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Tips on grooming yourself at home as you preen up for a WFH zoom call

Beard oil from brand Soulflower
One of the blockbuster items on every shopping platform has been trimmers. In fact, manufacturers reveal that demand has outdone supply and many people have pre-booked this product on e-commerce portals. With little access to parlours and salons last year, several homes started stocking grooming essentials. And now when things are opening up, habits have changed to the extent that people voluntarily don’t want to engage professional help, save for very specialised jobs such as a haircut or a professional makeup. The pandemic has prompted everyone to take care of hygiene, personal care, self-nourishment. What has aided this trend is a set of gadgets and gizmos that help you groom yourself as well as know-how available free on the web in the name of DIY videos on youtube.

Says Delhi-based grooming expert Pria Warrick: “Everything we were doing during the lockdown is exactly what we were doing some 20 years back. We are back to our original ways of living and now realise that all this while, we were just going overboard. Of course, when it comes to hair, men and women will still need the salons and parlours as also for professional make up. But other than that, at least 75 per cent of the people realise that they were just wasting money and time going to these parlours.” What has changed and has helped immensely is the availability of tech-enabled products as well as better quality variants of products. Says Warrick: “For instance, when it came to waxing, the waxes earlier were plain messy. But not anymore. Cosmetic companies and international brands are making things which are efficient and easy.”

Beauty companies have been quick to respond to the change and have customised products for home-bound individuals. From masks to moisturisers, L’Oréal saw higher consumption of skin nourishment products and soon launched sheet masks as an alternative to salon facials, while also catering to eye care issues arising from prolonged screen-time, with optical masks. To enable people to quickly touch up on the go, it launched Garnier Color Naturals, a one-time-use hair colour sachet in eight fashion colours priced at Rs 49 for doing the job at home. Its augmented reality platform, ModiFace, allowed customers to try on shades of make-up and hair colour with virtual try-on technology.

Surfeit of products

The market has exploded with several brands of shavers and trimmers, hair styling tools, manicure and pedicure kits, waxing products, home spa etc. Technology has made a world of a difference and there are evolved product variants now. Take the case of epilators which are an in-between solution for shaving and waxing that more and more women are starting to use. The most significant benefit of using one is the decreased frequency with which you need to remove hair. Then there are hair styling products. Nowadays, you have high-end tools that allow you to set your hair the way you want--you could choose curls, waves, smooth or rough dry hair, or create a natural look with a sleek finish. Take the case of Dyson Supersonic Hairdryer available for Rs 28,900 which comes with a fast but focused airflow, and intelligently controls the temperature to help protect hair from extreme heat damage. It also has a Dyson Airwrap Styler costing Rs 42,900 and Corrale Straightener for Rs 36,900.

Electronic hot brushes are a big category. Says Rayed Merchant, Director Marketing, SSIZ, which has hairstyling tools and accessories under the brand Ikonic Professional: “Hot brushes are a rage in the market and tend to give a very natural look to the hair. Iron has been another go-to product for those gettimg ready for their video calls. People have started experimenting a lot with hair styling products, trying their hand at making curls and all of that. The interesting part was that with some weddings during lockdown, some of the brides even got ready all by themselves. On a lighter note, we all basically discovered the artist in each one of us somewhere.”

Some trends are there for the long haul. Whatever can be done on an everyday basis, people are ready to do it at home instead of running to the salons. But for special occasions, people will still need expertise.

What you wear begins with your hair. Says Merchant: “Hair care is a specialised art. Styling by yourself and salon are two different worlds. The skills, movements and the flexibility that salon experts have in hair styling cannot be easily replicated by the layperson.”

Shaving and beard grooming

Whether men prefer to go with hair or sans hair on their face, the market for shaving and beard grooming market will never cease to exist. Today many premium, easy-to-use grooming products are available in the market. Says Rohit Jaiswal, Co-Founder and Head of Products, Bombay Shaving Company: “Growth in the sales for our unique creamy shaving pre-shave solutions with lather and foam indicates that there is a shift towards the original shaving style.”

Razors have sold well. Suraj Chaudhari, Co-founder, Zlade says there has been a massive behavioural change among consumers during the past ten months. “Our system razors were our bestsellers. June and July were the best months for us, as more people shopped online due to the lockdown and focus on DIY grooming increased,” he says. But he notes that there are things people get terribly wrong while shaving. Says Chaudhari, “Most people are unaware that facial hair is stronger than a copper wire when dry, so it is very important to have a proper pre-shave ritual, which is washing your face with warm water, and applying a good quality shaving cream before you shave. Not following this usually results in a terrible shaving experience which drives most customers to feel they can’t get a salon-quality shave at home. I think the No.1 thing people go wrong while shaving, mostly first-time shavers is they try to have a dry shave, or a shave without any cream or gel. Another important mistake is not changing your blades in a timely manner, which also makes the shaving experience unpleasant.”

When it comes to hair removal, women have choices beyond the conventional waxing and threading. Says Ashneet Kaur, a 30-year-old publicist from Mumbai: “I have generally been paranoid about even a single stray chin hair, or shadow over the lip, or the dreaded growth of a unibrow. But with some good epilators, that is history and that pain of waxing, shaving, lasering, and layering of chemicals is no longer there.”

Hair removal is a big category and there are brands like Finishing Touch Flawless with products priced at Rs 2,500. Says the brand’s Vice President, Kunal Bansal: “Finishing Touch Flawless has proven to be very promising in the grooming and hair removal category, having been readily accepted by the Indian market. The demand is being driven by primary women in the 18-50-year age group from metro cities.”

