NERRĀ has reportedly combined ancient hammam-style bathing practices with modern skin care techniques with the launch of its newest product, a certified microbiome-friendly exfoliating glove. Made from 100% plant-viscose, the Exfoliating Body Glove Set is biodegradable and is certified by MyMicrobiome, “the first independent control body that rigorously tests cosmetic and textile products for the impact on the skin’s microbiome,” according to the company’s website.
To learn more about the product’s launch, including the research and development process, the challenges overcome to bring the product to market, and the consumer pain points that the product can solve, we spoke to NERRĀ founder and formulator Teyma Touati for her insights.
CDU: Can you share some information about the conceptualization, development, and formulation process for the new brand launch?
Teyma Touati (TT): The inspiration for NERRĀ was born from a profound personal experience when I moved abroad. Leaving behind my Tunisian roots and daily habits, I noticed a significant change in my skin's texture.
This led me to a realization: the hammam, more than just a cultural tradition, was an unrecognized essential skincare regimen. It sparked the idea of modernizing these ancient rituals for contemporary use, starting with the hammam.
In developing NERRĀ’s product line, we embarked on a collaborative journey with French laboratories. This partnership was an opportunity to blend my insights from studying cosmetic formulation with their expertise. I had the privilege of being hands-on during the formulation process, thinking through ingredients, crafting formulas, and conducting tests.
Learning about EU regulations was an eye-opener, revealing the intricacies of product development – from formulation to stability tests, writing INCI lists, selecting appropriate certifications, and choosing the right packaging. Each step underscored how product development is intertwined with branding and vision. It's a highly creative and enjoyable process, akin to sculpting.
A pivotal aspect of our development was conducting the first-ever clinical studies on this over 2000-year-old ritual. For us, it was crucial to substantiate our products with accurate claims.
We aimed to blend authenticity with proven efficacy, ensuring NERRĀ's offerings are not just rooted in tradition but are also validated by modern science.
CDU: Can you share more information about the first ever certified microbiome-friendly exfoliating glove, details about the certification process, and what makes the glove microbiome-friendly?
TT: The skin microbiome is essential for maintaining healthy skin, and it’s crucial that our daily skincare products do not adversely affect it. This understanding forms the basis of our first-ever certified microbiome-friendly exfoliating glove.
To achieve this certification, the textile used in our glove undergoes rigorous testing. It’s brought into contact with the most abundant skin microbes, and its influence is carefully measured in a laboratory setting. This process ensures that our glove does not contain any substances that could negatively impact the skin's microbial balance.
We're delighted to offer a physical exfoliation method that, in conjunction with steam and NERRĀ’s products, allows for effective exfoliation. This process reveals a healthier new skin layer without disrupting the skin's pH or microbiome.
In today's world, where the concept of 'sensitized skin' is becoming increasingly common due to the use of harsh ingredients, it's necessary to use 'skin-friendly' products. These products respect the skin's natural flora – the tiny organisms that are indispensable for protecting our skin.
CDU: Were there any challenges during the product formulation and development process that needed to be overcome prior to launch? If so, what were those challenges, and what solutions were implemented?
TT: Challenges are an integral part of developing any brand, and we at NERRĀ are no exception. We encounter challenges every day and have learned to bounce back and find innovative solutions.
One of our primary challenges has been the modernization and enhancement of traditional steps in our hammam-inspired ritual, while preserving its authentic DNA. It's where the traditional kessa glove exfoliation becomes microbiome friendly, and the black soap transforms into a nourishing pre-exfoliating foam.
In terms of other challenges, working closely with our partners has taught us the importance of listening and building ideas together. While it was initially difficult to delegate, learning this skill has been crucial. Moreover, as a founder working with my co-founder Fares, learning to separate our personal life from our professional responsibilities has been also an important challenge.
CDU: How does this brand differ from other similar brands/products that are currently available to cosmetics and personal beauty care product consumers?
TT: NERRĀ introduces a novel concept to the industry, blending ancient wisdom with modern skincare science. We're bringing to light rituals that are largely unknown to the world. For instance, our first ritual challenges the imbalance between the extensive care given to the face and the relatively basic care provided to the body.
Most body care products today are still limited to ordinary gels and scrubs. Our hammam-inspired ritual, however, combines preparation, exfoliation, hydration, nutrition and cleanliness for the body - a regimen that has been constructed and developed over millennia within ancient Mediterranean bathing practices. NERRĀ is now revealing and enhancing this ritual with modern ingredients and skincare knowledge.
Our brand goes beyond skincare performance; we emphasize the message that self-care is also self-love. We want people to feel good, connected to their bodies, and understand that caring for oneself is a profound way to express self-love. At NERRĀ, we talk about skincare and wellness, enabling people to connect with themselves through authentic, ancestral rituals.
What also sets us apart is our understanding and commitment to responsibility - a real responsibility towards the planet. This is reflected in our choice of packaging, sourcing of ingredients, the production of our raw materials, and on-ground actions.
We're dedicated to educating people on how to read ingredients and avoid the pitfalls of greenwashing. Terms like 'clean beauty' are often misleading, and while we acknowledge that it's impossible to be 100% sustainable, our responsibility is to inform our customers truthfully.
In essence, NERRĀ is not just about products; it's about a holistic approach to skincare and wellness, deeply rooted in tradition yet innovatively tailored for the modern world.
CDU: What pain points does this new brand solve?
TT: NERRĀ addresses key pain points in the beauty care market by rebalancing the focus between facial and body skincare, offering a comprehensive regimen that mirrors the attention traditionally given to facial care. The brand revives and modernizes ancient Mediterranean bathing rituals, filling a gap in the market for deep, traditional skincare practices.
Emphasizing self-care as self-love, NERRĀ promotes a holistic approach to wellness. NERRĀ offers transparency in its practices and educates consumers about greenwashing.
CDU: Are there any plans for further innovation and development in this space?
TT: Innovation and development are at the core of what we do at NERRĀ. Our mission is to continually seek out and modernize powerful, yet unknown, rituals from around the world.
We are already in the process of formulating future products as part of our hammam-inspired ritual. Our goal is to delve deeper into the ritual's essence and create new products that serve our mission of honoring these ancient practices.
We aim to build upon them and continue the path of evolution that is a part of our humanity. This ongoing journey of discovery and innovation is integral to NERRĀ's philosophy and future plans.