Ranks no. 2 on the list of nations for cheap cosmetic surgery, affordable beauty products.
Mumbai: The phrase ‘beauty comes in all shapes and sizes’ couldn’t hold truer for a populous and diverse country such as India. Thanks to globalisation, looking good doesn't cost a pretty penny anymore as per a recent survey by Linio, a Latin American e-commerce firm which listed India as second most affordable beauty market.
In a survey conducted in 50 countries, Linio’s Beauty Price Index 2017 listed Vietnam, India, South Africa, Thailand and Egypt as the five cheapest destinations for cosmetics and beauty services. Venezuela, currently hit by inflation, is the costliest, followed by Northern Europe, Australia and the US.
Interestingly, experts say that traditional procedures and treatments in these five countries create a whole new sector of service within the cosmetics industry. Shahnaz Husain, a pioneer of Ayurvedic beauty products, says, “Thailand is known for its traditional ingredients, oils and massages while the traditional Ayurvedic treatments such as Panchkarma and Kairali massage attract tourists to India.”
Also, the reusable Indian home-made face packs made out of turmeric, rose water and Multani mitti (Multani soil) cost a mere Rs 50 thereby making personal care affordable.
Globalisation, communications revolution have a huge role to play. “The beauty business is growing at 20 per cent in India, which is twice that in Europe and the US. Rise in working middle-class women has expanded the cosmetics market,” says Ms Husain. She says rising awareness of beauty trends and increasing disposable incomes are spurring the growth of the cosmetic retail sector at an even faster pace in Tier 2 and 3 cities.
Price sensitivity is another contributing factor. Ms Husain says the Indian beauty market generally comprises low-prices, with regards to value-conscious consumers.
Dr Meenakshi Agarwal, a cosmetic surgeon, has a different view. She says, “I find the rates of cosmetics services to be high because the products are costly.” She agrees that growing beauty consciousness has been attracting people not only from metros but small towns too. One wonders why then this price sensitivity does not influence our B-townies to get that ‘fresh-from-vacay’ look here at home for a much better deal? “Status,” says renowned hairstylist, Jawed Habib. “The Indian mentality is such that if one has the money, one prefers travelling abroad to maintain a style status.”
Dr Agarwal cites privacy as another reason. “Unlike Hollywood, Bollywood is quite secretive about cosmetic surgeries. So celebrities vacation while their face and body settle post-surgery,” she says.
Is quality compromised by the low prices? Mr Habib says, “Price consciousness does not mean that people will settle for anything less in terms of quality. Experts, specialists carry years of experience with them.” Dr Agarwal agrees. “India has well qualified cosmetic surgeons. Besides, with FDA, and growing technology, maintaining quality is a must.”