“Those were core memories for me; it felt like a fun sleepover!” she says, noting that hair oiling was another way of connecting with new classmates after switching schools in her youth. “I wanted to create a brand that evoked that feeling of camaraderie and happiness while honoring my heritage at the same time.”
That’s where Squigs’ hero product comes in: the Gooseberry Delight Hair Oil was created to take the best of Charuza’s family ritual and modernize it for the masses. The formula was even inspired by the bespoke homemade hair oil blend her family would make every weekend, which contained amla, coconut, castor, kalonji, and orange peel oils.
“I wanted to create a shelf-stable version that was lightweight, easy to wash off, and safe for sensitive skin, because many of my family members deal with severe eczema,” she explains. To avoid synthetic fragrances that might cause irritation, orange peel and apricot kernels oil double as the products’ citrus-y fragrance. When blended together, this combo of traditional ingredients packs a pampering punch.
Alma oil, which is derived from Indian gooseberry, is effective at treating both the scalp and strands, says cosmetic chemist Ginger King. “It’s known for its antioxidant properties to help strengthen hair. In skin care, there are studies [that show its benefits] for skin brightening,” she says.
Audrey Kunin, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Kansas City, Missouri, agrees that alma oil is a multi-benefit powerhouse. “It’s rich in vitamins C and E, as well as antioxidants making it both nourishing and hydrating for the scalp,” she says. “These vitamins help fight free radical damage and support healthy scalp skin. It’s also believed to have both calming and antiseptic benefits.”
The rest of the ingredient list is just as impressive: King says coconut oil has antimicrobial properties for the scalp to promote balance and is one of the few oils that can actually penetrate hair shaft to deliver moisture. She adds that kalonji (a.k.a black cumin seed oil) can help to stimulate hair growth, while apricot oil can help add sheen.
Beyond efficacy, though, Gooseberry Delight is about paying tribute to Southeast Asian culture. If you’ve seen one TikTok’s many “hair slugging” tutorials — a term that calls Vaseline and dish detergent to mind, if you ask me — you’ve seen the appropriation of a ritual important to families like Charuza’s.