#BeautyIcons: Meet The Trailblazers of The Indian Beauty Industry

Apr 27, 2022, 15:19 IST


Today, the Indian beauty industry is at par with international standards in terms of product and technology innovations, best-in-class quality and ingredients, and is flooded with excellent homegrown beauty brands that are marching towards a fruitful and impactful tomorrow. But, if we think back to 40 years ago, the scenario in the Indian beauty industry was very different. We didn’t have a new set of brands emerging every day, and the consumer’s choice was pretty one-dimensional. Although the concept of beauty has been an integral part of our culture, there wasn’t room for choices and options across the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s.

However, there were pioneers in the industry who got down to business and created a name for themselves as well as their beauty houses at a time when people seldom got such ideas. These trailblazers etched our country’s name on the map of global beauty. From makeup to skin care, from wellness to Ayurvedic solutions, we had them all, thanks to these achievers with a goal of transforming the Indian beauty space. Let’s tap into their journeys and understand how they’ve come a long way and get inspired for the coming year.

Vandana Luthra, Founder & Co-Chairperson, VLCC
We all know VLCC for its facial kits and wellness clinics; Vandana Luthra is the mastermind behind this holistic brand. The Padma Shri awardee sowed the seeds of the brand in 1989, and has been expanding her products and services ever since. From weight loss and health management to hair and skin treatments, VLCC was the first of its kind to offer a variety of services, all under one roof. Luthra’s long list of achievements starts with the foundation of her still-thriving brand over three decades ago, includes two books, and continues with the tremendous expansion and distribution of her products and services abroad.

Shahnaz Husain, Founder,
Shahnaz Husain, Founder, Chairperson & Managing Director, The Shahnaz Husain Group
India has had Ayurvedic solutions as part of its beauty culture for centuries; Shahnaz Husain brought that magic to the forefront in the modern beauty space with her herbal and customised beauty care products. Husain is not just the face of her brand, but also an advocate of all-natural beauty. She won the trust of many beauty enthusiasts when she began her entrepreneurial journey in 1971 with her first beauty clinic that employed all things natural and skin-enhancing to treat and care for the skin. Her brand is all about the concept of ‘Care & Cure’ and that reflects in her extensive service and product portfolio. She has bagged over 10 national and international awards, proving her excellence in the field.

Simone Tata
Simone Tata, Founder of Lakmé & Chairperson, Trent Group
If there is one beauty brand that has been representing the Indian beauty industry for years, it is Lakmé. With a celebrated legacy of over a whopping 60 years, Lakmé continues to stay relevant and be the go-to choice for the woman of today. The woman behind this historic brand is Simone Tata, who founded Lakmé in 1962. She was born and brought up in Geneva and settled in then-Bombay after marrying businessman Naval Tata in 1955. She soon realised that makeup – part of a woman’s normal routine in Switzerland – was taboo in India because it was believed that only ‘bad girls’ wore red lipstick or kohl back in the day. Tata decided to create a one-stop brand for all things beauty. For her, beauty wasn’t just about a cold cream or some talc; she wanted women to express themselves through bright coloured lips and nails, and so Lakmé was born.

Dr Jamuna Pai, Celebrity Dermatologist & Founder, SkinLab
Dr Jamuna Pai, Celebrity Dermatologist & Founder, SkinLab
When it comes to the beauty industry, dermatology and cosmetology play a key role. Clinically-backed target-based skin and hair treatments have also evolved and gradually flourished in India. Dr Jamuna Pai’s is one of the first names that will pop up in your head courtesy her experience in the field. Practising for over 25 years now, she counts the finest in the entertainment and beauty business among her clientele. She set up her clinic with state-of-the-art facilities and treatments in 1994 and has been expanding and growing her presence ever since. Dr Pai’s SkinLab is a skincare destination that addresses every concern, big or small, with technologies and treatments provided under her guidance and expertise. She is also an author, and has been a skincare expert with the Miss India organisation for over 20 years.

Blossom Kochhar
Dr Blossom Kochhar, Aromatherapist & Chairperson, Blossom Kochhar Group of Companies
Aromatherapy is huge today; from beauty lovers to wellness enthusiasts, everyone uses it to de-stress and soothe. Aromatherapy has a significant place in our beauty traditions and cultures as well – think rose water or sandalwood incense sticks. Aromatherapy champion Dr Blossom Kochhar is a pioneer in the Indian aromatherapy space with a double doctorate in aromatherapy. Blossom Kochhar Aroma Magic curates high-performing skincare and hair care products with another vast portfolio of aromatherapy-based products such as essential oils and more. Today, the brand boasts a legacy of over 25 years with a presence across India as well as overseas. She has also launched the Blossom Kochhar College of Creative Arts Design (BKCCAD), which imparts valuable education on all things related to skin, hair, makeup, nails and more. The award-winning specialist has also written a book about aromatherapy, which details her elaborate understanding of the topic in simple words.

Vinita Jain, Founder of Biotique

Vinita Jain, Founder of Biotique
Vinita Jain launched Biotique in 1992 with the mission of showcasing India’s natural beauty heritage. Most of her early days were spent amid tea plantations in Assam and West Bengal, which kindled her interest and passion in therapeutic and herbal beauty solutions. She aspired to spread the power of Ayurveda through the products of Biotique, which now has a market reach across the globe. With hair and skin care products infused with botanical ingredients and ayurvedic formulations, Biotique has won itself and retained a loyal fan base.

Bharat & Dorris Godambe, Makeup Artists & Founders, B&D
Bharat & Dorris Godambe, Makeup Artists & Founders, B&D
Husband and wife Bharat and Dorris Godambe have been celebrated makeup artists and hairstylists for 30 years. Having worked with Bollywood superstars such as Madhuri Dixit, Rani Mukherji, Preity Zinta and Sushmita Sen, the duo has built rock-solid recognition in the field. The Godambes have also been awarded for their artistry in many Bollywood movies such as Ghajini and Saawariya, with Om Shanti Om being the biggest one. They were also among the first to establish a beauty brand, B&D, in 2005 with a wide range of products created under their guidance for that flawless makeup we all want.

Photograph: Instagram: @bharatanddoris