In the local market, Ultrella will retail its products in pharmacies and beauty stores this October.
It also looking to export to the UK, EU and USA starting Q1 2021, and will expand further into its existing overseas market, Singapore.
Demand for demi-perspirants
Demi-perspirant is a concept that is beginning to gain traction, and Ultrella believes it is at the forefront of this.
Demi-perspirants work by reducing sweating, unlike anti-perspirants which stop sweating or deodorants which only prevent or mask body odours.
However, as a relatively new concept, Ultrella still labels its products as a natural deodorant to prevent confusion among consumers.
According to Mel Lewis, founder of Ultrella, the natural deodorant category is growing rapidly with consumers more wary of the implications of applying chemicals on their bodies.
“Anti-perspirants use aluminium or chemicals to temporarily stop sweating, by plugging the sweat glands.
“I firmly believe sweating is a vital process. Our bodies need to sweat when we are hot, exercising or feeling stress, and sweating also helps to control our body temperature.”
Science behind Ultrella
Ultrella sells a range of natural deodorants made from a functional ingredient manufactured by IBR, under the ingredient maker Lucas Meyers Cosmetics.
IBR-Snowflake (Leucojum aestivum aqueous bulb extract) is a natural plant extract considered as a natural botox alternative, as previously reported by CosmeticsDesign-Asia.
While botox is widely known to reduce wrinkles, botox is also sometimes injected into the armpits to treat excessive sweating.
IBR-Snowflake has been clinically tested, and was found that seven days of twice daily application could reduce perspiration levels by 36%.
Ultrella’s natural deodorant products claim to be the first deodorant in the world to reduce sweating naturally. “It is unlike anything on the market at the moment,” Lewis added.
Besides the IBR-Snowflake ingredient, its natural deodorant products also contain prebiotics to feed the good bacteria on the skin and crowd out the ‘bad’ bacteria known for causing body odour.
Other ingredients include magnesium hydroxide, an alternative deodoriser to baking soda. Baking soda is a common deodorant ingredient, but it is very alkaline and over time can destroy the skin’s protective layer.
The products also contain zinc oxide which reacts with the sweat molecules and turns into zinc salts to control odour.
Application wise, Lewis recommends squeezing a small amount and massaging it into the armpits.
Ultrella’s main customers are females, although Lewis said its products are suitable for everybody from teenagers to the elderly.
Besides the natural deodorant, Ultrella also sells body sprays and a detox mask (CalmPits Detox Mask) for the armpits.
Lewis told CosmeticsDesign-Asia: “When people who have been using anti-perspirants for years move to natural deodorants, there is often a transition period, where the body needs to get used to sweating again. We found that some of these people were sweating more, had more body odour, or rashes, and would blame it on the natural deodorant and go back to using anti-perspirants.”
For this reason, Ultrella developed a mask for the armpits specifically for this ‘transition period’. Similar to a clay mask on the face, it is applied on the armpits for 10 minutes and washed off. Lewis recommends applying daily for seven days, to clean, detoxify and reset the armpit bacteria.
According to Lewis, of the six SKUs on the market, its Natural Deodorant (Sunshine Lime) is the most popular product.
“It has a refreshing feeling with lime and grapefruit scent which people seem to love it.”
Ultrella products are manufactured in Auckland by a contract manufacturer. The company tries to source locally if possible, but for ingredients such as coconut oil, they are imported. Its recyclable packaging is obtained from Australia and China.
Ultrella launched its products earlier in March this year, just one week before New Zealand entered a lockdown. While the timing was unfortunate, demand for Ultrella products turned out more positive than expected.
The brand even sold out of its masks during the period. Lewis explained: “People were spending more time at home, and had time to make changes and introduce new products into their life. We found many people were willing to drop anti-perspirants and try natural deodorants.”
The firm was also lucky in that it managed to secure its ingredients and packaging before supply chains were disrupted.
While it was also challenging during the lockdown since B2B sales were almost non-existent, the firm looked on the bright side and used the time to educate people on its products and ingredients.
The name Ultrella is created from ella which means her/she in Spanish and ultra for go further in Latin.
As a small team of five, Lewis has ambitious goals for Ultrella. The firm is in the midst of developing new products that complement its existing line.