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Why that kiss-proof lipstick is bad for you

The makers of Color Chemistry, a new certified organic brand, want consumers to think of makeup as an extension of one’s skincare routine

Founders Pritesh and Megha Asher

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Keeping in mind the rising demand for everything natural in skincare and the wellness industry, the makers of Juicy Chemistry, a 2014-born skincare brand that promotes itself as organic, have now launched Color Chemistry, an organic cosmetics brand, with over 75% of the range being certified organic by ECOCERT France.

All cruelty-free products, including foundations (20 shades), eyeshadows, lip colours, and compacts, are natural and designed to be skin friendly. They don’t have any nanoparticles, claim the founders Pritesh and Megha Asher, who are also husband and wife.

The founders say that Color Chemistry is all about offering lots of colour and they haven't used any petroleum-derived ingredients or silicones. All ingredients are natural, except for the pigment they use in their red lipsticks, they claim. “The formulations are designed to make a customer think of makeup as an extension of one’s skincare routine, containing skin-loving ingredients such as rosehip and green tea, and are suitable for all skin types,” they say.

While there are Indian cosmetic brands that offer cosmetics made with organic ingredients, what sets Color Chemistry apart is that their formulations are certified organic as well. We spoke with Pritesh Asher about the new brand, the challenges of formulating an organic cosmetic product and the changing demands of today's beauty consumer. Edited excerpts:

The founders say that Color Chemistry is all about offering lots of colour and they haven't used any petroleum-derived ingredients or silicones. All ingredients are natural, except for the pigment they use in their red lipstick, they claim.
The founders say that Color Chemistry is all about offering lots of colour and they haven't used any petroleum-derived ingredients or silicones. All ingredients are natural, except for the pigment they use in their red lipstick, they claim.

Was cosmetics always a part of the plan?

It was certainly on our minds for quite some time, but we really didn’t start working on it until the pandemic. It was also something our customers would often ask about. During our research and through our experience in addressing skincare concerns over the years at Juicy Chemistry, it became evident that one of the major factors affecting long-term skin health was the use of harsh pigments, petrolatums, and heavy metals in colour cosmetics. All these factors were the root cause of a vicious cycle of makeup leading to skin concerns such as clogged pores, eventually leading to acne, hyperpigmentation, and dryness of the skin.

What are the challenges of formulating an organic cosmetic product?

Going the organic route does pose a challenge. On the flip side, pursuing the organic path helped us understand ingredients and formulations even better. Now more than ever, we’re in a position where we can concretely explain to our customers why a product that’s “smudge-proof”, “transfer-proof”, or “water-proof” may actually damage one’s skin in the long run. All these claims are a result of synthetic ingredients, which we have not used in line.

Also read: I tried Deepika Padukone’s self-care products for a week

What really is the demand of the Indian cosmetics consumer?

The Indian cosmetics consumer today wants to feel good about the makeup that they use and they also want to feel comfortable with what they’re putting on their skin. Cosmetics have a strong feel-good factor for many. We want to challenge the idea that makeup needs to be smudge-proof and transfer-proof by posing a simple question: is such makeup good for your skin? We want consumers to see makeup as an extension of their skincare and not something that does the opposite.

How did you decide on the pricing of your products, as certified organic products are often expensive?

Color Chemistry lies in a sweet spot, between the affordable and premium range ( 500-1,700). We wanted to present customers with the best pricing, without compromising on the quality in any respect and we’ve managed to do just that. With certifications and organic sourcing, there certainly is an increase in prices but we’re confident that the Indian consumer will be able to appreciate the quality of our products and justify the price. We’ve also seen with Juicy Chemistry that the Indian customer is willing to pay for quality, for something that’s worth the money.

Skincare vs cosmetics, what is the difference in running these two segments?

I do feel the makeup market is much bigger than the skincare segment. The two may seem similar but are completely different: the target audience, the end goal, and the purpose behind the formulations are all completely different. With skincare, the goal is to have products that are efficacious, more than anything else.

Over time, there’s been a shift towards natural and organic products, but efficacy remains the larger goal. With skincare and personal care, buyers don't expect instant results. A face oil or a lip balm won’t change your skin or lips overnight, you have to stay consistent. Makeup is the opposite. Consumers prefer makeup that is high-performance: pigmented and long-lasting. The result is also instantaneous.

Also read: A must-do Ayurveda skincare routine for all skin types

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