Winsome vegan

Thanks to conscious consumers, the demand for natural, organic and vegan beauty products is on the rise in India

Published: 05th May 2018 10:00 PM  |   Last Updated: 05th May 2018 12:06 PM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

Return to nature is the answer to all our woes, and the latest to hop a ride on this bandwagon are cosmetics and personal care brands that are going cruelty-free and vegan. The use of chemical-based and animal-derived ingredients is avoided, and instead organic and plant-based alternatives are used, making these products harmless for human body and the planet.  

A conscientious entrepreneur, Shankar Prasad, founder of Plum, elucidates it, “Veganism is a relatively recent trend in beauty, and has coincided with the arrival of the thoughtful consumer. The thoughtful consumer goes beyond ‘I-me-myself’ and thinks about what goes into making the product s(he) is using.” Launched in July 2014, the online-only cosmetic brand Plum has become the first in India to create 100 percent vegan products made from safe ingredients, and with carefully selected natural extracts to suit various skin types. Today, the brand has skin care, kajal, and nearly 40 stock keeping units.  

But clearing the air on ‘vegan’, Sambhavna Vasant, founder of online platform Bath It Up says, “It means that ingredients are neither derived nor tested on animals. We have two international brands on board from the UK—Patisserie De Bain and Rose & Co. Roses inspire the collection of Rose & Co and pastries of Patisserie De Bain.” Mainly, the products are not tested on animals. “But some of the products such as Rose Petal Salve, a multi-purpose balm, contains beeswax because the company believes that using a chemical substitute for it is a no-go,” adds Vasant.

According to a report by Market Research Future, the ‘cruelty-free’ cosmetics market is set to grow by 6.1 percent between 2017-2023, with India projected as one of the top exporters.

Moving back to their roots, nature enthusiasts Piyush Grover and Shraddha Pandey, who launched Svana Therapy in November 2017, say, “Exploring nature and its healing powers is not only amazing but also opens up a new perspective on natural living.” The entrepreneur duo’s soon-to-be-launched range of vegan products includes body butter, lipsticks, shampoo, face wash, body wash and body mists. Shraddha says, “The products are made purely from plant extracts, mostly essential oils. These products heal the body and have a soothing and calming impact on the mind and soul too.”

The demand is need-based and can be attributed to the growing awareness among consumers for vegan and cruelty-free products. “The consumers want to know what goes into making their cosmetics and how it affects their skin. It is great news for us,” says young entrepreneur Sargam Dhawan, director of international skincare and cosmetics brand, Paul Penders in India.

At the heart of their products is LevensESSENTIE Gold, a 100-year old, time-tested, holistic infusion of 22 organic herbs, enzyme, vitamins and antioxidants that restores, rejuvenates, detoxifies and revitalises the natural beauty of skin and hair. “To further enhance the power of our products, we use crystal-clear water flowing from the Himalayas,” she adds.

Like any start-up, these brands too have their share of challenges. As Shankar acknowledges that being a man attempting to create products for women, he lacked insight into what would resonate with his audience and relied heavily on surveys and interactions. “But our differentiation stems from our cruelty-free, nasties-free philosophy,” he says.

Piyush and Shraddha found it troublesome to deal with people and their perceptions of natural products, but their major takeaway has been the satisfaction of making 100 percent natural skin care products that deliver the care that it claims. “Creating an illusion of authenticity through advertisement does not guarantee authenticity, and we are overcoming it, one day at a time,” says Piyush.  

As ethical beauty continues to inspire consumer choices, one can expect the market for cruelty-free and vegan products to grow faster than the broader market for other products. But more awareness of vegan products and veganism is needed for vegan brands to thrive. And if you are still wondering whether to go vegan, then ponder over this parting shot. “The growing consumption of plant-based cosmetics would require more trees to be grown. It will take us closer to ways of natural living,” says Shraddha. May the tribe of mindful consumers and entrepreneurs grow for a greener environment. 


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