I often ask myself while walking an aisle in a beauty store and looking at the plethora of brands that have forayed into the beauty market that how does one measure the success of a beauty brand?Innovation, increased number of SKUs, problem-solving approach, brand language, legacy and trust, or the ability to sustain the burgeoning and competitive Indian beauty marketI often ask myself while walking an aisle in a beauty store and looking at the plethora of brands that have forayed into the beauty market that how does one measure the success of a beauty brand?Innovation, increased number of SKUs, problem-solving approach, brand language, legacy and trust, or the ability to sustain the burgeoning and competitive Indian beauty market.
Forest Essentials, for one, have been one such brand that tick all the boxes, especially entering the natural makeup space now with its latest launch. The brand has been able to make something accessible, like Ayurveda, a luxury for the Indian beauty consumers and continue to expand exponentially. Talking about the brand, it’s rare for the industry to see the brand’s Chairperson and founder, Mira Kulkarni, out in public often. I’d like to assume that she prefers to work behind the spotlight concentrating her energies on the expansion of the brand and efficacy of products. Therefore, when given a chance to interview her regarding the new launch, I believe I made the best use of the opportunity. Here are the excerpts from the interview:
ELLE: With multiple brands, especially homegrown brands, foraying into the natural makeup category, how does Forest Essentials stand apart?
Mira Kulkarni: Amidst a surge of homegrown brands entering the natural makeup arena, Forest Essentials remains apart through a seamless blend of tradition, quality, and a holistic beauty ethos. Our skincare-infused makeup formulations uniquely integrate Ayurvedic handmade practices, going beyond surface-level natural ingredients to offer a holistic approach rooted in centuries-old Indian traditions. Working with traditional Ayurvedic doctors enhances the authenticity and expertise of Forest Essentials‘ natural makeup collection. In essence, Forest Essentials stands out by its unique approach of continually merging Ayurvedic heritage with a contemporary and luxurious beauty approach, making it the most trusted choice for those seeking clean, natural and luxurious makeup options.
ELLE: How do you make something so accessible as luxury?
MK: By combining the knowledge of Vaidas and modern biochemists, the brand taps into the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda to curate a diverse range of everyday beauty products. Forest Essentials embarked on this journey when high-quality Ayurvedic skincare was still a novel concept in India. Breaking away from the mass-produced products prevalent in the market, the brand introduced luxury through the lens of Ayurveda. The initial success of our debut product, a luxurious handmade natural soap, defied expectations and debunked the notion that such offerings would not resonate with consumers.
Forest Essentials not only elevated self-care to a luxurious experience but also seamlessly integrated it with the centuries old Ayurvedic practices ingrained in Indian culture, seamlessly blending the best of traditional formulations with modern-day luxury. By bridging the gap between ancient wisdom and contemporary luxury, Forest Essentials has made Ayurveda accessible and relevant, allowing individuals to indulge in mindful relaxation that not only enhances outer radiance but also reflects inner serenity.
ELLE: What is the inspiration behind this range?
MK: The inspiration for this collection came from Leonard Lauder, the Chairman of the Estée Lauder Group of Companies himself. Several years ago, in New York he had said it would be very interesting to envision a range of completely natural make up which could integrate with our high-performance skincare.
As an immediate reaction, I said that we were focused on skin care and thought that makeup was a completely different vertical. Subsequently and very gradually, I realised that there was a huge untapped world out there for makeup that could enhance beauty as well as incorporate care for the skin, using authentic fresh Ayurvedic ingredients with transformative high performing actives.
This innovative expansion reflects a profound understanding of our customers’ aspirations for holistic beauty solutions, solidifying Forest Essentials’ position as a discerning choice for those embracing the essence of authentic, nourishing beauty.
ELLE: Do you think the Indian beauty consumers understand and pay attention to the ingredients in makeup and therefore, are drawn to natural makeup?
MK: Absolutely, Indian beauty consumers are invested in understanding and paying attention to the ingredients in makeup. This heightened awareness has contributed to a growing attraction to natural makeup options. Conventional makeup, primarily focused on coverage, falls short for individuals dealing with issues like acne, clogged pores, and sensitivity. This has led to a growing preference among consumers for makeup that goes beyond mere coverage. In particular, the popularity of skincare-makeup hybrids has surged. The appeal lies in their ability to provide coverage with a natural, almost perfect skin-like finish while simultaneously offering skincare benefits.
ELLE: Which one of the products is your personal favourite and why?
MK: I used to use a particular shade by Armani whenever I actually used makeup, which was not that often. However, after the launch of our new skin tints, which are incredibly light and hydrating, not to mention very transformative and good for the skin, I now use them every day.
ELLE: Lastly, if we need to ask you, who do you think this brand is for?
MK: Forest Essentials is for that beauty buyer who values authenticity, tradition, and a holistic approach to skincare. Our brand is for individuals who seek more than just cosmetic enhancements and quick fixes. Our consumer is someone who could be 16 or 60, who enjoys looking good but does not want to be constantly made up.