When Selena Gomez announced her brand, Rare Beauty, last year, it was through an Instagram video which set out the brand’s purpose: to support people in their journey to feel more comfortable with themselves. Beauty brands, besides focusing on outward good looks, are now also looking to help consumers suffering from anxiety and depression. They have been doing a lot of Instagram Live shows on self-care.
“The time we spent locked up in our homes during the Lockdown has left many of us reeling from the effects of loneliness, anxiety and stress. In fact, these problems are assuming chronic proportions. Chronic stress has disastrous effects on our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being,” says Shahnaz Husain, Founder-Chairperson-Managing Director of The Shahnaz Husain Group in India. But the famous beauty entrepreneur feels these times can not only help nature blossom, but also improve our individual natures. “This is a perfect time for us as a species to slow down and give time to ourselves through cultivating meditative principles of awareness, serenity, calmness, insight, and equanimity,” she says.
According to reports by the Global Wellness Institute, mental wellbeing is a $121 billion market. “The beauty business is a ‘business of being’ and is constantly evolving. With changes in lifestyle and global climate, our wellbeing requirements have turned 360 degrees over the last two decades. Today, health is both physical and mental. Both have to be nurtured on a daily basis,” says Pooja Nagdev, Cosmetologist, Aromatherapist and Founder of INATUR. She points out that many brands have introduced essential oil potions to calm and nurture the mind. “Incorporating essential oils and floral extracts into lotions, creams and shower gels not only help in beautifying the body but also uplifts mind and soul,” she adds.
“The pandemic has triggered a global state of uncertainty, where the whole world is coping with an emotional and physical crisis. This has brought talk about mind health to the forefront, triggering an uptick in the number of initiatives by big brands and influencers to boost awareness around mental wellbeing,” says Chaitanya Nallan, CEO and Co-founder of SkinKraft.
Beauty, grooming and mental health are intersecting fields. The growing demand for skin care and body care products has made it quite clear that people have started taking better care of themselves. “Taking time for yourself is what you need to do to achieve better mental health and awareness, because, if we love ourselves from the outside, it will lead us to love and adore ourselves from the inside too. Beauty comes from within; hence, self-care is mental care!” says Shahnaz Husain.
Beauty is not just looking good on the outside, it is about both looking and feeling good, inside and out.
Pure and natural
“The importance of purity is not just limited to what we eat or the air we breathe. The purity of the environment helps us stay calm. Natural ingredients have many beneficial properties — they are anti-oxidant, antiseptic, antiviral and anti-bacterial. By including essential oils in their products, brands can provide health, hygiene, nurturing and calming benefits,” stresses Pooja.
The beauty industry has always emphasised taking care of oneself – and now it is increasingly acknowledged that this goal encompasses both physical and mental health.
“Our overall well-being is rooted in our beliefs and values,” feels Pooja. She says the honest declaration of ingredients that go into products is one way of ensuring trust in brands. Sourcing raw materials ethically from local vendors, using plant-based and vegan ingredients are initiatives towards this end. “Petrochemicals, parabens, artificial colours and animal fats should not be used in beauty products. Beauty should be cruelty-free and the products should not be tested on animals,” adds Pooja.
Addressing these issues is not only crucial for the beauty brands, but also for their users, as millennials and Gen Zs are inclined toward brands that support the physical, emotional and mental well-being of consumers.
Breaking the shackles
“Recently, we launched our first user campaign, #immytype, which talks about preventing attempts to pigeonhole women. Millions of women across the country are typecast. Our campaign aims to address how conventions handed down through generations have constrained women to dress, behave and present themselves in a particular fashion, taking away their freedom of self-expression by instilling the fear of backlash from society,” says Chaitanya Nallan. “Trying to cope and conform to society’s unrealistic expectations regarding a woman’s behaviour, beauty and body goals directly impacts mental health.”
“As a community, we need to understand that a mental health routine is as important as any other self-care habit, as it helps boost confidence and gives a sense of control over how you feel. Brands have embraced the mental health awareness movement by creating campaigns dedicated to this cause and partnering with groups that foster understanding of key issues such as stress, sleep, depression and loneliness. Topics that were once taboo are now in full view, emblazoned on hard-to-miss billboards high above the city streets,” sums up Nehaa Juneja, Founder of SkinWorks.
Of mind, body & soul
l Selena Gomez had announced that Rare Beauty would pledge to raise $100 million over the next 10 years through the Rare Impact Fund to benefit mental health services.
l Model Adwoa Aboah and her organisation Gurls Talk collaborated with Revlon on an event featuring panels about mental health, self-care, and overall wellness
l Hope Fragrances is a perfume and candle line that Audrey Gruss founded in 2018 under the guidance of the Hope for Depression Research Foundation
l Indie Lee, an eco-friendly line of spa products for the face and body, started a video series called “Mindful Mondays” on eponymous clean beauty brand’s Instagram account in November 2019 to discuss mindfulness during uncertainty.
l Hyderabad based, SkinKraft has launched campaign, #immytype which talks about breaking the shackles which try to pigeonhole women. Campaign aims to address how generations of folklore have compartmentalised women into dressing, behaving and presenting themselves in a particular fashion, taking away their freedom of self-expression in the fear of backlash from society — directly impacting their mental health.