In You Heard It Here First, Bustle's editors introduce the coolest up-and-coming beauty brands you should have on your radar. Here, model Pritika Swarup opens up about launching her new skin care brand and honoring ancient Indian beauty rituals.
Out of the thousands of skin care companies that currently exist in the U.S., Indian brands seem few and far between. Despite the beauty market’s booming growth, they’re often neglected or left out of the equation entirely. Pritika Swarup wants to change that.
The multihyphenate — Swarup is not only a model, but a financier, a philanthropist, and an Ivy League graduate — aims to bring Indian beauty to the forefront through Prakti, her new skin care brand that marries traditional Ayurvedic practices and Indian beauty rituals with Western innovation.
“It turns out,” Swarup tells Bustle, “that there was this huge white space between super traditional Ayurvedic Indian brands and Western brands. We really wanted to combine both and bridge that gap. Prakti is based on a hybrid concept that combines the cultural richness and spirituality of India with a contemporary energy and technology of the West.”
The brand is deeply personal for Swarup, named after a combination of her first name, Pritika, which means “loved one,” and Shakti, the Hindi word for “female power and energy.” A Virginia native born of Indian heritage, Swarup explains that she was introduced to Ayurveda (a natural system of medicine) as a child: Her mom was both an Ayurvedic doctor and a yogi. “I was always doing these homemade face masks and remedies,” she says. “Growing up with that sort of background has influenced a lot of my skin care rituals.”
Flash forward to Swarup’s career as a model and you can get a better idea of why she launched Prakti. “I’ve been exposed to so many different beauty brands over the seven years that I've been in this industry. The question that really hit me was, Why hasn't there been an Indian beauty brand to reach a global scale and appeal to a global audience?”
Prakti, which is vegan and cruelty-free, has entered the market with just one product: an exfoliator made of fine rice powder called PritiPolish Instant Glow Exfoliator. With a blend of Ayurvedic ingredients — think pomegranate enzyme extract, rose damascena oil, and gardenia extract, which makes it turn amethyst when water is added — and a little copper spoon inspired by traditional spice spoons (it’s included so you can measure out the exact amount of powder you’ll need), the inaugural launch perfectly encapsulates the brand’s ethos.
“You’re supposed to use [PritiPolish] two to three times a week,” says Swarup, “But I use it every day. There's nothing harsh about it — it's really fine. It's actually a really beautiful experience. When I was formulating these products, I really wanted it to be about the woman's experience when they're using it, from the color-changing aspect to the actual [mixing] of the rice powder with the water.”
If you’re a sucker for packaging that’s as good as the product itself, prepare to fall in love. The brand is partnering with young contemporary female artists to create bold, eye-catching illustrations to be featured alongside the products. In the case of PritiPolish, Prakti teamed up with Bangalore-based artist Sudeepti Tucker, whose colorful painting appears on the inside of the recyclable carton.
“The point of the brand is also to show a modern India,” Swarup says. “The illustrations in the packaging are very modern and vibrant — it's not at all what you would think of as traditional. It’s like a surprise when you open them up; it just brightens your day. I wanted opening the packaging to be an exciting little experience.”
With more products dropping in the coming months, Prakti is a definitely a brand to keep your eye on.
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