This Young Entrepreneur Hopes To Make Unconventional Coloured Cosmetics Mainstream For Indian Skin

Boss Lady Cosmetic PlayStix

For Kajol Bafna, founder of Boss Lady Cosmetic, the notion of international brands being better than authentic homegrown names reeks of market monopoly. This is especially true with makeup products that experiment with unconventional pigments. And her concerns are not unfounded. If you are looking for neon eyeshadows, the names that come to mind are SUVA Beauty or Huda Beauty. There is a lack of trust among beauty shoppers when it comes to unconventional or homegrown coloured cosmetics labels. But Kajol, a Jai Hind College alumni with a major in History and Political Science, is on a mission to make them accessible to Indian skin tones via her Play Stix range. We’re talking soft lavender to sunshine yellow and mint greens. FYI, I have been wearing them all of this gloomy monsoon and can say from experience that they work so well on my honey-toned complexion. No fallout, buttery smooth and flake-free streaks of colour that look like a fresh coat of paint even after a long day.

It is always exciting for me to learn the history behind a product that pleasantly surprises me, especially one that comes from an industry insider with real world experience working with makeup. Kajol’s obsession with makeup began young; her adventures in her mother’s vanity led her to snag some to secretly carry to school. She confesses, “My mum spotted the makeup bug in me and pushed me into enrolling for a professional makeup artistry course. Post that, I worked jobs on studio sets, training schools and even for independent clients.” But Kajol’s appetite for makeup demanded more to be satiated. “I started interviewing various beauty brands, and through this process, I realised the crucial need for a brand that catered to the beautiful, rich and diverse brown skin and Indian weather. I wanted to change how people perceive beauty in India. And I guess growing up around entrepreneurs in a family of entrepreneurs was another push in the right direction!” reveals Kajol.

The highly-pigmented, multipurpose Play Stix are a conscious effort from the brand’s team. Kajol explains, “Although we come from a land that celebrates colour, Indian women have been told not to wear certain shades for the longest time. As a culture, we love our bright yellows, oranges, pinks, greens and blues; so I wanted to bring back that palette with Play Stix.” She points out the contradiction of a culture obsessed with vibrant colours, yet looking down on it when it’s associated with dusky or deeper skin tones. “It’s about time we let go of what works on brown skin and doesn’t,” says Kajol.

But what is it that makes the formulation so good? The Play Stix are focused on convenience, low-effort and impactful application. They were developed to be multipurpose makeup sticks that were easy to carry and use. The creamy texture comes from a beautiful blend of vegan ingredients and five plant-based super oils of argan, avocado, marula, jojoba and almond. Thus the yummy, buttery-smooth, fuss-free application with zero fallout.

Take a peek at the packaging and names and you can tell that the people working on the line are up to indulgent fun. Kajol reveals, “Every time we develop a product, we focus on the emotion that will be felt by the person who is going to wear the product. Whether they feel like a ‘Darling Wonder’ in their own lives, ‘Go Bananas’ with their makeup, feel like the ‘Queen Of The Jungle’ on a certain day, or have a certain opinion about ‘Ashes Of Patriarchy’, they can literally own that emotion and wear it with Play Stix.”

The brand believes in infusing genuine feelings and emotions with the shades and packaging. This ideology then translates to how wearers behave, becoming their own to express, experience and emote. “Think of them like the makeup version of emojis—experiential, relatable, shareable. Every time someone sees Play Stix, we want them to feel as excited as unwrapping a popsicle or popping open a box of candies,” reveals Kajol.

For readers wondering about the name, Kajol’s got an interesting anecdote about that as well. “The term is very personal to me. Over the years, the term ‘Boss Lady’ has matured. A Boss Lady is no longer trying to be a BOSS in a man’s world or have anything do restrictively with a person’s career. Boss Lady is a sentiment you can feel and exude. It is an emotion for me today; a gender agnostic term is about simply a person who prioritises themselves and expresses uninhibitedly,” admits Kajol. This attitude is what also fuels the brand’s aim to venture into more unexplored territories in beauty. “We want to discover them. Our product offering is based on the idea of innovating by simplifying beauty, making it convenient, accessible, and easy. In the future too, our focus is going to be innovating where in we give back the power to the person wearing it. That power will always be an emotion they can relate with,” concludes Kajol.

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