Food-based beauty: Singapore nutrition firm Asmara moves into ‘edible’ cosmetics
The Singapore-based company started off producing functional beverages and powdered supplements, but also saw a big market for food-based cosmetics.
Ramesh Kumar, managing director at Asmara told CosmeticsDesign-Asia there was a lack of safe edible cosmetic products in Singapore. “There are many cosmetic products containing natural or organic ingredients, but not many products are actually food-based or edible.”
Products labelled as natural or organic may contain as little as 1% of such ingredients, with the rest made up of conventional ingredients such as parabens and phthalates.
“There is a growing trend that people want something for their skin that heals, rather than cause damage in the long term,” Ramesh said.
“If they are safe enough to eat, it means they are safe enough to apply on our skin.”
Watch the video to hear more about Asmara’s move into food-based cosmetics and its trial product.
Trialed and tested
The company launched a trial batch of its antioxidant facial scrub in August this year to test consumers reception to food-based cosmetic products. The market response turned out better than expected, with the firm selling out on its second day.
According to Ramesh, it was perhaps the timing of the launch during an ongoing pandemic that contributed to this reaction.
“Everybody was at home and spending more time on self-care. People were also not going out too much and not investing too much on cosmetics, turning more to self-care and skin healing during the COVID-19 period.”
According to Ramesh, feedback of its antioxidant facial scrub have been largely positive with the mild feeling on the skin and its unique colour-changing effect.
The scrub is a dark brown powder, but once mixed with facial foam, changes colour to blue or pink due to the anthocyanin compounds present.
The scrub contains ingredients such as maqui berry (UV protection), matcha (antioxidant), lucama (anti-ageing), licorice (whitening), camu-camu berry (vitamin C) to name a few.
As a trial product, it is not entirely food-based, containing mineral and kaolin clays. Ramesh said the plan now is to formulate it to remove the clays and retain the other food-based ingredients.
To test the “edibility” of its products, Ramesh and his team also taste their products.
The firm is planning to launch four products earlier next year, which will be a combination of mask and scrubs. The dual role cosmetic is meant to apply on the face for 10 minutes and washed off with water.
One of the products will be the reformulated food-based antioxidant scrub, and another an antibacterial mask targeting acne. The latter will contain ingredients such as mint, holy basil, turmeric and licorice.
The ingredients are mostly sourced overseas, herbs from Asia and berries from South America. For the upcoming products, Asmara is also intending to add probiotics into the masks/scrubs, which are obtained from Japan.
The four products are expected to retail on Asmara’s website initially, with plans to enter cosmetic online platforms and brick-and-mortal stores after. Ramesh said the masks/scrubs are targeted to anybody from 18 to 50 years old.
Asmara has ambitious plans to roll out at least 12 products in its cosmetic line ranging from scrub, serum, hair oil, mask, facial wash to lip balm with time.
Asmara is also looking to expand its cosmetics range into the Middle East and US in the future, “There is a strong interest from people looking for edible cosmetics there, that are 100% natural, vegan and halal,” Ramesh added.