Herbal cosmetic products driving Indian cosmetics market

New Delhi, June 3 (IANS) The herbal cosmetics industry is ‘driving growth in the beauty business’ in India and is expected to grow at a rate of seven percent as more people shun chemical products in favour of organic ones.

‘During the last decade, the herbal beauty care business has actually driven the growth of the beauty business in India. The emphasis has been on the spectacular growth of the herbal and ayurvedic beauty products business,’ beauty expert Shahnaz Husain told IANS.

She was the first to introduce the concept of ayurvedic cosmetics to the world when she launched her products way back in 1970.

Today, the Indian cosmetics industry has a plethora of herbal cosmetic brands like Forest Essentials, Biotique, Himalaya, Blossom Kochhar, VLCC, Dabur and Lotus; and many more are adding to the list.

The Indian cosmetics market – defined as skin care, hair care, colour cosmetics, fragrances and oral care segments – stood at an estimated $2.5 billion in 2008 and is expected to grow at seven percent, according to an analysis of the sector.

One such brand is Tathaastu, which deals in products made of essential oils.

Divita Kanoria, Tathaastu’s chief wellness officer, said the presence of artificial and chemical ingredients in their cosmetic products has made people rethink about suitable alternatives to suit their skin.

‘Of late, there have been attempts to find alternatives. Beauty recipes from China and India using traditional herbs have earned a special significance the world over. Ayurvedic recipes from India for skin and hair treatment also serve as cosmetics,’ Kanoria said.

‘The best part about organic cosmetics is that unlike chemical-based cosmetics, these do not interfere with the body’s absorption of Vitamin D. Moreover, these help an individual to have a healthy skin, lustrous hair and glowing complexion in a completely natural way,’ she added.

People have also become aware of the ‘ingredients’ of cosmetic products.

‘Today awareness of beauty products and treatments, fashion and grooming is at an all time high. The Indian customer is very much aware of the ingredients in cosmetic products, the benefits of plant products and the harmful effects of chemical ingredients,’ Husain said.

‘Also the concept of ‘total well being’ has steadily gained ground. There is much more awareness of the wellness concept and its benefits among people today,’ she added.

Husain recollects how she had to create awareness among people about the benefits of ayurvedic products when she launched her brand four decades ago.

‘Very early in my career, I had to create awareness of the benefits of ayurvedic products and herbal healing. I made it a point to reply personally to letters seeking solutions for skin and hair problems,’ Husain said.

‘My philosophy and faith in ayurveda have not only influenced markets and minds but have become an integral part of my person and brand image,’ she added.

(Shilpa Raina can be contacted at shilpa.r@ians.in)

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