The Most Popular Cosmetic Brands in India

The Indian cosmetic industry, currently the 8th largest globally, is booming like never before. With an impressive growth rate of 10% annually, it’s no wonder that homegrown Indian brands are thriving alongside international giants. You’re witnessing a beauty revolution, where innovation meets tradition, and skincare isn’t just for women anymore.

Indian brands are crafting their niche with a keen focus on inclusivity and affordability, catering to the diverse beauty needs of modern India. Whether it’s high-end, FDA-approved makeup from RENEE or the cruelty-free, PETA-certified range from Colorbar, these brands are redefining beauty standards and how you experience cosmetics.



When you’re exploring the Indian cosmetic market, M.A.C. often stands out as a titan among brands. Since its entrance into India in 2012, M.A.C., representing Makeup Artist Cosmetics, has maintained a prestigious reputation famed among beauty professionals globally. Their foray into India was marked by the MAC Selena collection, a tribute to the singer’s iconic style, which immediately resonated with Indian consumers.

M.A.C’s offerings are particularly noted for their long-lasting properties, a distinct advantage you’ll find when perusing their comprehensive range. Their products are designed with a deep understanding of varied user needs, evident in their uniquely styled catalogues. Starting from a modest range of just 6 lipstick shades in 1984, M.A.C. has significantly expanded under the Estee Lauder umbrella in India, further solidifying its position in the Indian beauty industry.

Attracting a loyal following across different age groups, M.A.C. continues to thrive thanks to its exceptional quality. But one aspect that gives it a competitive edge is its diverse palette that celebrates individuality—a quality that deeply resonates within the multicultural tapestry of India. The brand’s unique selling proposition (USP) can be summed up by its extensive array of experimental shades, especially its range of vibrant reds.

M.A.C.’s origin in Toronto has only amplified its global appeal amongst Indian consumers. With a variety of makeup goods available in both physical and online outlets, they’ve become a go-to for those looking to make bold fashion statements. Whether it’s creating a look for an evening out or enhancing everyday makeup, M.A.C.’s products cater to a broad spectrum of beauty requirements.

Cosmetics, as a crucial part of personal expression in the current era, are no longer a mere accessory but an essential. With a gamut of solutions for appearance-related concerns, from instant glow sheet masks to blushes and tints for a healthy colour, M.A.C. delivers products that help you express your unique style while addressing your beauty needs. If it’s combating body odour that you’re worried about, M.A.C.’s fragrance selections are there to complement their makeup range flawlessly.



When you’re exploring Indian cosmetic brands, Maybelline stands out as a pioneer with over a century of influence. Founded in 1915, the brand made its mark in Indian markets by 1998. Maybelline’s affordable luxury has solidified its position as a go-to brand, offering a plethora of products that have become household names.

The Affordability Factor

Cost efficiency paired with high quality is a rare blend, and Maybelline offers just that. The brand’s arrival in India showcased a commitment to providing exclusive, yet affordable products, appealing to a broad customer base. With a pricing strategy that challenges the notion that high-end cosmetics must be expensive, Maybelline broke into the market with offerings accessible to a wide demographic.

Product Category Price Comparison
Lipsticks Lower than rivals
Foundations Competitive
Eye Makeup Accessible
Color Palettes Affordable

Embracing Cultural Vibrancy

Maybelline appreciates the diverse beauty needs of Indian consumers. Their color palettes are designed to cater to everyone, ensuring there’s a shade for each skin tone and occasion. From everyday neutrals to festive brights, you’re likely to find your match.

Innovation and Influence

With the introduction of their Fit Me range, Maybelline has stayed at the forefront of makeup innovation, ensuring that your beauty requirements are met without compromise. The brand isn’t just about what’s in the bottle; it’s about the experience it provides. Maybelline’s website is a testament to this, offering a myriad of makeup tutorials and tips, letting you practice and perfect your look with expert guidance at your fingertips.

Star Power

The brand’s influence extends beyond the counter; Maybelline has consistently partnered with top Indian talent. Bollywood A-listers like Sara Ali Khan and Alia Bhatt have endorsed the brand, infusing glamour and relatability, which resonates with the young, style-conscious audience. This star-studded marketing approach helps maintain Maybelline’s ever-growing popularity in the Indian cosmetics market.

Shahnaz HusainShahnaz Husain

When exploring Indian cosmetic brands, Shahnaz Husain is a name that often comes up as a pioneer in the industry. The brand, which started years ago, gained its fame by unlocking the secret to combining Ayurvedic ingredients with modern cosmetic needs. This approach was not only novel but also boasted healing properties, making it a standout choice for consumers looking for more than just skin-deep beauty.

