When Subtle Isn’t So Subtle In Skin Care



Subtle Green is the new customizable skincare line on the block. They specialize in luxurious moisturizers that you can create yourself, through a mixing and matching process on their website. Essentially, you choose your base cream and oil, essential oils and booster botanicals to bring forth your unique and perfect (for you) moisturizer.

We’ve sat down with Chitra Desikan, the founder and creator of Subtle Green, to get the inside scoop on her new unique skincare line and why customizable skincare is the new black.

Q: How did you come up with the name “Subtle Green”?

  • Chitra: We wanted to empower consumers with a subtle nudge – educate them on expecting transparency from skincare manufacturers and understanding what goes into their skincare products while also enabling them to design their own products that are botanically powered (green).

Q: How did you decide to create a customizable skincare line, in particular, and why is it important?

  • Chitra: Early on, we received special requests for products, like sunspot remedies and something that could help with uneven skin tones. We also had one customer who wanted to explore different combinations of properties and scents with the line. This really led us down the path of empowering our customers to get exactly what they want for their own skin care. It was a challenging design, and we consulted with several formulators until we had the simplicity in process coupled with the power of each choice. Now we really feel that our customization offering is unique in the all-natural market and will open customers up to a new standard in beauty. Skin care is personal, like a fragrance is personal. And everyone’s skin is unique. Yet, skincare continues to be mass produced, forcing us to fit in a couple of pre-determined molds so manufacturers can be cost effective and reap huge profits. Allowing customers to understand what goes in their skincare is the first stage of transparency. Enabling consumers to design their product is empowerment! And it ensures that they get exactly what they want to suits their individual skincare needs – no cookie cutter products, only personalized and high performance skincare made to order.

Q: How have the many interesting places you’ve lived influenced your company?

  • Chitra: Although we’ve lived in a multitude of different international locations from the Middle East, India to the Caribbean and North America, Montreal is close to our hearts and has been a huge influencer. Considered “Paris” of North America, Montreal is the scene of high fashion, elegance and café culture. A multicultural and international city, Montreal has that joie de vivre that stems from its charming French and English heritage blended with a variety of ethnic backgrounds. The spirit of Montreal speaks to me in its elegance and the spirit of life. People there deal with harsh winters, and yet you’ll see the ladies out in heels waiting to enter clubs to party at night. No amount of severe weather can excuse frumpy frocks and thick heavy sweaters that look like a bag on your body. It’s all about elegance, luxury and the free spirit that devours life, seeking new experiences and sensations. It’s living life while looking good. Nothing symbolizes that more for me than the elegance of our bio-photonic black bottles – sleek, minimalistic and stylish, it grabs your attention on the dresser, you’re wondering what’s inside and what experience you’re going to have when you press that pump. These bottles don’t just look good, they also help preserve the freshness of our products.

Then we wanted the product to be luxurious – a feeling that you get in a spa, but in your own home. As Montrealers, we love to be pampered, indulged with new sensations and fragrances. When we chose our oils and botanicals for Subtle Green, we went for the most powerful and decadent oils, rare and coveted for a luxurious skincare experience. We wanted to elevate natural skincare from a farmers market feel to a luxe experience – luxe and elegant makes us true to the spirit of Montreal.

A job opportunity had me moving to San Diego, CA where I experienced a whole different culture. Flip flops, beachy waves, tanned skin and that easy-cool of southern California is unmistakably the complete opposite to Montreal where flip flops about town could be a faux pas. It was my first experience with Whole Foods Market and e
verything natural and organic. Fresh food, endless summer and the healthy outdoors in flip flops can be intoxicating, liberating and a whole new life experience of enjoying nature and everything natural and real and organic. The carefree, natural yet exotic sensations of San Diego influenced us and we’ve incorporated the easy, southern California vibe in our choice of essential oils and butters – like Mango butter, Shea, Jasmine, Frangipani and Neroli essences. We’re also choosing organic botanicals and oils and ensure that ingredients we purchase from our suppliers are also not tested on animals. San Diego is truly a gorgeous city and that’s not lost on us. We use the bird of paradise in imagery. In addition we’ve used the beauty and natural appeal of San Diego to influence the imagery of our website – lush and natural.

The luxury and elegance of Montreal coupled with the natural, exotic appeal of San Diego is the regenerative spirit of our product.

Subtle Green - Vienne -Intense Hydration

Q: How is your skincare line different from others that claim to be “all-natural”?

  • Chitra: There are many natural formulators and we all work hard to create healthy products from natural ingredients (also organic in some cases) to provide customers a better alternative to brands laden with harsh and toxic chemicals. We’re different only by our choices of specialty ingredients, our unique appeal, our story or history and our brand. Every natural formulator brings something to the table. At Subtle Green, we want to empower our customers by enabling them to design their own luscious product through an easy guided process. You can read more info on environmental safety on our blog here – http://www.subtlegreen.com/blogs/articles/51231425-environmentally-responsible-skincare

Q: What are some of the ingredients that you use that stand out as unique and why are they important?

  • Chitra: For essential oils – Jasmine, Rose Damask and Neroli, are exotic and highly coveted essences that stimulate skin regeneration and delay the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. We’ve incorporated them in many of our creams and lotions. We’re also a huge believer in the antioxidant owner of fruit and nut oils like  Rosehip (Vitamin A – and natural form of retin A) and sea buckthorn berry, Pomegranate seed, Cranberry seed, Pumpkin Seed with high quantities of vitamins A, C and E as well as flavonoids for skin regeneration and toning. Macadamia nut (natural source of Squalane), Avocado and Almond oils for vitamins B and E to improve skin elasticity. We’re also specializing in high potency botanicals like naturally derived Hyaluronic acid, Olive Squalene, vitamin C and Coenzyme Q10 to deliver targeted anti-aging treatment deep within the skin’s epidermal layer for maximum impact.

Q: What would your advice be to someone having problematic skin issues? And how should they approach the customization process through Subtle Green?

  • Chitra: One of our goals is to educate consumers on what goes on their skin, what they might be reacting to (harsh chemicals, synthetic and toxic chemicals) and empower them to make better choices learning about benefits of naturally available oils and botanicals.

Informative guide on chemicals to watch out for here: http://www.subtlegreen.com/pages/chemicals-to-avoid

Guide on how to go about identifying botanicals for your skin here:


Understanding a little more about the power of botanicals and  how they can help your skin, is a great place to start toward customizing your skincare. I would refer one to our guide http://www.subtlegreen.com/pages/buying-guide-for-great-natural-skin-care as a start. Following that our customization process is an easy 3 step wizard that guides you through tailoring a skincare product that is specifically suited to one’s needs. Having the powerful benefits of botanicals that you have chosen without any of the toxic chemicals used in many (non-natural) brands, is a really good step towards glowing and healthy skin.

To learn more about Subtle Green, visit www.subtlegreen.com.

Bess OConnor

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