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July 08 , 2013
Cheryl's Cosmeceuticals is a cosmetic company with a 100-year-old history in professional treatments and home-care products that uses active herbal ingredients. In an interview with Harcha Bhaskar, Oscar Pereira, managing director, Cheryl's Cosmeceuticals, shares details on the new launches by the company, challenges faced by the industry and the future scenario. Excerpts:

Comment on the latest developments taking place at Cheryl's.
We have recently launched a facial for dry skin. The name of the product is Hydramoist Facial. It has specially been created keeping two things in mind – the weather conditions and genetically dry skin. India has a three-month winter, with temperatures dropping to their lowest especially in the north. This product has been specially created taking care of these aspects.

Tell us about the derma skin treatment-based product range. How does it address various skin problems?
The range has been presented after proper research and testing. We have been receiving positive feedback from our customers in various parts of India. Being a B2B brand, we are directly in touch with our customers on whom we majorly rely for feedback.

Give us details about your other products and brands.
Our brand is totally focussed on delivering results. Almost every brand in the market  promises to be effective. But as a company, we are far more effective. Today we are a cosmeceutical company and very close to companies manufacturing drugs, that is we ensure a delicate balance between drugs and cosmeceuticals, so in terms of efficacy, we use herbal active ingredients to deliver drug-like results still being in the ambient of cosmeceuticals.

What are the prominent ingredients used in your products? From where do you source them?
The usage of ingredients in a product depends on the problems or the product it is catering to. Basically, the majority of our ingredients are herbal active ingredients. For example, if one has skin allergy, the person may use steroid-based treatment, but being in cosmececuticals, we are not allowed. But to deliver positive results, we fall back on nature and use active herbal ingredients.

Travelling all over the world, we source the product from various parts of the world depending on the efficacy of the ingredient we are going to use. The USA, Japan, Europe and Korea are the main places from where we source our products. But let it be noted that a lot of active herbal ingredients are manufactured in India, exported to foreign countries, processed and again imported by India.

Where is your manufacturing plant and R&D unit situated?
Our manufacturing plant is at Vasai, Mumbai, which has an in-built R&D unit, headed by me.

Tell us about your latest research. When will the product be out?
As we are already into skincare- and haircare-based products, we are soon going to  foray into the spa and professional make-up ranges and products with active whitening ingredients and active anti-ingredients.

What is your view on new trends in mineral-based makeup and skincare products?
It is something more natural with no silicon. According to me, mineral make-up is not a big thing, and there are lot of limitations to it, as one cannot use synthetic ingredients and binders for pressing powders. It has just become a fancy term to be used by marketing people, but if you ask them the meaning, they may not be able to reply.

What are the latest trends witnessed in the cosmetic sector?
People are becoming more and more conscious about their skin. Visits to salons have increased. Today, a 35-year-old woman wants to look 25. Even men have started visiting salons for skin treatment and facials. Initially in India, it was fairness creams that were in vogue, but now it is skin whitening and anti-aging creams that are being majorly looked upon. The wellness industry is growing very fast, thanks to television and other media, which are creating awareness.

Also, there are two types of treatment available to choose from – invasive and non-invasive. Invasive is risky and costlier, whereas non-invasive is safer. So one has to weigh the pros and cons before going for it.

Are there any challenges faced by the industry?
There are a lot of challenges faced by professional skincare manufacturers. There are certain laws that govern local manufacturers and laws for imported products are very different. People import any product without checking the safety parameters. The substandard products that prove as health hazards have been imported to India without any FDA interventions and are spreading in the market, whereas we in manufacturing have to follow stringent rules for importing any ingredients and manufacturing the product. A new law, which was already postponed twice, will come into effect in April. Hopefully this would change the scenario. The quicker the law comes into effect, the better it would be for the local players.

Even packaging is one of the challenges. There is no great packaging for the cosmeceutical industry that's why we have to source from other countries for skincare and make-up products. The applicator and container are not made in India, which is a huge problem. We have to import it, and the cost goes up. It is very essential if you want to compete with the international brands. The packaging industry for cosmetics is not upto the mark as it to pharma or any other industry.

Do you export your products? If yes, to which countries? Are there any plans for international expansion or mergers?
No, we do not export to other countries. Currently, we have no such plans. India is a booming market for cosmetics, and we would like to concentrate on it.

What is the market share of your existing product range, and are there any new launches in the pipeline?

We would not like to disclose this information. The salon market in India is not that organised. Currently, our company is growing at the rate of 60 per cent to 80 per cent per year.

According to you, what is the future of the Indian cosmetics industry?
As the study shows, I too believe the cosmetics industry would be number one by 2020 and it would be even overtaking the information technology (IT) industry.

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