Balbec Beauty - Our Interview with Maneesha Patel, Founder/CEO of Balbec Beauty
Bettersoul enjoyed speaking with Maneesha about the inspiration behind creating Balbec Beauty. She shared her passion and expertise on clean, probiotic rich ingredients that are effective for promoting healthy skin. Maneesha spoke on the sustainability of Balbec's ingredient sourcing, presentation, packaging, and growth model. She even shared her tips on how she achieves beautiful, glowing skin. Read our interview with the inspiring women in clean beauty space.
1. What inspired you to create Balbec Beauty?
I began making skincare in 2011 to treat my reactive skin and make it comfortable. High end skincare options of the time spent more resources on marketing than on quality ingredients, so I believed I could do better for myself.
I chose a few effective high-quality ingredients that could promote skin barrier integrity and protect the acid mantle. When these two things are in place for topical skincare, you’re fast approaching soothed and comfortable skin. Those ingredients were the rudiments of what became the Balbec skincare line-- a fresh version of the classic cleanse, tone, and moisturize in the form of live probiotic clay and yogurt cleansers, single ingredient floral hydrosols, and moisturizing oils made of botanical oil and aromatherapeutic essential oils. The fresh, live aspect was and remains unusual within the sphere of commercial skincare. But the unique effectiveness and luxury of a fresh product line is why I created Balbec Beauty. It is a slow beauty line with a distinctive energetic quality, which has become the primary sustaining inspiration of Balbec.
2. How do you choose which ingredients to use and which ones to avoid in your products?
I work with natural (meaning non-synthetic) ingredients. Within that realm, safety, efficacy and sustainability are the criteria. I start with certain goals in mind: for example, an effective cleanser that won’t strip the acid mantle. I see what is available within a fairly short list of ingredients that are minimally processed, wild crafted, organic, or cultivated without chemicals. And then work from there; each ingredient then makes the product what it is. In choosing essential oils, I only consider oils that are non-phototoxic, non-sensitizing, safe, and therapeutic. I tend to favor balance and synergy over a focus on one particular ingredient.
I am currently making vibrational fragrances as part of Balbec’s offering. The ingredient selection process is similar, but with more surprising outcomes. I start with an energetic concept and determine which flower essences and aromatherapeutic essential oils can best support the intention of the product. I don’t use synthetic fragrance molecules--only naturals. At present I use flower essences that I have prepared myself. With this kind of project, it doesn’t work to lead with an idea of how the fragrance should ultimately smell—what it should evoke in terms of a sentiment, a trend—or the more traditional goals one hopes to satisfy when choosing a fragrance. The question of do I like this or not becomes irrelevant. All of the ingredients of the vibrational fragrance become strands of individual frequencies that support the overarching energetic proposal or intention. I can calibrate and work with proportions, but the ingredients determine the vibrational fragrances.
3. What are the benefits of raw, probiotic rich skincare?
Probiotic skincare has become increasingly visible in the last few years, and there are a couple of things to keep in mind when considering probiotic care. Much of the present r&d related to probiotic skincare focuses on manipulating and/or reprogramming an individual’s skin microbiome to manage aging skin or resolve other skin concerns. I question the wisdom and feasibility of many of the proposed manipulations.
Balbec clay and yogurt cleansers offer transient probiotics that temporarily boost the skin’s beneficial flora as a way to promote skin barrier integrity and protect against pollution and harmful bacteria.
As our probiotics are naturally occurring in the form of fermented whole food, they provide prebiotics, arguably of even greater importance because they nourish the beneficial bacteria of the skin. This is why our cleansing powder Nomad is a prebiotic cleanser. High quality probiotics are formulated without preservatives and are diminished when heated, because they are live. Our clay and yogurt cleansers are minimally processed, contain no preservatives and require refrigeration.
4. How do you incorporate sustainability into your company?
We seek sustainability in our ingredient sourcing, presentation and packaging, and in our growth model. We source our ingredients from equitable, sustainable channels.I prefer ingredients that are wild crafted and/or cultivated without chemicals, but if they are unavailable then I choose organic. Making certain that ingredients are sustainable is a moving target.
For Balbec, convenient and lovely packaging also means creating least amount of waste possible and providing opportunities to repurpose and reuse. The violet glass we use is fully recyclable, but it is also a valuable resource because it serves as an excellent preservative. We encourage our customers to reuse it in order to store herbs and/or other foods or liquids in the empties. Our wrapping consists of kraft paper and twine. We ship our cold cleansers and hydrosols in insulating envelopes made entirely of unprocessed eco felt, which are thick enough to double as protective packing. Customers return the felt envelopes to us for reuse on their next purchase and receive a $5 credit upon return.
Growth: We have embraced slow growth in order to remain sustainable because we have a fresh product. We have promoted our products through word of mouth, and that has been our only form of advertising.
5. What is your own personal beauty routine?
In the evening I enjoy a double oil cleanse using a high quality, single ingredient cleansing oil that is easily available: jojoba or grape seed is perfect. I add some drops of blue tansy to the bottle and I’ve got a cleansing oil that will last me a good while. I give my face a vigorous massage with the oil and then remove the oil each time with a very warm damp wash cloth. I follow with a clay and yogurt cleanser, rinse, remove all traces with a hydrosol, and while my face is still a bit damp from hydrosol, I finish with a moisturizing oil.
In the morning I start with a dry face brushing, and then cleanse with a small amount of clay and yogurt cleanser, followed by hydrosol, moisturizing oil,sometimes a face cream and then sunscreen.
6. What is something you think everyone should incorporate into their beauty routine?
Anything that regularly activates the parasympathetic nervous system and promotes rest and digest. This is the best chance to allow the body to detoxify and heal everyday wear and tear. Skin is the last in line to receive attention since the vital organs are tended to first. If your body is not getting enough rest, your skin is going to take the hit.
My parasympathetic activators are:very little caffeine, good sleep, and no snacking. Adequate sleep with regular timings allows the body to detoxify and repair. I like to sleep between ten and six.
No snacking between meals promotes rest and digestive functions. It takes the body at least four hours to digest. With constant snacking, too many organs are working too hard to keep up,food is improperly digested and blood sugar levels destabilize. This then leads people to snack more or go for the many little meals a day, and the whole thing becomes a catch 22. As we know, unstable blood sugar levels and digestion problems often lead to skin problems. When I stopped snacking, my blood sugar levels stabilized and I claimed a sense of calm that I hadn’t experienced in years.