Here, at the Bottega Zero Waste School, we obsess over student success. This is why we are delighted to introduce you to Yujie, a graduate from Zero Waste Haircare and now the founder of her own brand, Chala Cosmetics...
Hello, my name is Yujie Ji (吉玉洁 in mandarin). I started my journey as a maker during quarantine, May 2020.
As someone who lives on the other side of the earth from my parents, I travel quite a lot and often on long flights. Over the years, I had to throw out many bottles of my favorite face cleaner or liquid shampoo in the airport due to carry on limits.
Once, I saw my dad just brought a single bar of soap to use for his entire body. I wondered, is there a multipurpose soap bar for me too? That way, I won't have to carry all these bottles!
Making my first soap bar
That’s when I started doing research on how to make soap bars. My very first experiment was castile soap. Its gentle properties fascinated me.
I found a random YouTube video that didn't look too complicated and made 600 grams… I had no idea how many soap bars that would give me. I simply just fell in love with this magical process: making natural bath and beauty products in my kitchen to reduce waste.
I started to purchase more tools and buying more ingredients. All I wanted to do was try out every single recipe that caught my eye. Soon, I realized how many products I’d made, which was just sitting there and how much money I'd spent.
I started to look for simpler recipes, and someone who has a minimalistic mindset in the making community to learn from. That’s when I find Marta on YouTube.
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Learning to formulate my own recipes
Since then, I've learned so much from Marta. I've completely changed my way of how I see and make my own products. Now, I’m in the process of developing my own brand, Chala Cosmetics!
I focus developing natural and simple bath and beauty products that are accessible to everyone. I am trying to spread the word about zero waste living to as many people as possible.
I like that I'm in control of what I use on my body, and I’m able to make products for my loved ones. I also want to share my knowledge and products to others. When I try to reduce waste and be minimal on recipes.
Sometimes, it’s hard to find the exact ingredients. So, that made me look into substitutions. The overall challenge is to learn each ingredients properties and how they would effect the end result. Then, use small amount to test out the new recipes first.
Launching my own natural bath & beauty brand
I’m starting my brand, Chala Cosmetics. So hopefully I’m going to start selling my products very soon. I made shampoo bars and hand lotion bars for my co-works last Christmas.
I also mailed a small box of shampoo bars, body soap, hand soap, dish soap for my parents last year from the other side of the world! They’re very eager to try my products. They all loved the idea of reducing waste and knowing exactly what’s in the products.
Formulating shampoo bars for itchy scalps
My favorite recipe is a shampoo bar I made for myself. I’ve been trying a lot of natural shampoos or commercial just to fix my extremely itchy scalp. But nothing worked.
So I signed up for Zero Waste Haircare, the Bottega Zero Waste Shampoo and Conditioner online course. From there I learned a lot about what ingredients can affect the scalp and developed my own recipe referencing your turmeric shampoo bar for itchy scalp.
I want to incorporate ancient Chinese herbalism into my products to achieve the best result. Now, I use it everyday and I’m going to launch this shampoo bar later on my online brand, Chala Cosmetics, as well!
If you'd like to continue to follow my zero waste journey, follow me on Instagram @chalacosmetics!