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At a young age, Nisha Grewal was introduced to natural remedies for health and skincare from her Indian culture. Her mother regularly used adaptogens like turmeric, amla oil, and moringa, instilling an early habitual routine of using natural products for skin and body care.
The Vancouver-born founder and CEO of Ambari, a performance-driven skincare line, took the heart of her mother’s influence, combined with a lot of research and hard work, to create a successful luxury skincare business that has landed partnerships with huge names like Neiman Marcus and Poosh. All this during a global pandemic.
After spending years’ worth of time and energy using skincare products that saw little to no change Nisha wanted to create a product line that could produce facial-like results from the comfort of one’s powder room cabinet—overnight. Not only did she create a line that produces results after one treatment, she grabbed the attention of Kourtney Kardashian, whose Poosh team recently invited her to partner with them on a Spa Day in Calabasas.
Ambari’s success is still in its beginning stages and Nisha promises there is much more to come in the near future. We spoke with her about how she got into the skincare industry, her go-to product, and what it was like to partner with a Kardashian.
When did you realize that you had a passion for skincare as a business?
Obviously, when I was a lot older, I would purchase skincare products. When you start wearing makeup, you’re a little bit more, “OK, I need to get all makeup off my skin and really exfoliate all the dead skin that I have on my face.” So I actually decided to use a whole bunch of different skincare lines. What I found is that they promised results after day 30 or, you know, in 45 days, you’ll see results. And by the time I even hit halfway through the mark, I just sort of fell off the wagon, especially when they tell you you’ve got to use like five different products at night and then four different products in the morning. I’m like, “This is crazy, there’s no way I’m going to be able to stick to this routine.” So from there, what I noticed is when I would go to my facialist or I’d go get a nice peel done from a derm’s office, I found I saw instant results that took much less time than going and doing a whole skincare routine—pretty much overnight. If you go get a glycolic peel, you know you’ll walk out feeling exfoliated and you’ll reap the rewards of that peel for the next continuing weeks. And so I really wanted to put that in a bottle and provide that transparency to clients.
I’ve formulated products, I’ve done clinical studies on these products to show you how they can transform your skin after one use. That’s sort of how the story of Ambari began. The motto behind it is performance-driven skincare providing real results from the comfort of your own home. So you don’t have to leave your home to go to your facialist or your derm. You’re able to give yourself those luxurious resurfacing treatments at home. We have three products, one we just launched with Poosh. Our serum, our mask, and our moisturizer. The serum and the mask are highly exfoliating. They’ve got high levels of AHAs and they are your resurfacing products. The cream is sort of like your post-care product, it helps retain moisture and bring your skin back to a nice, healthy PH. That’s the lineup of the product and how I came around to developing it.
“The whole routine is very simple: it’s cleanse, dry, apply the serum, moisturize if needed—that’s it.”
I love that you’ve simplified the skincare routine down to a few products. I think most of us have been sold a product that we use and can’t tell if it’s even working.
Totally. We really tried to sort of emulate the experience of going to your facialist. So for example, I’m sure you’ve had a peel done before. You go in, they put on a glycolic layer, and they say, “OK, on a scale of one to 10 how much is it tingling?” and then they’ll you’ll say like, “two” then they’ll wipe it off and put a hydrating agent. That’s sort of my whole modern-blend ingredients story.
Ambari consists of some common skincare ingredients like AHAs but you also combine them with CBD—can you talk about the benefits of using both?
Yes, [all] our products consist of is three key ingredients. That’s smart adaptogens, clinical actives, and CBD. So the way that works is the adaptogens in the products bring your skin up to a nice healthy pH and remove any environmental stressors so that the actives can go to work. Now in the two exfoliative products, the serum—we have a 12 percent AHA/PHA blend, and the mask we have a 22 percent AHA blend. So what we found is we needed to actually put in an ingredient in the product that allows you to use these high levels of actives, but then also calms irritation and any redness you get from them. That’s when we researched that broad spectrum CBD, when put into the formula it didn’t neutralize the acid, it didn’t stop them from doing what they’re supposed to. But it did what CBD does, which is calm the redness, calm any irritation or sensitivities you have to the AHAs.
For people just starting out with Ambari, what would you say is the one must-have product?
So it’s definitely our PM Active12 Serum. I always say when you’re starting the Ambari routine to start with that product. The reason being is it is our lower active level product 12 percent AHA/PHA blend.
The whole routine is very simple: it’s cleanse, dry, apply the serum, moisturize if needed—that’s it. We also get a lot of people asking us “can I give up my retinol?” Obviously, we don’t want you using any other exfoliative products when you’re using this product but we’ve also put bakuchiol in our night serum which is a natural alternative to retinol. So you don’t feel like you’re giving up retinol.
Let’s move on to your exciting partnership with Poosh. Congratulations! How did you connect with Kourtney Kardashian and her team?
So we actually had gifted the whole team our product and from there they fell in love. That’s sort of how the conversation began. I think Poosh is definitely a team that really looks at the brands that they want to align with and they are very particular. When all of those things aligned and they loved the products, that’s how it began. Now we’re in a four-month partnership with them, which is amazing.
“Talking to [Kourtney Kardashian] was such an organic experience, just from one brand founder to another brand founder.”
What was it like being a part of Poosh’s Spa Day and spending the afternoon with the Kardashians and their friends? Was there a moment of fangirling? Or did you keep it together?
No, I definitely kept it together. What I think the most amazing part about it was all of them got to try a beautiful facial activation by our celebrity skincare facialist and just to really be present in the sense that there were no media, there was no press there. They were able to truly be themselves and in their natural environment.
Talking to them was such an organic experience, just from one brand founder to another brand founder. They were super, super nice. What was so rewarding is that they were loving the products. As you saw on social, we had so many of the A-list celebrities that were there posting specifically about Ambari. It was very fulfilling, very rewarding for a brand owner like myself to see celebrities and influential people who have been given brands every day to try. That is such a testament to our formula and our company that they were definitely loving everything that we were providing them.
Have things changed a lot since that day?
I would say so, yeah. We’ve had a lot of outreach actually coming from lots of lots of different companies, lots of different brands. Just super interested in our company. So it’s all great news. I think this definitely has put us on the map being in partnership with Poosh.
There’s definitely a lot more to come. This was just our kickoff, we have a lot more that’s going to be coming up until the end of the year with Poosh. So we’re super, super excited. Our first kickoff event with them went phenomenal and I’m excited for everyone to see the rest.