Circular beauty: Conscious Chemist on a mission to drive sustainable cosmetics success in India

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

 Conscious Chemist want to pave the way for sustainability in India’s cosmetics industry. ©Conscious Chemist
Conscious Chemist want to pave the way for sustainability in India’s cosmetics industry. ©Conscious Chemist
The founders of India-based cosmetic brand Conscious Chemist are seeking to pave the way for sustainability in India’s cosmetics industry and work towards creating a circular economy within its ecosystem.

Conscious Chemist co-founder Prakher Mathur told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​ that the brand’s mission was to educate local consumers on the impact of the products they are using.

“The Indian beauty market has a lot of opportunities. It has not matured yet. It’s still a lot about price and not many are talking about the sustainability aspect of cosmetics,” ​Mathur said.

The brand utilises glass jars, copper lid caps and paper labels. The only plastic component is the pump, which consumers can opt out from.

“When we started, our product was 70% plastic. Day by day we hope to reduce our impact by figuring out what is the best way to go forward,” ​said Mathur.

Big sustainable goals

The company will soon be launching a recyclable programme with a local NGO.  The programme will collect bottles from consumers, clean them up and send them for recycling.

Mathur said having a recycling programme was essential as having recyclable packaging is not enough.

“The thing about India is that even if the packaging is recyclable, most of it doesn’t end up in the recycling bin. Instead, they end up in the landfill. I think that is one of the biggest challenges,” ​he said.

According to Mathur, the company’s arrangement with the Terra Conscious is “pretty cost-efficient”.

“There are many organisations like Terra Conscious, but they are not being leveraged by other companies,” ​he said.

Prakher revealed that the company’s eventual goal was to build a circular economy.

“At the end of the day, we don’t want the brand to be a marketing gimmick. We need to be conscious about what we are selling and work towards the goals we have.We think we can build a circular economy within our ecosystem. We want to be a company that doesn’t need to buy new inventory for packaging,” he said.

This, however, will take some time, Mathur admitted.

“We are still on phase one. After six months, we hope to raise our first round of funding. If everything goes according to plan, we hope to be sustainable both profitably and environmentally in three years.”

Expanding the brand

Conscious Chemist currently consists of three products: a body wash, face cleanser and face cream. The products feature matcha and hemp seed oil as ingredients which are gaining popularity in India.

The company plans to round up the regime with a toner and a face mist in around three to four months and add another additional 15 SKUs by next year.

The company’s other priority is to solidify its presence in India, where it plans to target first-tier cities such as Mumbai and Kolkata.

Mathur said: “The most impactful places for us are the corporate hubs and business parks where our target audience is. These consumers are more aware about sustainability and are willing to pay a premium for sustainability. When these people buy from us, they aren’t just paying for a face wash, they also want to do their part in reducing plastic waste.”

He added that he hoped to widen the consumer base eventually.

“It difficult to target a certain demographic and sustain profits. We also want to push our B2B business. We want to target salons. I think it’s important for consumers to have that face-to-face interaction with the product and experience it.”

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