Beauty is no quick fix: Shehnaz Husain

By Sukant Deepak

New Delhi, Mar 5 (IANS): Asserting that beauty is no quick fix but an outcome of long term care, Shahnaz Husain, founder and MD of Shahnaz Husain Group, who started her career half a century back, says that it was important for her to reject all existing notions of beauty and established her own ideas on beauty care. ‘When I started out, the industry was dominated by beauty treatments which were very superficial, mostly to do with ‘colour and cover.’ My thrust was herbal ‘Care and Cure.’ It was quite a challenge to offer a more holistic approach to beauty,” she told IANS.

In the past few decades post-liberalisation when the beauty product business has grown phenomenally, she says that it is the herbal beauty business that has dominated the curve “Today, the Indian consumer is aware of the quality and the ingredients in products, and wants to exercise this awareness by opting for high quality and organic products,” says this recipient of the Padma Shri honour.

Even as several international brands have moved towards the natural or organic thrust, Husain feels that the ‘back to nature’ and ‘total wellness’ has been sweeping the world. “The result is that holistic systems like Ayurveda have become popular. In India, faith in this system has always existed. Today, Ayurvedic beauty care has become so popular, not only for general beauty care but also for the treatment of skin and hair problems. My dream is to see this system of beauty care lead the international market within the next decade.”

Interestingly, one seldom comes across commercial advertisements by her brand. Stressing that she has always relied on ‘word of mouth’ and the fact that a satisfied client is the best advertisement, she added, “Very early in my career, I also made it a point to reply personally to letters seeking solutions for skin and hair problems. Four decades later, I still maintain this practice, this personal touch. In my regular columns in newspapers and magazines, I provide home remedies.”

Looking back at her journey, she remembers the time when she laid the foundation of her group — when most people relied solely on synthetic beauty products. “I have been a lifelong pupil of Ayurvedic healing and knew that herbal care and cure was the ultimate solution. The prerequisite for healing is that the product that is being used to treat an ailment shouldn’t give rise to other problems, and this is where synthetic products fail. I fell in love with the Ayurvedic philosophy at a time when most of the beauty industry was governed by synthetic product manufacturers, and I was determined to make Ayurveda a global phenomenon. Of course, I faced my fair share of challenges during the early stages, but once people started using my products, they realised their benefits. The rest is history,” she said.