At the heart of Shahnaz Husain’s product philosophy is the synergy between timeless Ayurvedic practices and contemporary beauty regimes. Herbal formulas are meticulously crafted to cater to a variety of skin types and conditions. This range ensures that they serve a dual purpose: enhancing your natural beauty while nurturing your skin with enriching botanical extracts.

The brand’s comprehensive range includes:

  • Skin care products
  • Hair care treatments
  • A chic makeup selection

Whether you’re in need of a rejuvenating facial cream, nurturing hair oil, or a lush kajal to accentuate your eyes, Shahnaz Husain offers an expansive product line that’s become synonymous with luxury ayurvedic cosmetics. The chic makeup line, in particular, is celebrated for bringing together the best of herbal care with the glamorous world of makeup.

Moreover, the reach of Shahnaz Husain extends beyond Indian borders. The brand’s philosophy of Ayurveda has cascaded across the globe, marking its presence in international markets and establishing itself as a global ambassador for Indian heritage in beauty care. Through this global recognition, Shahnaz Husain has not only captured the hearts of customers but has also paved the way for future brands to take inspiration from India’s ancient traditions.

Product selection and application are simple, with textures and scents designed to be a treat for the senses. With every use, you’re assured not just a cosmetic enhancement, but a therapeutic experience that stays true to the principles of Ayurveda while meeting today’s standard for beauty products.

L’Oréal Professional

L’Oréal Professional

When you’re exploring the beauty landscape in India, L’Oréal Professional stands out as a brand synonymous with luxury and innovation. Established in Paris over a century ago in 1909, L’Oréal has not just sustained its esteemed reputation; it’s surged in popularity. They stepped into the Indian market in 1994, quickly becoming a top-tier contender in the realm of cosmetics.

L’Oréal India’s offerings are diverse, encompassing makeup, skincare, haircare, fragrances, and personal care products. Their success lies partly in their widespread network of salons. You’ll find these salons peppered across the country, offering high-end services characterized by French elegance and sophistication.

One of the brand’s most celebrated services is its hair colouring, known for its vast palette of shades that caters to individual preferences and trends. It’s a part of their broad catalogue that appeals widely, tapping into the needs of a dynamic consumer base.

  • Makeup: Eye-catching yet wearable ranges
  • Skincare: Solutions that blend nature and science
  • Haircare: Renowned colouring services and hair treatments
  • Fragrances: Scents that evoke luxury and style

With this extensive portfolio, L’Oréal has secured endorsements from prominent Indian celebrities such as Aditi Rao Hydari, Shakti Mohan, and Anushka Sharma. These personalities don’t just promote the products; they resonate with the brand’s vision, articulating a narrative of sophistication that appeals to the discerning Indian customer.

L’Oréal’s global cachet is reflected in their dedication to quality and innovation. Whether it’s introducing cutting-edge hair treatments or modern skincare formulations, they consistently push the envelope, ensuring they’re a step ahead in satisfying the evolving needs of their clientele.

The brand’s savvy market strategies paired with a keen sense of consumer desires makes L’Oréal Professional a beacon of cosmetic excellence in India. With such tailored services and products, it’s no wonder they’ve captured the hearts of beauty enthusiasts across the nation.



In the fast-paced world of beauty retail, Nykaa stands as a beacon of innovation, transforming how Indians approach cosmetic shopping. Initiated in 2012 by Falguni Nayar, this platform was a game-changer, pioneering the D2C model in the Indian cosmetic landscape. What started with a mere three employees has burgeoned into a vanguard of the beauty industry, renowned not just for retailing a multitude of brands but for creating an immersive shopping experience both online and through numerous offline stores.

Understanding the diverse and dynamic Indian market, Nykaa swiftly expanded its offerings, cementing itself as a household name with over 400 quality products dotting its in-house labels like Nykaa Naturals, Nykaa Cosmetics, and Kay Beauty. These ranges aren’t merely an assortment of items but are tailored collections that resonate with the vibrant Indian consumer base. Whether you’re in a quest for the contemporary matte lips or the timeless kohl-rimmed eyes, you’ll find a product that aligns with your needs and sensibilities.

The company’s foray into crafting its very own beauty line has been met with sheer enthusiasm. It kicked off this journey with uniquely formulated nail enamels, later delving into the realm of lipsticks, eye makeup, and even essential beauty tools. Consumers have shown particular adoration for the unique palette of nail enamel shades offered, such as the “cookie crumble” range, which provide a touch of whimsy and elegance that’s unrivalled.

