The new-to-market skincare label, Cholley, is branded as a high-tech Swiss-made label.
But its beginnings are undeniably rooted in Persian tradition.
The brand's co-founder and president, Ms Cholley Paydar Bavandpour, says her interest in cosmetics was piqued more than 20 years ago when her dermatologist uncle cured her acne problems with a traditional Persian herb.
A resident of Lugano, Switzerland, the Iranian-Swiss was in town last month to launch the brand in Singapore. Cholley is available at the new multi-brand beauty boutique that specialises in Swiss skincare, Haute Swiss Cosmetics at Wisma Atria.
Ms Paydar Bavandpour's uncle had learnt about the anti-ageing properties of a particular herb that is cultivated in the harsh terrain of Kermanshah in west Iran, where the Bavand tribe and family have lived for centuries. Ms Paydar Bavandpour is a descendant of the ancient Iranian tribe.
"He saw how, although the terrain was dry and windy, the people who lived in the villages there had good skin and few wrinkles," says Ms Paydar Bavandpour, who is 58 but looks a decade younger.
"He found out that the traditional Persian herb has been used for many years; it is mixed with yogurt or milk and applied to the skin."
The herb healed her troubled skin when other doctors could do nothing to treat it, Ms Paydar Bavandpour adds.
And when the Cholley brand was launched in 1989, the herb was added into a marine mask product. It is still offered as an in-salon treatment, and it will be available here soon.
And what exactly is that mysterious herb?
"I cannot tell you because it is a secret recipe, like Coca-Cola's," she quips.
Another traditional Iranian herb, the crocus chrysantus, is used in the brand's Phytocell range of skincare to rejuvenate the skin.
In 1990, Ms Paydar Bavandpour decided to boost the standards and quality of her cosmetics line by having it manufactured in Switzerland.
In the process, she met Dr Jules Luis Masset de Vallefort, a Swiss pharmacologist known for his work in the study of plants for pharmaceutical and cosmetic purposes; and acquired his lab and brand. Today, the ingredients in all Cholley products are sourced from or grown in Switzerland (including those Iranian herbs), and manufactured in the brand's own labs there. Ms Paydar Bavandpour's brother, Rick, a chemical engineer and chief technology officer of the brand, is in charge of research and development at the labs.
Cholley is now available across 19 markets including Dubai, Hong Kong, Pakistan and Taiwan. About 200 spas in Lugano also stock the brand; its fans include the town's mayor, Mr Marco Borradori, and Italian actress Ornella Muti.
Prices of Cholley products start from $63 for a set of ampoules, to $341 for a jar of anti-ageing cream.
PRODUCTS TO LOOK OUT FOR
An anti-wrinkle treatment rich in vitamins, hyaluronic acid and amino acids
A hydrating and brightening day moisturiser.
This helps to boost the production of collagen and elastin for firmer skin
This article was first published on May 1, 2015.
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