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The Body Shop Gets Closer to Mass Market in India

By: Priyanka Bhattacharya
Posted: March 8, 2011, from the March 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

The Body Shop India strives to deepen its connection with its customers by touting its eco-friendly and socially responsible efforts, as well as promoting hero products.

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When L’Oréal entered India 15 years ago with its hair colors, the market was new and hair coloring typically meant henna packs. Since then, there has been a revolutionary change in the way women and men in the country dye their hair, and more and more consumers are open to trying both new hair colors as well as variants of colorants. With that knowledge, and because the company has been logging in double-digit growth in its hair color business, L’Oréal Professionnel found bringing its ammonia-free, permanent hair-coloring solution INOA, an R&D breakthrough that uses an oil delivery system to deposit color on the hair shafts without smelling like sulfur, to be an excellent fit. According to L’Oréal Professionnel’s India director Philip Giles, this is the first color proven to maintain hair’s condition at a level comparable to natural hair, even after multiple applications.

Despite the popularity of hair color, the consumers in India are particularly wary of chemical damage, and women especially do not like the hair breakage often associated with permanent hair color. According to Giles, with the oil delivery system, INOA products can assist in leaving the scalp and hair soft and manageable. And Giles further points out that because oil has a very positive connotation in the Indian context, it makes it easier for the company to push the INOA product in the markets. Although some might find the pricing of the hair color system to be at a premium, Giles feels Indian consumers today have become world travelers, and are aware of brands and products much more than earlier generations were. Equipped with this knowledge, they do not mind spending a few extra rupees if the results are fresh and innovative.

Priyanka Bhattacharya is a writer and journalist covering the beauty, health and wellness industries in India. She is the contributing beauty features writer for several leading Indian women’s magazines.