Stevi Lowmass, founder Camel Soap Factory and Anita Chandler, Director – Licensing and Retail, Commercial, Expo 2020 Dubai during the tour. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Would you consider using soap made from camel milk?

A UAE cosmetics company has been quietly using camel milk to create exquisite natural soap, and the concept has caught the eye of the Expo 2020 management.

Developed by Stevi Lowmass, a Dubai-based South African woman, camel milk-based toiletries, which will soon include a skin cream in addition to a range of soaps, draw from the rich Middle Eastern tradition of soap-making, combining what is abundantly available locally with oriental fragrances.

And this is exactly what the Expo 2020 is eager to cash on, mixing tradition with innovation.

“Our natural soaps are steeped in the traditional Middle Eastern oriental soap-making such as those made in Palestine, Syria and Jordan,” said Lowmass, founder and CEO of The Camel Milk Soap Factory. “Traditional Palestinian soap-makers used olive oil and lye to make their soaps. What I decided was to use camel milk instead of lye and the result is a beautiful natural product.”

Workers preparing soaps at Camel Soap Factory. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

The former systems engineer, who always loved a good natural soap, decided to shift careers when she visited a natural soap-making factory during a holiday in western Australia. She then realised that there was a need for something similar in the UAE.

“About 10 years ago, I saw a gap in the market for a product that was sustainable, eco-friendly and something that was made locally,” Lowmass told Gulf News during a recent tour of her factory in Al Quoz. “We initially targeted the gift market, but increasingly we are selling into the consumer market now.

“The entire process is natural and handmade right from the mixing of the ingredients to stamping and packaging the bars. We source natural, high quality ingredients, like camel milk, olive oil and fragrances,” she added.

After struggling for the initial three years to leave its scent in the market, the concept has caught some serious attention over the last four years, including that of Expo 2020 management, which has tied up with the firm to produce Expo branded soaps.

“I’m really excited about this partnership with Expo 2020, this is a great opportunity for us to showcase our locally produced, natural and sustainable products. What we are trying to do and what Expo stands for kind of matches and this is a perfect partnership,” said Lowmass.

For Expo, it is an opportunity to showcase and promote the unique local concepts and products.

“When 25 million visitors come to the Expo we would want them take away something special as souvenirs,” said Anita Chandler, director — licensing and retail, commercial, Expo 2020. “Engaging with companies like The Camel Milk Soap Factory and other local SMEs [Small and Medium-sized Enterprises] would allow us to do that, apart from providing these local companies an extra avenue to grow.”

Workers packing soaps at Camel Soap Factory. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

The increasing demand has now forced Lowmass to move to a bigger manufacturing unit in Silicon Oasis, which is set open in May.

Apart from producing soaps, Lowmass is also keen on spreading awareness about using sustainable, natural products, which is the reason why she welcomes visitors, including students, into her factory, educating them about sustainable manufacturing and living.

Why camel milk?

Lowmass said camel milk is a rich source of protein and potent protective compounds, which are not found in the same quantities in other milks.

She added that the Bedouin of the Arabian deserts have known about the goodness of camel milk for centuries, and have traditionally used it as a cosmetic product.

“Camel milk has natural anti-bacterial properties that help to reduce acne bacteria on the skin and the high alpha-hydroxy acid content is a great aid to smoothing fine lines,” she said.