Muscat: Have you ever dreamt of enjoying a luxurious frankincense facewash? Well, thanks to Atheer Tabook, you can now!
The 25-year-old has combined traditional Dhofari frankincense with the knowledge gained through her university studies to produce a soap for the first time in August 2016, and after graduation, she continued her experiments by founding her own company – Lubaniah – to create natural wellness products.
“I got the idea in August 2016 after participating in a competition where we had to pitch ideas. My initiative was dedicated to creating ideas for entrepreneurship that would contribute to change,” she said. “I shared the idea of using organic materials to produce skin care products, and I won the first place.”
Atheer’s university studies were in microbiology and bioscience at the University of Michigan in America, where she successfully conducted research in the field of organic chemistry and biochemistry.
“After the competition, I discovered my abilities in the field of entrepreneurship,” she added. “In America, I realised the real value of frankincense, and that we had a treasure in which we were not investing. Dhofar was, after all, called the land of frankincense in the past.
“In one of the lessons, the lecturer mentioned that 99 per cent of the therapeutic benefits found in medicinal plants can be seen in Al Hawjari frankincense, scientifically called boswellia sacra, which we have in Oman,” she revealed. “During every visit to the Sultanate, I took back frankincense with me and conducted research at the University of Michigan’s labs. I learned how to make medical products using frankincense and many of its natural oils.”
One of her first products was a lotion that helped ease itching in eczema patients, allowing for the accelerated regeneration and moisturising of skin cells.
“There is a revival among Omanis and researchers to study the benefits of frankincense and its uses, which is positive,” Atheer noted. “On the part of the consumers, there is demand to buy the products, because they are 100 per cent natural, handmade and have high quality ingredients. Al Hawjari is among the finest frankincense in the world.” Her products, such as soaps, coffee scrubs, lotions and facemasks have found more than 600 practical uses. “After making a product, volunteers test it for a month to ensure their effectiveness,” she stressed.
“During my university studies, I found a special soap formula for the manufacture of specific products, depending on the customer’s skin type. I have invested in the medical benefits of frankincense to the maximum extent possible, and the customers’ experience with the products have proved their safety.”
“One of my best products was the eczema frankincense lotion, as people found out that it helped stop the itching in eczema patients, accelerated the regeneration of cells and moisturised the skin, which was natural with no chemicals.”
In the future, Atheer aspires to have a global brand for her products, where frankincense could be used as an essential ingredient.
“In general, I specialise in the extraction of natural oils from the plants in the Sultanate,” she explained. “There are many plants that were used by the Omanis since ancient times to treat several diseases, and I am currently studying the effectiveness of these therapeutic plants to be able to prove them scientifically through research and experiments.
“What distinguishes my products is that they are the result of my scientific study specialised in the manufacture of soap,” Atheer emphasised. “So, I have the ability to control the specifications of the final product in terms of flexibility and the nature of treatment suitable for the customer in less than a week. I also distinguish myself from the other companies that use frankincense, because I use all its derivatives, such as the oil and husks, and not just the oil. I also promise product effectiveness and competitive pricing.”