Consumer-conscious: Malaysians still conservative, prefer natural shades over bright colours
Hence, the founder of Malaysia’s NITA Cosmetics, Aznita Azman, formulated a novel peelable eight-SKU nail polish range in varying shades of pastel pink called Resepi. It was launched in March 2022, but four shades are sold out as of mid-August.
“We must follow the pack. We cannot launch products that we like. We must produce what the customers like. In this case, our customers are largely Muslim and conservative, but they still want to look beautiful and seem as natural as possible,” said Aznita, also known as Nita.
The Kuala Lumpur-based brand was founded in 2016, with its 150 hypoallergenic SKUs retailing at AEON Mall and Fashion Journal of Setia City Mall, both in Shah Alam and around a half-hour’s drive from the Kuala Lumpur city centre.
Other retail channels include its e-commerce site, Lazada, Shopee, Watsons Online and drop shipping in Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore.
The SKUs are priced not more than RM50 (US$11) to maintain affordability for its target audience of cosmetics enthusiasts ages 18 and up.
Novel to be peelable
Resepi’s water-based formulation is peelable after applying two coats, compared to conventional nail and gel polish with ketone bases. The ability to peel easily is important to Muslim consumers as it allows them to take their ablutions and fulfil the obligatory five daily prayers.
Conventional ketone-based nail polish is usually difficult to peel and requires force or removers with ingredients like acetone and other ketones, Nita added.
“You can remove the polish as and when you like. The peel is effortless. Our policy is to ensure it is easy to peel, simplifying and shortening the time to take the ‘wudhu’ (ablutions before prayers),” she said of the line, which requires only two minutes to dry.
After water as its first ingredient, Resepi contains acrylate copolymer, a compound that binds the water, pigments and other ingredients in the container for a better peel. Supporting the novel formulation is a specific percentage of the film former PVA, which Nita declined to reveal. All cosmetics have PVA to allow the product to stay in place.
“The main difference here is its main ingredient – water. Once water-based or soluble in water, it will automatically become easy to peel. As it does not contain ketones, there is no unpleasantness that one would usually experience with typical nail polish. Ketone produces a pungent smell, which can trigger nausea and other discomforts. On the whole, ketone is not all bad as it helps the polish last long on the nail. But it has drawbacks,” she said.
Resepi is named after familiar local ingredients and dishes. One could find polishes named ‘Belacan’ (fermented shrimp paste in the Malay language), ‘Halia’ (ginger), ‘Kantan’ (torch ginger), ‘Kari’ (curry), Rock Salt, ‘Sambal’ (fried chilli paste), ‘Serai’ (lemongrass) and Sesame. Its ninth SKU, the Mayonis (mayonnaise), is the only non-peelable product and could be applied for French manicures.
Each 10ml bottle retails at RM19 (US$4) and comes with a flat-tip applicator. One bottle could last at least three months, depending on usage.
Currently, the firm is conducting research and development (R&D) to develop another five shades by Q1 2023. According to Nita, the new shades would not be nude and could add variety to the existing range. She hinted that the colours would be along the tones of brick red and suitable for daily wear to office and dinners. The firm will also restock the sold-out tones by November 2022.
“I hope to explore the Singapore and Brunei markets in 2022 and 2023. We are taking this one step at a time. Right now, we are focusing on our domestic market,” said Nita.