Why India Significantly Needs Inclusivity And Representation In Skincare Industry

Skincare products that singularly cater to a single skin tone can prove to be remarkably exclusive and isolating.

Garima Sharma
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The skincare industry has long been renowned for its uniform and standardised approach to beauty, ignoring the nuances and complexities of individual skin types. An inherent predilection towards light skin tones has led to the manifestation of colourism, a form of prejudice that discriminates based on skin colour.

This bias is reflected in the beauty industry’s inadequate shade ranges, which inaccurately portray the vast array of skin tones, particularly those with darker complexions. However, recent movements promoting diversity and inclusivity, such as the Black Lives Matter movement, have stimulated discussions within the beauty industry regarding the lack of representation of diverse ethnicities and skin tones.

In this exposition, this article seeks to examine the significance of inclusivity and representation in the skincare industry and explore possible measures that brands can adopt to create products that cater to a broader spectrum of skin tones and types.

Diversity Is The Way Forward

The creation of diverse and inclusive skincare products hinges on a paramount aspect – the consideration and acceptance of the wide range of skin tones. India is endowed with a remarkably diverse populace, characterised by an expansive array of skin tones, ranging from fair to dark. Skincare products that singularly cater to a single skin tone can prove to be remarkably exclusive and isolating. So, brands must take into account the formulation of skin care products that are inclusive of a range of skin tones, assuring that everyone feels accommodated and represented. Brands should simultaneously also take into account other factors that can affect skin health, such as age, lifestyle, and environmental factors, when formulating skincare products that cater to a diverse range of consumers.

Include Representation in Marketing

Representation is crucial in marketing materials, particularly for a diverse country like India.


Brands should showcase a range of skin tones and body types in their advertisements to ensure that consumers feel seen and represented. This representation should not be limited to just the advertisements but should extend to the representation of diverse employees, models, and influencers.

For instance, beauty brands can collaborate with diverse influencers to promote their products and offer honest reviews that cater to a range of consumers. At the same time, brands should also consider offering education on skincare practices, explaining the benefits of using specific ingredients for various skin types and concerns.

Offer Affordable Options

Finally, skincare can be expensive, and it’s important to offer affordable options for consumers in India. Brands should consider offering smaller sizes or affordable lines to ensure that skincare is accessible to all. Skincare should not be a luxury, but a necessity that everyone can afford. Additionally, the beauty industry as a whole should consider offering affordable treatments and services to ensure that everyone has access to beauty services.

Address Specific Skin Concerns

In addition to catering to a range of skin tones, it is also essential for brands to consider the unique needs and concerns of different skin types. Indian skin is prone to specific skin concerns such as pigmentation, acne, and sensitivity. As such individuals with oily skin may require products that are formulated to control excess sebum production, while those with dry skin may require more hydrating formulations. Addressing specific skin concerns not only ensures that consumers feel represented and understood but also promotes overall skin health by providing effective solutions to their unique needs.


Use Natural and Locally-Sourced Ingredients

Another aspect of inclusivity in the beauty industry is using natural and locally-sourced ingredients. India boasts a rich heritage of employing natural ingredients like turmeric, neem, and sandalwood in skin care. Incorporating these ingredients into skincare products can increase their accessibility and affordability for Indian consumers. Additionally, by utilizing locally-sourced ingredients, skincare brands can contribute to the upliftment of local communities and small businesses. Furthermore, these natural ingredients are typically more gentle on the skin, rendering them an apt choice for individuals with sensitive skin. Importantly, the localization of ingredients reduces the carbon footprint of brands by minimising transportation and shipping emissions, aligning with the growing consumer trend of environmentally sustainable practices.

Way Forward

The realm of skincare is not merely a superficial pursuit, but a reflection of our societal values and beliefs. In an age where inclusivity and representation are at the forefront of cultural discourse, the skincare industry must respond to the call for greater diversity and inclusivity. Brands must acknowledge and celebrate the uniqueness of individual skin types and tones, and move beyond the narrow confines of a standardized approach to beauty. The pursuit of inclusivity demands that the beauty industry embrace a holistic approach, one that breaks free from the shackles of colourism and embraces the rich diversity of our society. Only then can we create a beauty industry that reflects the true beauty and vibrancy of our world.

Feature image credit: Polina Lebed, Getty Images

Authored by Garima Sharma, Director at Yes Madam, Tech-enabled platform for beauty and wellness.

Suggested reading: How Entrepreneur Eesha Bhatia Is Changing Narratives In The Beauty Industry

Inclusivity Beauty Industry Skincare Industry