Minimal white and mint green packaging, lightly embossed with the word asa, perfectly describe ‘clean and luxurious beauty’. When Asha and Sukriti Jindal Khaitan, founders of asa beauty decided to enter the beauty market, they had one mission. To create a product that is made in India for Indians, that adheres to the tenets of sustainability, and is uncompromising on quality. Launched in January 2021, asa beauty has already collaborated with celebrated couturier Rahul Mishra for his Paris Haute Couture Week collection. The brand has a range of lipsticks, luminsing powders, lip & cheek tints, mascara, foundation, concealers and correctors.
Having been involved with the Jindal Naturecure Institute, a renowned naturopathy hospital, and being a co-founder at Pure Nutrition, a natural health supplement brand, Asha Jindal Khaitan was always a believer in conscious living and natural beauty. Co-founder Sukriti Jindal Khaitan worked as the Director of Jindal Naturecare Hospital and is a certified integrative nutrition health coach. On her travels, the entrepreneur would stock up on clean beauty products. This inspired Sukriti to create a socially conscientious luxury beauty brand for Indian woman.
Founders of asa, Asha and Sukriti Jindal Khaitan talk to us about their journey towards conscious consumerism.
Why did you launch asa?
Asha and Sukriti Jindal Khaitan: We decided to launch asa for a global Indian woman and help her embrace her own authentic self. To help her choose products that reflect her commitment to wellness, sustainability, while being conscious towards the community and the environment. It’s about giving the consumer a choice that they have long been seeking, making available products which meet their beauty standards and values. We understand the importance of nature-made goodness and have a strong desire to make a positive impact in the world we live in. We haven’t compromised on indulgence and ethical and ecological standards, which is very important for us.
Beauty industry standards internationally are typically higher than those in India. In the EU, for example, over 1000 ingredients are banned from being used in skincare and beauty products. Our thought was to bring that same level of quality to India, so a consumer can trust a Made in India brand without questioning its integrity.
What sets asa apart from other homegrown beauty brands?
Asha and Sukriti Jindal Khaitan: asa is India’s first luxury clean beauty brand that has a range exclusively created for the Indian skin tone. The brand’s core value of Clean Awakening is divided into the doctrines of purposeful beauty, purposeful luxury and purposeful living. All our formulations are more than 92% natural, vegan and cruelty-free. They are also free of toxic ingredients like mineral oil, ammonia, EDTA, sulphates, parabens, petrochemicals, palm, carmine, formaldehyde and triclosan.
For the first time ever in India, aluminium has been used in casings, owing to its endless recyclable quality. Through this, we have created a smart and easy ‘Refillable Programme’ that allows consumers to simply refill their empty casings with a new casing of the same product. This aids in better waste management, helping users to embrace a more sustainable lifestyle.
Who is asa’s target audience?
Asha and Sukriti Jindal Khaitan: At asa we derive inspiration for every product from the ‘asa woman’. The asa woman is the one who chooses to make conscious choices in life. She is an evolved and global woman who is Indian at heart. That is why asa products have a suitable range for the diverse Indian skin tones. The asa woman knows her mind when making her own choices. She’s well-travelled and aware of the factors and issues that plague the environment. This gave us the idea for our Lip & Cheek Tint, which is a multipurpose product, aimed at reducing the amount of excess packaging. Additionally, this product was designed to be easy to carry around while travelling. The asa woman indulges in beauty without compromising on ecological or ethical concerns.
Where do you source the products’ ingredients from?
Asha and Sukriti Jindal Khaitan: asa products are wholly and proudly made in India. We work with multiple manufacturers who, like us, believe in providing clean beauty solutions. We work with our value chain partners to consciously formulate and design products. We are mindful of what goes in, such as certain Ecocert-certified ingredients, and what stays out of our products. Our packaging is chlorine- and heavy metal-free, 100 per cent biodegradable and recyclable and sourced in a sustainable and responsible manner.
