Say Hello to Your Green Beauty Box With The Box Walla

 February beauty box. Photograph by Parita Shah.

February beauty box. Photograph by Parita Shah.

I love beauty products. Even when I’m not writing about beauty, I love researching about the next wonder serum, product reviews, treatments, and the newest skin-boosting ingredient. Having researched so much, I know when something is worth a small investment. The Boxwalla, founded by two Indians, is a U.S.-based green beauty box service that’s worth every penny. They also offer food and book boxes every month, but what attracted me is their outstanding curation of organic beauty products. Last December they had the RMS Beauty Living Luminizer as part of their box. And this is just one of the many niche green beauty brands that are couriered every month to your home. If you’re a product junkie like me, then you'll love discovering what every month will bring. But let me not reveal everything. I interviewed co-founder Lavanya, who gives us the details about The Boxwalla. And yes, I'm signing up for this service, but only to research green beauty brands (that’s my excuse). 

What led to the launch of The Boxwalla?
We wanted to create a platform to showcase artists and artisans from around the world, whose work we have personally experienced and loved. We decided to use a subscription box model so that people can easily experience the work of these artists and artisans, with boxes that shipped every two months. We have four categories that cover different interests: Green/Clean Beauty, Artisanal Food, Book and Art Cinema. We have set it up so that subscribers can easily switch between categories, every two months.

We are inspired by small, independent businesses where the passion and knowledge of the owner is so evident in everything they create or curate. Like independent bookstores, where you can chat with the bookshop owner about life and books, independent music stores, independent perfumers and formulators of beauty products. There is just something very special about connecting directly with people who create the products one enjoys. 

Few years ago, I purchased a beautiful pair of hand-knitted gloves from a knitter on Etsy, with money that my grandfather had sent me for Diwali just before he passed away. When I received my package, I found an extra pair in my package from her, to 'keep me extra warm' while grieving for my grandfather. In another instance of this kind of connection, a crafter of beauty products made a custom phthalate-free fragrance for the body lotion that I wanted to buy, when I told her that I was pregnant and wanted to avoid phthalates. I think these connections make the experience of the product even more enjoyable. And we are inspired, not only to showcase businesses that provide this kind of excellent service, but also to form these personal connections ourselves, with our own subscribers and customers.

 April beauty box. Photograph by Parita Shah. 

April beauty box. Photograph by Parita Shah. 

What’s your background? And what about your business partner?
Both my business partner (my husband!) and I have academic backgrounds in the sciences. I did my PhD and postdoctoral projects in Human Neuroscience while my husband is a hardware engineer with a post graduate degree in Electronic Engineering. Boxwalla, however, celebrates our shared love of art and cultural experiences.

 Lavanya, founder of The Boxwalla

Lavanya, founder of The Boxwalla

Do you personally use green beauty brands? Which ones are your favourite?
Yes - I do! And all the brands and products we showcase in our beauty box are ones that I have used, love and incorporated into my own beauty/skincare ritual.
It’s difficult to name favorites- because there are so many beautiful brands that I love. I have a more or less fixed daily skincare routine which involves the following steps:
1) Cleanse
2) Mask ( once or twice a week )
3) Apply a toner/face mist
4) Press water based serum/s onto skin
5) Press oil based serum/s onto skin
6) Seal everything in with a balm or cream
7) Sunscreen
8) Makeup, if using

Within this routine, I rotate the best that I have found in each category, For example, one of my favourite face mists is the Radiance Boost mist by Amly Botanicals that is filled with beautiful ingredients including silver-rich water, floral waters, copper and pea peptides, hyaluronic acid and an array of powerful botanical extracts that work really well with my skin. I loved this product so much that it was part of our most recent April Beauty Box. I also love using hydrating water-based serums, especially those from Twelve Beauty and Earthwise Beauty that are filled with lovely plant-based ingredients and are very effective in priming the skin for the application of oil serums, while also working wonders to calm redness and inflammation. I always recommend applying anhydrous products like oils and balms on to very damp/almost wet skin to aid in its absorption. There are so many gorgeous oil-based in the green beauty world to choose from and I have showcased some of my favourites in previous boxes. I love oil serums both from established green beauty brands like One Love Organics and Odacité as well as from newer brands like Siam Seas and 5YINA who have achieved cult status because of their use of very unusual and lesser known ingredients, drawing from Ayurveda, Thai and Traditional Chinese Medicine respectively. After applying oils, to seal all this goodness in, I use a cream or a balm. I gravitate towards creams in summer and to more occlusive balms in winter (The Siam Seas and H for Love balms are among my all time favourite balms). Sunscreen is a tricky one to get just right and I'll be showcasing one of my absolute favourites in the upcoming June Box. For makeup, my favourite brands include RMS Beauty, Gressa, Ilia and Axiology.

 October Beauty Box. Photograph by Parita Shah.

October Beauty Box. Photograph by Parita Shah.

Does The Boxwalla ship to India? Do I need to pay anything extra?
Yes - we ship to India. The shipping costs to India is $18.95. However, since we have several International Beauty subscribers, at the outset, we always ensure that the retail value of the products included in the beauty box far exceeds the the cost of the box + shipping costs (which is around $68 for Indian subscribers). For example, in the February Beauty Box, the retail value of the products that we included was $165, the April Box had a value of $125 and the June Beauty Box will have a value of around $160. We want to ensure that subscribers are able to have a stress-free enjoyable discovery experience, regardless of where they are located.

What I can I look forward to every month in my beauty box?
We ship to our subscribers every two months. The products are housed in a box, made out of tree-free handmade paper by a small company in Rajasthan. In each beauty box we focus on one aspect of the skin or body care ritual, with effective and luxurious products that work well together in a routine. The products in each box are also carefully chosen to complement the products in previous boxes.  Each box is an invitation from us to our subscribers, to slow down and create a calming beauty ritual that is immensely enjoyable, yet sustainable. 

 August beauty box. Photograph by Sarita Coren. 

August beauty box. Photograph by Sarita Coren. 

The ingredients in the products are vetted by me to ensure that there are no harsh fillers and potentially harmful ingredients in them. The formulators and artisans we showcase use the purest, most nourishing ingredients in the their products, with a great emphasis on sourcing the highest quality versions of each natural ingredient they use. We also have a lot of fun discussions on Instagram that adds to the experience of the box, with information on each product, the ingredients used, why they work and so on. We also enjoy hosting chats for our audience with the formulators and brand owners themselves, so that they can get a deeper understanding of skin and skincare. In addition to learning more about the products and brands in each box, we want our subscribers to feel empowered to make great skincare choices of their own.
Check out https://www.theboxwalla.com for more details.