Breaking The Stigma with Anusha Dandekar
Introducing BrownSkin Beauty, a ground-breaking start-up founded by a renowned television host and former VJ Anusha Dandekar. With a passion for breaking barriers and promoting diversity, this innovative venture is dedicated to celebrating and uplifting women with dark skin tones. BrownSkin Beauty is inspiring women to embrace their unique beauty and celebrate their cultural heritage. Hashtag Magazine captures the journey…
From being a VJ, actress, television host, and judge on India’s Next Top Model to now launching a beauty skincare brand with a message, tell us a little about your entrepreneurial journey.
It’s been a completely new experience for me creatively, mentally and physically. It’s incredible to create products and learn so much about ingredients and various formulas for the skin. You also learn to be patient because you want to get it perfect and I can’t stop testing the products until I’m happy with every bit of the product from ingredients to the packaging to the way we advertise it. I think with being on camera, I had to just focus on that, whether it was hosting, acting, or singing, and I would shoot and leave. Here it’s a million things happening at once and it never ends, even when you get home!
Why did you choose to launch a skincare brand specifically for brown skin women? Any personal experience or stigma?
I think for Indian skin and brown skin all over the world, it was important to change the narrative, be inclusive and also have representation for an entire colour that was more or less abandoned by the beauty industry. I have been a brown girl, who grew up in Australia and I wanted to fit in with the kids all the time, so I would hide my culture a lot. I didn’t have anyone representing me and making me feel a part of anything. As I got older, I had to build that path for myself and luckily I come from a family that never told me being brown is bad. So, I started this because I wanted everyone to feel empowered with products that are specifically designed for our skin type. After all, we have problems like hyperpigmentation, melasma etc., but being Brown is NOT and shouldn’t be the problem!
Starting a brand that targets dark skin people in a country that’s obsessed with fair skin can be quite a challenge, how has the project taken off so far?
It feels like a one-woman army sometimes and then once I hire girls for the company and educate them on the same, it feels great to see them understanding so much more in-depth how serious a problem and how brainwashed we are as a society, nation and world! We have customers ask if this will make you “browner” because they thought it might be the opposite effect to Fair and lovely which promises “Fairer skin”. I wish people knew there is no cream in the world that can make your skin lighter and that bleaches are very harmful. And BrownSkin beauty is not and doesn’t want to change you, it wants to enhance you and make you feel proud to be brown and comfortable in your skin #filterfree. So, we are doing well, but believe me, we have a long, long way to go for it to make a massive impact.
Tell us a little more about your line, how different is it from what we have in the market?
We use safe chemicals and natural ingredients with the perfect blend; we really take into consideration our weather for each range. We think about the different skin types during different seasons. We focus on the majority of skin problems in our country and how we can help minimise them and still be for the majority of people to use. If you are completely new to skincare, we know how confusing and intimidating it can be, so we created sets for you and you get free merchandise with each set! So, it makes a great gift as well. We aren’t time-consuming yet so effective.
Our products do not dry your skin out or make it greasy. Our sunscreen is also the best in the world and I vouch for that. So really just an honest brand doing honest things and also giving 5 percent of profit to help girls finish their education, our foundation is called Beyond Brown Skin… so not only do we want you to feel good about yourself but also feel good that you helped someone through your purchase. Also, we use glass packaging as much as we can to help the environment and overall, we genuinely want to see everyone see themselves differently in the best way possible and that’s beautiful.
How do you see your beauty brand evolving in the future? What are your plans/ strategies going forward?
I want to take it worldwide! A “made in India” brand created by Indians would feel so incredible. Helping change the narrative here and all over would make me feel so proud and help so many feel included and confident! I also want to start BrownSkin Boy, BrownSkin Mumma, and BrownSkin Baby… but all in good time!
How different is being an entrepreneur from being an artist?
They are quite different, both require incredible patience as things can change any minute, stamina as hours can be long, creativity because you are building a show or products, and passion because if you put your whole heart into it, your audience knows and can feel it! And I love both things I do so it never really feels like work unless there is paperwork! Yet still, they are very different because when I come home from a shoot, I switch off. BSB never ends.
How do you balance your career between work, business, and personal commitments?
I think a human has time to make for any of these things if they want to. And for me, work and business have always been things I enjoy and can immerse myself into. I also believe personal commitments are important and you have to make time for them, I just also believe if you need some alone time to be with your own energy after long days, that’s healthy also.
What next, any other interesting projects on the cards?
I have a Marathi film coming soon and another project in the pipeline that I can’t talk about right now. But I am excited about different things this year!
What’s your daily skincare routine?
Thirst trap Face wash, Immortal face cream, and SunLit tinted sunscreen serum, all from my BrownSkin beauty range.
What are your top skin rules?
Always take make-up off and do a night time routine to relax and let your skin breathe. Stay away from sugar and dairy as much as possible. Exercise to release all toxins from your body and mind. Say kind words to yourself when you look in the mirror.
Must have in your beauty bag?
Lip gloss, studio fix by Mac, cream blush by Nars, my tinted sunscreen serum, Sunlit by BrownSkin beauty.
One mantra you swear by.
Love yourself or change till you do. And the kinder you are to yourself, the better your mind and body will feel and it will show, glow!