Nykaa’s rise to become the first woman-led unicorn in India isn’t just a testament to its business acumen but also reflects a deeper understanding of beauty trends and consumer demands. The platform’s commitment to bringing quality, variety, and accessibility remains unmatched in the Indian beauty market, allowing you to indulge in an expansive collection of cosmetics curated with care and precision right at your fingertips.


Lakme’s roots are deeply entrenched in Indian soil, having been established in 1952. This iconic brand has forged a special relationship with Indian consumers, earning a reputation for reliability and quality throughout the years. When you’re looking for a brand that matches Indian skin tones and types – from oily to dry – Lakme stands out.

With a diverse product range, Lakme offers cosmetics designed for daily wear and professional use alike. Their Lakme 9 to 5 range is particularly renowned, garnering praise from beauty enthusiasts and experts for its long-wearing attributes.

Lakme’s strategy extends beyond products; they immerse themselves in the beauty culture. By hosting fashion weeks and owning a network of salons, their influence shapes trends and personal care throughout India. Not just a cosmetic line, Lakme has evolved into a beauty authority.

Their commitment to affordability without compromising on quality has allowed them access to a broader market segment. The brand caters to a wide range of budgets, providing options from economical finds to premium selections.

In its journey, Lakme has enjoyed the support of prominent ambassadors such as Kajol, Kareena Kapoor Khan, and Shraddha Kapoor, further cementing its prominence in the Indian market. With their endorsements, Lakme’s products resonate more deeply with the consumer base.

Lakme’s influence is ubiquitous in India, and their success demonstrates the potential of homegrown brands in a competitive market. A pioneer in the Indian cosmetic industry, Lakme continues to innovate and satisfy the demanding and evolving needs of its clientele. Whether through personalised beauty solutions or sophisticated skincare, Lakme’s portfolio promises something for every preference.

Navigating the Indian beauty landscape, you’ll notice Lakme’s presence is impossible to miss. Their salons and products shape the narratives of self-care and beauty standards in the country. With a legacy that began at Jawaharlal Nehru’s behest, Lakme is not just a brand but a cultural touchstone for beauty in India.

Sugar CosmeticsSugar Cosmetics

Emerging as a force to be reckoned with in the Indian beauty market, Sugar Cosmetics continues to make waves since its inception in 2012. From humble beginnings with just a kohl pencil and black eyeliner, Sugar Cosmetics has broadened its horizon significantly. Today’s range includes a variety of products tailored for Indian skin tones, ensuring that you’ll find everything from eyeliners to lipsticks.

Growth and Expansion

Sugar Cosmetics isn’t just confined to its home base of Mumbai. They’ve cast a much wider net, supplying their products to over 130 cities within India. But their aspirations don’t end there; the brand has ventured abroad with an outlet in Russia and boasts an online presence in the United States, signifying global ambitions and appeal.

Financial Milestones and Founders

When it comes to financial success, Sugar Cosmetics doesn’t shy away from boasting impressive numbers. The brand’s current revenue stands at a staggering INR 500 Crores. This achievement is bolstered by funding totaling a substantial 85.5 million USD, reflecting investor confidence in its growth potential.

Behind this burgeoning powerhouse are two names synonymous with innovation and entrepreneurship: Vineeta Singh and Kaushik Mukherjee. Their vision has turned a two-product startup into a dominant player in the bustling Indian cosmetic landscape.

Revenue Funding (USD)
500 Cr 85.5M

Personalised for Indian Skin

Understanding the unique needs of its customer base, Sugar Cosmetics develops products with Indian skin tones in mind. Their approach has resulted in a line-up that resonates with consumers looking for cosmetics that aren’t just high-quality but also cater specifically to them. This dedication to localisation has undoubtedly played a significant role in their explosive growth.


In the realm of beauty and cosmetics, Colorbar Cosmetics stakes its claim as one of the premier brands in India, marking its onset in 2004 in Delhi, India. Spearheaded by Samir Modi, Colorbar was established with a vision to deliver cosmetic products that seamlessly align with the diverse and rich Indian skin tones. As you explore the world of Colorbar, you’ll find a comprehensive array of makeup and skincare products, encompassing essentials like moisturisers, concealers, eyeliners, and lipsticks.

Revolutionizing Beauty with a Cruelty-Free Commitment

One of Colorbar’s defining traits is its staunch commitment to being cruelty-free, asserting a principled stance against animal testing. This ethos resonates deeply with the ethical consumer, earning the brand a certification from PETA. It’s not just about the range but also about the values Colorbar stands for, embodying a responsible and compassionate approach to beauty.

