With the aim of having skin take centre stage in our skincare routines, The Pink Foundry (TPF) borrows from rich dermatological knowledge to create effective and easy skincare products. Niloni Shah, the ‘Chief Skinthusiast’ of TPF, co-founded TPF 8 years ago with a vision to create efficacious pharmaceutical-based skincare. Niloni had the perfect set-up to do so, as TPF’s parent organisation, Encube Ethicals, one of the world’s largest dermatological sites for topical application, was founded by her father. With 24 years of rich skincare research under Encube’s belt, a dedicated R&D centre in Bombay and state-of-the-art manufacturing plants in Goa, Niloni set her ambitious goals for TPF high.
Launching TPF took time and research. Niloni had acne growing up, but in 2017 she was hit with a bout of oily acne-prone skin. Upon visiting her dermatologist, she was reminded to wear sunscreen every single day, a routine that South Asians are generally not used to. Thus began Niloni’s search for a good sunscreen. During this time, Niloni had a growing realisation that skincare was something fellow consumers enjoyed as a routine, but sunscreen was something that had to be forcibly slapped on. She surveyed 500 women pan-India to drive home her point that better sunscreen needed to be made. As a pharmacist herself, Niloni took it upon herself to start working on a sunscreen formulation, and this started her fire to launch The Pink Foundry.
“My main focus was to create a really good brand that matches the skin type that Indian women have. We have other factors affecting our skincare like climate. International brands may not suit our weather here! Another essential for us was to use the highest quality ingredients because our parent company has stringent rules, checks and tests at every point. I wanted to create efficacious pharma skincare that was not only useful but also delightful.”
Along with the sunscreen, Niloni also started working on understanding skin needs and concerns in order to create an entire portfolio. From TPF’s get-go, they launched 12 products across five ranges – radiance, suncare, anti-acne, hydrating and youth-preserving. Essentially, Niloni and her father began thinking about it at the end of 2017, and they conducted three and a half years of dedicated research before TPF’s launch on 6th June 2021. TPF has continued to grow since then. The core team started as three people, and now TPF is developing a digital marketing team.
“We thought a lot about the brand name. Pink is for the pink of health, which stands for skin health. That depicts our emphasis that it’s not good to chase superficial perfection, we’re about the skin. Foundry is an ode to our 24 years of skin science. This is to showcase the science and skincare expertise our parent company brought on board.”
Madan Kamath, TPF’s Head of Marketing and a founding team member, weighs in on the brand’s vision:
“Our story has always been about skin health and the science of skin health. In the beauty industry, you don’t see brands talking about the skin itself. You see brands talking about problem solutions but not about the skin’s ability to heal itself. That’s hidden! During the lockdown, many people probably realised this as when they were sitting at home, their skin was getting better because it was exposed to lesser aggressors than normal, and it got the due break to heal. We believe that skin is stronger than what we give it credit for, and want to create products work with your skin, rather than just on it.
Therefore we wanted to bring back two things to skincare via TPF; the magical ability of the skin, and to bring back the science of skincare. The narrative sold today is the reverse – that products are magical. The truth is that your skin just needs the right interventions to come back to health, and that’s what we do through the science of skincare.
We also found a similar, strong connection between skin and people. People don’t give themselves as much credit as they should either. That’s our purpose, and hence we say Just like you, your skin is stronger than you think.”
In an environment where marketing hype is greater than actual product delivery, The Pink Foundry’s state-of-the-art, US FDA Approved R&D Facility, and US FDA Approved manufacturing centre in Goa is really what sets them apart. It enables them to deliver the promise of high-quality, safe and efficacious skincare.
“We are developing & manufacturing skincare that follows pharma grade protocols, that are significantly beyond what is required for cosmeceuticals. This ensures that every product delivers its promise consistently, and without short cuts.”
Continue reading as Niloni walks us through a few of TPF’s showstoppers.
“When the first lockdown happened all of us were spending so much more time in front of our screens. We were constantly exposed to blue light. We thought that day since moisturiser is a product we rarely miss applying, why not create one that also protects you from blue light? The effects of blue light on our skin are long term as our skin increases the production of reactive oxygen series (ROS) in response to blue light. This leads to protein carbonylation which in turn leads to sagging and accelerates ageing. Our product protects the ROS production at the first step itself. The way to think about it is that any modern-day moisturiser should have blue light protection.”
The idea of updating moisturisers to reflect current habits and routines is a simple one but still genius. Protecting our eyes from blue light has been making waves, so it only makes sense that our skin is just as sensitive too! As someone with an oily T-zone, this moisturiser doesn’t make my skin feel greasy. The added benefit of being protected from blue light damage is why I’ll keep returning for more. Innovation at its finest!
“We have incorporated an unexplored ingredient; an Australian bioactive complex of 3 plums. This ingredient has been clinically tested and it has been proved that in 30 minutes you can get short term hydration up to 60% and long term the hydration goes up to 120%. It essentially builds your skin to retain moisture.
This ingredient is in our daily moisturiser, cleanser and toner. Each product is a very lightweight yet strong moisture sandwich. We specifically wanted the toner specifically to be creamy so that it leaves your skin very soft and supple.”
Skincare, in general, has become a complex process that talks about 11-step routines and dedicated self-care sessions. While I love my pamper day on a daily basis I simply don’t have time to care. Many days, I wash my face and proceed to work without thinking about any other products or steps. Having a bundle meant for a simple 3 step routine is a dream. This CTM combo hits all the right spots (literally on my skin) and doesn’t take too much of my time. A win-win.
“The question we had to answer was, ‘How can we get women to love using the sunscreen every day’. It took 2 years and 18 trials to create this sunscreen. What makes it unique is that doubles up as a moisturiser. If you want to layer makeup then it doubles up as a primer. If you want to wear it alone then it does give a sheer coverage.
Continuing on updating our skincare to reflect modern routines, this sunscreen makes so much sense to me. I either forget or am not bothered to wear sunscreen (it’s just not ingrained in our daily routine) but adding a bit of tint is such a good idea. I’m not much of a makeup person, so having a product that’s not fully sunscreen and not fully makeup is the right balance for me!
Niloni wraps up by sharing that the best part about running TPF is hearing11 feedback that was close to what was envisioned.
“When those thoughts marry, that’s the best part! Hearing customer feedback, hearing consumers’ thoughts and to be very honest, it’s always a learning curve. Consumers teach us every day. We take their feedback very seriously and that’s the whole starting point.”
Considering that TPF began with a pan-India survey about sunscreens, I truly believe that feedback is the start and finish of every TPF product. They have a launch coming up this year so follow them on Instagram to stay updated. To shop TPF products, head to their website.