By Jolene,July 27, 2020 |7 mins read
Organic make up in Singapore is a trend that is fast-catching on here as we become more discerning about what exactly goes into our creams, make-up, foundations and skincare. Paraben-free, chemical-free, no sulphates are just a few phrases we now look out for when we buy our products.
We care more about ingredient labels these days – not just in the food we eat, but also our skincare and makeup we generously slather onto our faces every day.
Founder Nerissa of Liht Organics explained, “organic make up is made from plant-based ingredients farmed in organic farms, free of synthetic chemicals or pesticides.”
Pronounced light, Liht Organics is also an abbreviation of Living In Her Own Time, and speaks of empowering women to live fully by her rules, unlimited by societal definitions and expectations.
Nerissa also shared that she spent years of struggling with bad acne, leaving her no choice but to take Oratane and go for monthly steroid injections regularly to curb her acne. This triggered her to delve deeper into the ingredients in her skincare products she was using and she found that some of them exacerbated her acne. For example, mercury causes skin sensitivity and talc found in foundation causes pore enlargement and clogged skin.
She began her quest to create make up and skincare products that were both good for the skin and also provided good coverage. In this interview feature, Nerissa peels back the curtain on what organic make up is all about and why you should go organic.
1. What’s your story?
I was in Finance in the fields of fields of sales, management & training for 15 years prior to developing Liht Organics. I did not have much experience in the Beauty Industry before creating Liht Organics – it all started from a personal mission to find products that were safe for my skin as I had struggled with a severe case of acne in my adulthood.
Through my intensive research with regards to product formulations and personal training from other organic product manufacturers, I have definitely garnered more experience in the field, and I am constantly learning more and more everyday about this fast paced and dynamic industry!
I have always been a big believer in holistic wellness, and that we absorb what we put on our skin into our bodies. That is why I am stringent in my criteria when it comes to product formulations. With zero nanoparticles and no synthetic chemicals, I wanted to set a benchmark that our products should be so safe that you can eat it!
2. Why did you start Liht Organics?
I had suffered from a severe case of adult acne, and was put on long term medication that was extremely harmful to my organs as well as my mental health (I was warned by the doctor that the medication might cause depression). This sparked a personal mission to look for authentically safer beauty products – specifically color cosmetics – that could heal my skin while it conceals.
However, it was a futile attempt as authentic organic color cosmetics that WORK was so difficult to find and that’s when I decided to bridge the gap in the market and develop my own organic makeup line instead!
60% of what we apply on our skin gets absorbed into our body (and sometimes, bloodstream), and a majority of the ingredients used in regular makeup can have harmful and long term effects on the skin, body and organs. These chemical ingredients also have long term damage on the earth during the manufacturing and disposal process.
Liht was created to educate and empower women to make safer and more conscious choices when it comes to the makeup they put on their skin to ensure their own health and safety, as well as the well-being of their next generation, and the earth!
3. How did you start the business?
I started off self-funding the business with the money I earned in the finance industry right up to the point of expansion outside Singapore. I am very blessed to be surrounded by friends who believed in me and my mission, so most of the capital injections apart from myself came from them. To date we have invested millions into the business and I am super grateful for all the trust and opportunities that came along with it.
4. Tell us about one challenge no one knows about when you first launched your business.
The beauty industry is extremely competitive and capital intensive, and these factors are exceptionally challenging for a new brand. We have to remain relevant against ever-evolving trends, and always ensure that we have ample resources for every project we take on. After all, we are not backed by conglomerates at this point and we have to personally fund for any new project we take on so we have to be extra discerning about how we allocate our resources.
One of the personal challenges of being an entrepreneur is separating work from life, especially as plans and developments for the brand get intense. I have to constantly remind myself not to spend every waking hour working, and to open my eyes to new experiences in life as well.
Lastly, one of the challenges I have been able to hone in and tackle better than when I first started is to discern the best direction and opportunity for the brand at every pit stop in our development. I have learnt that saying “No” may not always be a bad thing and I am confident that these decisions will lead to the longevity of Liht.
