Indians spending on personal care products demand quality and range

Not skin-deep: Luxury personal care shopping gets ethical, demanding

Indian consumers want products that chemical free and are environmentally safe

Namrata Kohli | New Delhi

Beauty care means using products that are ethically made, free of toxins and made for customers who are demanding about safety. It is not a new trend but strengthened after the pandemic.

“I choose my products carefully and only go for hair care, makeup, sunscreen, and skin care products that contain none of the questionable health ingredients commonly found in conventional beauty products. These (safe) products are free from harmful ingredients such as parabens, sulphates and artificial fragrances,” says Asmita Goel, 29, who works with a FMCG company in Gurugram.

A host of brands offer chemical-free personal care. Varun and Ghazal Alagh founded Mamaearth, a personal care start-up, to provide chemical-free baby products when they were expecting their first child.

“When we did research on skincare and personal care products in India, we found that this segment contained some 300 odd chemicals, toxins, and ingredients that were harmful to children. Mamaearth is all about safer, toxin-free personal care products which can be used by adults, grandparents, moms, and also babies,” says Ghazal Alagh.

The Indian consumer’s habits in personal care have changed in recent years, say industry executives. “They are no longer passive recipients but have become actively engaged in researching ingredients, seeking clean, vegan, and cruelty-free products,” says Harmeet Singh, vice-president, marketing, product, & digital, The Body Shop Asia South, the international beauty care chain.

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“Indian customers actively seek authenticity and variety in a beauty industry flooded with new-age brands. However, discerning consumers, particularly the young generation, prioritise transparency and ethical practices. They expect products that are natural, paraben and cruelty-free, environmentally friendly, gentle on the skin, and socially responsible,” says Shreedha Singh, chief executive officer (CEO) and cofounder of The Ayurveda Co.

Choosing products

How should a consumer select personal care products?

Start by identifying your hair and skin concerns and pick products accordingly. Understand whether your hair and skin are oily, dry, or normal. Opt for products designed to preserve and protect colour-treated hair.

Try out small samples or travel-sized versions of products to ensure they work well for you.

Research customer reviews on company websites and consider feedback from others who have used a product.

“Read product labels carefully for ingredient information and allergens. Look for certifications like cruelty-free or vegan for ethical considerations. Assess the texture, scent, and performance of your skin and hair. Pay attention to how a product makes you feel. If discomfort, irritation, or unusual changes occur, discontinue use and explore other options,” says Singh.

Customers have an overwhelming choice in of hair care products and each promises miraculous results. Understand your hair’s unique needs and select products accordingly. “Not every haircare product is suitable for everyone,” says Dr Chytra Anand, a cosmetic dermatologist and founder of Kosmoderma & SkinQ, which runs dermatology clinics in Bengaluru.

“A balanced diet, managing stress levels, and protecting hair from excessive heat and styling damage are all crucial factors in promoting hair health. Additionally, regular scalp hygiene, gentle detangling, and avoiding tight hairstyles can help prevent hair problems,” she says.

Select hair care products that are alcohol-free, water-soluble, or have a low concentration of chemicals. People with oily scalps should use clarifying or volumising shampoos; those who have dry or damaged hair should look for moisturising and repairing formulations. Conditioners may not help people with oily hair but be useful to those with dry or damaged hair.

Serums and hair masks should be used by individuals with specific concerns, says Anand. Serums can be beneficial for those experiencing hair thinning, breakage, or a lack of shine. Hair masks provide deep conditioning and hydration, helping individuals with dry or damaged hair.

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In recent years Ayurveda products have become popular for their claimed traditional remedies and natural ingredients. “This ancient skincare system offers a holistic approach to beauty and wellness, garnering attention beyond India’s borders. Indian customers, particularly the young generation, expect products that are natural…cruelty-free, environmentally friendly, gentle on the skin, and socially responsible,” says Singh, of The Ayurveda Co.

No make up make up

Makeup’s purpose has changed: products are supposed to improve looks and help in building a personality. “From no-makeup–makeup looks to multifunctional and minimalist looks, Indian consumers have opened up to new experiences and experiments. The consumer also expects high performance from the product while being environmentally friendly,” says Saahil Nayar, CEO of Swiss Beauty, a beauty and cosmetics brand.

Men’s grooming products, too, are marketed as containing natural ingredients. “For shaving and post-shaving care, it is advisable to wash the face with hot water or apply a hot compress before shaving. Prior to shaving, using a pre-shave oil is recommended, and instead of using alcohol-based splashes, it is preferable to use a post-shave balm for better skin care,” says Prannay Dokkania, managing director of Lloyds Luxuries Ltd, the distributor of luxury grooming brands.

“To simplify your hair styling routine, opt for low maintenance techniques and apply minimal amounts of products for optimal impact and noticeable results. It is not recommended to apply body sprays directly on the skin, as they can cause tanning and negatively affect the skin tone. Instead, choose colognes that are gentle on the skin,” he says.

Sample some of the sought after personal care products on ecommerce channels like Amazon India

Price in Rs

Product Price
Babo Botanicals Conditioner with Natural Berry and Evening Primrose oil, Hypoallergenic, Tear-free, Vegan, Citrus 14,390
Aesop Natural Hair Conditioner for Damaged Dry Hair | Paraben-Free, Cruelty-Free & Vegan 10,500
The Body Shop Oils of Life Intensely Revitalizing Facial Oil 4,395
WOW Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo With DHT Blockers – Boost Fast Hair Growth, Reduce Frizz, Hair Loss – Clean Scalp, Stronger Hair – For Soft & Smooth Hair – Silicone, Paraben, Sulfate Free 4,368
Forest Essentials Hair Cleanser Amla, Honey & Mulethi | Ayurvedic Shampoo For Dull & Dry Hair, (Sulphates) Free, Paraben Free 1,575
The Body Shop Vegan British Rose Body Butter, 200 Ml 1,395
Mamaearth Rice Face Serum for Glowing Skin With Rice Water & Niacinamide for Glass Skin (Pack of 2) 981

Source: Amazon India

Source: Business Standard

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