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Celebrities Interviews

Myra Qureshi – Because Natural Beauty Shines Best

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“Myra Qureshi is co-founder and CEO of Conatural, Pakistan’s first certified organic company that manufactures, retails, and exports organic skin and hair care products. In 2014, Myra capitalised on her 13 years of management consultancy expertise by launching Conatural, a pioneer in the Pakistani market for certified organic skin and hair care, and took the company international.”

What was the idea behind the label “Conatural?”

Our market is flooded with adulterated and toxic creams and cosmetics and the average consumers really don’t know what they are putting on their skin. Our mission was to create organic, unadulterated, pure, and wild-crafted beauty products, so we decided to call the company ‘Conatural’ meaning a “company that is natural.”

What motivated you to quit your job in the corporate sector and opt for an entrepreneurial venture?

I had worked in investment banking abroad for over a decade. When I completed my Exec-MBA and returned to Pakistan, I knew I wanted to start a business that took entrepreneurial principles to organise, mobilise, and manage a for-profit business that has a social mission at its core. I studied the local market, and realised that organic products were something that I was really passionate about and that there was a market for them as well.

Which product is highest selling and why?

We have different products for different age groups that are bestsellers. Our hair range does very well though across gender and age groups.

Which segment of society makes up for most of your customers?

As we are using certified organic ingredients, the cost to source and manufacture is high. So we can never be a mass product in Pakistan. As such, our customers are usually those who seek and can afford genuine organic products.

What does your average day look like?

I wake up and check e-mails, and then spend quality time with my one-year old baby, followed by yoga. I usually leave for the factory at 9:30am and have breakfast in the car, as I am always pressed for time!  En route, I catch up on the news, reading, and responding to e-mails.

At the factory, we always have our R&D meeting first (when our brains are fresh!), followed by procurement and production planning meetings. I then meet with the warehouse team and leave for the head office around 1:30pm. The first hour is usually spent doing finance-related activities, followed by marketing and sales updates. I try and spend at last 2-3 hours on business development, laying the foundation for future growth and opportunities. I spend a lot of time directly engaging with my teams on their tasks and usually leave the office around 7:30pm.  After an early dinner, I put my baby to sleep and then usually make a few work calls, after which I spend time with family, zone out with Netflix, or go see friends.

What is your brand ideology?

Conatural is a pioneer in Pakistan in the use of ingredients that are certified organic (where possible), natural, wild-crafted, and pure therapeutic grade essential oils. Our product ideology is a mix of exotic essences, Ayurveda, and modern aromatherapy. Our products are 100% cruelty-free and we never test our products on animals. In terms of our brand ideology, you could say it is to promote a lifestyle that is wholly organic and in tune with Nature.

What are the biggest challenges of operating in this industry?

The challenges of establishing and running a holistically organic company in Pakistan are numerous. The big ones, though, are lack of education on ‘safe’ beauty products, zero government regulation within the personal care sector and pretty much no protection of intellectual property rights, and difficulty sourcing organic ingredients.

We have to spend a tremendous amount of time, resources and effort in educating consumers on how to read labels, make better and informed choices, and know what certified organic actually means. Few people understand what ‘certified organic’ actually means; many believe that ‘organic’ is synonymous to ‘natural’. However, just because something was grown in your garden doesn’t make it organic. ‘Certified organic’ is a lengthy, expensive, and rigorous process; from thoroughly scrutinising each ingredient to be non-GMO and checking the water that is used to irrigate the land, to inspecting the soil, and quality-testing the raw material itself to ensure its 100% natural.

When it comes to regulation, there are no safeguards or checks in place to ensure quality control. Some companies are guilty of producing products that cause can cause irreparable damage to the skin and many creams sold in the market are a dangerous cocktail of compounds like mercury, steroids, hydroquinone, and tretinoin, the long term use of which can lead to lethal health concerns – all under the labels of ‘natural’, ‘herbal’ or ‘organic’. Meanwhile, companies like ours spend years researching and developing products, only for copycats to come in and literally copy the packaging and product design. In most cases, they are able to copy the outer packaging very well, but not actual cream or lotion; but when consumers get the fake product, our brand gets a bad name.

Then, as I mentioned, sourcing certified organic ingredients locally is very tough. Our food chain is massively compromised due to the amount of chemical pesticides and fertilisers used, so it not economically viable for growers to stop growing anything on their soil for years so that they can even be close to fit the criteria of organic to get certified. I spend at least two months of the year travelling the world to source certified organic ingredients.

What are your future plans with regard to this venture?

We are looking to expand into Europe.

In your product line which product is close to your heart and why?

