So, if you’ve been following me for any length of time, then you know. You know, that my skin has been my best frenemy. To quote James Corden, “I’ve had good days, and bad months.” And in part, the love-hate relationship is down to what I internalised as a child. Growing up in Pakistan, cosmetics were meant to correct, not care. And thus, I grew up thinking of my skin as a problem that needed to be solved. All that has changed now; for myself and my country. And I can proudly say that the new crop of Pakistani skincare brands are dedicated to overhauling an outdated industry.
The trend has been gradual for sure. I don’t why the launch of so many local brands coincided the way that it did. But, while I was still in Canada, I was really taken by how many Pakistani skincare brands had popped up. So, as soon as I landed back in Pakistan, I knew that I wanted to support them in some way. The Pakistani Products Only challenge is the realisation of that desire.
Here’s how you can take part in the challenge;
Pakistani Products Only Challenge Rules
The purpose of this challenge is to support the local industry. Many of the Pakistani skincare brands are just starting out. So, I want to use this as an opportunity to support small, local businesses. The goal of the challenge is not to deride international brands. As you guys know, I am a huge supporter of K-beauty, and also love many Western brands. The goal here is to facilitate the positive shifts in the Pakistani skincare scene. And thus, I’ve kept the rules as simple as possible.
1, Use Only Pakistani Skincare Products For 30 Days
Just a note, for this challenge I’m only focusing on the products for your face. You can absolutely extend this to the products for your body as well. But this isn’t necessary.
2, Support At Least 3 Different Brands
The goal is to support as many businesses as possible. So, don’t just purchase products from a single brand. Additionally, try to include some smaller brands on your roster.
3, Track Your Progress
Be as honest as you can. Ask yourself whether the quality of the products is worth the price. Take a before picture and an after picture, and assess if the products actually helped you.
4, Support Businesses Non-Monetarily As Well
Leave reviews, create content, and share their posts across your social media platforms. Provide constructive criticism and feedback to the brands. Remember, the goal is to help these brands prosper.
Tips To Get Started
It can be really daunting to switch everything in your skincare regimen. And as someone with really sensitive, acne-prone skin, I completely understand if you don’t know where to start. That being said, I’ve discovered that the more you simplify the process, the better the results are.
So, if you’d like to take part in the Pakistani products only challenge, here are some things to remember.
1, Do Your Research
You’ve been living with your skin. So, you know what works for you, and what doesn’t. Mix this in with the values that are important to you, and then get researching. Make a list of brands that offer the kind of products you’re looking for, and share your values.
Here is a list of the brands that I chose.
They offer natural, and organic skin and hair care products. Their products are really gentle, and great for sensitive skin types. I used their rose face wash and fresh flowers mist.
Acne positive, and acne focused skincare. They have a lot of information about what kind of products are best suited for acne prone skin. They also distinguish between acne and fungal acne, which is remarkable since Pakistani skincare is still in its nascent phase. I used their butter but better cleansing balm, and salicylic acid cleanser.
Focusing on formulations, and knowledge. They have really effective skincare products that deal with a range of concerns. I used their cerapair moisturiser and jasmine dew mist.
Acne positive branding, and products that focus on acne scars. They’re focusing on quality, as opposed to quantity. And while they only have a few products on their roster at the moment, their formulations are quite promising. I used their vitamin C serum.
As the name suggests, they have a range of organic skin and hair products. Also, their branding is ADORABLE! I used their rewind serum and their coffee under eye serum.
Environmentally conscious and natural products. Apart from cosmetics, they also have a ton of other self-care products on offer. I used their detox mask.
Dermatologist formulated products that offer targeted solutions for a range of skin concerns. I used their eclipse mineral sunblock.
This is actually a brand that I just launched with my sister. It’s early days yet, and we’re very much a tiny business. But, I did use the glow up face mask quite regularly (to test it out). So I wanted to mention it here.
The range consists of natural hair and skin care products, handmade by Pakistani women.
2, Find Alternatives For Staple Products In Your Regimen
You’ll probably have a regimen consisting of products that perform a specific function for your skin. The best to make a switch to local alternatives is to find something similar. Or rather, something that uses similar actives, or performs a similar function.
Here is a list of Pakistani alternatives for some of my favourite products.
Just a note; not all of these are exact replicas. In some cases, the ingredients are pretty similar; for example the vitamin C serums. But for the most part, I focused on products that could get me similar results.
3, Stick To A Budget
This is not meant to overwhelm you; so don’t feel that you need to spend a ton of money. Once you’ve done your research you should give yourself a budget. For this, the best thing to do would be to stick to a basic skincare regimen. Just focus on cleansing, moisturising and protecting to start. So, get a good cleanser or two (I always believe in double cleansing). Then add a moisturiser, and a sunblock. You can then add treatments, serums and mists to this.
4, Stick To Gentler Formulations
I purposefully did not include anything too harsh, because I didn’t want to overwhelm my skin. In particular, products that increase cellular turnover should be limited, and used sparingly.
5, Always Feel Like You Can Ease Into The Challenge
You don’t have to jump headfirst into it. You can always start with a few products, and add on to that. The goal is to use Pakistani products only, for thirty days. But you can take a few weeks to narrow down your regimen before you start your thirty days.
The goal of the Pakistani products only challenge is to support local. However, as I mentioned, we also have to be honest about the quality of the products. And thus, it’s important to asses how they impacted my skin.
At the start of my challenge, I had some breakouts and a lot of post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation. And by the end of my Pakistani products only challenge, my skin was much brighter, clearer and less inflamed. Overall, I was really impressed with the quality of the products. And I’m really excited to be able to support local brands that can hopefully improve Pakistani skincare by miles.