Imagine a bottle of shampoo and conditioner that not only solves all your hair problems but is also mindful of your lifestyle and the kind of hair you want. Or a herbal face cream that gives you the option to choose the ingredients that best suits your skin type and goals.
As the beauty brands across the globe are using technology to create groundbreaking products, the latest being LOreal’s smart hairbrush, a few Indian brands are experimenting with the power of personalisation. “Every bottle that we send is different from the previous one. Made from natural ingredients, it is personalised according to the needs of the customers,” says Mohit Yadav, founder of Freewill.
Launched in August 2018, Freewill excels in selling customised hair care products.
Beauty companies sell generic products with the assumption that the population falls under three-four broad categories, but we believe that each person is different and so are their needs. We analyse the hair profile, lifestyle, physical activities and hair goals and then make a product that will solve all their problems and help them achieve their goals.
A Haryana based company, Freshistry, that was launched in 2016, also offers customised cosmetic products that the customer can make themselves. “In Freshistry, you can choose the base, herbs, colour, and fragrance that best suits you. It is completely herbal and paraben-free,” says Rashi Arora, founder of Freshistry.
Delhi-based Vidhi Sachdeva, who has been using Freshistry products says how much she loves the concept and the products. “I tried Freshistry’s body lotion two years ago and I have been a regular user since then. I also gifted them to a friend of mine and she loved it too.” When asked if the products are cost-effective, she said, “I would not say they are expensive. The best part is that I get a customised sunscreen lotion at the same price I get a regular one from the market.”
While there are certain brands and web portals that help you find the best product from the already existing plethora of cosmetics, making a product especially for you is a new concept in the Indian market.
But is the Indian market ready for this customisation?
More than a decade ago, when Parham Aarabi launched ModiFace, it revolutionised the use of technology in the beauty industry. People used it to apply 3D virtual make-up, test the colour of cosmetics they want, and diagnose their skin. Most major companies now use it to help its customers find the best suitable product according to the diagnosis.
While the use of artificial intelligence finds its base in the world, India is far behind. Acknowledging this problem, Rashi Arora says, “People in India do not realise the importance of customised cosmetics. For example, a face wash is just something they use to wash their face, they do not wish to invest so much of their time and effort in it.”
However, coming from a technology background, Yadav says the potential of using artificial intelligence in the beauty industry is huge. “The model is really cost-effective and personal. We are doing away with the middlemen and dealing with the customers directly. This reduces our costs and gives the power to the customers.”
Freshistry has its most of its customers base in South India. “Indian market”, Arora says, “is advertisement based and dominated by foreign players. It will take a lot of time for the Indian players to come into being.” While Yadav believes, “Customisation is the future of the beauty industry and you will see more and more brands experimenting with this in future.”
For both, Yadav and Arora, it is just the start. Yadav wishes to expand his market of customised products from hair care to skin care, Arora, on the other hand, is looking to expand her business and also launch retail stores that will sell customised products.