BOA the Skincare Inspired by Persian Tradition

The BOA Smart Exfoliant is also known as a ‘lint roller’ for the skin that forms your dead skin cells into rice-like particles. Unlike chemical or physical exfoliants which create microscopic tears in your skin’s surface, the product distinguishes between […]

The BOA Smart Exfoliant is also known as a ‘lint roller’ for the skin that forms your dead skin cells into rice-like particles. Unlike chemical or physical exfoliants which create microscopic tears in your skin’s surface, the product distinguishes between your dead and healthy skin cells by gently lifting dead cells and impurities. 


When I first came across BOA I immediately thought of the traditional Persian skincare techniques deeply rooted in Persian history known as Sefidab. Translated from Farsi to English meaning “white water”. Growing up with a Persian grandma who had a Sefidab pebble in the shower for exfoliation was a rare and interesting item to behold as a child. I thought it was a ball of chalk used to play with during bath time and little did I know I was actually crumbling an ancient beauty secret in my small hands. Archaeologists have uncovered evidence that Sefidab has been used for centuries, dating back 2000 to 4500 bc in bathhouses across Persia, and still used to this day, which is truly astonishing when you think about it. 


Persian beauty regimes don’t necessarily jump top of the mind when you think of skincare, but the creator of BOA, Masoomeh Wake has reinvented an inspired version of this ancient tradition as a packaged product for everyone to use. I had a chance to speak with Masoomeh and ask about the differences and similarities between BOA and Sefidab below. We also spoke about her goals for the brand and what inspired her to create this incredible exfoliant for the masses. 

Masoomeh Wake

Where does the name ‘BOA’ come from?

The closest concept to the functionality of our exfoliant that we could think of was a snake shedding a complete layer of dead skin, so we landed on BOA (as in the snake) as the brand name. We liked it a lot but also realised there may be some negative association with having a snake as the symbol for a beauty product! So we don’t overtly mention snakes in our marketing and if asked we say BOA is an acronym for Beauty On Application. 


Kiseh and sefidab have been used for traditional Persian skincare for thousands of years. Is your product like Sefidab?

The functionality is exactly like Sephid up but when I was researching what was used in traditional Sephid Ab I was a bit taken back by the type of raw materials used and the total lack of quality control for a skincare product that is used on the face. For example, the traditional product uses ingredients like animal fat and chalks (with possible microbial contamination). We use jojoba butter to replace the animal fat. We use various minerals to replace the chalk used in the original product.  We use treated clays with a very specific particle size distribution and a whole host of other ingredients that are functional in the product.

And of course, we make the product in a state of the art manufacturing site with good manufacturing practices that make products for major well-known brands.

If so, Persians are well aware of “sefidab” used in Persian Bathhouses and by our family and friends for generations. What makes BOA uniquely different?

As mentioned, the type of ingredients that we use, quality control, safe and sophisticated ingredients and a fantastic preservation system that keeps the product clean and safe for years. It is a product that comes into contact with skin so it is very important that the product is safe for skin contact. The other thing that I have noticed is that the efficacy of traditional Sephid Ab varies a lot. You get some that feel like a rock with hardly any performance and some that are too greasy with, again, no functionality. The BOA exfoliant is consistent in performance and safety from one stick to the next.  The packaging is another difference.  Rather than having a pebble that is constantly handled, BOA is provided in a push-up stick that means there is no need to actually touch the product with your hands.


Because Sefidab skincare is deeply rooted in Persian history (dating back to 2000-4500bc) do you feel that Persians specifically will be interested in purchasing your product?

Iranians are charmed and very proud that we have done this. I get many emails from various Iranians around the world that think this is a fantastic way of promoting a unique aspect of Persian culture. I get lots of positive feedback but we have not really directly pitched it to the Persian Society so far. Other than one interview I did with SBS, the brand is yet to capture the unique Persian audience that understands the product concept already. That certainly is part of our expansion plan for BOA. So far we have primarily focussed on marketing the product in Australia and we have had success.  Australia has been our launchpad, now we will turn our attention to the world.


