The Business of Brown Beauty

Indian-inspired and South Asian-targeted beauty and skincare brands could be the next big trend. But to go the Korean beauty route, these products still have a long road ahead.

Makeup (Amy Shamblen, Unsplash)

Parizaad Khan Sethi


December 9, 2021

As recently as 2017, offering a wide range of foundation shades wasn’t a priority for most brands until Robyn Fenty launched her eponymous makeup line — with an unprecedented 40 shades of foundation — in collaboration with luxury brand LVMH. The brand would rack up $550 million in sales within the first year alone. That she was a global pop icon helped, but at the end of the day, Rihanna saw the opportunity to fulfill a specific need. Fenty, which now includes skincare, has helped her become a billionaire.

Since then, the American beauty and skincare industry has seen a sharp rise in the number of brands celebrating the diversity of their customers. It’s also seen more brands inspired by Indian traditions. For example, the global Ayurvedic products market is expected to more than triple in growth from 2017, to reach $14.9 billion by 2026.

Indian Beauty (or I-Beauty as some like to call it) seems like it’s here to stay. But while these brands are catching the tailwinds of the triumph of Fenty, the rise of Korean Beauty, and the growing wellness movement, the question is now whether retailers, investors, and customers will propel them to success.

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