The Indian skincare industry is having its moment in the sun, and it wants you to wear sunscreen while at it. In April, Bengaluru-based wellness and personal care company Fit & Glow Health Care Pvt Ltd, which runs the WOW Skin Science brand, raised raised Economic Times Chryscap invests $50 million in WOW Skin Science for 35% stake Read more  $50 million from private equity (PE) firm ChrysCapital. Rival brand Mamaearth, owned by Honasa Consumer Pvt Ltd, is also an investor favourite. The company is in talks talks Economic Times Sofina-led funding may value Mamaearth at $700 million Read more  with various investors to raise up to $100 million. 

Both companies are riding a wave that has slowly washed over India’s personal care market in the last five to six years. The beauty industry went from just makeup and personal care to include skincare products used in intensive, elaborate, and complicated skincare regimens that also doubled as ‘self-care’. A year of pandemic-induced restrictions only fueled that wave further. The two companies finished the year ended March 2021 on a strong note, with each crossing Rs 500 crore ($67 million) in revenue run rate.

Mamaearth and WOW have a lot more in common as well. Both brands reaped the rewards of customers’ rapidly expanding interest in ‘natural’ and ‘chemical-free’ products. WOW, for instance, was known for its focus on apple cider vinegar. The product, which can be used in both face and hair masks, was so popular that it spurred the brand to launch a whole range of personal care products centered around the ingredient.

At one point, its apple cider vinegar shampoo was the top-selling top-selling Indian Express Behind success of top-selling shampoo on Amazon — Parwanoo firm with 75% women in workforce Read more  shampoo on e-commerce site Amazon in both the US and India. Mamaearth, meanwhile, claims that its products are “free from toxins” and use “handpicked plant ingredients”. Neither Fit & Glow nor Mamaearth responded to a detailed questionnaire from The Ken.

Their target audiences are the same—young, urban millennials—and the brands use similar strategies to woo them. They position themselves as hip, young brands that are abreast of the latest trends in skincare, whether it be coffee-based body scrubs or onion juice in hair oils, shampoos, and conditioners. 

And if the customer today is more skincare-savvy—reading up on the science of skincare, studying the labels, and demanding customisation—the brands haven’t let that faze them.


Bhumika Khatri

Bhumika covers e-commerce, consumer internet, and everything startup for The Ken in Delhi. In her previous stint at Inc42, she spent two and a half years writing about a breadth of startups and topics. A commerce graduate, Bhumika completed her postgraduate in journalism from the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media, Bengaluru. You can reach her at [email protected]

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