|Headquarters||Pleasant Hill, CA|
Beauty, Health & Wellness
|Press Contact||Rohit Murthy|
Belfiore Herbal was founded by Zehra Murthy, a UCSF scientist with 40 years of cellular and molecular biology experience whose work on genetics is published in multiple scientific journals. Zehra was motivated to challenge the current buzzwords mis-used in skincare today (creams that contain collagen will not penetrate your dermis, and main-stream products have ingredients that can clog pores) and instead revert to first principles of human biology: Healthy skin comes from proper cell division, healthy collagen production, and efficient dead cell removal supported all through vitamins delivered to the dermis in a non-comedogenic medium.
All products are formulated to have the highest level of vitamin A, B, C, D and E derived from botanical sources grown on the Belfiore Herbal farm. Zehra and her team grow all the lavender, marigold, oranges, carrots, and rosemary plants that are used for the lavender essential oil, lavender hydrosol, marigold hydrosol, and other ingredients in our creams, serum and hair oils at their farm. The Belfiore Herbal team plants the seeds and tends to the plants, maintaining all control. Currently, Zehra uses these plants to create 7 infused oils, 3 essential oils, and 4 hydrosols.
Belfiore Herbal is proud to be truly vegan and botanical based, and stands against using bacteria-derived or animal-derived hyaluronic acid: instead using a formulation of ingredients that either promote healthy hyaluronic acid production from your own skin cells and aloe vera & guar gum for plant-derived polysaccharides. For this same reason, Belfiore Herbal products contain Carotinol (vitamin A from plants such as carrots, pumpkins, and marigold) instead of animal derived Retinol. Each ingredient used in any Belfiore Herbal products are plant-derived.
The company is currently run by the tag-team mother-son duo of Zehra (who just turned 72 this past year!) and Rohit. Belfiore Herbal is based in the San Francisco Bay Area of California.
Belfiore Herbal works with Augustina & Janet Boachie to purchase and import authentic Ghanaian Shea Butter from the markets of Accra, Ghana. Through their arrangement, Augustina & Janet buy directly from a collective of female farmers who harvest, process, and sell the Shea Butter to earn extra income on top of their current farming duties. This extra income funds educational opportunities in the farming village. In addition, once our import with Augustina & Janet is complete, Belfiore Herbal donates 20% of the final cost back to the female farm collective.
Belfiore Herbal was started as a backyard-science experiment. Zehra Murthy and her family have grown a variety of vegetables and flowers in their backyard for decades. Farming, one could say, was their hobby. Upon turning 70 years old, and after 40 years of working on human cell and molecular biology research at UCSF, Zehra decided she needed to use her extensive knowledge of biology and her hobby of farming to help people. To start, she knew that people were getting ripped off by modern skincare companies and their claims - and that didn't sit right with her.
Zehra knew she could use botanicals and science to help people age gracefully and protect against wrinkles, dark spots, discoloration and acne by formulating skin care products that help at the cellular level. She centered Belfiore Herbal’s vision on a simple formula: Proper cell division in the dermis and epidermis + healthy production of hyaluronic acid + healthy production of collagen + proper dead cell removal = beauty at the cellular level, or in simple terms, beauty from within. By achieving those proper conditions for skin cells, skin health will return to a youthful level.
Zehra dove deep into research and came to three important stepping stones for formulation of her products: She already grows all the botanicals required to create plant-derived Vitamin A, B, C, D, and E (which are all integral to cell health). Each ingredient within each product should have a function to build healthy cells and a healthy extracellular matrix for new cells to thrive in. Each product should match the skin’s lipid structure, be pH balanced, and non-comedogenic (will not clog pores) to allow the nourishing vitamins a pathway into the skin cells.
The science community is tight-knit, and Zehra loved sharing her formulations with her fellow USCF scientists to get their input and feedback. She valued their feedback and brought all her test and lab notebooks to explain her methods and formulas to ensure her three steps of formulation were correctly executed. Clearly, Zehra was going in the right direction, as some of the top dermatologists and professors at the cutting edge of research were impressed with the quality, content and methods of her formulations.
Building a skincare line during the pandemic was no easy task, but Zehra found creative ways to allow her friends and family to try her formulations out and provide feedback. She hosted social-distance skincare parties in her backyard with the neighborhood ladies - they could see the plants she used and her formulation method, and then try creams, oils or serums themselves. Product was shipped to India, to allow the extended family a chance to use it, and the wonderful results were communicated through Whatsapp. The immediate family got into it as well, sending trial products to their friends and communicating feedback over zoom. By the time the Belfiore Herbal online store went live in October 2020, over 500 friends and family had tried Zehra’s formulations and an initial recurring customer base was born.
With positive feedback on her products continuing to roll in over the months, Zehra took a trip to a few brick and mortar stores around the Bay Area, and found retail partners in a natural product store, a spa, a hair salon and a grocery store.
Always loving to get her hands dirty, Zehra still does all the “behind the scenes” work herself - she plants, tends to, and harvests all the lavender, rosemary, marigold, oranges and carrots, distills all the essential oils and hydrosols, creates the infused oils, and she blends & formulates all creams and serums.
Zehra Murthy, Phd, has 40 years of human cell and molecular biology research experience at UCSF and has been published in a wide variety of scientific journals throughout her career, as recently as 2021. Zehra immigrated to the US alone from India in the 1970s and has relied on her intellect, ability and grit to become the successful scientist she is today. Always one to formulate in her cooking and in the lab, challenging skincare norms with her formulations was a natural next step. Zehra is motivated to bring trust back to science and drive inclusivity through accessibility, while making people feel their best and most confident through flawless skin.