From Ayurvedic ingredients to bee venom, what’s new in the Indian skincare and beauty market this year
During the pandemic, global skincare and beauty companies began to diversify from their hero products. It was more than just survival; it was a shot at staying relevant. A McKinsey report from early April 2020 notes that prestige brands saw a 55% to 75% decline in cosmetics and fragrance sales respectively, compared to the previous year. One exception has been eye make-up: Alibaba saw a 150% increase in this category just last February. And by contrast, skincare, hair care, and bath-and-body products have gained popularity. Here are some of the new launches:
Forest Essentials make-up and customised night creams
For Ayurveda-based luxury wellness brand Forest Essentials, diversification also marked a shift after 20 years in the industry. However, launching artisanal make-up in these times was no spur of the moment decision. “We had been working on products that blur the line between skincare and make-up. Since there was a shift towards products for eyes, we chose to launch our kajal in the first phase,” says Nehal Rawla, head of brand communications.
The Gulab Khaas kajal comes in three shades — ash grey, earth brown and charcoal black — with ingredients like rose, cardamom and ghee, as well as coconut, castor and sweet almond oils. However, the colour pay-off is pretty light, and if you have a sensitivity to any of the ingredients, it can cause an unpleasant burning sensation in your eyes. The accompanying range of tinted lip serums, called Madhu Rasa, features coconut kesar, misri cardamom, gulaab jal (rose water) and anar rasa (pomegranate) variants. These are hydrating and nourishing, especially in the colder months.
Rawla highlights the importance of ingredients in their formulations. “Although we get most of our nutrition orally, the skin ingests nutrients as well. If you cannot eat it, do not use it on your skin. That is the Ayurvedic standard for pure and natural,” she explains. More products are in the offing for March 2021, we are told. Meanwhile, their skincare offerings now include a customisation option for night creams. “Our approach is simple: together, we understand what your skin needs and use the expertise of our Ayurveda doctors to find the ingredients and formulation to suit your needs. Treat concerns ranging from loss of elasticity, acne-prone skin with extreme dryness, sagging skin, unusual redness and more,” she says. A refundable consultation fee of ₹2,000 is collected upfront, and reimbursed after the final blend is created. Details: forestessentialsindia.com
Manish Malhotra joins skincare
On the other end of the spectrum, designer Manish Malhotra’s association with European brand MyGlamm has moved from make-up to a Luxe Artisanal Skin Care range. Promising phthalate-, sulphate- and paraben-free formulations, the eight products highlight Indian ingredients such as tulsi, methi, kesar and ginger. “The focus was on reviving Indian skincare traditions and heritage, using rituals that have been passed down through generations from across the country. We wanted to use these ingredients, but in an evolved manner,” writes Malhotra via email.
So, there is a cleaning gel with tulsi, face scrub with methi, and moisturising gel with amla. The haldi eye gel and kesar face pack, as well as rose lip gel, round off the facial products. A sandalwood hand gel and ginger foot scrub are also on offer. “The packaging highlights the percentage of each natural ingredient, so customers are fully informed,” explains Malhotra, adding that the jars can also be recycled and reused much like other brands. More products are in the pipeline, he adds, asking us to stay tuned to @manishmalhotrabeauty on Instagram. Details: myglamm.com
Exotic Italian skincare
With bee venom, snail slime and caviar as its premium ingredients, LR Wonder Company will soon take up space on luxe vanities in the country. If you are unaware of the eight-year-old Italian skincare brand, you’ll be forgiven for it was introduced in our country only three months ago and, well, the pandemic hasn’t been too kind to new launches. Introduced here by Bengaluru-based Fedevi Ventures, the inventory includes face creams, body creams, serums, derma rollers and non-invasive fillers.
What does bee venom have to do with beauty, you ask? Well, it was termed ‘nature’s Botox’ a few years ago, as tiny doses can fool the skin into thinking it has been stung. What you get, says the brand’s press note, is instant plumping and tightness of skin. On the other hand, snail mucin is said to moisturise and boost production of collagen. With R&D from a university in Pavia, Italy, these products are paraben free, the company spokesperson adds. Priced from ₹2,000 (serums and creams) and ₹450 for the face masks on Amazon and lrwonderindia.com
L’Occitane for men
The first range of shaving, skincare and fragrances for men was launched by this French brand back in 1994, inspired by cade (essential oil from a plant in the juniper family). So it was about time for a revamp. The new line continues to use this hero ingredient, minus the silicones and phenoxyethanol. Products include the energising face fluid, daily cleanser, purifying charcoal mask and revitalising cream. Still have your lockdown beard? The press note mentions that the softening oil can help you style and nourish it, while the multi-grooming balm transforms into a translucent film that helps you style your facial hair as you shave, and the after-shave balm soothes irritated skin. From ₹1,600 on in.loccitane.com.