Swedish beauty brand Oriflame is continuously striving towards making their products environment-friendly. Frederic Widell, VP and Head of South Asia, and MD of Oriflame India talks about sustainability in beauty practices, worldwide trends, and new design collaborations. By Bayar Jain
How is Oriflame blending the best of fashion and beauty through its collaboration with Indian designer, Rohit Bal?
Beauty and fashion are completely interlinked, especially for women. We sell some accessories ourselves, and they are doing well across the world. So, for us to collaborate with Rohit again makes 100 per cent sense. I think that our brands blend together in a good way. We are a very old beauty brand, and Rohit is one of the pioneering fashion designers in India, who has a very strong presence here. We have collaborated with him before as well when he designed a few accessories for us that were a huge success.
What, according to you, are the top sustainable trends in the beauty industry?
I think sustainable beauty is the fashion of the hour, especially with millennials and GenX. And it makes perfect sense. If I was going to buy something, I would want to make sure it doesn’t have a negative impact on the environment. Oriflame is at the forefront in this regard. We derive inspiration from around the world in terms of trends, and so forth. For instance, to get rid of the parabens and plastic particles in shower gels, we use natural exfoliants.
How is Oriflame contributing to the segment of ‘Conscious Beauty’?
We are a Swedish company, and Sweden is, in fact, one of the most environmentally sustainable countries in the world. The state of our planet requires that the bigger countries take responsibility towards the environment, too. I believe that environmental sustainability must not be driven by governments and governmental organisations alone. They can only do so much; the rest is to be taxed. If individual companies take their responsibility well, then a lot of the problems will diminish. We try to be at the forefront not only with our products, but also on how we do business. We had a huge conference recently with 3,000 Asians in Stockholm for six days. The entire conference was climate neutral. Not a single thing was negative for the environment. The CO2 emission of the flights we take can be offset by purchasing trees and planting them. We use solar panels and offset other sources of energy consumption by investing in nature. Our aim, going forward, is to have as little impact on the environment as possible. We’ve moved from being 30 per cent to being 60 per cent environmentally-neutral.
What does sustainability look like in the beauty and skincare industry, today?
The way forward for the beauty industry to work towards sustainability is to get away from all harmful chemicals, and make sure you use whatever nature has to offer—which is a bunch of things! Combine that with the best of science to make sure your products do not have a negative impact on the environment.
What kind of eco-friendly innovations is Oriflame working upon right now?
We have a bunch of eco-friendly products: from skincare to makeup. We’re looking more into lipsticks now. We have a complete range called Eco-Beauty, which is 100 per cent natural and uses coconut ingredients sourced from sustainable farms in Kerala.
What are the top three beauty trends that’ll do the rounds in India this winter?
I think the trends will continue to be more daring. In the past, we’ve seen more pastel colours as well as offbeat shades such as turquoise, light blue, and even orange. I think that should continue over the winter this time around, as well. Here, in India, people use darker colours more, which makes sense complexion-wise. But I see now, Indians are increasingly going for light pink and other trendier colours. Indians are becoming more experimental and daring with their colour choices.
What are a few must-have skincare products that you would recommend for Indians?
I would suggest our skincare routine products. They are basically pre-decided sets that include an entire routine. To only use a standalone skincare product is not enough. You need a cleanser, toner, and then maybe, a day cream and a night cream. And perhaps, something sensitive earlier. We have that in sets for oily skin, dry skin, combination skin, and etc.
Define ethical beauty in one sentence.
I would say. treating others and planet Earth the way you wish to treat yourself.