Skincare is a billion-dollar industry in India that is set to double its value in the next three years. Slowly but steadily, the natural skincare movement is making inroads to become a saturated market.
Just like yoga, working out and eating healthy Pradaini transitioned to cruelty-free makeup as and when possible and slowly switched to natural and organic skincare. Pradaini’s pro tip is to make one small change at a time, if it’s realistic, you are more likely to stick with it. When you have hard rules overnight, it becomes exponentially more difficult with the follow through. Start with being more conscious of your choices, she tells me, and asks to allow the change to happen. Instead of looking at only imported products, she started trying locally available and homegrown brands. “Try and focus on the one small change you can make today. Don’t force it but consciously transition to what you know that benefits everyone and not just you,” she says. Unknowingly, this approach of Pradaini’s has also supported the local economy and reduced her carbon footprint.
Wellness influencer, Weena Pradhan, a connoisseur of all things organic and natural, has been dabbling with this for the last three years. What attracted her was that the products were plant-based and free of harmful chemicals like parabens and sulphates, which are a commonplace among many brands. Astrea is a brand that most of us were introduced to through Weena’s social media feed, where she raves about their products, especially the glow, the under-eye cream and the facial cleansing grains. We have all witnessed her journey of discovering this homegrown brand and falling in love with it.
I met Sharon Natarajan of Astrea after I heard Weena go on and on about their products. The brand is just three years old and after successfully catering to customers online and at pop-ups, they will be opening their first brick and mortar experiential beauty bar this week.
The brand started out of frustration when Sharon had skin allergies and found no remedies despite visiting several doctors, she decided to put her science background to work and did her research. After years of being a professor, it was her turn to do the homework to understand plant-based natural skincare. She turned her kitchen into her first lab, making a cream for herself. After several tries, she found a formula that worked for her and healed her skin woes. Slowly, her friends wanted some and they knew someone who had a similar skin condition and was willing to try it. After using the product, her friends and family pushed her to take up the idea seriously. Thus Astrea skincare was born.
She started with just three products at a farmers’ market and over time has hired a botanist and a chemist. All their formulations are made with premium food-grade ingredients. You maybe wondering why that’s important but here is a small fact that can help. A woman on average eats over a kilo and a half of lipstick in her lifetime. Now, doesn’t that make you want to check the ingredients of your lipstick? This is how my personal journey into exploring the world of organic and natural skincare started.
I was curious to know how Sharon tests her products. She tells me every product is tested on herself and once she is satisfied, it is given to a close circle of friends to test and provide feedback. They have a serum targeting pigmentation in the works, which is making fans of her treatments for eczema and acute acne very excited. While we are all talking about caring for the environment, inspired by Swedish teen environmental activist Greta Thunberg, take a moment to evaluate how we take care of ourselves. Self care is important and what you put on your skin is just as important as what you eat.