since we started out in 2002, is the respected Arya Vaidya Pharmacy in Coimbatore. AVP Coimbatore is one of the oldest Ayurvedic institutions in the country with over 75 hospitals and clinics in India.
    ii. Our R&D team is based in Coimbatore and works directly with AVP Ayurvedic physicians, doctors and scientists to create our formulations. Our formulae are drawn directly from Ayurvedic prescriptions and yet are adapted to make it easy for modern consumers to incorporate into modern, everyday lives.
    · As an example, the traditional Ayurvedic Kumkumadi Thailam is a very rich, heavy oil that is difficult to apply and also takes time to sink into the skin. Kama’s Kumkumadi Fluid uses the traditional recipe but we have used lighter base oils with a more potent strain of Kashmir Saffron to give the same efficacy as the original but with a lighter texture.
    3. 100% Natural –
    a. We do not use chemical preservatives in our products. Typically beauty brands use Parabens to preserve the products and our entire range is completely paraben free. All preservatives, actives and surfactants used in our products are natural in origin.
    b. Our entire range is also Laureth Sulphate free except for 4 of our cleansers in the Sanobar and Lavender Patchouli range – these are being reformulated as we speak.
    c. Our range is also certified in the EU which is one of the most difficult cosmetic standards to meet globally. We are currently available in 36 countries across the world and our family of Kama fans is constantly growing due to the purity and quality of our products.

  • Reply Mansi SN September 12, 2017 at 8:36 am

    Juhi, pls re read my above comments.. and good to hear them come clean on point b.. finally.. lotsa so called organic and natural products have benzoic acid.. now that definitely doesn’t qualify for Ayurveda, natural or organic category.. used to have mighty high regards for AVP since 2004 until they started Kama.. bought them in bulk blindly till one day I happened to read the contents…. btw patanjali is also natural, organic etc .. (pun intended) rest if you are keen, will let you know more in person… Not here.. most ppl these days think organic means no sulphate, paraben, alcohol, blah blah.. but there’s much more to that list… Organic and natural means absolutely no lab made stuff and no pesticides, etc.. as preservatives… With point b in their response, I rest my case.. also if you reread my comments, I have mentioned about their ubtan powder/ paste.. nothing is black and white.. also there’s always lots in between the lines..

  • Reply Mansi SN September 12, 2017 at 8:37 am

    Farm to shelf to bottle to user.. – that’s organic and natural

  • Reply Mansi SN September 12, 2017 at 8:42 am

    Pls tell them, people loving their products doesn’t certify that they are organic.. lol…like I had mentioned ppl loved Johnson s baby for eons till few years back…

    • Reply Juhi Bansal September 12, 2017 at 11:08 am

      Mansi didn’t quite understand your point this time. Are you saying they are lying about the lawsuit or that their products are organic? What does point b say? Which brand is organic according to you? When you say farm to shelf to bottle to user it can only be one growing his/her own produce or getting someone to do it for them locally.

    • Reply Mansi SN September 12, 2017 at 3:13 pm

      4 of their products have laureth sulphate says point b..

  • Reply Parth Adhyaru September 13, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    What about SkinYoga & Azafran?

    • Reply Closet Buddies September 15, 2017 at 10:04 am

      Parth Skinyoga was one of the brands that almost didn’t make it because we had to pick only 5. As for Azafran, to tell you the truth, I hadn’t heard of the brand before you mentioned it.

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