Generation Desi: The unstoppable rise of India's beauty scene

14-Sep-2022

Ayurvedic-inspired products have been popular among beauty brands around the world for years, how western entrepreneurs are bringing their eastern traditions and heritage to the forefront, writes Sonia Sharma

Indian beauty traditions are coming to mainstream media, such as Bridgerton (Image via Netflix)

Indian beauty traditions are coming to mainstream media, such as Bridgerton (Image via Netflix)

Having its roots in India, the ancient scientific system of Ayurveda has been gaining steady traction for decades. With the demand for natural and organic goods soaring, combined with the increasing consumer awareness around ingredients, the global Ayurvedic market is projected to reach over US$16m by 2028, up from $7m in 2021, according to Industry Research.

Although the largest Ayurvedic region is India, many brands are expanding outside of the country, and noticeably many other Ayurvedic-inspired businesses, such as hair wellness brand Fable & Mane and skin care company Ranavat, have launched beauty lines in the West.

Estée Lauder Companies, meanwhile, turned to the subcontinent in search of the next big beauty brand by launching an incubator programme with local retailer Nykaa in July. Then, in September, Spanish brand owner Puig acquired a majority stake in Ayurvedic brand Kama Ayurveda.

This fresh generation of entrepreneurs, inspired by their family heritage, are amalgamating their beauty rituals which have been part of their traditions for generations, with current trends to make them accessible.

Lisa Mattam, founder of skin care brand Sahajan based in Canada, believes the increased focus on wellness, the understanding of yoga and the pandemic, has played a part in increasing the popularity of Ayurvedic products, forcing many of us to not only re-evaluate our approach to health but reinforcing the need to invest in ritual.

She also believes there is one specific contributor that has propelled these products to the forefront - the increased voice of the South Asian diaspora. It is “those inspired by their heritage and their upbringing who are not only searching for products that reflect their knowledge but are looking for amplify the products to which they identify” she explains.

At first she considered the beauty rituals to be family traditions or the practices of South Asian families but then realised that the “ingredients are steeped in the science of Ayurveda.

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