The Indian beauty industry has changed, and for good. While most of us still welcome international brands entering the Indian market, the share that local brands owned and led by strong women have gained in recent years is huge. Each brand – in skincare, make-up, beauty or well-being tools – is backed by a specific experience which has given rise to a high-performance range of products suitable for everyone. Conscious formulations, effective and safe ingredients, sustainable packaging, environmentally friendly practices and inclusive ethics are the core values of most of these brands, especially the new ones. What do they bring to the table that appeals to the masses and young consumers today? It’s freedom ; these brands are constantly trying to shatter age-old and stereotypical beauty standards, and this is what appeals to informed and conscious consumers.
Asha and Sukriti Jindal Khaitan, asa Beauty
With versatile products and sustainable packaging, asa offers clean luxury cosmetics that are over 92% natural. The mother-in-law and daughter-in-law duo wanted to use their global knowledge. “We want to awaken women to clean beauty solutions, to feel good and to feel good with natural and cruelty-free makeup,” says Sukriti, who is a certified coach in integrative nutrition and health. The brand also offers a “rechargeable program” in order to minimize waste and the carbon footprint. “You can just get a refill, which ensures that an entirely new product doesn’t have to be bought over and over again,” says Asha. The brand offers long-lasting pigmented products with ingredients that love the skin.
Karishma Kewalramani, Beauty FAE
After studying and working in the United States for a few years, Karishma Kewalramani found a gap in the beauty industry upon her return to India. “I found that beauty companies only used representation as a marketing stunt, instead of truly embodying the idea of inclusiveness in their brands’ DNA,” she says. Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs, she decided to found FAE – Free And Equal – with the mission of bringing innovative, inclusive and transparent products to the market. “These are not trends but the DNA of our brand,” she adds. While all products are multifunctional and high performance, BRASH is the flagship of the range. A dual-purpose product that doubles as a mascara and brow filler, it comes with a versatile formula and can be built as needed.
Tanisha Varalwar, Tsara
Launched in 2020, Tsara is the brainchild of Tanisha Varalwar, a 24-year-old chemical engineer based in Hyderabad. An amalgamation of traditional Indian formulations backed by a sustainable ethic, Tsara is developed specifically for Indian skin tones, making it appealing to the ‘online generation’. “We’ve always seen organic and natural brands have a delicate visual identity, so with Tsara we wanted to break that stereotype and create our own visual identity which involved a lot of fun colors,” says Varalwar. Formulated with 90% organic and natural ingredients, the brand’s flagship product is its recently launched 100% biodegradable makeup sponge called Gen G, which is made with corn, water, natural preservatives, natural pigments and of bionanopol. It also comes with a 100% cotton mesh bag to store the blender in to prevent bacterial growth and dust buildup on it.
Nikita Deshpande, Ilana
After making small batches of effective, skin-loving skincare products in her kitchen, Nikita Deshpande decided to take the plunge and founded Ilana, offering ethically innovative, accessible and affordable products. A design graduate, the co-founder Deshpande wanted to market an innovative, transparent and sustainable brand. “In 2016, while attending a workshop on sustainability at university, I tried to decode product labels and, to my dismay, it was just impossible,” she recalls. . “The names and the complex claims made me question everything I used.” The formulations of Ilana products are simple and effective and blend easily into the skin tone. The brand’s flagship product is its concealer and Soft Blur Cream foundation. “It blends so well and adapts to any similar skin tone without making your skin very mushy,” Deshpande explains. “Extremely pink and with an SPF 50, it ticks all the boxes. “
Namrata Soni, simply Nam
Highly sought after celebrity makeup artist, Namrata Soni has decided to use her daily learnings to greater good with her new brand, Simply Nam. “There was never any question of bringing to the market products that already exist; instead, it was about allowing me to really work on the products that I think we miss, want and need in the Indian market, ”says Soni. She started the brand with a makeup remover towel – a microfiber cloth – to reduce the waste that ends up in landfills and also to make makeup removal a simple process that doesn’t leave the skin inflamed or agitated. “It’s durable in that you can use it for up to four or five years and a thousand machine washes. You really cut your expenses on conventional makeup removers which are harmful to your skin and contain a lot of chemicals, ”she adds. Vegan and clean beauty brand, Simply Nam recently launched its first set of lightweight, moisturizing and comfortable lipsticks in six shades.
Bianca Louzado, Beauty Code
Taking beauty hygiene a step further, famous makeup artist Bianca Louzado founded Code Beauty, a brand that offers disinfectant solutions to keep makeup and beauty tools bacteria-free in the kit. Code offers a range of uniquely formulated cosmetic disinfectants, brush and sponge cleansing soaps, and antibacterial wipes to ensure your makeup is always safe. “On top of that, we’ve launched eco-friendly bamboo mascara and lip sticks that can be used to prevent cross-contamination and double-soaking,” Louzado explains. A double major in food technology, Louzado founded his brand in the midst of a pandemic with three products. Providing an innovative disinfectant solution for cosmetics, Code’s Charcoal and Orange Oil – a cleaning soap for brushes and beauty mixers – is a game-changer. “It’s called ‘The Awakening’,” Louzado adds. “I felt there was a need for everyone to have a product that instantly removes stubborn makeup on brushes and beauty mixers and that is vegan, sulfate-free, phthalate-free and cruelty-free.
Vibhuti Arora, House of Beauty
Original idea from Vibhuti Arora, expert in facial yoga, House of Beauty combines well-being and beauty to meet current needs. Leveraging their yoga expertise and knowledge of the benefits of natural skin care, the Arora brand offers skin-friendly products including skin-loving facial oils and a unique offering called Face Mugs. which aid lymphatic drainage and collagen production. “The brand also focuses on internal health; if your internal health is good, your skin, eyes and face will glow on the outside, ”says Arora. While House of Beauty has some unique offerings, its practices set it apart from others in a similar space. “We teach everyone the correct application of the products in terms of how, when and where to apply and how much to take,” she adds. “Our skin care line comes with a QR code that contains personal facial yoga tutorials with me.” The brand is also set to introduce India’s own eight-step skincare routine, as opposed to K-beauty’s much-publicized 10-step regimen.
Sonya Khubchandani from Castelbajac, ALASA
Founded by Indo-French entrepreneur Sonya Khubchandani de Castelbajac, local perfume brand ALASA is inspired by Indian culture and its long-standing ties to the world of perfumery. Inspired by the epic poems and masterpieces of Indian court literature and art, ALASA works on perfume through detailed storytelling. “The notes and chords are based on noble Indian raw materials, woven through iconic illustrated love stories,” she says. “The concept that came together felt natural and true.” The brand launched its first collection called LOVE with four variations which is inspired by love stories deeply rooted in our culture; it aims to change the narrative around perfumery in India and make it more personal and accessible.
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