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According to the founder of one of India’s top Research and Product development consultancies, Dr Renuka Thergaonkar, India’s cosmetic industry will take steps to grow out of adolescence with hope and well being as its main theme. Read on to look into the future as she sees it.

Indian cosmetic industry is the most upcoming industry today which has shown growth potential even after the Covid 19 pandemic. Covid 19 has been a great learning factor for the industry as well as the consumers. With these learnings, 2021 will be a very good year for the Indian cosmetic industry. The Indian cosmetic market is going to see a paradigm shift from manufacturer driven to consumer-driven market. Consumers in India have suddenly become aware of their needs and the scenario where it was considered the duty of marketers to show the need to customers has changed to consumers explaining their need in-depth to the cosmetic companies. Hence 2021 for the cosmetic industry will be a consumer-driven market as compared to an earlier company driven market. 2021 can be coined as the year of adolescence for the cosmetic industry with hope as the main theme. The consumers will be gods and the companies will have to launch products to their likings and not to what the companies want to sell. The cosmetic products will revolve around the theme of hope, protection and wellbeing. The Indian market will see the growth of several Indie Brands being launched now.

The Indian cosmetic market will still be divided into mass and masstige but the Premium masstige segment will also be seen in the market. Products with clean and transparent label themes will also be the key to customers in the Premium and masstige category. The Clean and transparent cosmetic concept will be the main theme for the customers in this segment. Transparency in innovation and ingredients means  Products will be more transparent with customers with respect to claims, toxicity, efficacy, ingredients. The customer demands will be increasing due to the knowledge available on the internet but at the same time, several customers will troll the companies with their half-gained knowledge. During the pandemic, the status of Hygiene and personal care products changed from need-based to essential category and this is going to make a major change in the future.

The segments which will be seen booming are the personal hygiene segment, hair care segment and kids’ segment, Personal hygiene will the topmost priority in the minds of Indian customers and their demands will revolve around personal hygiene with well-being factors. Several natural products will be seen in the mass market category with emphasis on the wellbeing concept. The central theme for all the products will revolve around well-being concept with protection and nourishment as the main target points. The reason for this is the awareness of good health among customers. Soaps, body washes, handwashes sector with gentle surfactants will be the theme for this year. All products whether skin creams or makeup will be seen with antibacterial properties. Several innovations will be seen with respect to product development. The products will be seen in simple clean minimalistic formats. The emphasis will be more on ease of use, quality and ingredients. The ingredient stories will be dominating the market.

Salon industry will see a comeback with innovations in the therapies and treatments. The treatments will be more efficacy centric with quick results and ease in use. Hair treatment categories will be growing at a faster pace but the skin therapies will also see a comeback with new innovative therapies. Though natural products will be seen in the market, general products with more efficacy benefits will also be seen. These products will be driven more with cosmeceutical ingredients emphasizing on the health benefits of the ingredients.

Ingredient Trend

Beauty from Wellbeing is the key to the market. Edible Beauty Ingredients will be used more as consumers believe skin eats everything it comes in contact with the products. Natural ingredients derived from Berries, Coconut, Grains, spices will be seen more in the market. Oleochemicals from natural origin especially fatty esters, fatty alcohols and waxes working as substitutes for mineral oils, creating sensorial feel. Humectants from marine sources, Melon, Cucumber etc will be used more. Natural Polymers from Sugarcane, Gums etc. are being looked upon as substitutes for carbomers etc. Similarly, Nourishing actives like niacinamide, Co Q 10, vitamin C, Vitamin A etc will be used more in products.


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Sustainability will be seen in all the aspects of the cosmetic industry. Specially with respect to the below aspects

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Product trend

Today cosmetics are more the combination of actives and the vehicle. Earlier vehicles were bases but now vehicles are also adding to the overall impact of the product. Hence more combinations are being emphasized on Innovative ingredients are being preferred in the products. Functional materials are often understated but are the most important game-changers for the economic development of sensorial enriching formulations. Sulphate free surfactants with luxurious foam and gentle cleansing, lower irritancy and soft after-feel will be more used. Amphoteric surfactants which were particularly suited for use in baby and child-specific formulations will now be used in sulphate free rinse-off products. Simplicity in products- Clean green products, Innovations revolving around simple products like waters, oils, powders etc will be the formulators goal in the coming years. The future formulations will be all about fun textures like Creating Water from Gels, Balms to oil, Powders to cream, Mixing ingredients like Gums, Starches and humectants to create jelly, lumpy textures etc. Ingestible beauty products: Pills, Oils: Face oils, body oils, nourishing oils, Water: Herbal waters, Foam Shampoos etc will be the forms to look at in near future.

 Ayurveda will not be a thing of past anymore. It will be seen as the health gateway and several products revolving around Ayurveda and Aromatherapy will be seen in the market. Emphasis will be more on the use of essential oils for health benefits. Eg. Cranberry and lavender essential oils to ease away stress, Antimicrobial and freshening activity with chamomile, peppermint sage, thyme etc.

 All these products will be seen in the new retail experiential stores by end of 2021. DIY will be a thing of daily life for the consumers and they will be flooded with videos, influencers and bloggers talking about it. Similarly, Artificial intelligence will be used to create products by 2022. Customization will also be a big trend in 2021. Several companies will be entering this domain as no wonder India is one of the most populated countries in the world with a growing economy and a good spend on consumer needs in the beauty segment.

Author : Dr. Renuka Thergoankar

Dr Renuka Thergoankar has served the world of Cosmetics in India for over two decades. Firstly through teaching positions at LAD & Smt R P College, Nagpur, Nikalas Mahila Mahavidyalaya, Nagpur and KET’s V. G. Vaze College, Mumbai as Professor and Head of Department, Cosmetics and Perfumery along with product development, formulation and research  Consultation for several Small, Medium and Multinational brands. She has won and been on the jury of numerous national and international awards. She holds several patents and has several published papers in national and international journals. She is also on the panel of several Government committees like BIS, CMaP, Flavour & Fragrance Committee of India and is the  President of Indian Society of Cosmetic Chemists (ISCC) and a Life member of OTAI west zone. She is the founder and Director of R & D Global Consultants, a consultancy dedicated to Technical research and product development for brands from India and abroad. She has won many laurels for her innovative approach.