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Green is Mainstream in India

By: Priyanka Bhattacharya
Posted: December 10, 2007, from the December 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Some Indian companies are taking natural beauty further, launching makeup and color cosmetics souped up with natural ingredients. Best-selling brands that claim to be 95% natural include Lotus Herbals, Himalaya Herbals, Shahnaz Husain and Biotique.

“We have been a prime player in the Indian natural and Ayurvedic beauty care market for the last 10 years. We have been focusing on skin and hair care ’til now. But over the last few years, we started getting requests from our 400-odd beauty counters across the country for color cosmetics,” said Nitin Passi, director, marketing and sales, Lotus Herbals. “To be precise, the market and consumer demand for nature-based cosmetics that [do] not harm their skin is what prompted us to create Cosmetics Ecologique.”

The line was developed from pigments that are 100% vegetarian and natural, and include natural active sun protection. Lipsticks are made from floral wax and essential oils, and Lotus Herbals’ eye shadows are made from botanical extracts and minerals, kajals from almond oil and camphor. The company promotes ethical products at affordable price ranges as its unique sales position, but Passi notes that these elements cannot negatively impact the qualities that consumers expect in a cosmetic product. In addition to the natural positioning, Lotus Herbals also focuses, for example, on delivering vivid colors and texture throughout its toluene-, DBP- and acetone-free nail enamel line.

Market Opportunity

With the increasing demand for natural-based products, there’s a two-way business opportunity for both Indian and international manufacturers. India is known as a popular source for raw ingredients due to its rich mountain flora. Along with sourcing natural ingredients, Indian contract manufacturers are adept at developing specific natural beauty products—and this is a trend gaining momentum. Local brands such as Lotus Herbals and JR Herbals also contract manufacture natural beauty products for clients in the international market—including the U.S., Europe and the Middle East. And the opportunity to market naturals in India is not waning. The strong brand awareness among consumers ensures market potential for organic and natural beauty brands ready to invest in the Indian market.