DIY is here to stay

On an average, self-care products have seen significant momentum. Says a Nykaa Spokesperson: “The DIY or self-care has now become a part of offline and online shoppers' lifestyle and is expected to continue in the future too. Self-care and grooming tools such as hair colour, wax strips, shavers, trimmers, epilators, masks, serums, jade rollers, hair gadgets have seen a surge in demand during the past one year. Consumers rely on DIY for hair, skin and self-care as it empowers them to customise their routines with the help of the right tools or products.”

People are increasingly opting for products that are chemical free, as far as possible and the clean beauty movement is gaining ground. Pure natural oils are in great demand and people are carefully reading the “ingredient list”. Say Amrita & Philip Alexander, Founders of Auravedic: “Yes, natural, clean, non-toxic beauty products and skin care are gaining momentum across demographics. At Auravedic we do not see this as a seasonal trend but more as a lifestyle shift. When we over-complicate our routines and practices, we stop believing in the skin's ability to self-heal and communicate with us, because we are giving it too much to process all the time. Minimalistic and two-step routines are replacing lavish, multistep, almost ritualistic kinds of beauty routines.”

Natural, eco-friendly and sustainable products are on a roll. Says Ritika Jayaswal, CEO & Founder, Nourish Mantra, which sells certified vegan products: “This pandemic has made people more conscious of the kind of lifestyle they are leading. In beauty as well, there has been a big demand for clean, vegan, toxin free beauty products.”

Brands have also helped consumers create home-based nourishing recipes for skin care. Recently when brand Soulflower received queries about treating acne scars, it responded with homemade solutions such as “you can combine ingredients like raw honey, orange juice, aloe vera, dried lavender buds, and yogurt. Or you can nourish your beard with lavender, lemon, geranium and ginger.” They even made a DIY Turmeric Honey Scrub (Rs 450) for winters which combined besan with one teaspoon of turmeric powder and coarsely grounded walnut powder, Soulflower Turmeric Essential Oil and raw honey.

Time tested techniques are back and how. Suggests Konkana Bakshi, Founder & Principal Consultant, Savoir Faire Academie, “Oil pulling is a holy grail of anti-ageing. It detoxifies the body. It is best done first thing in the morning before you brush your teeth.  Remarkable for oral hygiene too,  it's a time-tested method. Cold-pressed, virgin coconut oil is great for oil pulling.” She also suggests adding supplements such as Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E-rich primrose oil to the diet.

Makeup without being made up

It is important to look presentable for video calls. Makeup-without-made up look is the answer. This means it’s great to add on a bit of makeup to make one’s face to look a little bright and work-ready for conference calls. But it is best to keep it minimal, at the same time define your face so that your features stand out.

However, grooming for some has taken a backseat. Warrick laments that some people have been taking their visual presentation for granted during Zoom calls and show up in shabby hair, lying on sofas or bed, puttering in pyjamas. But your look and your visual presentation is the biggest way to do your branding and you can’t afford to go wrong there, says Warrick.

The background must be professional and work appropriate. No messy rooms or open closets where everyone can see your clutter. Make sure it is well-lit with a window in front or on the side, but not behind you as this can backfire when you’re on a video call.

Men & WFH

Men need to be more alert about their visual appeal while WFH. According to Niraalee Shah, India CEO of The British School of Etiquette, “Men must work hard to create the best visual. So do yourself a favour and take care of your skin, hair, and general appearance. The best shampoo for men will keep your hair flake-free and thick. Make sure your hair is looking its best before you sit down in front of that front facing camera. A natural wax pomade for men will help keep your look in place. A morning face serum hydrates and nourishes your skin deep below the surface for a healthier, brighter appearance and firmer skin. Vitamin C anti-aging cream for men evens skin tone, reduces the effects of UV damage, and smooth’s wrinkles and fine lines. Get rid of dark circles and puffy eye bags with a natural eye cream for men.”

As for women, Shah shares a few don’ts such as women must ditch blingy outfits and avoid very light coloured and baggy clothes. Even turtleneck tops and high-collared blouses don’t go well with the camera. It would be nice to wear some statement accessories like a necklace or a pair of tassel earrings or a pretty pendant.

Finally, with people taking hygiene and beauty needs into their own hands, they feel not just empowered but there are a host of other benefits-it's inexpensive, convenient and you don't have to wait for an appointment. Plus, staying home as much as possible reduces your risk of exposure to Covid-19. With these tips and tricks and a host of self-grooming products available just a click away, you surely can stay on top of your grooming game at home. 

Table: A quick look at the grooming products available in the market

Products
Brands Price Range (Rs)
Shavers Philips, Panasonic  1,346-3,899
Trimmers
Philips, Vega  995-2,474
Epilators Braun, Philips 5,585-12,370
Waxing Products Veet, Neud, Eflora  200-1,000
Electronic Hot Brushes
Carrera, Techno, Braun  1,299-5,390
Pedicure and Manicure Kits VLCC, Vaadi Herbals 250-700
Beard Grooming Kit Bombay Shaving, Beardo, Enorgen 749-4,075
Facial Kits Green Derma, Aryanveda, Aroma Magic 1,368-4,895
Spa Kit  Forest Essentials, The Body Shop, Vedic Line 1,500-4,595
Source: Market Research & E-Commerce

 



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