13th November 2020

A Beauty Filled Diwali?

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Diwali means different things to different people. The Indian holiday can be summarised as the festival of light. Each religion in India (there are more than you think!) has a specific connection and set of traditions but it is essentially a time to celebrate with loved ones, reflect on the year gone by and celebrate all that is yet to come and lets face it, with 2020 it can only get better!

When I began my career I was met with the harsh reality that the Beauty industry largely ignores its Indian customers. Though I had always been aware of this I was still surprised to see that my cultural celebrations weren’t acknowledged and there was little awareness that people wanted to shop for them. Though this is not exclusive to Diwali it got me thinking…

I grew up celebrating Diwali and though my reasons for celebrating *and* the quality of candles has changed- the feeling of festivity and celebration remain.

Like most holidays, Diwali encourages gift giving, dressing up and engaging in beautifying rituals (if you’re on my website you probably know a thing or two about those!) This is hugely beneficial to a brands bottom line, which only amplifies my constant frustration at my industry ignoring these times of celebration.

In recent years I have noticed small changes in the industry, largely spearheaded by Beauty powerhouse Estee Lauder Companies. Alongside Indian owned brands ELC have acknowledged Diwali for years. As great as that is, I can’t help but notice how quiet it is in comparison to everything else I see.

MAC Diwali 2016

I vividly remember in AW16, following the success of the x9 palettes MAC released a special edition jewel toned Diwali palette; The Diwali Festive lights palette was curated to include 9 jewel-toned shades from the brand that complimented the festival of lights. It sold out instantly (My order was cancelled, and yes- I’m still salty).

After years of both observing and being in Beauty this is the best effort I have seen from a brand or retailer celebrating Diwali. I had hoped that MAC would continue this yearly but that was the only time I saw them release it.

This year however, MAC have curated edits for Diwali on their website which is great to see- I do wish these were dedicated products like 2016 instead of regular products in a LE box. MAC are equally as well known for their numerous collections as they are artistry, so I’m left a little confused as to why a heritage brand centered around inclusion doesn’t have a Diwali collection.

Diwali focused products should exist, and the few that do deserve equitable support by the brands (create the demand and have enough stock!), retailers, social media and the press. If I have to spend more than a minute on a brands website or Instagram page to find a mention of Diwali- they aren’t giving it the attention it deserves- yes, it can co-exist with Christmas for a hot second!

Because this support doesn’t exist in this capacity yet, it leads to a lackluster performance and the cycle continues year after year. If things continue the way they are, results will remain stagnant whilst alienating an entire group of loyal customers- and therein lays the issue. If these collections and products exist but aren’t being seen, it’s like they never existed. Whatever the multifaceted reasons for this may be, they need addressing.

Boy Smells Hypernature Votive Set

I still can’t get my head around why ignoring Diwali and other festivals celebrated by BAME has been considered acceptable for so long and those that have dipped their toe in have done little to promote awareness. Without Estee Lauder Companies lighting the path, I wouldn’t have felt as though we were heading in the right direction-but there is still more to be done.

I’ve put together a roundup of how some of the Lauder brands are celebrating Diwali- some are better than others. Here is hoping we will see more in years to come because there is room for improvement. If you’re looking for a last minute Diwali present, personally I’d go to MAC or a brand listed in this Glamour feature by Anita Bhagwandas. 

MAC – as always are at the top of the list with nicely curated edits in Diwali themed boxes here.

Smashbox – have a Diwali makeup edit on their website here.

Jo Malone London – most famous for their candles (Diwali is the festival of light…) created limited edition outer boxes last year and this year only make a small mention on the website with a edit. I’d like a Red Jasmine Sambac candle next year but I won’t hold my breath. 😉

Estee Lauder – did a great Diwali themed live with Anchal here.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on Diwali in the Beauty Industry and if you celebrate, do you have any new traditions? I treat myself to a few new candles every Diwali (mostly Diptyque or Jo Malone) but this year I went for this incredible Boy Smells set.

Feel free to drop me a message on Instagram and Twitter.

Happy Diwali!




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