New Delhi | Jagran Lifestyle Desk: Most of us face a number of hair-related problems such as hair fall, breakage, dandruff, baldness etc., but more often than not we tend to ignore them amid the hustle and bustle of life. The problem worsens for those who need to colour their hair. However, irrespective of age or gender, we all desire to sport healthy and good looking hair.

It's easier said and done though because of the plethora of chemical and toxin-laden colours, shampoos and conditioners, with no one to offer the right advice. Regarding this, we spoke with Clelia Cecilia Angelon, founder and CEO of Surya Brasil, a 25-year-old vegan personal care brand that recently forayed into the Indian market, to discuss hair health and what they would offer Indian consumers. Here are excerpts from the interview:

1. What are your suggestions for people battling increased hair fall during monsoon season, especially those who colour their hair?

The cause of excess oil might be exaggerated production of the sebaceous glands, caused by stress or hormonal changes. Such hair needs complete treatment of the root tip at least once a week to keep oil in check and prevent problems like dandruff and tip hydration. For hair with excess oil or those with colours, which tend to have the driest tips, one must use a colour maintenance line, without aggressive chemical agents such as sulfates, parabens, which are essentially aggressive preservatives. They should also be void of salt and silicones but enriched with natural extracts.

While going for home remedies or buying ready products, bank on ingredients that have anti-inflammatory, healing and antimicrobial properties. Also, remember to always wash your hair only with a sulfate-free shampoo. Apart from Ayurvedic ingredients like Dashamoola and Japapushpa, rich Brazilian ingredients like Aroeira, Jaborandi, Pepper rosemary and Green Clay are the perfect recipe to tackle flaky and greasy scalp

2. Please share your insights on the ingredients to choose or avoid, and the Dos and Don'ts while buying hair care products?

The first thing consumers need to ensure while buying hair care products is that they should not get misled by the Ammonia Free tag. A number of brands boast Ammonia-free products whereas in reality the products mostly contain chemical compounds such as Ethanolamine, Diethanolamine and Triethanolamine, which are essentially by-products of Ammonia and are even more harmful to the hair than the compound itself. Consumers should as a matter of fact avoid using any product laden with chemicals and toxins.

When we crafted our unique haircare range, we ensured zero tolerance for any kind of chemical. We rather banked on Ayurvedic herbs and natural resources of Brazil, which were combined with the help of technology. The idea behind it was to cause no harmful after effect on those who use our products as well as the environment.

3. There are many hair care brands already in the Indian market. How do you plan to make a difference in an already crowded space?

Over the past 25 years, we have been offering unique personal care solutions that are most natural with the best performance. We say our products are unique because as mentioned previously, they are developed using botanically sourced Ayurvedic herbs, rich natural resources from the Brazilian lands of Amazonas, Cerrado, and Atlantic forest, intertwined together through the help of technology.

Our foray into the Indian market follows our expansion to more than 40 countries across all continents, of which we have been present in the US for 24 years, the UK for 20 years and Japan for at least 18 years. More importantly, our growth has not been driven by marketing initiatives, rather it has been organic primarily through word-of-mouth endorsement, which in other words mean through our loyal customer base. We intend to create the same differentiator in the Indian market.

4. Tell us something about your journey.

Our company was founded in Brazil nearly 25 years ago in collaboration by Kanwal J Singh, who has been a friend of mine for almost 40 years now. A dream of entering a business that thrived on consciousness for all living beings, which I saw since I was eight years old, got fulfilled with the launch of the brand.

Within a month of the launch, we were selling to two of the leading pharmacy chains in Brazil and it took us just two years before we forayed into the US market. In the US we are among the biggest players in the natural market such as Whole Foods Market, Sprouts, Natural Sources, The Vitamin Shoppe.

5. What special significance India holds for yourself and your brand? Where are your products available?

The name of Surya Brasil itself has been inspired by the rich cultural history and heritage of India. Surya means God of light that brings warmth to the world, and believing in the same principle, we have evolved less as a profit-making entity and more as an ambassador of ethical products that do not harm the environment or other living beings.

At a personal level, I have always been fascinated by the rich Indian heritage. At the age of eight when I envisioned starting a business, the other desire I had was to visit India. Now that I have visited India multiple times, I am even more in awe of the uniqueness and diversity of its culture. I have learnt about India through epics and life journeys of great personalities like Guru Nanak, Bulleh Shah, Mahatma Gandhi, Osho and Swami Vivekananda, among others.

In addition to it, I am also currently learning Hindi from a very dear friend Dr Uma Sharma, a legendary Indian classical dancer who was conferred the Padma Bhushan by the President of India.

6. As you cater to different geographies and markets, relatively how nascent or evolved is the haircare market in India?

The haircare market certainly has many roads to cover the gap as compared to another major market globally. Instead of a plethora of brands, the Indian market at first needs increased awareness about personal care and grooming. India was never a hair colour market and there were no domestic manufacturers in India in the time leading up to the 90s. Imports were not possible as it was restricted in India till the 90s.

Indians never used colours in their hair as they use to think that it will spoil the textures of their hair. Colour was limited to either applying Henna in the hair or a trip to neighbourhood salon in the weekends where they will apply dye on the hair which was manufactured locally and never was of good quality. Godrej hair dye was launched in the 70s but was sold in bigger cities and usually done through neighbourhood salons. Indians traditionally used hair colours only to cover their grey hair. Colouring the hair for fashion was never a thing in conservative Indian culture.

In the 90s, India went liberal in terms of imports as well as society started opening up and hence all these imported brands started coming to India like Schwazkropf, Loreal etc. During the last 25 years, the hair colour market is now evolved and started using hair colours over the traditional henna and hair colours are being used with the young generation for giving different colours to hair also. However, still, India is predominantly grey cover hair colour market. Even though the market is evolving for hair colours in India for the last 25 years for these modern colours, It is still very much an urban market and has not penetrated much in rural India. We can say that for hair colours major cities have a more evolved market and rural markets are at a very nascent stage.

We can also say that cover grey hair is a more evolved market and giving different colours to hair (fashion colours) is still at a nascent stage in Cities also. The sensitization level needs to be significantly improved with regard to products and brands that are all-natural and why they make such a big difference. Calling it nascent won’t be the best categorization but definitely, there is immense scope of betterment.

7. Apart from business, please share with us details about the social activities you have been doing in India.

I have been involved in my individual capacity and also as the founder of NGO Instituto Clelia Angelon in a number of social welfare activities in India over more than a decade now. We have helped some native communities ensure self-sustenance through organic farming and traditional crafts and have also worked for animal protection, their rescue and the protection of the environment. Advocating and raising awareness about organic farming, recuperation of public squares, promotion of culture, reforestation and food & cloth donation are some of the major activities that we have been carrying out in the whole world.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan