This post was last updated on August 12, 2021 by Preethi Sukumaran
My hair feels like itself:
I have been spending the last few days writing to everyone who has bought the new launched Krya hair wash, asking for feedback. I am happy to have received a lot of vibrant, enthusiastic and positive feedback, and much food for thought for product improvements.
This is an important part of my role at Krya. R&D, new product formulations and production is a part of my individual responsibility at Krya. Every single formulation has a journey to make before it reaches the hands of a consumer who pays for it (and then of course it makes another journey).
It starts on paper and then becomes reality:
Every formulation starts on paper, after we have thought through what it should do for a consumer. When we start, our formulation sheet is long messy and wild – sometimes it carries upto 30 ingredients at the start. We extensively go through all available literature on the herbs in question. We supplement this research with information from the classical texts to understand if this ingredient has been used in similar formulations. In some cases, where the ingredients are new to us, we try out samples of the individual herbs ourselves to see how they work. So a cassia flower for instance would be made into a single ingredient hair mask to check for hair conditioning properties.
We then sample each formulation: we make test batches of about 2 – 3 Kg each and test it extensively among ourselves. If it works for us, we then send it to a sample set of consumers who have either expressed interest in the product (in the case of products we haven’t launched at all), or are long term users of the product (when we are reformulating existing products like our dishwash).
Each formulation now undergoes iterations based on user feedback. Every formulation goes through a minimum of atleast 5 iterations. Our skin and hair care products go through even more iterations as variations in responses are much more in these categories.
A supply availability check then follows:
We then do a supplier check to check for availability of these ingredients. This takes a while because some ingredients may be out of season, in which case the formulation needs to be reworked.
A part of our supply check is to ensure sustainability and fair trade. We avoid using ingredients that could be misused and cause the death of a plant – tree bark is an example. We also prefer to work with the farmer or collector as much as possible to ensure fair trade.
We then go into manufacturing:
We then do a pilot batch check. This is the stage when we really understand what it takes to process each ingredient at a large scale. Some ingredients are removed here, usually because they are too difficult to process well.
If the ingredients are dropped, the of course, the formulation goes through a further round of iteration when we look for possible substitutes to the ingredients that have been dropped.
But none of this really matters:
I describe this formulation creation process to reiterate that NONE of this matters. What really matters is how a product performs once a consumer has decided to swipe their credit card on our website and try it out in their home. The in house “test” if you will, is the feedback we depend a lot upon.
No product formulation should be static, and ours certainly isn’t. Our detergent has gone through atleast 6 post launch changes based on consumer feedback. The Krya dishwash is going through its 2.0 iteration as I type this and we expect to launch our improved version in a few days.
The Krya hair wash and some user feedback:
The Krya hair wash we launched in June, went through a lot of iteration before we launched our initial pilot batch last September. Since then, based on user feedback we tweaked the formulation and production process and launched 2 variants of the product: a classic variant for normal hair and an extra conditioning variant for dry hair.
But as I have said above, what really matters to us is user feedback now, so I have been writing emails in the hundreds over the last few days, requesting consumers who’ve bought the Krya hair wash, any variant, to please give us feedback – the good, the bad, and even the ugly if it exists.
The most consistent theme I am noticing from the emails that have started coming in response to my question is this: everyone feels that their hair feels like “their hair”.
Most of us remember a time when we used to have great hair. This was probably in our teens – the time when we spent close to no money on grooming, did not follow any careful hair management protocol, ate pretty much what we pleased (and a lot of unhealthy stuff), and still, magically had great hair and skin.
According to the feedback I’ve been receiving, this seems to be the last time anyone got to see “their” hair. Once they got into their twenties, the world of synthetic shampoos and conditioners beckoned and everyone began to experiment.
The result of this experiment has been varied: some wrote in talking about how their hair started becoming this well of oil. About how the oil crisis could be solved by drilling into their scalps. About how shampooing every day became a necessity.
Others wrote in to speak about the difference they experienced with the Krya hair wash. And I quote: “ I absolutely loved using Krya, my hair felt like nothing it’s felt like before. Sure, commercial shampoos and conditioners leave your hair feeling smooth and shiny, but Krya made my hair feel clean, healthy and natural. It is a great product. “
But we still have a long way to go:
The fact that we sell a powder hair wash does cause several inconveniences. One of our consumers wrote in telling us: “This is more a personal thing – Was travelling last week and I realised it just gets a bit messy as the bathroom floor will have dark brownish-green granules. As a guest I would not want to leave it that way esp with if the tiles are all white.”
Yes this is a problem. Because we use unbleached whole herbs, they come in their own colour. And because we use the whole herb and not an extract, they can sit, fibre and all on your bathroom floor in unsightly clumps.
We can reduce the particle size slightly, but not to a huge extent without affecting the aroma and nutrient properties.
We also offer a low foam product – the product does not foam at all if there is oil on your hair. Once the oil is removed, it foams to a certain degree, but this is not comparable to using a synthetic surfactant laden hair wash. Low foam products are kinder on water systems and use less water, but I can understand the sudden shock between using a high foaming shampoo and the Krya hair wash powder.
My final emotion as I process this feedback and figure out how to further improve our hair wash is that of gratitude. And I try conveying this to every consumer who has been kind enough to take the time to respond to me and give me such detailed feedback.
Thank you for sticking with us and supporting our work despite many inconveniences. You’ve had to give up on so many of your existing expectations from your hair wash product. You’ve also had to live through live iterations as we take in what you have to say and refine our product further.
We are in gratitude always: for your unstinting support and commitment to the larger cause of being environmentally sustainable and supporting natural, non toxic brands like ours.
Thank you for giving us the chance to serve your needs. We will keep working and improving our products.
Check out the new Krya hair wash which is now available in 2 variants, classic & extra conditioning.