Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I sat down with co-founder Yoshiko Roth-Hidalgo to learn more about JUARA after doing my own research.


1. How long has the company been around?

We officially incorporated in the summer of 2004 and introduced the products to the market in the spring of 2005. My business partners include Metta Murdaya, Jill Sung, Tami Chuang and myself. We launched JUARA with three only three products, one of which became an instant hit, our Candle nut Body Crème. It was very exciting!

2. What inspired you to create a product with such exotic ingredients?

We draw our inspiration from the traditional Indonesian herbal medicine, called “Jamu” and from ancient Indonesian beauty rituals. Metta Murdaya, one of my business partners, is a native of Indonesia, so she spent her whole life traveling back and forth between the United States and her home country. Since the herbal tradition of “Jamu” is still very much alive and relevant today, she literally grew up with the health and beauty traditions of Indonesia. Before the arrival of Western medicine in Indonesia, people used to rely exclusively on the healing properties of the plants and herbs that local nature offered. When the secret health and beauty recipes were discovered by Western scientists, it became evident that these plants and botanicals have real, tangible benefits for our health. Turmeric for example is one of the most important healing plants in traditional Indonesian “Jamu”. This has captured the excitement of Western scientists because of its amazing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that are very much relevant today, especially as we are so exposed to environmental and life style stress. The traditional Indonesian Jamu books and spa books are full of unique recipes for beauty and health. We at JUARA feel compelled to tell this story and instill this passion in other people through our products.

3. Are the products made in the USA?

Our products are made in the USA, in fact very close to our headquarters. We manufacture in New Jersey, so just a short ride away from our Manhattan office. This makes quality control much easier.

4. I have tried many skincare lines over the years. While some products have few natural ingredients, there are those that are 100% natural and some fall somewhere in between. Which category does your product fall in and what percent of your ingredients are natural?

JUARA is really the best of both worlds. For our products we use high concentrations of natural ingredients at levels that have been proven beneficial for the skin. However, we also believe that non-natural ingredients play an important and beneficial role in skincare products. I consider JUARA the best of both worlds. For example, some non-natural ingredients enhance the effectiveness or stability of the natural ingredients. Some non-natural ingredients are beneficial for the skin in their own right. We exclude non-natural ingredients from our products when there is a compelling reason to do so and if there are better, safer, gentler alternatives available. For example, we don’t use sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate in any of our cleansing products, because it has been shown to irritate skin and cause allergic reactions, but also because these days, there are new plant-derived cleansing agents that are much safer, much gentler and just as effective. We don’t use artificial colorants, no mineral oil and almost all of our products at this point are paraben-free. Also we are about 75% or more botanical based, not counting water content in the products, so it’s actually quite high.

5. Okay let's talk product. I tried your Turmeric mask and really loved it. I loved the tightening feeling and the texture my skin was after 10 minutes. What makes it feel so great and what are the healing properties of Turmeric?

Our Turmeric Mask, which we will be renaming Turmeric Antioxidant Radiance Mask because of its benefits of boosting skin radiance, is a combination of clay and Turmeric. The nice thing about
it is the fact that it has all the purifying and pore-minimizing benefits of a clay mask, but it won’t dry and crack on your skin, so it feels very comfortable and cooling on the skin as you leave it on.
Any skin type can use it! Turmeric is an amazing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that helps protect skin from free radicals and environmental aggression and also has the ability to reverse signs of sun damage and help even out your skin tone. Our skin tone can become uneven over time due to sun exposure, acne scars or hormonal changes. Turmeric helps brighten the skin and diminish discoloration. In fact, an ancient but very simple trick of women in Indonesia is to mix some Turmeric powder with water and apply it to areas where their skin tone was uneven. Our mask is of course very convenient to use. Two to three times a week in the evening, you just put it directly on cleansed skin. You can either leave it on for 20 minutes while you relax, or you can even leave it on overnight.

6. Coming from Trinidad, I am familiar with ingredients like Tamarind but it is the first time I have seen it in skincare. What made you use Tamarind?

Tamarind plays a very important role in Indonesian “Jamu”, so it made perfect sense to incorporate it in JUARA products. In Indonesia, different parts of Tamarind are used for different purposes or ailments. The leaves of Tamarind are used for sprains and swelling, while the pulp is typically mixed in health drinks for taste and its blood-cleansing benefits. One typical Jamu concoction is Kunyit Asam, where Turmeric is mixed with Tamarind and honey or palm sugar to create a very tasty tonic that helps detoxify your system and calm your stomach. In our Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner we use the extract of Tamarind Seeds, which has been shown to attract moisture to the skin (it’s a humectant), plump up little dry lines and smoothes the skin for a more radiant, supple complexion. For Indonesian women, supple, well-hydrated skin is beautiful skin. Our Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner visibly and noticeably boosts the hydration level of
your skin.

7. I also wanted to ask you about the coffee body scrub. This is the first time I have ever used a product like this. It is not only a great morning boost but it feels incredible. What other aspects of this product can you share with me?

Our coffee scrub is my favorite shower treat! It’s just so energizing and fun and leaves the skin feeling incredibly smooth. The combination of dark-roasted ground Indonesian coffee beans and crushed walnuts provides amazing exfoliating benefits, plus the natural caffeine helps boost circulation and diminish the appearance of cellulite. The scrub is also rich in Rice Bran Oil, which women in Asia use to maintain skin’s youthful elasticity. What is so beautiful about this formulation is that it is moisturizing like an oil-scrub but rinses clean like a cleansing scrub. Therefore, your bathtub won’t get greasy and slippery. It’s a cleansing oil-scrub – very unique!

8. Where can you find your product line?

JUARA is primarily available at luxury apothecaries and high-end spas across the USA, Canada and now Indonesia and South Korea. Here in New York City, you can find JUARA at New London Pharmacy, Apthorp Pharmacy, Silk Day Spa and Woodley & Bunny. In Los Angeles, you can find us at Studio at Fred Segal in Santa Monica. We also ship nationwide from our online boutique at

9. In a nut shell, how would you describe your products and why are they so different?

We are a socially-conscious women-owned business with a genuine passion for healthy skin and the ancient Indonesian tradition of beauty and health. With JUARA, we bring this ancient tradition to the contemporary world because we want to share these amazing beauty secrets with people. Each of our products was inspired by an Indonesian beauty or health ritual and focuses on unique active botanicals that have been essential in the past but are also relevant to us today. The products are crafted with care, deliver real results and make you feel good instantly, be it through an uplifting scent or amazing texture. Once somebody tries or Candlenut Body Crème, our Coffee Scrub or Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner, they are hooked!

Copyright © 2009 Antonio Gonzales, All Rights Reserved