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What started as a conscious venture to fill the market demand for sustainable, all-natural deodorant options has birthed Hong Kong’s skin care brand ZeroYet100. True to the brand’s name, the vegan, cruelty-free products contain zero toxins yet are 100% effective. The borderline horrific underbelly of the beauty and skin care industry’s use of harmful ingredients and chemicals, exposed in the 2020 documentary “Toxic Beauty,” has inspired many entrepreneurs to pioneer the clean beauty movement. Anita Patel and Sheetal Avlani are no exception.
Many consumers use myriad beauty and skin care products every day. The exposure begins to add up, especially in an industry with widely unregulated testing and China’s lax cosmetic regulations. Perhaps due to the perception of beauty and skin care as superficial, cosmetic legislature in certain countries lags behind legislature in other industries (for example, the United States cosmetic legislature hasn’t been updated since 1938).
A consumer’s exposure to toxins in beauty and skin care products depends on the brands they use, the amount and frequency they use these products and more. It might surprise some that a consumer’s exposure also increases depending on their race. Products marketed to women of color, including skin-lightening creams and hair treatments, often contain more concentrated levels of harmful ingredients.
The Environmental Working Group conducted a study that for every 12 beauty products aimed toward Black women, one contains toxic ingredients. Of these toxic substances, less than 25% were categorized as low in toxicity. According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEH), chemical straighteners and hair dye increase the risk of breast cancer in Black women by 60% as opposed to 8% in white women.
With these studies amassing and cancer on the rise, perhaps it’s time to start paying attention to the nonsensical lists of chemicals on our shampoo bottles or switch to verifiably green brands. TMS spoke exclusively with ZeroYet100 co-founder Sheetal Avlani about her company and its place in the skin care market.
Who’s behind ZeroYet100?
Meet Anita Patel and Sheetal Avlani, the two friends and founders excited about clean living and educating others about an eco-conscious style of consumption. Six years ago, they mutually observed a need for effective and natural deodorants, specifically for women.
“[ZeroYet100 started] from a pure personal need for a totally natural but effective deodorant. We tried several in the market (as well as ordering from overseas), but nothing really worked and they were too uncomfortable and messy to use,” says Avlani. “The more we researched the side effects of the commercial deodorants that we had been using all our lives, [the more we worried] about our children using it … We also struggled to find anything pure and natural in Hong Kong.”
The product and the packaging
After two years of experimentation and self-testing, Patel and Avlani launched ZeroYet100’s line of all-natural deodorants in 2017. Another two years passed, and the brand’s growing recognition spurred the co-founders to expand their product line to include other forms of skin care, such as moisturizers, sanitizers, powders and mists.
Though the brand initially focused on providing all-natural products, post-launch feedback from customers pushed them to move to sustainable packaging. “Our natural deodorants that come in paper sticks are 100% recyclable, as they contain no plastic,” says Sheetal. “The paper stick is made of recycled paper. All our labels are lamination-free. We also sell refills for our sticks so customers can choose to reuse the paper sticks as many times as they can.
“Our other products such as deodorants and creams in pots, deodorants, sanitizer and mist in spray bottles can be reused in several ways, or we also offer an option of sending them back to us."
Who should try ZeroYet100?
Avlani encourages everyone to try ZeroYet100’s gender-neutral products that cater to every skin type. She suggests beginning with the all-natural deodorant in addition to the detox pack. “All ages (once youngsters decide to use deodorant), male and females; those following a sustainable lifestyle, those looking for clean products," says Avlani. “Our customers range from school-going children to executives as well as expecting mums."
Instead of maintaining a detached relationship between brand and consumer, ZeroYet100 aims to continue a dialogue with their clients. While most giants in the skin care industry are primarily concerned with sales, Patel and Avlani like to educate consumers about the products. They seek results for their clients in addition to sales.
“We are very transparent with our customers and educate them rather than ‘sell’ products to them," says Avlani. “We believe that only if the customer is aware of what and why they are buying something, it will surely work. We also personally provide customers with solutions to their body odor issues and what steps to take to eliminate it completely."
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