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Neeta Visvalingam, Founder of Neeta’s Herbal International, on her determination to find natural solutions for hair issues

by Aiden

Love is in the hair!

By Aiden Jewelle Gonzales

As a child whose hair used to be long enough to sit on, I remember that I considered my black locks to be my crowning glory, and would bawl whenever my parents took me for my infrequent haircuts – a fact I told Neeta Visvalingam, the founder of Neeta’s Herbal International, when I met her. Unfortunately, I explained, my rebellious teenage years hit during the ill-advised ‘emo’ and ‘scene’ eras, and I ended up dyeing my hair a riot of rainbow colours, and consecutively perming it, rebonding it, and generally destroying it to the extent that I had to spend my last year of secondary school with a severe bob to try and salvage the damage.

Years of careful hair care later, I like to think that my hair is once again one of my preferred features, and one that I’ve since learned holds great importance for many others, especially in the Indian community. Nevertheless, I’ll never forget the hit that my self-confidence took during those days,a sentiment understood by Malaysian-born Neeta, who talks about her own struggle with hair-related issues. As she shows me around the newly-opened and stylish branch of Neeta’s Herbal in Marché Thonglor, the first one in Thailand, she tells me about what prompted her to start a brand that started in Malaysia and has now spread to the UK, the US, Australia, and finally the bustling streets of Thong Lo. “As a young woman, I personally experienced a very severe form of hair loss, which left my confidence in tatters,” she tells me. “The pivotal moment that inspired my mission was the realisation of the pressing need for natural solutions to hair issues.”

She tells me about her grandmother’s haircare regimen composed of natural herbal concoctions, and how that inspired her to find her cure in nature. After a trip to India, the land of her ancestors, to discover Ayurvedic techniques and ingredients; and a judicious amount of hard work and determination, Neeta’s Herbal was born.

“Establishing our first branch in Malaysia marked a significant milestone in our journey,” she says with no small amount of pride. “It allowed us to reach a new audience and expand our global footprint, bringing our highly sought-after herbal treatments to a wider market.”

When I ask how her struggles with hair loss shaped the philosophy behind her company, she emphasises that it helped her understand the importance of holistic care. “At Neeta’s Herbal, we firmly believe in addressing the underlying issues rather than merely treating the symptoms,” shesays. “We are committed to crafting herbal- based treatments that are not only effective, but also free from any unwanted side effects.”

With a strong background in Ayurveda herbal hair and skin care, as well as accreditation from the prestigious International Therapy Examination Council (ITEC) in the UK, Neeta brings to bear her personal experiences, her passion, and partnerships with world-class research facilities, to createscientific and effective solutions for all, regardless of the hair and scalp issues they face. She speaks to Masala further about how, like her hair, she’s nurtured the robust growth of her business with patience and care.

How did your grandmother’s traditional herbal remedies influence the development of your hair treatment methods, and what specific herbs played a crucial role in your formulations?

My deep-rooted connection to my grandmother’s traditional remedies has heavily influenced my approach. Her wisdom guided the use of key herbs such as amla, bhringraj, and neem, which play crucial roles in formulating our highly- effective treatments.

Could you elaborate on the collaboration with world-class research facilities to enhance the effectiveness of your herb- based treatments?

Collaborations with reputable research facilities have significantly enhanced the effectiveness of our treatments. By integrating scientific advancements into our products, we are able to optimise the herbal properties and deliver tangible results.

The concept of Ayurveda is deeply rooted in Indian culture. How do you ensure that your treatments cater to the unique needs of the Thai-Indian community, considering the diverse hair types and lifestyles?

In honouring the roots of Ayurveda deeply embedded in Indian culture, we tailor our treatments for the diverse needs of the Thai-Indian community. Recognising varied hair types, issues, and lifestyles, we apply Ayurvedic principles while adapting formulations to suit every individual for their specific needs and characteristics. Our practitioners are all trained and certified to address various concerns. This ensures our treatments remain effective, helping the community in a safe and sustainable manner. I feel it is extremely important to spread awareness that prevention is better than cure, as taking care of hair health is often overlooked.

As your company expands globally, what cultural considerations are taken into account to ensure that your herbal treatments resonate with customers in the UK, US, Australia, Malaysia, and now Thailand?

As our company expands globally, we prioritise cultural considerations to ensure the resonance of our herbal treatments across diverse markets, including the UK, US, Australia, Malaysia, and Thailand. A key element in our approach is the use of Ayurvedic herbs, carefully selected to provide not only effective results but also to eliminate side effects. This commitment to Ayurvedic principles ensures that our treatments not only enhance beauty but also offer holistic health benefits. We emphasise the natural, safe, and health-promoting aspects of Ayurvedic herbs, contributing to a positive and inclusive wellness experience for our customers.

What sets your company apart from other hair treatment providers?

What sets us apart is our meticulous care for each customer, tailoring Ayurvedic- based treatments to individual needs. Our approach is performance-based, ensuring effective results without resorting to invasive methods. By prioritising our customer, we deliver a personalised and transformative hair care experience, distinguishing us in the industry.

Can you share success stories or testimonials from individuals who have experienced positive results with your herbal hair treatments, emphasising the transformative effects on their confidence and well-being?

Reflecting on the last 40 years, it’s challenging to pinpoint a single success story as we’ve been fortunate to witness numerous transformative experiences globally. Each journey is unique, yet a common thread emerges — the joy of helping individuals regain their hair and, in turn, boosting their self-confidence. This ongoing commitment drives us to impact as many lives as possible, fostering a sense of fulfilment in our mission to provide effective, Ayurvedic-based solutions for hair care and well-being.

Tell us a little about your latest branch here in Bangkok. What led you to expand to Thailand, and how do you hope to reach the Thai and Thai-Indian market here?

Our expansion to Bangkok is driven by Thailand’s rich history of herbal medicine and a cultural inclination towards holistic wellness. We aim to seamlessly integrate our Ayurvedic-based treatments into the local landscape, resonating with both the broader Thai market and the Thai-Indian community. By collaborating with local experts, our goal is to become a trusted partner in the pursuit of hair health and overall wellbeing, tapping into the transformative power of herbal treatments deeply ingrained within the Thai culture.

Looking ahead, what are you looking forward to both personally and professionally?

Personally, I am eagerly looking forward to continued growth and ongoing learning. Professionally, our goal is to expand our reach and positively impact even more lives through the power of Ayurvedic care.

What is your advice for other entrepreneurs, especially women entrepreneurs, who wish to start businesses of their own?

Aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly women, should always believe in their own vision, remain resilient, and embrace challenges as opportunities for growth. Your unique perspective has the potential to drive meaningful change in the business world.

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