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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

World

India, Cosmetic Power
First Published: 22:57 IST(21/7/2012)
Last Updated: 22:59 IST(21/7/2012)

Adecade ago, the mention of India-inspired beauty products evoked the heady scents of patchouli oil and sandalwood soap — limited in appeal to former hippies and the most ardent of yogis.

But today, India is captivating the mainstream cosmetics industry. From high-end brands creating makeup shades based on the country’s bright colours to skin- and hair-care lines capitalising on Ayurveda, when it comes to beauty, inside and out, the industry is increasingly turning to the world’s second-most-populous country.

Paris-based Clarins introduced a line of cosmetics this summer called Enchanted, which range in price from $18 to $40 and are inspired by Holi, the Hindu festival of colors. The collection includes lip glosses with the names Pink Jaipur and Nude Delhi, and four products for eyes: shadows in violet and a coppery brown, and an update of kajal, the intensely pigmented and creamy eyeliner that Indian women have worn for centuries.

Boucheron, the French jeweller, already had a long-established connection with the country when it put a fragrance called Jaipur Bracelet on the market in June, for $136 a bottle. It was more than a century ago, according to Marina Mamakos, the vice president for marketing at Interparfums, which represents the scent, that Louis Boucheron, the son of the brand’s founder, Frederic, travelled to Rajasthan to source stones for his creations.

He began cutting some of his gems in a cabochon style the way the Indians did — a cut that was used for the cap of Jaipur Homme, a cologne for men around since 1988. Bracelet’s heart note is tagetes, a type of marigold known as India’s carnation. And its bottle is a soft pink, inspired by Jaipur’s nickname as the Pink City, and is in the shape of a nauratan bracelet, which is given to Rajasthani brides for good luck.

Chanel’s limited-edition Bombay Express de Chanel cosmetic line was designed for fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld’s pre-fall 2012 collection, the Paris-Bombay Metiers d’Art show, which in turn was strongly influenced by opulent Indian fabrics and embellishments.

To complement the clothes, Peter Philips, Chanel’s creative director of makeup, designed four products ranging from $30 to $80, including a gold nail shade called Diwali, after the Indian festival of lights, and a golden powder named Route des Indes de Chanel, which is embossed with a motif of a bronze brocade from an Indian-themed collection that Gabrielle Chanel created in the 1960s.

The new six-piece Thakoon for Nars nail collection is a result of Thakoon Panichgul’s spring-summer 2012 line, which was inspired by the country and is heavy on gold accenting and bold colours. Panichgul said he was hands-on in coming up with the shades, which retail for $18 each and are named in Hindi after popular Indian spices or medicinal plants.

“I was taken with the colours in spice markets in India like bright blues and reds because they are so ethnic but also so modern at the same time,” he said from Paris. “I wanted to be sure that what I came up with in my clothes was being translated well into a nail shade, so Nars and I would go back and forth on tone until we found it.” The yellow shade Amchoor, which is dried mango powder in India, is similar to a yellow leather dress Panichgul designed.

According to Irina Barbalova, the global head of beauty and personal care research for Euromonitor International, a London-based market research firm, the vivid shades in these Indian-driven products are part of a larger trend of consumers’ gravitating toward more colour in their cosmetics.

“Hues have become more prominent, and today, it’s the brighter, the better, which has evolved from far more muted tones,” she said.

But the beauty world’s interest in India goes beyond the surface. Well-established and niche companies are using ancient and supposedly healing ingredients from the country to create more natural skin- and hair-care products.

Aveda, an Estee Lauder subsidiary which has worked with Ayurvedic doctors since soon after it was founded in 1978 to use Indian herbs in some of its products, has a new three-piece line for thinning hair called Invati, which means “invigorate” in Sanskrit. An Ayurvedic blend including turmeric and ginseng from an organic farm in India are the key components in the shampoo, conditioner and revitaliser, which cost $24 to $60 and claim to rehabilitate the scalp around the follicles when massaged in.

Marianne Knutson, Aveda’s vice president for global marketing, said that Invati was the largest product introduction in the company’s history in terms of marketing dollars spent. Promotions included splashy store-window displays and the brand’s first television commercial. It is now Aveda’s best-selling hair care system globally, Knutson said, adding, “The success exceeded all expectations, and we’re now looking at strengthening our relationship with Indian heritage.”

Aveda is benefiting from an increasing consumer interest in natural beauty, according to the NPD Group, a New York research firm. Karen Grant, a beauty analyst there, said that natural skin care was the fastest-growing segment in skin care and grew 18% in 2011 compared with 14% growth in overall skin care.

There are several smaller Ayurvedic-based lines. Based in New York City, Kesari, which means saffron flower in Sanskrit, is one of the better known; its products combine ancient ingredients like saffron with modern ones like peptides and retinol.  The four-product line is now sold through Amazon.com, its own site and in high-end salons and spas. The Delano Hotel in Miami has a menu of body and hair treatments using Kesari products. The most popular product is the $49.50 firming serum, which has a combination of three Indian fruits, including the vitamin-C-rich amla.

And these are just the beginning of what India has to offer, said Shalini Vadhera Potts, author of the book Passport to Beauty, which details beautifying secrets from around the world. “The country is rich with powerful herbs that really work wonders on the hair and skin, and consumers are starting to recognize that,” Potts said. “There is an awareness now to taking care of yourself in a holistic way beyond just what you can see on the surface, and that’s what these centuries-old beauty ingredients from India are all about.”

Firming serum by Kesari
Based in New York City, Kesari’s products combine ancient ingredients like saffron with modern ones like peptides and retinol. The four-product line is now sold through Amazon.com, its own site and in high-end salons and spas. The Delano Hotel in Miami has a menu of body and hair treatments using Kesari products. The most popular product is the firming serum, which has a combination of three Indian fruits, including the vitamin-C-rich amla.

Invati by Aveda
Aveda, an Estee Lauder subsidiary which has worked with Ayurvedic doctors since soon after it was founded in 1978 to use Indian herbs in some of its products, has a new three-piece line for thinning hair called Invati, which means “invigorate” in Sanskrit. An Ayurvedic blend including turmeric and ginseng from an organic farm in India are the key components in the shampoo, conditioner and revitaliser and claim to rehabilitate the scalp.

Jaipur Bracelet by Boucheron
Boucheron, the French jeweler, already had a long-established connection with India when it put a fragrance called Jaipur Bracelet on the market in June. Bracelet’s heart note is tagetes, a type of marigold known as India’s carnation. Its bottle is a soft pink, inspired by Jaipur’s nickname as the Pink City, and is in the shape of a nauratan bracelet given to Rajasthani brides for luck.

Nail polish by Chanel
Peter Philips, Chanel’s creative director of makeup, has designed four products including a gold nail shade called Diwali, after the Indian festival of lights, and a golden powder named Route des Indes de Chanel, which is embossed with a motif of a bronze brocade from an Indian-themed collection that Gabrielle Chanel created in the 1960s.

Thakoon for Nars by Thakoon Panichgul
The new six-piece Thakoon for Nars nail collection is a result of Thakoon Panichgul’s spring-summer 2012 line, which was inspired by India and is heavy on gold accenting and bold colours. Panichgul said he was hands-on in coming up with the shades, which are named in Hindi after popular Indian spices or medicinal plants.

New York Times


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