5. What is Liht Organics all about?
Liht is short for Living In Her Time – and we promise award-winning organic makeup that is not just safe and beneficial for your skin and body, but can also heal and improve your complexion with regular use. Our products are made with up to 90% USDA-certified organic ingredients, and feature 100% natural formulations that are also Vegan, Cruelty-Free & Gluten-Free, and free of any nanoparticles and harmful chemicals.
Liht is also about empowering a woman to live fully in her Liht, by her rules, in her own time. We want to encourage women to use makeup as a tool to express yourselves in the multiple roles that you play every day – as a mother, a daughter, a wife, a career woman, a humanitarian – but most importantly as your own woman; unlimited by society’s definitions and expectations.
Our products are modelled after YOU – the modern woman. Progressive, multi-faceted and efficient.
Therefore, it is our mission to equip you with the safest products to express the many sides of yourself that make you feel confident, alive, and beautiful both inside and out.
We believe in you. And we believe in makeup that makes you – YOU.
6. Why is natural, organic cosmetics important and what are the benefits?
Seeing that 60% of the products we apply on our skin gets absorbed into our body and bloodstream, when you add up all the products we use on a daily, that’s A LOT of chemicals. Many of these toxic ingredients have been proven to cause side effects such as skin sensitivity, allergies, organ toxicity and even cancer.
A big part of our brand culture is Education. I created Liht to inform and educate women (and men) of just how dangerous and damaging regular beauty products can be simply because of the ingredients that are used and the way they are manufactured.
To us, “Organic” and “Natural” are more than just buzz words. We make it a point to use authentic organic and natural ingredients, that are not just safe but also have an added benefit of being beneficial for the skin. Some of our key ingredients have extremely nourishing benefits for the skin, for example:
Aloe Barbadensis – The most nourishing of over 200+ species of Aloe Vera, this ingredient provides natural healing properties that are soothing and nourishing for dry, sensitive or sun-damaged skin!
Coconut Oil – Chock full of anti-aging benefits due to its high content of good fatty acids. It also nourishes and hydrates dehydrated skin to leave it feeling soft and supple – thus slowing down the aging process.
Rosemary/Oregano & Thyme Extract – Natural antibacterial properties to protect skin from environmental damage. It also acts as a natural disinfectant to prevent bacterial growth/contamination in the products.
Apart from personal health and well-being, using organic, natural makeup also looks after the well-being of the earth as the ingredients are farmed responsibly (without chemical fertilizers or pesticides) and sourced ethically. So it’s a win-win for us and for our planet!
7. What do you envision the future of the beauty and cosmetics industry to be?
In Asia, we are developing in the beginning stages of this organic revolution that is growing by leaps and bounds every year. People are starting to realise the risks of loading themselves with chemical-laden products and are consciously choosing safer alternatives.
Soon, consumers will be better educated and empowered to make safer, more conscious choices for themselves, and not harm their health for the sake of beauty.
8. Share with us one health hack or wellness tip you personally subscribe to.
Mental and Emotional state of mind is extremely important for me! Amidst today’s stressful times, simply eating well and exercising may not be enough.
I am a big believer in Masaru Emoto’s theory that human consciousness affects the molecular structure of water. Our body is made of 70% water, and water takes to energies so it’s important to keep a balanced state emotionally and mentally. An important part of our company culture is to always makes choices and work with people that would bring us peace and alignment with our values – and this criteria comes before any monetary incentive.
9. What is one advice you would give to budding local womenpreneurs today?
Focus and hone in on your strengths, and outsource talents to support your weaknesses. The only way you can do something well is if you have passion for it and it makes you happy.
It is also important to surround yourself with a team of people you can trust to have your interests and the Brand’s interest at heart. It also helps if you genuinely enjoy having them around because these are the people you’ll be spending A LOT of your time with!