India is the second-most populous country globally, with over 1.3 billion people making up this land of cultural richness and diversity.
They have long had an affinity for beauty, and it is home to many languages, states, religions, and casts.
From Ayurveda and Bollywood glamour to online retail alternatives, and the shift from fair skin to inclusive beauty – the Indian cosmetics market is one industry that continues to transform amid trends and generations.
Ready to dive into this topic? This video will give you a quick insight into what you will be reading next:
India’s “Dark History”
Over the years, the top beauty trends in India included a fair share of obsession with fairer skin tones in the past, with the market predominantly pervaded with international brands and FMCGs.
Their issue with colorism went so deep that, according to a 2018 report, around 50 percent of India’s skincare market was predominantly made up of fairness products.
Until recently, those “dark” days when women were subjected to believe that rich and colored skin tones were undesirable and needed to be corrected are beginning to fade.
The incident behind the Black Lives Matter protests inspired several influential local figures, such as Padma Lakshmi and Nina Davuluri, to call out beauty conglomerates which made a profit from racist and sexist beauty ideals.
The ensuing backlash has prompted Johnson&Johnson to stop selling fairness products in South Asia and the Middle East. Even the Hindustan Unilever brand, Fair and Lovely (now Glow and Lovely) has been pushed for a rebrand after petitions have been signed and supported by thousands of locals.
What’s Trending Now
Now, consumers are calling for companies that represent inclusivity, representation, and self-acceptance. And content marketing for India’s beauty brands continues to adapt to this emerging trend.
Most of the skin-lightening lines have been replaced by products that embrace the uniqueness of Indian skin. Some of the most famous Indian cosmetic brands go as far as considering climate, pollution, lifestyle factors, and Indian skin-specific concerns such as dark circles, scars, and hyperpigmentation.
Aside from becoming market-focused, the biggest beauty trend for India last year was “slow” and “clean” beauty. These encompass cosmetics and skincare that are homegrown, eco-friendly, and made with natural ingredients.
An increased number of consumers are becoming more conscious of the ingredients of the products and their sources. As numerous brands compete for attention in an ever-evolving and fickle market, the concept of lean beauty has also emerged in the local industry.
Hesitant or budget-conscious consumers have opted for brands who dish out their products in travel sizes and samples. Some brands have even incorporated rewards points and subscription services to increase brand loyalty.
These trends present several golden opportunities for exponential market growth in the country’s beauty industry.
A Peek Into India’s Beauty Industry
India continues to see improvement in its economy in the last few years. This has led to a rise in spending power and disposable income (a growth of 35-45% from 2012-2017).
In fact, the Indian beauty and personal care market, given its growth of 25% each year, is anticipated to have a CAGR of 9%, from EUR 12-12.8 billion (USD 14-15 billion) in 2017 to EUR 18.8-19.7 billion (USD 22-23 billion) in 2022.
And thanks to consumers’ continued exposure and connectivity through the internet and social media influence, more and more women are splurging on skincare and cosmetics.
Much of this important market is comprised of millennials (projected to represent 30% of the total global retail sales this year) and generation Z (with 600 million youths under the age of 24) who continue to set the new standards for beauty.
These generations are “very well informed. They are aware of global trends and how beauty products are reviewed.”Hitesh Malhotra, Chief Marketing Officer – Nykaa.com
The booming industry is not only adapting to young women, however. Even India’s beauty market has seen and responded to the growing male grooming and beauty segment, with brands such as Beardo, The Man Company, and others seeing an overwhelmingly positive response from their audience.
Some of the Top Indian Beauty Brands Today
While not as mature compared to their Asian neighbors, this emergence into the global beauty market creates space for new companies and brands to take advantage of.
However, some new and established local companies are doing incredibly well in incorporating these standards into their own unique branding.
Here are the top 10+ Indian beauty brands today, which balance a mix of tradition and innovation:
Lakme is one of the most famous makeup brands in India. They started in 1952 at the request of India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, as he found that a growing number of Indian women were spending money on expensive foreign beauty brands.
Today, the brand continues to sell a wide range of skincare, makeup, nail products, etc.
2. Elle 18
Elle 18 is another affordable brand that caters to a younger audience, as seen in their bright colored makeup range and equally eye-catching packaging.
They are most famous for their Color Pops lipstick line and Pops nail polish because of their vibrancy and use of nourishing ingredients.
Known and loved for the brand’s stance on uncompromising quality and transparency, Neemli Naturals has garnered a loyal following.
They are against greenwashing and use only eco-certified and plant-based ingredients. Their facial oils and serums ensure that your skin will not only look good but feel good as well.
One of the most recognized Ayurvedic and gender-inclusive beauty brands in the country, Kama Ayurveda, has stood by its core value of creating only 100% natural, high-quality products, using only time-tested Ayurvedic ingredients.
Their many awards in the beauty industry are proof of their proficiency at what they do.
5. FAE Beauty
This new brand, which was only launched last year, is already gaining traction in the Indian beauty market for providing an inclusive and relatable experience for their consumers.
FAE is an acronym for Free and Equal Beauty, a fitting name for their products that embrace women of all colors.
Defying the belief that laboratories can produce better products than those created from nature, this wholesome and robust skincare line shows us that chemistry can start right at “home” – with simple, raw, and organic ingredients.
Their products are clean, vegan, green, and give promising results “just as nature intended.”
7. Pahadi Local
For this skin and wellness brand, luxury can be found in simplicity.
Their products are ethically sourced through the Himalayas, following a source-to-bottle philosophy to ensure all of nature’s essentials are intact, keeping the ingredients in their pure and natural form as close as possible. Both men and women can use their products.
8. Dr. Sheth’s
Specially curated for Indian skin, this brand is founded on three generations of dermatological expertise.
They take pride in their product range, which is “naturally inspired, medically created, and scientifically validated.” With respect to the environment, their products are also vegan, cruelty-free, and toxin-free.
Incorporating Ayurveda in its brand philosophy and products, Biotique brings forth a beauty line that is natural, sustainable, and top of the line.
Also adapting the cutting-edge Swiss biotechnology, their products promise not to cover up skin problems but to eliminate them entirely.
Made for the rich and diverse Indian skin tones, Coloressence boasts of bringing out beauty through confidence.
They have a vast array of cosmetics from lipsticks, foundations, blushes, concealers, mascaras, and more – all in modern and sleek packaging. Their key ingredients are sourced from Germany and France.
A brand that encourages healthy living and longevity, Himalaya is a wellness brand that is loved and prescribed by many Indian doctors.
They are considered pioneers in converging Ayurveda and modern science and have nearly 500 products in their herbal and personal care range.
India’s beauty market continues to grow at an unprecedented rate and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. Their unique market offers several opportunities for companies and brands to tap into.
If you are searching for a beauty content marketing agency that can help you look into similar opportunities and market research, look no further. We have the right tools that can help you establish your brand and the right people who can create messages that effectively reach your audience.
How did you like May Thawdar Oo’s blog post “Rising as the Next Beauty Giant: The Indian Beauty Industry”? Let us know in the comments if you have anything to add, have another content idea for beauty content marketing blog posts, or just want to say “hello.” 🙂