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Pretty At The Pull Of A Purse String

Suddenly beauty is not just in the eyes of the beholder, but in the budget of the aspirational Indian woman. She will apparently pay anything to look a little better

Photo Credit : Indiapicturebudget


Were classical beauties ageless only in the eyes of the poets who depicted them, or did secret beauty potions and salves keep Egyptian Queen Cleopatra or epic princesses like Draupadi and Rukmini immune to the wear and tear of time? 

“We have been aware of taking care of ourselves from time immemorial,” points out Dr Rashmi Shetty, specialist dermatologist, Founder & Creator of Sol Skin Corp. “History says that we’ve had chandan, oil and bath rituals and pre-wedding rituals of making a person’s skin better. Taking care of ourselves and enhancing beauty, preserving or maintaining beauty, whether it is skin or hair has been in our culture. But, a few decades ago, we probably had just creams and lotions. If I remember correctly, all we had were cold creams and lotions,” she muses. 

The beauty market has come a long way since then, admits Dr Shetty. The last few years,  opine most in the industry, have witnessed an evolutionary surge in the beauty industry, propelled by a transformation in the consumer mind-set.  Dr Malavika Kohli, Dermatology and Aesthetics - Director of Skin Secrets, Consultant Dermatologist, Breach Candy and Jaslok Hospitals corroborates that “The evolution of beauty in India has transitioned from natural home remedies and packs to smartphones, with skin care now just a click away. The initial pioneering years were from 2000 – 2010 to educate and help people make informed choices. This era saw the advent of cosmeceuticals agents that blended science with proven, clinically active ingredients,” she says. 

Dr Kohli says from 2010 to 2015 the beauty market saw the advent of skin care products and procedures to manage specific skin issues like acne, acne scars, pigmentation and anti-ageing concerns. From 2015 till date, social media influences and easy access to information and products, more disposable incomes and an aspirational mind-set have created a huge buzz and boom in skin care, hair care and the grooming segments.

The last two years in particular have been like a wake-up call for humanity in general. The wake-up call was multi-dimensional, prompting people to rethink their jobs, relationships and lives. It also made the human race introspect and find new ideas and methods of self-care.  A poignant moment for beauty and wellness, like many other industries, was the forced confinement that the Covid pandemic brought in its wake. 

“The beauty revolution is here, with a change in behaviour, pre and post Covid. Pre-Covid, people took matters of appearance as a matter of fact and it was not a priority. Today post Covid, we see the change in the self-care attitude where we see the change reflected in the beauty, wellness and D2C (direct to consumer) care industry. There is an adaptation to taking care of one self, be it inner health or outer beauty with an increased focus on spending for one self,” says Dr Chytra V. Anand, celebrity cosmetic dermatologist and Founder, Kosmoderma Clinics, SkinQ. “The rise in sales of skincare, and make-up is a sure indicator, as is the rise in patients seeking medical beauty procedures,” she says. 

There is, as a matter of fact, a boom in the D2C segment of the beauty market and the offline retail format, reflected in the footfall at dermatological clinics. Among the new fads is an evolved stage of sunscreens, says Dr Shetty. There is a growing awareness of the various ingredients present in sunscreens and creams, problem solutions creams, pigmentation creams and skin-brightening creams. At the moment a single ingredient for sunscreen is making a lot of buzz in the market. 

Change In Mind-set

The last two to three years have witnessed a dramatic shift in consumer mind-set. The pursuit of beauty has loosened purse strings and consumers are opting for procedures they would earlier think twice about. Facials, for instance, were common within the price range of Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000. Professionals note a vast change in that attitude demonstrating a surge in both the cost and demand for facials now. Beauty procedures that only celebrities opted for earlier, are now being preferred by consumers in the upper middle income bracket. Today consumers are willing to pay Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 for facials. 

Purification and glamourisation procedures like Botox and fillers, for instance were considered celebrity driven procedures earlier, but that is changing fast.  Laser hair reduction is no longer a novelty, but a procedure that is even available with home services. High-end beauty treatments like stem cell therapy for skin, open pores and pigmentations, are just common procedures now. Even stem cells for hair growth are being practised. Consumers are willing to pay anything between Rs 20,000 and Rs 25,000 for an inch of fat reduction. Injections for fat reduction are common too. According to some reports India’s beauty and personal care market could grow to $33.33 billion by 2027.

According to Dr Anand, a massive shift in consumer perspectives is evident, from non-surgical facial enhancements with Botox and fillers, body shaping with non-surgical fat loss procedures like Cryolipolysis (cryo) freezing or Lipo dissolving injections to adaptation to laser hair reduction. Earlier these procedures were considered preferences of celebrities or socialites, but suddenly everyone wants them and are willing to pay for them, without hesitation. 

A bridge in the price bracket has been crossed in the beauty market and consumer mind-sets are suddenly undivided.

  The Beauty Revolution

 “With changing times, certain trends in the beauty market have changed radically,” says Dr Indu Ballani, Aesthetic Dermatologist and Trainer at both Ballani Skin Aesthetics and BLK Hospital, New Delhi. Consumers, she says, are more aware of  the vast options available, all of which they are able to access easily in the market. From skin rejuvenation to skin-lightening devices and injectables, treatments are available for all budgets. Every age group has shown greater interest in safe alternatives to improving skin health. 

 “Even gender-wise trends are changing and many entrepreneurs have provided consumers with a great variety of products from all over the world. The skin care industry has grown as people now believe that good skin care nurtures their physical well-being.  People are posting more on social media and acceptance of various skin procedures has increased,” says Dr Ballani. “The growth rate is increasing at a vigorous pace with an expected growth of plus 2.8 per cent in 2022 alone. People, in general, are really happy with the results being provided by the skin care industry,” she says.

Dr Rashmi Shetty believes that “People like to assume their research before they buy their own skincare products, which is a double-edged sword. It is nice to have a well-educated audience but at the same time, it can be dangerous if they believe in half-baked information. Therefore there are people buying a whole lot of things across the market and applying them, which leads to non-stop complaints. People are either getting sensitised or things are going wrong, all of this has been happening by self-medication.” 

The beauty industry is making available in-clinic beauty procedures and consumers are visiting aesthetic clinics or going to a dermatologist’s office more often now, an attitude unheard of a 

decade ago. The modern-day consumer takes pride in self-care, which Dr Shetty says, was an evolution.  


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Magazine 22 Oct 2022