How a pandemic has changed the way we experience skincare & beauty- Bhaskara Seth, Co-founder, Neemli Naturals.

The Pandemic has hugely impacted the way people experience beauty. There is a huge transition and the usual beauty suspects have had to share a piece of the pie with homegrown beauty brands that are reinventing the beauty and skincare game.

Due to social distancing norms, digital sales have grown in a big way during the pandemic. 

In a scenario where people used to buy basic skin-care products online, they are now looking at purchasing not just the ones that they use consistently but are also trying out newer and upcoming brands. With salons and spas being closed during lockdown and the safety aspect coming into play with the unlock phase, consumers are driven towards self-care at home. This includes paying special attention to their skincare and hair care needs along with overall health and wellness. Even though physical interactions may have lessened during this phase, increased virtual video connections and meetings have motivated consumers to focus on themselves. 

The skincare industry seems to have performed well over the last few months. At Neemli Naturals, we’ve seen a 2x growth in sales. We’re also seeing an overall peaked interest in homegrown, clean-beauty focused brands. Given the current scenario, there is a need to support local, trusted brands that can deliver results. Clean beauty is a concept that is trending globally as more and more people are becoming conscious of what they put on their skin and where the ingredients come from. Today, informed consumers are asking pertinent questions, even to the point of getting details of the manufacturers so they can do their own research on processes and environmental impact. 

We’ve seen a rising interest in ‘actives’ based skincare products. Retinol serums, products with hyaluronic acid, AHAs and antioxidants are gaining popularity. Also on the rise is the demand for cruelty-free beauty and ethical labels with ingredient transparency. Be it animal-free collagen or olive Squalane, ‘vegan’ ingredients are proving to be effective in skincare. As the ‘clean beauty’ industry gets more and more crowded, ingredient transparency is going to help consumers maneuver confusing labels. 

It’s important to note that people have cut down their travel time in the new WFH scenario. This has given them more time for self-care with a health focus. At-home pampering, mood-boosting treatments and wellness-oriented products are taking center stage. For Neemli, this has translated into sales– especially in case of serums and result-oriented concentrates that address issues like fine lines, skin texture and scars. 

In fact, the limitations with on-ground presence have propelled a lot of brands to strengthen their e-commerce offerings to help drive sales. Brands and platforms like Nykaa have innovated by using virtual reality and interactive technology. Since the offline market has been impacted, we have seen a shift from traditional selling points to growing ‘digitally’ with full force. Different brands are now aware of the fact that the customer has a very ‘individualistic’ journey while buying digitally, given the multiple online touchpoints they have access to. For example, ‘ online search’ has become the ‘offline browse,’ with customers increasingly looking for specific information on beauty and skincare products. 

The beauty and skincare industry will continue to grow and evolve based on several factors. This includes the local retail climate and evolving consumer needs. With unregulated norms on ‘clean’ and ‘natural’ skincare, the onus of transparency will rest on brands. ‘Sustainability’ will also be a key aspect in the industry moving forward. Tech-enabled beauty and skincare, from user experience to personalization will continue to play a crucial role in the industry in the coming years. Ultimately, it’s going to be about keeping up with ingredient trends, sustainable practices and a digital-forward experience – all driven by needs of the consumer.