I remember being glued to my TV screen when Priyanka Chopra Jonas launched her album Exotic with American rapper Pitbull. I struggle to find the right words – which literally is my job – to describe the feeling but all I can say is that I experienced a gush of emotions – I was proud seeing a young Indian woman ruling the global pop charts and the girl in me wanted to make it big just like her. In short, I was inspired.
A couple of days ago when I got ready for my video interview with PCJ, I felt those emotions, AGAIN! I did ‘make it big’ eventually, didn’t I? I got on a video call with the one and only to discuss the launch of her much-anticipated hair care brand – Anomaly – in India exclusively on Nykaa. I was amused, to say the least, and Priyanka obliged with her unfiltered opinion, elusive wit, and honesty that I can get used to. “I didn’t grow up blow drying my hair or using dry shampoo, I didn’t even know about using conditioner after shampoo,” she said while talking about creating Anomaly, and what followed was a freewheeling chat about hair care, and her brand finally coming home! There’s something about her, she is one of us and that’s what makes her different from the rest.
ELLE: You mentioned the gap in the hair care industry that led to the birth of Anomaly. Could you tell us more about it?
PCJ: We don’t have democracy in hair care; the good stuff is (really) expensive. When I was a teengager, living in America, I used to go to the pharmacies to find products that came with clean formulations and superior ingredients but there was nothing (like clean products) that was accessible to me. It was a pain point for me and that’s where I found the gap – to be able to create a product that has a superior formula. For instance, if you compare Anomaly’s bonding mask with the leading product in the market, I can assure that the result will be the same and you might pay five times more than what you pay for Anomaly.
Taking superior formulas and creating a product that is accessible for the consumer who is conscious of what he’s putting on hair and body. At the same time, Anomaly is environmentally conscious because we made all our packaging with 100% recycled trash. taken from landfills and oceans. We spent little money on packaging to be able to bring sustainable and superior formulas at affordable prices.
ELLE: What was the reason behind and importance of using the word ‘trash’ on the packaging?
PCJ: Transparency is very important to me. I am a conscious consumer and I care about what I put on my body. I wanted to have that transparency about the brand with people. I am proud of the fact that we took ocean trash and created a beautiful product. I am so proud of it that I have not only put the word ‘trash’ on the bottle but I made sure to highlight it.
ELLE: How did you decide on formulations and ingredients for it to suit every hair and scalp type across the world?
PCJ: Hair doesn’t discriminate whether you are a man or a woman; it’s made of the same thing. I do not like going to a hair care aisle with colour-coded products – blue is for men and pink is for women. Also, hair feels different every day. There are days when it feels dehydrated and on some days it feels oily. Therefore, we created a customised hair care regime. I have not paired my shampoos and conditioners together and deliberately kept them dynamic. So, if you are working out in the summer, you wanna wash your hair more often, use our gentle shampoo. Similarly, if you are dealing with product buildup in your hair, use the clarifying shampoo and follow it up with a hydrating conditioner conditioner.
It’s a mix and match plan to suit your needs. Therefore, I was conscious about the ingredients in my products. I decided on the best ones from around the world which are natural, known for their goodness, and will infuse life into your hair. Our hair is something we’re so proud of, it’s our crowning glory and so every product – shampoo, conditioner, leave-in, scalp oil, and bonding treatment – has ingredients which are nourishing. I want people to take care of their hair health, I don’t want to be categorised in a box.
ELLE: Apart from price point & clean formula, what is Anomaly’s unique offering that will excite the Indian consumer?
PCJ: Anomaly is for the conscious consumer. We must not forget that in the Indian market, shampoos are still, predominantly, sold in sachets. We’re not there yet; Anomaly is for a consumer who is conscious and aware. We’re giving that consumer a brand that’s environmentally conscious and offers clean products at an affordable price. This is what makes Anomaly unique.
I truly believe using this product consistently will change the foundation of your hair. For instance, The Anomaly Hair and Scalp Oil is always in my bag. It comes from my experience in Bombay; it is for the Bombay girl that had a fresh blow dry and then suddenly went out only to have her hair end up in a frizzy mess. As soon as my hair feels frizzy, I use it on the ends. I made an easy-to-apply applicator to put it on the scalp.
Even the dry shampoo, I wanted to make sure that it doesn’t leave white residue. It gives fresh hair, smells incredible, and saves your hair on the third or fourth day of hair wash.
ELLE: Any hair care practice that you picked from the West after moving there from India?
PCJ: I did not use oil on the tips of my hair before I moved to America. I did it when I was oiling my hair, but I won’t use oil as a measure for frizz control while out and about. I didn’t know that I could use a light oil to control the frizz. I also did not use dry shampoo very much.
ELLE: A trend forecast you wish wasn’t true.
PCJ: I used to put (a lot of) hair gel in the 90s and I do not want hair gel to come back. Absolutely no to crunchy hair.
ELLE: You have friends in the industry who have also ventured into beauty businesses. Do you discuss learning and experiences when y’all get together?
PCJ: Yes, when you are in the same industry, you talk work and talk shop. I have learnt a lot from my peers; I am new when it comes to the business side of beauty. I look up to founders, co-founders and people that have done this before to learn. I am like a sponge, I love knowledge and anything to do with beauty. When it comes to co-actors, female founders and people who have moved from entertainment to business, I talk about it all the time and learn from anyone I can learn from.
Watch the full video here –
Images: Anomaly Haircare