The Skin Renew: Organic Age Defying Cream is pretty close to my heart because it took us nearly two years to research and develop it. We wanted to make an organic cream that promised results within two weeks of usage. It was a tough one, but in the end I’m super proud that we got there. This cream is fabulous for anti-ageing!

Conatural recently made its debut in UK. How was the experience and response?

The response was fantastic. We made our debut at the prestigious Asiana Bridal Show held at the Grosvenor House in London. Not only did we generate sales but to represent Pakistan at such an important event internationally was a humbling experience.

Why UK instead of Dubai, which has a larger South Asian population?

We launched the brand in the UAE in October. We stock with souq.ae which covers the entire UAE and most countries in the GCC.

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Make Your Make-Up Last All Day Long

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1. Polish those pores

Exfoliation is key to prepping your skin for cosmetic application – the smoother the surface, the more even products can be applied and therefore, the longer they last. Twice a week polish away dead surface cells with a good exfoliator. Invest in a good, trust-worthy exfoliator to be a part of your routine.

2. Use a clever moisturizer

Ever noticed that your make-up starts to collect into fine lines and creases come mid-morning? Hydration levels and sebum production fluctuate through the day causing your skin to look more uneven, but there are moisturizers that respond to ‘over-day ageing’ to aid this. Use one that makes your skin smooth and firm while you wear it.

3. It’s all about primer

Primer seals in your moisturizer and provides a smooth, even surface for make-up. Not only this, it keeps your make-up from being absorbed, giving it greater staying power. If you have oily skin and feel like your make-up slips off, try an oil-free formula for an all-day matte finish, however, if you feel your make-up fails to wear well because you’re battling dry patches, try something that seals in moisture for hours. Using a different primer for delicate eyelids intensifies your make-up, ensuring it doesn’t crease, slip or shift.

4. Care for long-wear

Long-wear make-up is called this for a reason; good one boasts budge-free formulas without looking heavy. A reliable product will cover everything from gel eyeliner to mascara and is great for dry and dehydrated skin. One which contains shine absorbers is perfect for oily skin types, as well.

5. Set with powder

For longevity, always seal your make-up with powder to help it stay put. While people remember to set foundation on the t-zone, concealer is often neglected, but a gentle sweep your under-eye make-up will keep bags at bay longer.

6. Layer it

Building up your make-up products in light layers will make it last way longer than applying one heavy layer, and it always looks more natural, too. This rule applies to your base, eye make-up and lipstick.

7. Learn to lip-map

The secret for long-lasting lipstick is sandwiching in the color. First, frame your lips with a lip liner, mapping out your cupid bow and the corners, which will give structure and grip for your lipstick. Then apply your lip color with a brush, building it in fine layers and finish with another coat of pencil to set it.

8. Blot, don’t reapply

While it’s tempting to top-up your make-up throughout the day, go easy, as too much powder can look cakey and leave a heavy finish. Build-up can also increase your pore size and surface dehydration in the long run, so focus on preventing that.

9. Stop touching

We’re all guilty of touching our faces without realizing that we are spreading germs, viruses and allergens around – and while we’re at it, we’re ruining our make-up, as well. You can spend gold on high performance products but if you’re habitually picking your spots and rubbing your eyes, you might as well not bother. Consciously find another activity to replace it with, like interlocking your hands or clenching your fist.

10. Make setting spray a must

Make-up setting sprays are specifically designed to prevent make-up meltdown, so you hardly have to touch it up day to night. Like a hairspray for the face, using this mist should be the last step before you leave the house. Find the perfect one for your face after reviewing few of the best.

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Add Coconut Water to Your Beauty Regime

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The health benefits of coconut water are plenty! Safe, healthy and natural; this natural drink has very little sugar and is full of antioxidants that will boost the supply of electrolytes in your body and keep you hydrated. This wonder drink has many benefits for skin and hair, too.

·         Controls ageing

Coconut water helps in controlling the signs of ageing. It contains lauric acid and cytokines which help in balancing the growth of cells and their regulation.

·         Moisturizes skin

The consistency of this drink and properties, such as Vitamin C and potassium, help in providing coverage and protection to the body. Coconut water can be applied all over the skin and air dried for a few minutes. Doing this daily would show great results.

·         Protects from sun tan

Mix fullers earth or multani mitti with a few drops of coconut water, apply on the face at least three times a week to see quick changes. It will leave the skin soft, radiant and smooth. This face pack is completely natural and doesn’t contain any chemicals, or leave you with side effects.

·         Reduces acne

The antioxidant-rich coconut water can help fight free radicals and prevent acne. You could also wet some cotton with coconut water and dab all over the areas that have been affected. Let it stay overnight. Wash off with cold water the next morning.

