With the talks of sustainability all around in every sphere of life, have you ever thought of turning to clean beauty? You know...toxin-free products with all-natural ingredients that are mindfully created keeping the health of your skin as well as the environment in focus. If you think that's clean beauty, I'm afraid I have some bad news. This definition is just the tip of the iceberg. So, how clean is 'clean beauty' really?
In the fourth segment of #POPxoSpeakeasy, we unravelled the different shades of the beauty industry in India with our theme 'Business of Beauty'. Four highly-inspiring women and skin experts at the top of their profession dug deep into the culture of beauty while in conversation with our Founder & CEO, Priyanka Gill. The panel revealed the great strides this industry has made in India and demystified the concept of clean beauty, once and for all.
But before we get started with all the important beauty lessons we learned from them, here's a look at our esteemed panellists that included an author cum beauty influencer, a renowned dermatologist, an entrepreneur and a PR mogul. Each of them had their own unique take on clean beauty that we're going to explore in this article, so read on!
"When Vasudha talks, brands listen...and they have to," says PG while speaking about the author, columnist and influencer that is Vasudha Rai. She started her career as a Beauty Writer at Cosmopolitan in 2002, which was the result of an accidental copy written during summer training that got her into writing. Despite working as a Beauty Director for Harper's Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, and Women's Health and writing on beauty for over 15 years, Vasudha still actively contributes to popular publications while running her own blog VBeauty.co.
She is a certified yoga teacher at The Yoga Studio in Delhi and the author of Glow: Indian Foods, Recipes and Rituals for Beauty, Inside and Out. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts, beauty is holistic for her.
"I find this whole clean beauty thing very schizophrenic", opens Vasudha. For her, clean beauty, in its true sense, happens at three levels--eating clean, keeping clean, and using clean.
"I've seen a lot of people who're into clean beauty posting a picture of themselves eating a burger. Clean means clean! You can't be like 'oh, I don't want these parabens on my face but I'll take these transfats'," she told PG. Vasudha is from Haryana and grew up eating farmer food like ghee, bajra and the greens. Her father was in the army, so, health was obviously a big focus for her. And it still is.
Secondly, clean beauty has to be clean at every level which includes product packaging too. Think of all the plastic bottles your favourite sustainable products come in. Is that clean? It then comes to ingredients which is the third aspect of clean beauty.
Dr Geetika Mittal Gupta is a living example of beauty with brains. With over 10 years of experience in the field of Cosmetic Dermatology, she is the Medical Director of ISAAC (International Skin and Anti-Ageing Centre). Having completed her MBBS from India and Diploma in Practical Dermatology from world-renowned Cardiff University in the UK, she is also a prolific orator and has chaired numerous sessions at National Cosmetology and Aesthetic Dermatology Conferences and CME Programs. She’s a believer in the concept of low impact cosmetic procedures that cause minimal pain and discomfort to the person and maximum happiness with their body.
A fun fact about Dr Geetika is that after a fruitful day at work, she likes to spend quality time with the kids over a delicious home-cooked meal. On weekends, she spoils her munchkins, Neesah (7) and Uday (3), by taking them to the movies.
"The ingredient has to be effective but it should not be harming your body in any which ways. It should be free of toxins and we all should know what we are choosing." Recalling how she sees clients in action saying they want to live clean but come to her for extreme beauty treatments like botox, Dr Geetika thinks the most important thing is to know what you are choosing for yourself rather than fooling yourself into believing something.
Malika Sadani is the founder and CEO of The Moms Co., which was founded in 2017 and is one of India’s toxin-free brands catering to babies, expectant and new mothers seeking natural, chemical-free products. Armed with an Engineering degree as well as an MBA, the idea for the company struck her in 2012 when, as a new mom, she was unable to find safe and natural products for her two daughters, Myraah (8) and Syna (5).
Exposure to toxic substances is extremely harmful especially to a young baby’s health, and with The Moms Co., Mallika aims to help mothers make safer choices for themselves and their loved ones.
"Clean beauty is very self-acclaimed, you have to put your own checks because there's no authority that gives you a fixing like 'this is a clean beauty product'," says Malika while acknowledging how big a role packaging plays in the clean beauty business. "Packaging and the availability of packaging don't allow me to do beyond a point," she added emphasising on the need to know what clean means to you. A brand has to take many decisions but a more conscious one comes from the buyer.
Equipped with an honours degree in History from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University, along with a certification in Art History from The National Gallery of Modern Art, India, Sonalee Kumar is the director of The Communication Council. With her business partner, Arjun Sawhney, together they created TCC which is now considered as the 'go-to' brand consulting firm with expertise in lifestyle and luxury in India.
She followed a successful career in broadcast journalism and publishing by joining The Friday Corporation. It is here where she met her future business partner, Arjun. Sonalee has been the force behind TCC's success as one of India's leading boutique PR agencies in the luxury sector.
For Sonalee, 'clean beauty' is a buzz word right now. People want to consume clean beauty because they think it's the right thing to do. Just like 'I want to eat organic' but is it really organic? People want to use brands that are socially responsible but that doesn't mean they understand what clean beauty is.
As someone whose job is to position the brand correctly, Sonalee says, "You have to work a balance in the messaging" so the consumers get what they want and, at the same time, not feel cheated by the brand. For her, it's a battle between a happy hoarder (that we all are on some level) and a clean product with a shorter shelf-life. At the end of the day, it's up to the consumers to decide which side they are on.
So, which side are you on?
All images: POPxo
Start your 2020 right with our cool new planners and statement-making sweatshirts that are fun, fab and 100% you! Psst... there's an additional 20% off too, so head to POPxo.com/shop and take it up a POP!