Natural and clean beauty are edging toward being the norm in beauty products, even at the mass level. As the concept of a holistic approach to health and beauty takes root, retailers are injecting Ayurvedic beauty brands into the assortment.
“There is an evolution taking place toward a natural lifestyle that has gained momentum over the last few years,” said Shadoh Punnapuzha, founder of Taïla, an Ayurvedic skin collection. “As we are becoming more educated about the repercussions of synthetic chemicals, unbalanced lifestyles and other environmental aggressors, it is only natural that we seek out remedies that are gentle and consider our bodies’ natural rhythm and processes.” She added the fast streaming of information further propels interest.
But what exactly is Ayurveda and how does it translate into the beauty business? Founded more than 5,000 years ago, Ayurveda, which means “science of life,” is an ancient Indian wellness practice adhering to preventative measures to maintain well-being. Ayurveda is based on five fundamental elements: space, air, fire, water and earth. People identify their energy, called dosha, as vata, pitta or kapha. The theory is that from knowing their dosha, they can diagnose and treat skin issues. Shankara Naturals, for example, uses organic formulations that balance the skin types linked to vata, pitta and kapha.
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Ayurvedic beauty products typically are produced from natural ingredients that have been used for thousands of years such as Turmeric, Neem, Amla and Shikakai. Now these ingredients and the concept are going beyond niche.
Prestige brands like Sahajan are gaining distribution in department stores and specialty doors like Credo Beauty. And, according to Puneet Nanda, the founder of GuruNanda, an Ayurvedic range, the mass market is taking note. Walmart, in fact, carries the brand’s aromatherapy products. Other Ayurvedic brands gaining traction include Shankara, Urban Veda and Taïla.
“There is tremendous potential in mass,” said Nanda. “In fact, the mass market is already doing it without realizing when you look at all of the products in the vitamin aisle.” Nanda has vast experience in the mass market, having founded the oral care line Dr. Fresh. As an entrepreneur, he was putting in 16-hour days and not taking care of himself. After a trip to the emergency room where he was diagnosed as having an anxiety attack, Nanda went back to his roots and rediscovered the health benefits of yoga and Ayurvedic beauty such as aromatherapy.
“I was using a peppermint aromatherapy product that was more than $50 for a tiny bottle,” he said. “I wanted to help more consumers discover and reap the benefits of aromatherapy, and that means making them more affordable and accessible, without compromising on the quality of the ingredients,” he said. Nanda set out on a six-continent journey to establish a global consortium of responsible farms and growers providing 100 percent pure and natural botanical essential oils.The latest additions to his lineup include The Exotics Line of aromatherapy featuring ingredients like Ylang Ylang and Marjoram, a Tower XL Diffuser and The 100% Pure and Natural Rose Water. A new line of Air Fresheners is in the works.
Because Ayurvedic beauty requires some level of education, Taïla focuses on its own e-commerce site. “Think how long it took yoga to be known widely; it was first introduced in the U.S. in the late 1800s. With people constantly bombarded by information it is important to provide vital bite-size pieces of wisdom that are easily digestible to enlighten their knowledge base,” Punnapuzha said.