About the Founder

Hello and welcome to Apsara Skin Care. If you feel nature is our best ally in our desire for perfect health and beautiful appearance, then you are at the right place. As far as personal care goes, I believe there is no room for harsh chemicals or lab made synthetic ingredients. Not when nature is an abundant source of herbs, flowers, and a multitude of other botanical offerings that can heal and beautify. Skin is the largest organ of our body, so we must be careful in how we take care of it. Anything put on the skin has the possibility of travelling into our bloodstream and all the major organs. So our commitment to treating ourselves well should be bi-directional: inside-out and outside-in.

I have always been interested in taking care of my skin. As far back as I remember, I have tinkered with my skin and desired for it to be spotless. My instinct and intuition always led me to the kitchen. In search of ingredients that could be put together to form a perfect potion to make that teenage zit go away overnight. Or to brighten skin that looked dull after a stretch of examination stress. Even as a teenager, a homemade facial mask was the perfect way to de-stress. Indeed I felt quite good when I deemed my skin to be in its best health and appearance.

I knew then, and I continue to believe that flawless skin is a reflection of both our physiological and emotional state. To me, being in spotless and glowing skin is considerably superior than being in makeup. Having said that, even makeup looks better on healthy and supple skin. Why? Because makeup should be used to enhance beauty, not hide imperfections. A painting comes out looking beautiful when the canvas is clean and free of imperfections.

During my teenage years I was in training and preparation for something bigger in scope. Of course I didn’t know it then.  I was experimenting on myself and uncovering the potential of commonplace ingredients as skin care stars! And in this self-experimentation there were scary and hilarious moments too. Like an explosion in the lab when incompatible chemicals are mixed in a test tube. Often I added too much turmeric to a facial mask recipe and ended up with bright yellow skin that took days to look normal! I also remember grinding some almond shells in the kitchen grinder to make my very own homemade facial scrub. The results were quite alarming. The almond shells didn’t grind to a fine scrub (caution: the kitchen grinder isn’t the right device for this!) and my face ended up with tiny scratches that took days to heal. Another time I used undiluted clove oil (please do not do this ever!) on a zit and my skin burned like it were on fire. But these were exceptions, and I am quite happy no permanent damage was done. More often than not I was quite successful in whipping up interesting skin care recipes that helped my skin stay clear of normal issues like dullness, excessive oiliness etc.

My hobby to continue finding new and very interesting ways to care for my skin continued in America where I landed to continue my higher education. I studied molecular biology/human genetics and started working as a clinical scientist. As a scientist I learnt a lot of lab skills that definitely came in handy while formulating for Apsara. But the large chunk of serious inspiration came from Ayurveda, which is a >5000 years-old system of health and wellbeing that originated in India. Basic Ayurvedic principles are still in day-to-day practice in almost all households in India. Many times people practice them as hand-me-down methods without knowing their true origins. Eg. Turmeric is applied on wounds as a home remedy almost everywhere in India. Only recently has the antibiotic/antiseptic property of turmeric been discovered and popularized in the West.

My interest in Ayurveda was sparked when I decided I wasn’t going to use the skin care products available in the market. This was also the time when I started taking keen interest in my general health and what I put in my body. I have a very logical thought process and a questioning mind. So it made no sense at all to use ingredients on my skin that I knew I would never eat. I also have a tendency to take the extreme path, well against the current, so to speak. So as I was making major lifestyle decisions like turning vegetarian, eating unprocessed food as much as possible, not wearing silk on account of the cruel nature of silk production etc, I also challenged myself to create 100% chemical and preservative free products for the daily care of my skin.

So my kitchen turned into a mini lab, and I began formulating as I always had. This time however, I was taking the whole affair very seriously. I began an earnest process of trial and error, fished out hundreds of clues from Ayurveda, taught myself some formulation chemistry, and put it all together using scientific techniques and basic lab work. I was having a lot of fun doing this. When I deemed my first facial serum ready, I immediately began using it and in short order my skin responded by looking better than ever before! So my two 100% chemical and preservative free products were ready. A facial mask (Sulfur Facial Mask, which is, interestingly, Apsara’s best selling product) and a facial serum (Sandalwood Facial Serum), which had an earthy aroma of pure sandalwood.

So that really was the beginning. Or perhaps it had begun years ago, when I was still a pre-teen. I didn’t stop. The kitchen counter had to be replaced with a real lab, and before I knew it, 2 years had passed and I had 30 products. Small packages of essential oils, extracts, and natural raw materials were replaced by large shipments. I was scaling up. My first self-made website was replaced with a more serious e-commerce site, and Apsara was an incorporation. I had hundreds of people buying products on a regular basis, and writing wonderful testimonials to tell me how much they loved Apsara, and going natural. This is, admittedly, still my favorite part of the entire story.

At present, I am proud to declare that over 70% of all Apsara products are 100% free of harsh chemicals and synthetic preservatives. It is my mission to increase this to a 100%.

I didn’t have to think hard to come up with the name Apsara. In sanskrit this beautiful sounding word symbolizes beauty and grace, that I feel is inherent in all of us.  To me this word is also symbolic of miracles and the ability to connect the dots when looking back at time (as Steve Jobs said in his famous commencement speech at Stanford). It suddenly made sense. All that fussing with my skin at 13 and invading the kitchen for things to put together for my awesome new idea for a facial mask.

I wish you all the best of health and skin. I also encourage you to tinker and follow your ideas. You never know where they will lead. Above all, I encourage you to go natural. It is good karma!

Let’s say no to unnecessary chemicals. Let’s say no to animal testing. Let’s be safe and help save the environment. Let’s reconnect with nature’s intelligence and make it part of our own

Sheetal Rawal
Scientist and founder
Apsara Skin Care, Inc.