Bettina Osmeña was seated quietly at the table, her eyes looking down, appearing lost in thought. It has been 10 years since she battled—and survived—breast cancer.
Today, the demure, self-possessed wife of Sen. Sergio Osmeña III is driven to fulfill her life’s mission: to deliver certified organic products to the public at a most affordable price.
After the successful launch of her company, Organic Basket, in 2011 that initially offered edible, organic aloe vera (AloeCure) to aid those afflicted with acid reflux, Osmeña has been busy cooking up, so to speak, other value-for-money healthy products.
And when Osmeña says healthy, she means all-natural EcoCert-approved organic products. In short, products that she and her family and friends actually use.
The latest addition to Organic Basket is a three-step hair care line that Osmeña said softens hair, stops hair fall and promotes hair growth. Her company partnered with the American Global Health Group, a US company known for its extensive research and exclusive use of aloe vera for its health and beauty products.
“It’s very alarming how much cancer is developing in young people. I think that’s related to the air that we breathe and the food that we’re eating. This is a country of overprocessed hair, from dyeing to perming. So I want to introduce healthy, organic products to the market,” said Osmeña.
Called Aloe Derma hair care, the line includes shampoo, conditioner and hair tonic. Aloe Derma hair care contains aloe vera amino acids similar to keratin, the primary protein of the hair, she said, that repairs and revives hair back to its former luster. The three-step hair care line detoxifies, moisturizes and repairs naturally, sans the harmful effects of chemicals.
The hair care line, for instance, is paraben-free. Parabens are chemicals, a group of compounds, widely used as preservatives by pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries and usually found in moisturizers, deodorants, shampoos, toothpaste, makeup and even food.
While there’s still a big debate on whether it actually is harmful, researchers have seen parabens leaving traces in breast cancer tissues. To date, however, there is no direct evidence that links parabens to cancer.
Osmeña is not one to take chances, especially not when the risks might jeopardize one’s health. The Aloe Derma shampoos, for example, do not contain sulfates, the chemical that makes it foamy—yet another chemical suspected of causing cancer.
There is also an option to use the conditioner as a leave-on. A curious addition to this hair care family is the Aloe Derma hair tonic. It’s sabila in a bottle, guaranteed pure, natural and organic, that keeps hair healthy and shiny. It can even serve as a light, natural hair gel.
Osmeña said that unlike most products in the market that contain only one to two percent aloe vera—just so they can make a claim—Organic Basket’s Aloe Derma hair tonic contains 99.8 percent organic aloe vera juice. The .2 percent is citric acid that functions as a stabilizer.
This is good news for people who plant aloe vera in their garden just so they can have it in its purest form. Osmeña admits she’s one of the Filipinos who grow aloe vera in their backyard. With the Aloe Derma hair tonic now available, she said it eliminates the necessity to have a plant in the garden.
“In the long run, this is more cost-effective than the plant. You have to keep on cutting the plant and putting it on your head. It’s really messy. And it takes so long to grow back. Buying another plant is magulo lang,” she said, laughing.
Fashion designer Lulu Tan-Gan swears by Aloe Derma hair care line. About a year-and-a-half ago, she said, she was alarmed by excessive hair fall after taking a shower. Tan-Gan has been streaking her hair since 1980, she said. Although the cause of her hair fall could be attributed to many factors, she said she noticed even more falling hair each time she has a show.
“I was losing even more hair each time I got so stressed out. It really scared me. But since I’ve been using Aloe Derma I noticed the falling hair lessened, little by little, each week,” Tan-Gan said.
Two weeks ago, when she staged another show, Tan-Gan’s fears came rushing back. The hair she has been patiently growing might be gone by the time she’s done with the shower. To her surprise, she only had three falling hairs—and, yes, she counts them. The product, continued Tan-Gan, also leaves a pleasant smell.
Musician and entrepreneur Ramon “RJ” Jacinto, another one of Osmeña’s friends who agreed to road-test the product prior to the launch, also had a similar experience. In his business, he said, he needs to look young, and his hair is now thickening again because of the product. Apart from that, he also uses Aloe Derma as a light gel.
“It holds your hair without being too oily or sticky. And I’ve always wondered why no company has ever come out with a product that is almost pure aloe vera without the smell,” Jacinto said.
Osmeña, however, said she cannot promise people who have been bald for several years that they will grow their hair back. When the hair follicles have closed, that’s pretty much it for them, she said. What it can do is prevent further hair loss.
The Aloe Derma hair care line has no harmful chemicals, such that Osmeña guarantees safety to anyone who happens to ingest their products by accident. “There’s nothing poisonous in here,” she said.
Organic Basket’s three-step Aloe Derma hair care line is now available exclusively at all Watsons branches. The Aloe Derma shampoo and conditioner is P225 each for a 210-ml bottle, while the Aloe Derma hair tonic is at P215 per 110-ml bottle. For inquiries and orders, call 8882563 or e-mail [email protected]