Ayurveda centres get into hair & skin care

Almost 80% of the 80 brands in hair space are Kerala-based

Traditional ayurvedic treatment centres of Kerala have discovered a lucrative market for personal care products, especially haircare and skincare. The space is witnessing an increasing rush of brands, most of which are concentrating on aggressive marketing.

Kerala has always been a very prospective market for haircare, but consumers traditionally used to depend upon plain coconut oil or herbal oil prepared as per ayurvedic texts. Though national brands like Parachute, Vatika and Emami have been there in the market for quite some time, the aggressive pace of growth started after Warrier’s Hospital & Panchakarma Centre in Kollam launched its Dhathri branded hair oil.

“As a treatment centre we used to prepare hair oil for our patients. In 2003, I decided to commercialise the product. Now we have around 30 products in haircare and skincare,” said S Sajikumar, managing director of Dhathri Ayurveda.

According to Sajikumar, the annual branded hair oil consumption in 2003 was five to seven lakh bottles of the national brands like Parachute and Vatika. In eight years, the branded oil consumption has grown to 50 lakh bottles per annum.

“The market growth is mainly due to the shift from homemade oils to branded oils. People who used to apply plain coconut oil too have turned to branded oil as the market itself has a lot of confidence in ayurvedic products. There could be over 80 brands in haircare and of this at least 80 per cent are Kerala-based ayurvedic products,’ he said.

Dhathri, Indulekha, Sumangala, Seetharam Narasimham, Hair O’max, Krishnathulasi and Neelabhringadi are some of the leading brands.

“Compared to homemade oils, the new products available in the market are clinically proven and this too adds to their credibility,” said Hari Nampoothiri, managing director of Sreedhareeyam. Sumangala is the hair oil brand of Sreedhareeyam and the company will launch a skincare product within four months.

Most of these brands are also extending themselves to skincare, which is heavily dominated by national brands such as Fair & Lovely and Fairever.

“Both Indulekha skincare oil and hair oil were launched six months back. After the first manufacturing plant reached optimum capacity, the company is setting up a second plant. The product is being exported overseas as well,” said Bastian Suresh, director of Cochin Herbals.

The product manufacturers too are quite aggressive in marketing. Dhathri spends 15 per cent of its revenue on marketing activities. Sreedhareeyam too is investing 15 to 20 per cent of the sales in marketing.

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