September 28, 2022

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Most Responsible Beauty Brands, According To Indian Women

Beauty does not lie in the eye of the beholder, and beauty brands know it.

The perception of beauty has changed post Covid. For the smart independent Indian women of today, it’s more about feeling good than looking good. The introduction of Work From Home has reduced the use of makeup; the focus is now on experiential aesthetics — how beautiful a product makes one feel.

On World Beauty Day, TravelDine spoke to consumers and brands across India to understand the current definition of beauty and the trends that are dominating 2022.

Be it skin care, colour cosmetics, hair care, fragrances, or personal care, what consumers today are looking for is how responsible brands are. The frequently asked questions are:

  • Will this product make me feel confident?
  • Is this product therapeutic?
  • Will this product get rid of my stress?
  • Does this product have a positive long-term impact?
  • Will this product help me excel in life?

Brands too are working towards this goal. They understand that consumers have done their homework and know what they want.

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Orrganic Elemennt is stealing the hearts of consumers across India. Image credit: The Clique Photography

While aroma is a big part of a beauty product, not all consumers are particular about fragrances in a skincare product. For instance, Roopali Agashe, an entrepreneur, says she prefers non-fragrant skincare products because she believes that fragrances don’t have any scientific skincare benefits. Her go-to product is Eternal Glow + Organic Face Oil by Orrganic Elemennt. Packed with Vitamin E, A & C, the oil is extracted from acai berry, argan kernels, moringa, and pomegranate seeds. This oil has helped Agashe target her pigmentation, dark spots, and fine lines. This is a Cosmos Organic-certified brand.

Skin colour a skin concern?

Inclusivity in beauty is something Kaveeta Pol, Founder, Orrganic Elemennt, loves to champion.

“When I was formulating our skincare products, one of my checkpoints was to avoid fairness as a skin concern. We have grown up thinking our skin colour is actually a skin concern, which is just ridiculous. I wanted to create products that help skin feel safe, comfortable, and healthy. As a brand, we do not engage in narratives that shame skin colour, age, or gender. Beauty doesn’t look one way. It is especially dangerous in a time of instant filters and beauty modes, creating unrealistic expectations of what we ‘should’ look like. I have a teenage daughter and I can see how easy it can be to get conditioned into connecting your value and self-worth to how you look. I will do whatever it takes to contribute to a world that empowers people to believe in their own version of beauty,” she says.

Power of hemp

An interesting beauty and wellness trend that is catching up among consumers is the use of products that contain hemp seed oil. Responsible brands like Satliva have created the concept of hempveda and are offering wellness solutions to consumers at a deeper level.

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More than 3,000 customers across India use Satliva’s hemp-based products.

Satliva has its factory setup in Bengaluru. The brand has designed its hemp seed extraction machinery inhouse and the hemp raw materials are sourced from the foothills of the Himalayas. Brand Satliva today has over 3,000 customers across India, and about 60% are repeat customers.

Namrata Reddy Sirupa, Founder, Satliva, says that the brand does not use any chemicals—not even organic stabilizers, colours, or additives.

“All our products are freshly made on order. We get an order. We extract the hemp seed oil right away and mix it with other butters and oils. We dispatch the order the same day if we receive the order before 12 noon. If we receive the order post 12 noon, we push the extraction process to the next day and dispatch it to the customers the same day. We don’t stock up any products. That’s how pure we are,” she says.

Satliva has some interesting products like Anti-Dandruff Hair Thickening Combo, Argan Peppermint Hair Cream, and Argan Rosemary Hair Cream, Mango Rosemary Face Cream, Hemp with Shea Butter, Hemp with Avocado Body Soap Bar, and Hemp with Jojoba Body Oil.

“As the hemp oil for these products is extracted using cold-pressed machinery, all the nutrients are intact and they work wonders on the skin and hair,” she says.

The ratio of the hemp seed oil is also high in Satliva products, making it more effective and efficient.

Love for coffee cosmetics

One of the emerging homegrown brands in India that’s sought-after by the discerning wellness-conscious customer is Svashudhi. Bengaluru-based IT professional Nidhi Gowda swears by the brand. She uses Svashudhi’s coffee scrub and coffee face cream.

“I love the aroma of coffee. I have tried several other products and ended up spending quite a bit on products, which did not give me any results. When I started using Svashudhi, I noticed drastic changes in the way I look and feel. I will be a lifetime customer of Svashudhi,” she says.

The brand’s major strength lies in its coffee cosmetics.

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Svashudhi products are truly Indian, therapeutic, and conscious.

“Coffee is the new thing in the beauty lane. It works amazingly well. We are coffee growers. We know the proper note of it, the aroma of it, the grade of it, and how to get it roasted,” says Malavi Raghu, Founder of Svashudhi, which is based in Chikmagalur, Karnataka.

“The human body absorbs chemicals in 20 seconds. So one needs to be conscious about what goes into the body. Our products at Svashudhi are truly Indian, therapeutic, and conscious,” she adds.

Svashudhi has some fascinating products like Green Coffee Under Eye Serum, Coffee Elixir Face Serum, Coffee Body Butter, Green Coffee Moisturiser,  Coffee Face Wash, and Kesar Badam Facial Cleanser.

While brands like Kama Ayurveda, Forest Essentials, and Ras Luxury are topping the charts, handmade brands like Sand by Soapaholics, Nature Masons, Oleum Cottage, Just Herbs, Cure By Design, and the good old Khadi have also emerged as consumer favourites.

Among the consumers who travel often, brands like Nivea, Body Shop, Minimalist, and Mama Earth remain the top favourites.  

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Shoba Mohan believes in the healing power of essential oils.

Shoba Mohan, a travel entrepreneur, uses Nivea cream with a dot of castor oil.  She uses oils from brand Khadi and loves the woody, earthy fragrance of sandalwood and vetiver.

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For Shruti Jain, a marketing professional, beauty isn’t just about appearance. It matters how good one is on the inside.

Sathya P Manickam, a consciousness teacher and an entrepreneur, travels frequently, both on business and leisure. Her favourite beauty products include the body butter by The Body Shop. She is also mesmerized by the sweet fragrance of vanilla.  

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Digital creator Payal Shankar invests in conscious skincare products. Orrganic Elemennt is one of her favourites.

Shivani Vyas, a wedding planner, is now more inclined to homegrown vegan beauty brands. Like Vyas, many consumers are consciously looking for plant-based beauty brands. The emergence of homegrown beauty brands will create an army of Indian consumers who will seek exclusive handmade products— ones that aren’t mass-produced, but ones crafted with care and love.

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For Forlin Mendez, beauty is a state of mind. She loves the fresh fragrance of mint in her products.

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