Indian Women and Skin Care

Since I began writting this blog, about six months ago, I have began observing the skin and make-up of my fellow Indian women even more keenly, as well as the make-up & skin care market in India.

Below are some of my observations.

1. Indian women are obsessed with fairness. Period.

Most Indian women only care about being fair. Since we are a hot country, with loads of intense sunshine, women not only have genetically higher melanin but also get tanned way too easily. To get rid of this we will try anything, from Fair & Lovely to turmeric-besan paste to simply applying plain talcum powder (yea! white powder just pasted indiscriminately on face to make you look like a vampire) or a foundation shades lighter than appropriate.

TOKYO - MAY 08:  A woman receives Umo Inc.'s &...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

The definition of beauty in the Western world is linked to anti-aging, but in India, it’s all about being two shades lighter. Skin-lightening products are by far the most popular product in India’s fast-growing skin care market. Half of the skin care market in India is fairness creams, and 60 to 65 % of Indian women use these products daily.

FYI: Lightening products can damage the skin if they are overused, dermatologists say, particularly if they contain hydroquinone. The compound reduces melanin but can leave permanent dark spots in high doses.

2. Indian women don't really care about anti-aging treatments

Or atleast not until it is too late.

It is very well known that the best anti-aging treatment is prevention.

Use it right, & start early.

Most Indian women don't start on any such treatment until way past their 50's, by then the skin has already been damaged from inside. There is little that can be done then to stop the external signs of aging.

Most Indian women have extremly dry skin, sun spots and sagging skin. All of which can be easily prevented by using a good moisturiser fortified with anti-oxidants such as Vitamin C & E.

Since India is such a sunny place, photo-aging is a real contributor in aging skin. The sales of sunscreen however are abysmally low as ever.

3. Indian women think Make-up is just occasional wear. Like Lingerie.

Most of them step out of their homes without any make-up. No eyeliner. No lip-color. Plus there is complete lack of skin care.

4. Indian women still apply make-up like they did in the 80's

And the few times that they do apply it, here is how they do it.

1. Apply tons of foundation 2 shades lighter than actual skin color. If imported to not suit our skin tone, all the more better. Check
2. Carefully coat every inch of face with foundation, but leave neck absolutely bare. Check
3. Lip liner 2 shades darker than lipstick. Check.
4. Lips lined way outside the actual lipline. Check.
5. Take care not to blend lipline & lipcolor. Check.

halloween make up & hair testImage by toilette via Flickr

6. Only eyeliner to be used is black, in copius amounts. check.
7. Apply white talcum powder on back & neck.

There you have it: after a few hours a pasty orangish looking face, with lips outlined and color missing on the lips (beacuse it was not long-last & we ate it all during lunch). Black eyes lined top & below for a goth look.

I am amazed at how there has been little updation in the colors or styles of make-up.

I believe that Lakme today sells the best make-up line in India. Highly affordable. Very good quality. Amazing shades that match the trends internationally. and suited to Indian skin tone.

I feel that women tend to stick to their old routines because of the following reasons:

1. They apply make-up so sparingly that it lasts for years all together. So they use the same shades for like 10 odd years or so.

2. They don't want to throw away their products, even if they are out-dated

Maybe Lakme could do a simple return your old cosmetics and buy new Lakme ones at 10-15% discount, to provide an incentive for Indian women to update.

What they would do with the old cosmetics, I have no clue. Maybe they could be donated to open a meusem of make-up through the ages.

Have you observed any such trends yourself? Do write in your opinions, comments or observations.

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  1. i agreee with all these..
    haha..i was laughing until now..especially while reading the check-list... :)
    ive came to know recently, the best part of indian skin, is that it doesnt step in to wrinkle-stage(if given the proper care) as soon as a fair-skin(western) turns..

  2. Thks Zwala!

    True, Indians don't get wrinkles, but they have a different set of aging problems like sagging skin, sun spots, loss of tone, dark under eye circles, & intensely dry skin..

  3. I totally agree with you! I'm an indian girl living in europe and i can also notice those kind of mistakes on some indian women here! But most girls, born/raised here, know how to well make up!
    The prob with indian skin isn't wrinkles like whites but pigmentation: dark circles, scars, burn and blemishes marks!!!
    Any recommandation for dark circles? i used jovees gold eye contour gel and biotique almond eye cream they're amazing! i noticed an improvment but my dark circles are still there and kills me everyday!!!

  4. Hey Litchi,

    Vitamin K has been proven to be highly effective in eliminating dark circles under the eyes. You might want to look out for products with Vitamin K. I shall be putting up a post on the same in this week. I hope that helps you. :)

  5. Thanks for your advice! Creams with vitamin k are also good to reduce strech marks.

  6. i think it's funny you used my picture, i'm not indian, that checklist doesn't really apply, and that was the make up I used for a halloween costume. however, your entry was quite funny!

  7. hahahah the check list is funney! im an indian gurl livin in USA. and i noticed that some indian girls do apply sandelwood powder and foundation on their face when i ask why they do that they just say that they are too lazy to wash the neck area so they just apply the powder!
    your very rigt about the fairness part i think so too! but indian women that are dark are healthier and much beautiful then the lighter toned ones!

  8. i mean apply powder on their necks and foundation on their face..

  9. @Litchi: Yr welcome!

    @Sara: Opps! i'll take yr pic off. Just found it on flicker. Thks for being so sporting tho!

    @Sivani: they do it here too! Lots of talcum white powder on the neck & back.. It actually looks funny. Maybe some company could come up with talcum powder that is skin colored.. :D

  10. I really feel so bad that the companies I thought reputable are marketing their products as fairness creams for the purpose of marketing and sales in India. I had never thought Neutrogena would come up with a fairness cream. And then even Himalaya and Lotus Herbals have fairness creams. It just disgusts me why such companies who make otherwise very good products would even think of labeling a product as a fairness cream. Obviously, they only care for money and sales!
    On a funny note, I always tend to buy foundations and concealers that are one tone darker than my skintone, and I end up looking like so different from the rest of my body. Call it a mismatching capability; I am on the hunt for a perfect makeup product right now. The only thing that should be lighter one or two shades than your skin tone in your makeup kit should be the concealer for those dark areas!!

  11. You are so funny! Loved it though I'm reading it almost 4 years after you have posted it!! Couldn't agree more sp about the make up part. Yes we don't use make up 'cos if we do, we are vain and conceited !Mismatched foundations..a real howler! But i think the SA of the drugstore brands are to be blamed for that. Poor women have no idea how to match ! And have you seen their own make's a killer!! How can they advise properly? Metros have improved over the years but see small towns like Shimla and you'll know what I'm talking about. What we do with old make up? Preserve it for posterity of course- family heirlooms you see !!


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