Pharmacy, nature and beauty rolled into One | Inquirer Business

Pharmacy, nature and beauty rolled into One

Charade Galang

This pharmacist was arguably the beauty industry’s best-kept secret until she became the face of her own personal-care line, One Naturales.

Nela Charade Galang, president of Rochar Cosmeceuticals Inc., convinced her customers that her products were safer and more effective in their quest for youth and vitality.


A strategist in the Filipina’s fight against brown spots, zits and other blemishes, Galang developed her ammunition of soaps and lotions containing secret ingredients and formulations which she claims, no lab could easily determine.


Previously, she supplied bath and body products, cosmetics and supplements to dermatologists, retailers and multilevel companies under their own labels. Last year, Galang made a breakthrough when Watson’s invited her to launch O.N.E Naturales and be its spokesperson. To celebrate its first anniversary, the products will be sold at P199.

Galang created a niche in the beauty industry by offering personal care products that don’t contain ingredients that can irritate the skin such as synthetic fragrance and preservatives and dyes that actually reduce the shelf life. O.N.E. is the acronym for “organic, natural and eco-friendly.”

“The local beauty industry has not yet been fully explored. There’s still a lot of room to launch new products that really work,” she says.

WATSON’S invited Galang to launch One Naturales

O.N.E. Natural’s star product is the solid shampoo that contains essential oils from geranium, tea tree oil and lavender that not only add volume but also make the hair shinier. Galang explains that the solidified shampoo is more potent than the liquid version. The sugar-and-salt scrub and lip balms have also been best-sellers.

Customers also patronize the hand and body lotion, which also doubles as a facial moisturizer because of the rich Vitamin E which doesn’t clog the pores.

Galang defends the materials of her containers, which are crucial in preserving the integrity of the formulas. For instance, the aluminum tin tube actually strengthens the potency of the body lotion. However, customers found it difficult to squeeze the content from the tube. To solve the problem, she created a different variant in a more user-friendly tube.


“We learned from mistakes; I’m in a space where I have to make the brand more visible. O.N.E. Naturales should be seen as unique yet not too difficult to understand,” says Galang whose game plan is to assert this local brand an image of quality.

As O.N.E. Naturales enters its second year, it has widened its distribution to include Watson’s Guam and other outlets such as the duty-free stores. She will also launch a cosmetic line such as a silken face powder that contains special minerals, ginseng and mushrooms. “They reactivate the sleeping skin cells,” says Galang. A pore-refining product contains pomegranate, an antioxidant, and shea butter, which is a natural sunscreen.

“Through O.N.E. Naturales, I have gained credibility and the skills of Rochar Cosmecueticals were acknowledged. It paved the way for other brands to be created,” Galang says.

Hero products

One Naturales is known for safe and effective products

The 33-year-old entrepreneur and formulator says Rochar has been busy developing many private labels from concept to formulation to packaging.

Business has grown by 30 percent over last year’s figures. Galang attributes it to the big accounts. The company has eight major clients which includes big direct-selling companies and a department store. The business grew exponentially with “hero products” that customers can’t live without. One of her best-sellers is the blemish balm which not only treats pimples and freckles but also acts as a light foundation. In another store, a product made from argan oil is snapped up by customers for its moisturizing and healing properties and for boosting healthy hair.

Like fashion and other consumer products, the beauty industry is also subjected to planned obsolescence. The cycle of a product or trend is short-lived. “We have to update ourselves and be aggressive in coming up with what is next so customers don’t get bored. We have to update ourselves with what’s new and what ingredients are banned and why,” Galang states.

Galang cites hydroquinone, a popular skin bleaching agent that is prohibited abroad but that is still found in some local mass-based products. Frequent use of hydroquinone produces ochronosis or grayish-brown spots.

“Companies sell whitening products that contain harmful ingredients like hydroquinone, which is banned in Korea and Japan. There is an opportunity for us to serve because Filipinos are not aware that we create products that deliver minus the toxins,” Galang says.

Her latest product Instant White uses turnip. “It replenishes the moisture that is taken out when you are exposed to the harsh environment. It has whitening agent that makes the skin supple, as it does micro-exfoliation. It includes other natural whitening ingredients in the products such as Vitamin C.”

Galang notes that Koreans have beautiful complexions because of their stringent standards in the formulation. “They don’t use one ingredient for all products. A certain product requires a different ingredient from the others to get the benefits. That’s one thing the local industry doesn’t do. First, Filipinos are not aware that these are things that need utmost attention. Second, they focus on the results but not the process or the science behind it. For instance, they just want to be whiter without trying to understand how one becomes fairer.”

Going full scale

Galang has come a long way from working in fashion retail. Meanwhile, she moonlighted by creating skin-care products under her company Char Sophisticates Enterprises (which was renamed Rochar.)

With a capital of P30,000 and a soap-making machine, she made her first batch of soap at home. Galang peddled her wares through the Internet in the Ali Baba site and and visiting call centers. “It became an employee-subsidized item because call-center agents usually had skin problems.”

Through text messages and friends Galang started meeting provincial distributors. She would fly to the province and book two rooms, one for stocking the soap and business transactions. The clients came to the room to pick up the inventory.

Each 150 gram bar contained glutathione and papain white whitening. She would produce 15,000 to 20,000 pieces of soap in different variants for various distributors in Davao, Surigao, Cebu and Bacolod. The bars were wrapped in plastic while the distributors took care of the packaging. The soaps were sold at P12 to P15 per bar but on retail they fetched P75.

“I went full scale when a distributor from one area would get 1,000 to 2,000 pieces of a variant. They sold like hotcakes. Pharmacies, groceries and networking there were the points of sales. I sold it at a price where they could really earn,” she says.

The customers liked the products because the whitening soaps were gentle on the skin, unlike the leading brands. There were other soaps for other skin types with strawberry and moringa.

The fruit of her effort is the business expansion with the help from bank loans and overseas partners. Fifty percent of the business volume goes to the export market.

“The products for retail go to our cash flow, the answer to our liquidity for operations. The bulk comes from multinational multi-level business. You don’t get problems with the extra work of marketing because they do it. That is how Rochar grew fast because big companies rely on us.”

Lately, she established buying offices in Hong Kong and China. She adds that the office in China also supervises the quality control of her bulk orders.

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Ultimately Galang has one crusade: while other companies promise to deliver youth, Rochar promises benefits and safety.

TAGS: Beauty products, Business, Entrepreneurship, Philippines, soap

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