·         Fights frizzy hair

Coconut water is not just idyllic for your skin but also your hair. Massage your hair using coconut water thrice a week, and it will make your hair soft, smooth and silky, as it contains excellent moisturizing properties which fight with unruly hair the natural way and promote strength, radiance and shine.

·         Reduces dark circles

Coconut water can also help in fighting dark circles. Simply mix coconut water with cucumber juice and dab it around eyes using cotton. Use this beauty tip daily to see a quick reduction in your under eye dark circles.

·         Conditions hair naturally

Another wonderful thing about coconut water is its ability to condition locks of hair. Mix cocoa butter and coconut water together, and let it stay overnight. Apply it all over your hair and scalp after shampooing and wash it off with cold water after 20 minutes, you are bound to see good results.

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Wondrous Benefits of Walnut

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Walnuts are a rich source of good fats, vitamins, proteins and other nutrients. From lowering the risks of heart diseases and certain types of cancer, boosting digestion and metabolism to improving brain health, vision, immune system and mood, this nut does it all. But did you know, walnuts also help to boost your skin’s texture and in getting rid of all skin impurities easily and efficiently? Get your hands on walnut face scrub to reduce dullness of the skin, and add natural glow and softness to it. Here’s why you should add walnut in your diet and beauty regimen:

1.      Keeps signs of ageing at bay

Walnuts are rich in antioxidants, which help in skin regeneration and elasticity. These antioxidants boost collagen production and cell repair, thereby toning the skin and keeping signs of ageing far away. Be it fine lines, wrinkles or age spots, now you can say them goodbye. Eat walnuts or use walnut oil on your face every day and see the stunning difference.

2.      Walnut oil treats skin infections

While the dry fruit is good for making skin look beautiful and radiant, its oil takes care of skin infections. Known for its anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties, walnut oil even cures skin problems like athlete’s foot, psoriasis and candida. In fact, mixing the oil with other natural anti-fungal ingredients, like garlic, speeds up the healing process.

3.      Makes skin healthy and glow

Walnuts have chemical properties which boost blood circulation, thus bringing oxygen and nutrients to each and every cell. The circulation of blood helps skin to glow naturally. Having three to four walnuts a day (maybe during snack time) will help your skin regain that healthy glow.

4.      Strengthens hair

Walnut oil is often added as an essential ingredient in different hair care products. This is because walnut has the potential of making hair black and glossy. It contains an essential nutrient, biotin, which makes hair strong and voluminous, while the proteins in walnuts help in strengthening roots of the hair. Regular usage of walnut oil, or consumption of walnuts can make your hair strong and beautiful.

5.      Fights skin damage

Apart from fighting signs of ageing and offering you glowing skin, walnuts can boost your skin’s overall health. They are rich in vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that protects the skin against sun damage. Also, walnuts are a rich source of healthy omega 3 fats, which help in strengthening skin cells, locking in moisture and keeping the toxins out. The proteins in this nut boost bone development and help in supporting collagen production in your body.

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Turmeric for your Face and Skin Beauty

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Turmeric is one of the most valued condiments in your spice cabinet. It is often used in curries to add a bright yellowish-orange hue but it also works as an effective and natural beauty ingredient. You may have already been told about the health benefits of consuming turmeric on a regular basis, it conveys the same results for your skin and beauty. This modest spice can be used to tackle skin trouble, treat uneven skin tone, prevent hair fall, heal cracked feet and even help you get rid of dandruff. One ingredient and so many beauty benefits! Here’s a convenient guide to using turmeric powder for beauty:

Turmeric Powder for Skin

1. Reduces scars and heals wounds: The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric work on your pores and cool down the skin. Turmeric is also known to decrease scarring and heal any kind of wounds faster due to its antiseptic properties. Mix a pinch of turmeric with 1 teaspoon of gram flour. Apply it on the affected areas and let the paste dry for at least 25 minutes. Wash with lukewarm water.

2. Delays signs of ageing: Turmeric comprises curcuminoid pigments which help the body in creating antioxidants. These antioxidants protect the skin cells from free radical damage and can even slow down the signs of ageing like dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles.

3. Soothes burns: Turmeric is known for its soothing properties. Mix a pinch of turmeric with some milk or cooling curd and apply it on the affected area. Let it dry and then wash off gently. Repeat this a few times in a day for at least one to two weeks till the burn mark starts disappearing away.

4. Treats dry and cracked skin: Have you tried everything to treat cracked heels? Now, try turmeric and you won’t be dissatisfied. Mix some coconut oil with turmeric powder and apply this paste on your cracked heels or dry skin and then wash off after 15 minutes. Your skin will feel relieved and soft.

