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Growing love for organic skincare in India

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Organic and vegan products are the new must-haves that beauty conscious people and skincare lovers are rooting for. While some brands have been able to spot and bank on the gaping gap in the variety available, consumers are becoming more receptive to know the importance of using chemical-free products with right ingredients on their body.

The rise in organic brands is driven by consumers who are increasingly becoming aware of what goes into the making of the products they are using, and what are the long-terms effects on their overall well-being, says Vishal Bhandari, Founder of SoulTree.

“This increasing consciousness has led to a growing demand for more natural and sustainable substitutes in many industries,” Bhandari told IANS.

Rahul Agarwal, CEO at Organic Harvest, says this trend is offering a platform to Indian homegrown brands that are creating a niche for themselves and introducing exclusive range of organic-only personal care brands.

He says these rising brands have got their hooks into the gap that exists in terms of product variety and ingredients, which is giving a “tough competition to international and national players”.

However, Agarwal pointed out that the concept of using organic products is “age-old and is very popular in the West”.

“They have long lasting results and act as a great skin food too. In India, the organic beauty industry is growing and is at a nascent phase. It is said that skincare products are like skin food, which absorbs both the good and the bad… Choice is ours – organic nutrients or the chemicals,” he added.

Organic products are certified from global organisations like EcoCert, OneCert and Natrue, Agarwal said, adding: “The certification is the evidence that raw materials used for manufacturing products are derived from organically grown plants without using chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.”

The market is only poised for rapid growth in the coming five years, says Cyril Feuillebois, beauty expert and Director of Kronokare.

“It is growing at a rate of 13-18 per cent every year and it’s more than the US and Europe industry,” said Feuillebois.

According to Agarwal, the organic skincare market in India is likely to grow two-fold in the next five years and cross the Rs 1,000 crore mark by 2020.

All said and done, the shelf life of these products is a major factor that can influence an individual’s vanity or skincare collection. This is one reason why most people prefer better known brands for their lasting properties, irrespective of chemical content.

Feuillebois differs.

“The organic products have a different kind of preservative which is plant-derived. Their shelf life is less than chemical-based cosmetics, but is long enough to allow their use on a comfortable period. But there are some precautions that can help to expand the life of the organic products — like storing them in cool and away from humidity, use product with the help of clean make-up tool,” Feuillebois added.

However, Arush Chopra, CEO and Co-Founder at Just Herbs, says shelf life is a problem only for certain products.

“We don’t use harsh preservatives like parabens but natural preservatives like an oil that is self-preserving or safe-synethics, which are non-natural but have been approved by a certifying body for use in organic products globally,” said Chopra.

“Having said that, a lot of products like oils and ubtans are self preserving as they do not have any water content, so they do not need preservation. Preservation is needed only when there is water content in the product because of which bacteria can develop,” he added.

On the availability factor of all organic brands, Chopra said the inventory turnover in the online model is much smaller because more people shop online nowadays.

“A lot of our online customers come from Tier 2 and 3 cities and a couple of our stores are also in smaller cities where they are doing really well. The online channel has done away with the problem of availability of products and brands in a big market like India,” he said.

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