Rehana Akhtar is a pioneering Pakistani biochemist in the United States. She has been supplying cosmetics (mostly hand-made serums and creams that served skins with various complexions, ages, and problems) to various high-end brands for nearly thirty years. She now wants to bring her own line of cosmetics and skin care products to Pakistan and the rest of South Asia. Akhtar has her own labs in Chicago for testing new products and reforming the existing ones. Today, she shares some of her tips for hair care and skins secrets with us. Akhtar has studied Botany and Zoology at Punjab University but switched to Genetics when she reached the states. Her journey in the world of cosmetics began when her husband started working with a multinational pharmaceutical company. She and her husband together developed and supplied creams, lotions, and serums for private labels and companies. Many of these products are now internationally acclaimed. Akhtar even helped develop shampoos, conditioners and hair care products for different ethnicities while running half a dozen high-end beauty salons around Chicago. Her interest in developing new products and starting her own line when she started receiving testers for salons. She could now test with the samples and find out what could be improved. She understands the different hair and skin textures. After years of production and experimentation, Akhtar has introduced her own line of products, Nurr. She spent two years in developing these in her own lab and tested them on over 100 people. She has five doctorates helping her in the lab and over 300 people in the factory where she manufactures these products. She emphasised that the daily cleansing routine of women, particularly before bedtime, is imperative for clear skin. She says that a cleanser, toner and night cream that heals the skin, rids it of any inflammation and redness, is a must-have. She says she swears by this routine herself and never skips it. She does have shining clear skin for sure and says that the skin is under stress all day due to sunlight, heat, and make-up. Therefore one needs a very clean and well-nourished face at night. “I know so many Pakistani women all over the world who are very busy and sleep without cleaning their face. They have to wash their faces especially in Pakistan where it is very dusty. Sometimes I have to recommend that don’t use the tap water but mineral water because the former is also polluted. ” Does she approve of the retinol (Vitamin A derivative) that is used for improving skin imperfections? She doesn’t. It is not only banned in her area but also in London and Europe. She says her products are licensed the world over and therefore retinol cannot be used. And she wants her products to be universally sold, marketed and used. She adds that sometimes young women get uneven skin out of negligence or not knowing what is best for their skin. Spots and pimples come by because of stress. The serums, in this case, should de-stress and have minerals to help the skin cells relax. Akhtar says that her day cream protects the skin from sunlight and dust. She only uses SPF 15 so that the skin is protected but not too oily. She adds that a higher SPF concentration can leave the skin greasy. Her serum will protect the skin and not allow the make-up to melt.“Make-up is important and nobody can stop young women from wearing it,” she says. “They can use any kind of make-up they like. If they use a day cream and serum that saves them from damage. They can then use any make-up.” Akhtar says she has also designed a sanitary napkin that has minerals in it. When the minerals come in contact with the body heat, they are absorbed by the skin cells and relax the body. The girls and women have pain-free periods and can continue with their daily activities without any tension. Their face and body will not show signs of any menstrual stress.Published in Daily Times, March 19th 2019.