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Masarrat Misbah Makeup receives a remarkable response at Dolmen Beauty Festival

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#MasarratMisbahMakeup (MM) the first and only Halal certified makeup brand, participated in the Festival of Beauty at Dolmen Mall – Tariq Road. It met an amazing and overwhelming response here. Massarat has designed a wonderful range of makeup which offers some unique and beautiful shades and colours for all occasions. #MMMakeup, #MasarratMisbahmakeup, #MasarratMisbah

For more information visit:

Website: http://www.masarratmakeup.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/masarratmakeup/

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/masarratmakeup

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Huda Beauty’s Winter Solstice Collection’s All-Frosted Range

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So, the winter is coming. Luckily for Huda Beauty fans, that means the unveiling of the icy Winter Solstice collection. The collection, includes four new lip glosses and four new highlighters, with a serious Ice Queen vibe.

First up, highlighters. We are talking jumbo pastel pigments with frosty finishes here. In a series of swatches on three different skin tones, you can see the full effects of the glow, definitely not for the diffident. There’s Frosted Kiss, a frosty shade of baby pink; Arctic Glow, a blueish shade that looks like a refined cold snap on lighter skin tones and almost like a mermaid hue on darker tones; Northern Lights, a surprisingly sunny hue with just the right amount of shimmer; and Winter Rose, a luxuriantly pigmented rose gold that reminds us a bit of curling up by the fire.

Then there are the snow bunny-worthy glosses, which come in balancing shades. There’s Charmed, which looks petal pink on the lightest skin tones and exaggerates to a deeper rose gold on darker tones; Bewitched, a not-for-the-faint-of-heart ice blue shade; Starcrossed, a nude shade with golden yellow undertones; and Hypnotic, which looks like a refined iridescent sheen on lighter tones and straight up purple on darker skin tones. Have a look on the swatches below.

It may still be fall season, but Huda beauty’s (limited-edition!) Winter Solstice collection drops on October 27 at Sephora and Shophudabeauty.com.

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How to do a Perfect Manicure at Home

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Step 1: Important tools. Be sure to have the following in a cart always ready.

·         Nail-polish remover and cotton swabs or pads

·         Cuticle pusher and nippers

·         Callous/cuticle remover

·         Hand/nail moisturizer

·         Base coat

·         Nail polish

·         Clear topcoat

·         Nail clippers

·         Emery board and nail buffer

Step 2: Remove any previously applied nail polish.

Step 3: Shape nails. Clip your nails, if needed, then softly file them into shape. A slightly curved nail shape or square-rounded edge is usually the best way to go but you can be as creative as you want.

Step 4: Soak away. This is the most relaxing part. Place your hands in a bowl of warm water and add a bit of your mild face cleanser or shampoo to the water. Soaking the cuticle before trimming is crucial, but over-soaking damages skin and nails, so do this for three minutes or less.

Step 5: Apply cuticle remover. When cutting away the thickened skin around the nail, putting on a bit of cuticle remover will be a big help.

Step 6: Remove excess cuticle around the nail. With the cuticle pusher from your kit, softly push the cuticle back away from the nail, but don’t push it too far since it can damage nail growth or fray the cuticle.

Step 7: Moisturize. Massage a rich cream or silky oil into the cuticles and all over the hands to hydrate and refill skin. Use any moisturizer, lotion or butter cream.

Step 8: Prep for polish. Moisturizing elements left on the nail will avoid polish from adhering properly. Using a cotton gauze or pad, apply nail-polish remover over the nail’s exterior to remove any remainder. Although it helps to avoid getting remover on the cuticle because you want to keep that area moisturized, don’t worry if you do because you’re going to apply moisturizer on your nails over once the polish is dry. The most vital part of this step is to be sure the nail has undeniably nothing oily left on it.

Step 9: Paint nails in layers. If you have weak or brittle nails, use a base coat of ridge-filling nail polish to fill up the nail. A base coat also shields nails from staining (especially significant if you prefer red nail polish) and prevents chipping. Next, apply your polish in layers, letting each layer to dry between coats. Two coats of colour polish followed by a top coat to add gloss should do the trick.

Step 10: Reapply moisturizer! Keeping your hands and the nail area healthy-looking needs moisturizer. You can’t have great nails and hands without this important product.

If you have the right tools lined up and you use the right methods, you can absolutely give yourself a beautiful manicure. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with getting a professional manicure for special occasions or just to be pampered, but knowing how to do it yourself can save you a lot of time and money!