When it comes to skincare, sometimes less is more. In a world where skincare routines can quickly become overly complicated with many products and steps, it’s important to remember that an effective skincare routine can be, well, straightforward. To simplify skincare with effective ingredients, Malayali entrepreneur and founder of ‘Gunam Beauty’, Elizabeth Issac, put all her skincare learnings into building her brand. After living and working in Paris, she crafted a brand that formulated a skincare line mid-lockdown by integrating the goodness of ayurvedic botanicals and effective actives.
Elizabeth spoke to us about her trial-and-error skin journey that gave birth to another exciting journey and much more.
What is the idea behind the brand name, ‘Gunam Beauty’?
Gunam is virtue, goodness, or benefit in my mother tongue. I wanted the name to pay homage to my roots wherever I go.
Could you brief the Gunam Beauty 4-step beauty routine?
Gunam’s 4-step beauty routine is built upon the objective,’ less is more’. It helps people achieve a foundation for healthy skin without an overwhelming, extensive skincare routine. That’s how we launched our line with four products.
A gentle foaming cleanser that cleans your skin without stripping. A multitasking exfoliating liquid that clears the skin of leftover impurities whilst brightening and providing hydration. Our Balance Face Cream is formulated with squalane, a blend of plant butter, and microbiome-supporting probiotics. Finally, nourish your skin with our non-greasy oil that deeply moisturizes and restores for a healthy glowing, and healthier-looking complexion. The good news is it’s for all skin types.
Does Gunam Beauty stand for an integrated approach toward skincare?
Formulation-wise, yes, we have integrated plant ingredients and active ingredients. But we don’t call ourselves a clean brand. The word ‘clean’ is a largely unregulated term. But we follow the Credo Clean standard to ensure everything from sourcing to packaging is clean and sustainable. There is a lot of fear-mongering these days due to the “free-from” claims made by brands. As a brand, we have taken the conscious decision to not do this and instead to focus on educating our customers about the sustainability of our ingredients and supply chain.
Could you walk us through the sourcing and manufacturing process?
All the plant oils and extracts are sourced from Synthite, my family’s business. They work directly with farmers and have backward integration in place. The team at Synthite analyzes the environmental and social impact of each crop. For example, they have schemes to improve the living standards of our farmers and programs to equip them with life skills. Our products are formulated and manufactured in France using these plant extracts and oils. It was important to find a team who understood our vision.
What gave birth to Gunam Beauty?
I have always struggled with skin concerns since I was a teenager. Somehow, traditionally prescribed acne medication never worked for me. After plenty of trial and error, I had to find a more natural and holistic solution to keep my skin in balance and found ingredients that worked well for me. After working in Paris for a cosmetic ingredient supplier, I realized it was time to build my skincare line from all the skincare knowledge I had acquired. That’s how Gunam Beauty was born.
Why did you choose French formulation expertise for a homegrown brand?
We believe in a ‘less is more’ approach. The French have a long-standing history of manufacturing high-quality skincare. I started to work with a manufacturer producing high-quality, efficacious products sold globally and with a team willing to work with the ingredients I source from India. We also want to be able to retail in international markets, and manufacturing in France makes it a lot easier to access those markets.
Can we expect products addressing specific skincare concerns in the Gunam Beauty skincare line?
We plan to stay true to our “less is more” approach and formulate more efficacious targetted treatments. We have a few products in our pipeline, however, we do not have any new launches this year.
How do you define healthy skin?
Skin and skincare are very personal, and everyone has their definition of what healthy skin should look like; I personally don’t think that flawless or “glass” skin should equate to healthy skin.
Did your family’s business background influence your business venture?
As a child, I was exposed to a lot of new products, ingredients, and their real-world applications. Instinctually, I developed a habit of analyzing the ingredient list of any new product I came across. My grandfather who founded my family’s business inspired me a great deal. He taught me to value quality and never to make compromises when it comes to quality. Whenever he came across a new ingredient or product, he would always ask what its “gunam” was.
With a quality-driven approach, Gunam Beauty has paved the way to utilizing functional ingredients to create effective skincare products. Elizabeth’s minimal skincare product range reflects her ‘less is more’ ethos. With a wide range of gentle and effective products, Gunam Beauty is an excellent option for anyone looking to switch to clean, natural skincare products.