We strive to make products that use pure and eco-friendly ingredients. Quality and safety are our top priorities in formulating products. With mindful research, asa has an exceptionally stringent ‘No list’, excluding any ingredients, which may be potentially harmful. We only use ingredients which are safe, effective and actually good for the skin. Ingredients such as Tea Tree Oil, Squalene, Shea Butter, Rosehip Oil, Rosemary, Oatmeal, Olive Oil, Grape Seed Oil, Cocoa Butter, Candelilla Wax, Calendula, Bakuchiol and Aloe Vera are used to boost the natural wellness of the skin.
What challenges did you have face when you entered the market? How did you overcome them?
Asha and Sukriti Jindal Khaitan: Launching the brand itself was a challenge, especially during the pandemic. Though, it did give us time to truly work on our labour of love and launch it when we were absolutely sure of the product and the packaging. Covid also put things in perspective for a lot of people, especially sustainability; people could witness first-hand the damage caused to the planet. We’re proud to create something that can make a difference. It has been a wonderful start and we can’t wait for the rest of the journey.
Tell us about your collaboration with Rahul Mishra…
Asha Jindal Khaitan: asa collaborated as a beauty partner with renowned couture designer, Rahul Mishra. This collaboration was for his Couture Fall 2021/2022 collection, ‘The Shape of Air’ at Paris Haute Couture Week in July 2021. We completely resonate with Rahul Mishra’s commitment to creating a brand that is conscious about its impact on its ecosystem. The amalgamation of two different industries, merging into one, for a cause they believe in, is beautiful! For Rahul Mishra’s Couture Fall collection, we used asa beauty’s Easy-Blend concealers, Powder Foundation and cult favourite Lip & Cheek Tints.
What does a regular working day look like for you?
Sukriti Jindal Khaitan: As an entrepreneur, you’re essentially juggling multiple roles, being the quintessential problem-solver and crisis handler. It is a 24/7 job where no day is ever the same, it’s definitely challenging but extremely rewarding. Working together at JNI (Jindal Naturecure Institute) and having such similar beliefs and values on clean living, it was natural for my mum-in-law and me to enter this space together. Our unique life journeys, experiences and expertise are what we bring and contribute to creating asa.
What is your everyday beauty routine?
Asha Jindal Khaitan: I prefer light makeup and while all asa products are a must-have for me, I often find myself gravitating towards the Lip & Cheek Tint as it adds the right amount of colour to my face and is the only product I need to carry for all my needs.
Sukriti Jindal Khaitan: I like to keep it simple with my two favourite products- the concealer and the hydra-matte lipstick. The concealer is light, blends easily and is buildabl. Hence, I do not have to worry about refreshing my base throughout the day. The lipstick, although matte, not only gives good coverage but also nourishes the lips.
What new products are in the works?
Asha and Sukriti Jindal Khaitan: We are looking at expanding the existing range, introducing newer categories like cleansers, blushes, eyeshadows and more. We will introduce more shades of Lip & Cheek Tint.
Where do you see the brand in 5 years?
Asha and Sukriti Jindal Khaitan: We believe asa has the potential to become India’s first global clean beauty brand. We are also looking to build a platform called ‘The House’ for like-minded people to share their ideas of lifestyle, including art, music, wellness, mental health, and, most importantly, empower women to look their best while also feeling their best.
What is the future of sustainable beauty in India?
Asha and Sukriti Jindal Khaitan: We think clean and sustainable beauty in India is gaining momentum and asa is ready to lead and be a part of the clean and beauty revolution in India. According to a survey by Procter & Gamble, one in five Indian women are interested in adopting sustainable and refillable products.
Many celebrities too are advocating a sustainable approach to beauty and that has inspired many Indian consumers to adopt an eco-conscious lifestyle as well. It is obvious that this lifestyle is here to stay, so sustainable beauty is only going to grow in India.
What are the top 5 luxury beauty trends in India?
Asha and Sukriti Jindal Khaitan:
1. Indian consumers are more conscious today than ever about the ingredients used in their skincare and makeup and its impact on the environment. Sustainability is a big trend.
2. Skinimalism is another beauty trend in India right now. People want shorter beauty routines.
3. In the past few years K-Beauty has seen huge growth in the Indian market. With the focus shifting from high coverage makeup to healthy skin, glass skin has become a huge trend right now.
4. Products that can multitask are also really popular.
5. Due to the rising interest in sustainability, natural, homegrown makeup and skincare has now become a luxury beauty trend.