India is the birthplace of Ayurveda, a practice which has been in existence since 5000 BC. It is also a country where opening the kitchen cabinet to look for a quick fix to any skin or hair problem is a common practice. These rich traditions have given rise to many homegrown natural cosmetic brands, alongside those inspired by a more Western ethos. Here’s our list of sought after beauty brands from India that you need to know about.
Kama Ayurveda was founded in 2002 and has gone on to become one of the most recognisable Ayurvedic beauty brands in India. Each of their products have been inspired by time-tested Ayurvedic ingredients and contain 100% natural products. The many beauty awards that have been showered upon Kama Ayurveda are testament to their excellency. In 2016, Nimrah Anti Acne Face Pack was awarded best face mask by Elle India and their Brigandi Intensive Hair Treatment received the best hair oil at Vogue Beauty Awards 2017.
Probably the most famous Indian make-up brand of them all, Lakmé was started in 1952 and borrows its name from a French opera. Interestingly, it was the former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who suggested that an indigenous cosmetics brand be set up as more and more Indian women were found to be spending money on expensive foreign beauty brands. Their Rose Face Powder, Weightless Matte Mousse Lip & Cheek Colour and Absolute Skin Natural Mousse are some of the much-loved Lakmé products.
Not only are the ingredients in Biotique products fully organic and preservative-free, even their packaging is eco-friendly and can be recycled. Biotique employs a process called cold extraction whereby all the active ingredients of the original plants are preserved in the products, so that when applied on the body, it can reap wholesome benefits. The Cucumber Pore Tightening Toner, Dandelion Ageless Lightening Serum and Mountain Ebony Vitalising Serum for Falling Hair are their hero products.
With a number of both international and homegrown brands pitted against each other, the beauty industry in India is a tough segment to crack. It is to Colorbar’s credit that even though they only entered the scene in 2005, when brands like L’Oreal, Revlon and Lakmé had already found a firm footing, they’ve gone on to become one of the most sought after make-up brands in the country. Colorbar’s lipstick range including Velvet Matte Lipsticks and Kiss Proof Lip Stain are much in demand.
Lotus Herbals is a well-known Indian brand producing over 250 skin care, hair care and make-up products. They are a natural cosmetics company which believes in integrating the ancient science of Ayurveda with modern innovations in beauty. When the brand first started out in 1993, they were exclusively exporting their products, but soon built a strong market in India as well. Lotus Herbals’ sunscreen products are hugely popular and their 3-in-1 Matte Look Daily Sunblock and Daily Multi–Function Sunblock are considered to be the best among them.
Founded by entrepreneur Shahnaz Husain in 1970, this is one of the oldest cosmetic brands in India. The success of Shahnaz Husain has a lot to do with the fact that they are constantly innovating themselves but without swaying from their Ayurvedic roots. Among their wide range of cosmetic products, they have both classic gems which have been with the brand since the very beginning, as well as newer favourites like Oxygen Skin Cream. Women in India have sworn by Shahnaz Hussain’s 7 Step Anti Ageing Treatment Facial Kit.
Forest Essentials is a luxury Ayurvedic cosmetics brand with a loyal user base. The brand initially began with just handmade natural soaps but as they started becoming popular, they quickly expanded to a diverse range of products. They use only the purest of ingredients like raw cane sugar and organically grown cold-pressed oils. Although most Forest Essential products have been well reviewed, their Advanced Soundarya Age Defying Facial Serum with 24K Gold, Sanjeevani Beauty Elixir and Hand Pounded Organic Fruit Scrub are the superstar products.
Elle 18 is an affordable cosmetics brand targeted towards a younger crowd. Their make-up range usually consists of bright colours and they also employ attractive packaging. Elle 18’s stand-out products are the Colour Pop Lipstick range which are not only vibrant but also use nourishing ingredients like cocoa butter and jojoba oil for keeping the lips moisturised. Their Pops Nail Polish come in equally vivid shades and are packaged in handy bottles which are easy to carry around.
Himalaya Herbals is a pioneering natural cosmetics brand founded in 1930. They are one of the leading companies in India offering pharmaceutical-grade Ayurvedic products. Himalaya Herbals are a research-based company, who use a multitude of herbs, plants and fruits in all of their products. Well-known Ayurvedic ingredients like turmeric, neem, chickpeas and basil all find their way into the various Himalaya Herbals products. Their Purifying Neem Pack and Gentle Exfoliating Walnut Scrub have remained customer favourites for a long time now.
Gulnare Skincare is one of the newest cosmetics brand in India. All their products are chemical-free and 100% natural. The founders have named the brand after their maternal grandmother because most of the products have been inspired from the latter’s beauty rituals. Their magic concoctions are a result of many experimentations at home with natural ingredients. Even though they’ve only just started out, Gulnare Skincare products, like the Coffee Caramel Body Scrub, have been steadily garnering a band of trusted customers.