Traditional beauty care business hots up

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Many cos launch products based on traditional system

AN ADVERTISEMENT hoarding for the new Hamam soap on Mount Road in Chennai. Bijoy Ghosh
AN ADVERTISEMENT hoarding for the new Hamam soap on Mount Road in Chennai. Bijoy Ghosh

Nina Varghese

Chennai, Sept. 4

In the beauty and skincare business, it is back to the roots these days. Contemporary delivery systems are taking traditional beauty and hair care products like turmeric (


) scrub,


powder and hibiscus to national audience.

Hindustan Lever recently launched a variant of Hamam soap, with greengram flour, turmeric, sandal and milk on the `ubtan' (a traditional ritual) platform, while CavinKare's Meera Hair Oil comes with five herbs in an inner perforated tube.

Aromatherapy Oils

Similarly, Keshar Gulab, a traditional skin care product, manufactured in the Nilgiris, by a family concern, has now been repackaged and sold in health and beauty stores in major cities and over the Net it is just a click away.

This skin care lotion is part of the Nilgiris-based Oswal Syndicate's range of aromatherapy oils, now branded as Nirvana Aromatherapy Oils.

Mr Vibhav Chordia, Proprietor, Oswal Syndicate, said that the family business has been engaged in the manufacturing, distillation and trading in essential oils like eucalyptus, geranium and winter green oil since 1920.

Oswal Syndicate also markets floral waters and a range of herbal skin and beauty care products manufactured by Jain Ayurvedics, another family concern. Mr Chordia said that many years ago his grandfather Gulchand Chordia, an ayurvedic practitioner, developed Keshar Gulab for acute acne.

The lotion has since become a favourite skin care lotion for the girls of these hill towns for more than 40 years.

Over the years, Keshar Gulab's fame as a skin care lotion spread beyond the boundaries of this small tea town, he said. Not only is Keshar Gulab used to treat acne and blemishes, but also as a cleanser, moisturiser and fairness enhancer, Mr Chordia said. The company markets essential, absolute and carrier oils.

Mr Chordia said that only some of the raw materials such as eucalyptus, citronella, geranium, rosemary, thyme and citriodora are locally sourced.These oils are distilled using mobile field stills. Each still can hold a charge of about 300-400 litres of raw material. Distillation time varies from 6-10 hours and yields depend on the oil content of the raw material.Sandalwood oil is bought from the Government-owned distillery, while some oils are sourced from the Himalayan region where cedar wood and `jatamansi' are in abundance. Oils such as


and lemongrass come from Kerala.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 5, 2006)
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