Who is your core target market?

Exfoliation is really for everyone. It is the most misunderstood step in any good skincare routine. The beauty of the product is because it works with your skin, it adjusts to your skin type, young or old, male or female. It has no demographic boundaries. Pregnant women and people with sensitive skin find the BOA exfoliant very helpful. Why? It is a product that only works if you have any dead cells to shed.  Otherwise, it is just like a cream and doesn’t attack the healthy cells at all. So if you are shedding skin at a higher rate (typically the younger demographic) you find you need to use it more often. If you have dry skin, you also probably use it more often, but if you are a bit older and don’t shed skin as much you may find you only need to use the product once a week The product tells you if it is working because it has a very visual signal.  There is no missing it when exfoliation is taking place! That helps you quickly understand how often you need to use it and most importantly when to stop using it. That is why we claim you can not over-exfoliate with BOA.


So again, because our product is non-invasive, it is suitable for pregnant women. There is nothing there to react with your skin. Because it is gentle, people with sensitive skin or problematic skin just love BOA exfoliant.

Can you tell me more about your biochemistry background and how it’s shaped creating BOA?

I graduated from Kings College in London. I worked for, and with, major brands around the world. Part of my job was to anticipate trends so we could develop technologies that would be useful to companies like L’Oreal or Estee Lauder.  I worked with companies that were at the forefront of technology development. Their products were unique and would address various unmet needs in the personal care industry. My biological background combined with my skills as a chemist made me qualified to understand both sides of the coin. The chemical part of developing the technology and then the biological side, fully understanding the impact of each ingredient on the skin. 


What inspired you to create your brand?

As part of my job at Unilever, I travelled to a lot of countries around the world to study their hygiene habits and the types of products that they used that were native and were part of their beauty rituals. That side of my job always fascinated me. I can pick up any product in the personal care market and based on the ingredient list and the claims, I can tell you if it is a good one or just full of marketing hype. I saw a lot of marketing hype products in our industry so wanted to develop something that was authentic, functional, safe and offered something unique. Sephid Ab was truly unique and I thought that would be a great concept to develop from scratch using modern-day technologies.


What were some of the challenges and difficulties of starting BOA?

The product looks simple but it is very sophisticated to formulate. I spent two years on the development and then more time on developing a process where it can be made on a consistent basis.  It comes to the consumer as a dry product but it gets activated with water and turns into a cream. It picks up dead skin like a “lint roller” and then stops working as soon as all your dead skins are gone. Pretty unique I think…


There are also the challenges of being a woman and starting a business in a very competitive market against big companies with deep pockets and huge marketing budgets. I, like many women business owners, find at times we have our own specific challenges to overcome but I work with a team that is a joy to create with so I feel very lucky.


Because the product is vegan and cruelty-free, was it difficult to find ingredients to replace traditional animal fat used in sefidab?

As mentioned that was the industry I came from so I know a lot of the ingredients used in the market but the objective was to stay as natural as possible. So, yes, it took a long time to come up with the current composition. It is not an easy product to duplicate. 


What are your hopes and goals for the brand? 

Our brand message is to “reveal yourself”. I know there is a massive hype on mindfulness now and people are getting tired of it, especially when it is used in marketing jargon. Our goal is to change the way our community thinks about beauty and promote self-acceptance. Ideally, this is how I imagine BOA exfoliant  is used:


You are in front of your bathroom mirror (or in the shower). You apply the product. It goes on like a cream and you use your fingertip to massage your skin. You are mindful of this time for yourself. You are shedding your dead skins but you are also shedding all the misconceptions, judgements and hurtful feelings. You finish your mindful ritual of using the BOA exfoliant. You rinse and touch yourself. You look back at your mirror and smile and are amazed at the beauty looking back at you. A cleaned soul as well as a beautiful skin canvas ready for the next step in your ritual.