Sabrina Suhail on creating a homegrown and toxic-free make-up brand suited for Indian skin
If Covid-19 has changed one thing in our perception, it is that everything we consume — from food to cosmetics — impacts our overall health. Tinge by Sabrina Suhail is a testament to this. After launching in July 2018, the brand gained popularity for its clean, customised lipsticks and foundation. It may seem that the make-up line garnered much attention in a short span, but Bengaluru-based Suhail has spent several years in preparation.
“I was never a person who knew anything about beauty; I studied chemistry, botany, zoology and psychology in college,” she says. After a second degree in fine arts, she worked as a make-up artist for 10 years, and took a course each year to learn more. “At one point, my clientèle got conscious about toxins in products and gave me a list of ingredients to avoid.” As she started reading labels — which were easy to decipher because of her chemistry background — she realised that she could create the products herself. Suhail then enrolled for a two-year diploma in colour cosmetics and formulation in New York, and took another four years to set up a studio and get certifications in place.
“I decided to start with only lipsticks because it was the easiest, and something Indian women gravitate towards,” she says. First, it was just word-of-mouth as she didn’t want to invest in marketing. Even though there was an influx in the initial months, her clientele slowly started petering out. “But after December last year I’ve seen a massive change. People come to me with lipsticks they want me to recreate with safer formulation and aroma.”
I have tried Suhail’s bespoke lipsticks, foundation and powder (all gifted by her), so I understand why her products work. With just a couple of Instagram messages, she understood the exact creamy caramel colour I wanted in my lipstick. And without meeting me even once, she delivered the correct shade of concealer and powder to match my skin tone.
Checks and balances
I was curious to understand if she had avoided talc, classified as possibly carcinogenic, but a common ingredient in some organic make-up brands. Thankfully, she does. Her formulations are based on clay, “which may not have the same slip as talc but is definitely safer and more pigmented”. All of Suhail’s raw materials are from India and everything is certified. “When I started the company, it was important for me to have my licensing.” She has the MSDS (Materials Safety Data Sheet), SDS (Safety Data Sheet) and PETA cruelty-free certificate. The second part is when she puts the raw material together and gets the Bureau Veritas certification, world leaders in inspection and testing.
“If I make a lipstick for you, it has to go through many checks before it comes to you,” says Suhail, who also got the CDSCO (Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation) certification that approves of the manufacturing license, machinery, manufacturing facility, and contents used in the physical product. “Even though I don’t have that kind of space or machinery, I got the certification because it ensures that your products are made safely.”
Scent of a lipstick
While Suhail still customises colours for lips and the base, she also has a line that can be readily bought online. Tinge by Sabrina Suhail offers eye pencils, multi-sticks, balms, scrubs, wax and liquid lipsticks, plus powder foundations for Indian skin tones that range from medium to milk chocolate. The full ingredient list is mentioned on tingestore.com, and she has a ‘Return to Refill’ policy where you can send an empty tube to be refilled with a 15% off on the lipstick.
In the current beauty landscape, where new brands are launched in a short amount of time without former training, a long prep period, attention to detail and certification are rare. This brand is homegrown, clean, cruelty-free, customised, luxurious and eco-conscious. What more do we want?