The Rapid Expansion of Colorbar

Starting as a homegrown initiative, Colorbar has witnessed a meteoric rise. By 2013, almost a decade after its foundation, the brand proudly crossed the INR 100 Crore revenue mark. This significant milestone is indicative of the brand’s deep connection with its audience, particularly targeting those aged between 25 to 40.

Year Milestone
2004 Founded
2013 INR 100 Crore brand
2019 Last funding round: $1.5M

Following substantial funding, including a $1.5M seed round in 2019, Colorbar continues to solidify its position as the third-largest cosmetics company in India. With an array of products tailored for Indian skin, Colorbar not just captures the essence of Indian beauty but also mirrors the shifting landscape where accessibility and quality go hand in hand.


As you navigate the diverse landscape of Indian cosmetics, Lotus Herbals emerges as a cherished brand that’s been part of the Indian beauty scene since its inception in 1993. This trusted name offers a plethora of products addressing your skincare, haircare, and makeup needs, each designed to harmonize modern aesthetics with traditional wellness practices.

Lotus Herbals stands out for its holistic approach to beauty. Harnessing the Power of Ayurveda, the brand has successfully tapped into ancient herbal traditions to create formulas that appeal to contemporary preferences. You’ll find their range includes cleansers, shampoos, sunscreens, and an array of makeup essentials—all promising affordability and reliability.

Aligning with ethical consumerism, Lotus maintains a staunch stance on being a cruelty-free brand. For those of you passionate about animal welfare and environmentally conscious choices, this aspect of the company’s philosophy ensures that no product is ever tested on animals.

In a testament to the brand’s appeal, Lotus Herbals has enlisted prominent figures like Dia Mirza, Jacqueline Fernandez, and Vaani Kapoor as brand ambassadors. Their association with such influential personalities reflects the brand’s stature within not just the Indian market, but also hints at its potential on the global stage.

  • 1993: Year Lotus was founded
  • Products: Skincare, haircare, makeup
  • Ethos: Cruelty-free, Ayurvedic formulation

While Lotus continues to maintain its presence in India with revered botanical ingredients and an accessible price point, it’s the unique blend of traditional wisdom and modern science that has carved a niche for the brand in the ever-expanding beauty industry.


Rooted deeply in Indian origins, Coloressence emerged as a top-tier brand in the bustling Indian cosmetics sector. Launched in 2008, this brand quickly made its mark with a vibrant array of products catering to face, eyes, and lips. Coloressence stands out for a unique fusion of affordability and premium quality, creating an accessible luxury for women across the country.

Your makeup routine can be transformed using Coloressence products, which have gained a reputation for their remarkable compatibility with a diversity of skin types. This compatibility is paramount in a country as diverse as India, where skin types and tones vary widely. Your go-to choice for daily wear, the range satisfies those seeking both utility and sophistication.

Ingredients and Quality

The secret behind the brand’s success lies in its commitment to quality. The ingredients for Coloressence’s cosmetics are imported from Germany, ensuring a level of excellence that aligns with international standards. Yet, the prices remain highly competitive, making it a go-to brand for the budget-conscious, quality-seeking consumer.

Market Position

Coloressence isn’t just keeping pace; it’s setting the pace. It now ranks as one of the fastest-growing cosmetic names in India. By offering quality at an affordable price point, Coloressence has become a household name, similar to its global contemporaries like The Body Shop and Oriflame.

Embracing the brand means embracing a vast selection, with choices ranging from everyday essentials to more specialised cosmetic products. All designed to meet the sophisticated needs of the Indian market, Coloressence is an apt choice for your daily beauty ritual. Its ability to resonate with the cultural and aesthetic preferences of the Indian consumer has allowed it to carve a significant niche within the industry.

History of the Indian cosmetic industry

The Indian cosmetic industry has a rich heritage that mirrors the country’s cultural depth and diversity. Tracking its origin and evolution offers insights into how it has become an integral part of both the economy and everyday life in India.

Pre-Independence Era

Before India’s independence, the cosmetic practice was largely anchored in natural and herbal remedies passed down through generations. The use of plant-based ingredients for skincare and makeup was deeply entrenched in the country’s ayurvedic traditions. Women used natural substances like turmeric, sandalwood, and henna for their beautifying properties. The pre-independence era set the stage for a culture that worshipped natural beauty solutions, which still resonates in today’s cosmetic formulations.

