6 Indian makeup products that come close to the promise of 'clean' beauty
It’s not as simple as putting the word ‘natural’ on a label
The ‘clean beauty’ wave has hit India with the jhatka of a rickshaw weaving through traffic. It began with Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow and her Goopy science calling out the ‘toxic chemicals’ in our favourite mascara and highlighter.
But don’t toss everything into a box to give your raddiwala just yet.
“Everything is a chemical,” says Dr Aneesh Sheth, pharmacist and CEO of Dr Sheth’s skincare. “The bigger problem is that we don’t understand the ingredients — we haven’t put in the efforts to find out what goes into our products.”
‘Greenwashing’ – an unsubstantiated claim giving the impression that one product is environmentally-better than others – would want us to believe that only ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ is good.
And everything else might turn you into a mutant the moment it touches your skin…
But experts like Sheth explain that there is no regulated authority that defines what is considered ‘natural’.
“There are no strict laws or definitions yet, especially in the case of clean beauty products. But there is a certificate that is required from the licensing body before branding a product as organic,” explains cosmetic dermatologist Chytra V Anand, founder of Kosmoderma Skin & Hair Clinic in Bengaluru.
In India, it’s easy for us to gravitate towards these brands because of our affinity towards the botanical.
“Ayurveda is a natural form of medicine, as it is mainly botanical in nature. Even in allopathy, there are certain ingredients which are plant-based. Glycolic acid in your chemical peel is obtained from sugarcane, lactic acid from milk — so these would technically be natural too,” says Anand.
The world of clean beauty is a highly ambiguous space, and your skin is as likely to develop an allergy or irritation from a ‘natural’ or plant-derived formulas as from synthetic, lab-created ingredients.
While the process of educating ourselves continues, we’ve identified some brands in India that are as ‘clean beauty’ as they come.
We looked for products that are cruelty-free, transparent with their ingredient lists (so you can judge for yourself), use ethically-sourced ingredients that don’t include bleaching agents and drying alcohols, and minimise their impact on the environment.
Herb Enriched Skin Tint by Just Herbs
As the name indicates, this product is a blend of botanical herbs and oils that serves as a BB cream.
With light coverage and SPF, it’ll work well for your daily ‘no-makeup makeup’ look.
The moisturising skin tint uses essential oils as part of its blend, so if you have sensitive skin you’ll want to patch test this first.
Beet Tint by Ilana Organics
You know how your lips get stained after eating an ice lolly? Tints are meant to replicate that effect.
Ilana’s is a lip and cheek tint with a water base and beetroot powder. It’s easy to work with and can be built up if you’re looking for a more saturated colour pay-off.
We love a good multitasking product like this. Just remember to shake the bottle well before using it.
Satin Matte Lipsticks by Disguise Cosmetics
Disguise Cosmetics lipsticks are made using healing oils like avocado and marula, as well as nourishing oils like almond, argan and jojoba.
These lipsticks are available in a number of shades, all with a waterproof formula that doesn’t dry out your lips.
They aren’t heavy on the pocket and also a celebrity favourite.
Ayurvedic Kajal by SoulTree
SoulTree has one of the most extensive product ranges in this field. Keeping with their Ayurvedic tenets, SoulTree’s kajal is made using a combination of butters, oils and camphor powder.
Camphor can have a cooling effect on the eyes when used with care.
This kajal doesn’t have the longest wear time but that’s a trade-off you make for Ayurvedic recipes. It also comes in a variety of colours.
NaturStudio Easy-Going Makeup Remover by Plum
A gentle make-up remover you can use for eyes, face and lips, the brand tries to bridge the gap between natural and lab-created.
The company uses their website to talk about safe synthetic ingredients with clarity and facts to counter some of the baseless negativity.
Crème Blush and Highlighter by Ruby’s Organics
Ruby’s Organics’ cream formulations are balmy but easily melt and spread across your skin. They don’t feel heavy and can build up well.
Their blush in Deep Rose looks fantastic on Indian skin tones. Ruby’s highlighters get their sheen from natural mineral and not glitter, which is made from microplastic and terrible for the environment.
WATCH NOW – Makeup on the go using just 5 products ft. Shriya Pilgaonkar
Styling: Divya Gursahani, HMU: Mausam Gandhi, Model: Manvi Arora
Dress: Forever 21