This period also saw a dependency on imported cosmetics, with few local players in the market. However, the seeds of the Indian cosmetic industry were sown as local knowledge of herbs and plants was harnessed to create beauty concoctions. The skincare rituals of this era were not just about beauty but formed part of the holistic wellness approach that’s characteristic of Indian culture.

Post-Independence Era

Post-independence, India’s cosmetic scene underwent significant transformation. The focus shifted from traditional cosmetics to branded products, with an increase in domestic manufacturing. Brands like Lakme took the lead, symbolising a new era for Indian cosmetics. Established in 1952, Lakme was at the forefront of introducing a range of cosmetics tailored for Indian women, which was a marked shift from the primarily westernised products on offer until then.

The post-independence era also saw economic reforms that opened up the market to international players, prompting Indian companies to innovate and remain competitive. The diversification of product lines to include modern makeup and skincare, while still drawing on the wisdom of ancient practices, led to the birth of a unique beauty landscape. This era marked the beginning of the blend between the old and the new—a harmonious mix of tradition and modernity that defines the Indian cosmetic industry today.

The rapid urbanisation and rising middle class, with increasing disposable incomes, fuelled the demand for both mass-market and luxury cosmetic products. As beauty trends evolved, so did the consumer’s palette, leading to a burgeoning market that catered to a wide range of tastes and preferences. With skin care and makeup’s growing importance among consumers, the post-independence period set the stage for innovation and growth within the Indian cosmetic industry, which, as mentioned previously, is the 8th largest in the world today.

Challenges and future prospects of Indian cosmetic brands

Price Competitiveness

In a market that’s increasingly price-sensitive, you’ll find that Indian cosmetic brands face a daunting challenge: maintaining affordability while ensuring quality. Consumer expectation for high-quality products at lower prices has skyrocketed, irrespective of economic brackets.

  • Indian brands compete with each other to offer the best value for money.
  • Rising raw material and production costs make it tough to keep prices low.
  • In-house R&D and technology investments add to the overall cost pressures.

Despite these challenges, the prospects look promising as Indian brands are poised to leverage cost efficiency, innovation, and a deep understanding of the local market to maintain a competitive edge.

International Competition

The presence of international brands in India has intensified competition in the cosmetic sector. These global giants bring:

  • Advanced technologies and innovations in product development.
  • An established brand presence that can sway consumer preferences.
  • Greater marketing budgets for expansive campaigns.

However, the rise in consumer nationalism and preference for ‘Made in India’ products presents a significant opportunity for Indian brands to capture market share by emphasizing local expertise and cultural alignment with consumer needs.

Online Presence

The digital transformation has ushered in an era where an online presence is non-negotiable for brands that aim to thrive:

  • The internet has become a key channel for reaching out to potential customers.
  • E-commerce platforms and social media play a pivotal role in marketing and sales.
  • Brands without a strong online presence risk falling behind in this digital race.

Future prospects shine brightly for those Indian cosmetic brands ready to embrace digital trends, tap into data analytics for understanding consumer behaviour, and invest in building robust digital platforms to engage with their audience effectively.


You’ve seen the hurdles Indian cosmetic brands face, from balancing quality with affordability to competing with international giants. Yet, it’s clear they’re not just surviving; they’re ready to thrive. With their finger on the pulse of local preferences and a commitment to innovation, these homegrown heroes are carving out their niche. As they harness the power of digital platforms and consumer patriotism, there’s no denying that Indian cosmetic brands are on a trajectory to redefine beauty standards both locally and globally. Embracing these changes, they are set to dazzle the market, ensuring your beauty regime is as vibrant and diverse as the culture it stems from.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main challenges for Indian cosmetic brands?

Indian cosmetic brands face challenges in maintaining affordability amidst rising raw material and production costs. Additionally, they must invest in R&D while coping with intense competition from international brands.

How can Indian cosmetic brands maintain a competitive edge?

Indian cosmetic brands can maintain a competitive edge by leveraging cost efficiency, innovative products tailored for local markets, and embracing consumer nationalism that favours ‘Made in India’ products.

What role does digital transformation play for Indian cosmetic brands?

Digital transformation is crucial, as an online presence becomes essential for marketing, sales, and customer engagement. Brands need to invest in digital platforms, use data analytics, and capitalize on e-commerce trends.

How can Indian brands compete with international cosmetics brands?

Indian brands can compete by offering quality products at competitive prices, understanding local consumer preferences, and capitalizing on the ‘Made in India’ sentiment to build brand loyalty.

What prospects do Indian cosmetic brands have in the current market?

Indian cosmetic brands have bright prospects if they innovate, stay cost-efficient, and utilize digital platforms to connect with the increasingly internet-savvy consumer base.

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