Beauty mogul Bobbi Brown bills her as the ‘new beauty guru for a stressed generation’. But what stresses Nikita Upadhyay out is the superficial approach to hair care brands in India: “Nobody gets to the root of the problem, which is the scalp,” says the 28-year-old bestselling author on Amazon, with her book Roots to Radiance, who co-created scalp care range ‘Roots’ with Anveya Living, a personal care brand based out of Gurugram. Upadhyay’s own experience with hair loss led to creating the product line. Since hair is where one can see results faster, brands want users to become addicted to those sensory pleasures that come with heavily scented, silicone-filled products that serve no purpose, she claims. “I immediately knew that there was a need for a scalp product,” says Upadhyay. Millennials, she contends, are the most conscious, purpose-driven generation. This generation, she explains, doesn’t believe in anything superficial. “We prioritise ‘cause’ above anything else,” she says. Labelling skin whitening treatments ‘unethical’, and the idea behind it ‘toxic’, Upadhyay says millennials are the driving force behind the movement against whitening creams and solutions. Edited excerpts from an interview: Q. What is the need for a millennial beauty guru? Being a millennial helps me connect and understand their needs in a better manner. The previous generation comes with its own perspective, which is okay. What also happened over the last decade was that there was a lot of information overload and clutter, thanks to the internet boom. So things were messed up. Again, knowledge about the right kind of products and ingredients was missing. Misinformation, and lack of information, leads to bad skin care choice. Q. How is a beauty influencer different from a beauty guru? I don’t influence, I educate. I make people across age groups aware of the right kind of ingredients that skin care products should have. There can’t be a one-size-fits-all approach. Skin care needs and types are different You could be white, brown, black or whatever colour. That doesn’t matter. What matters most is that the skin must be healthy. Q. Among so many beauty experts, how do you stand out? Your beauty starts with your skin, and your skin is not on your face only, even though the face is the most visible. Nobody talks about the scalp, which is the root. Skin care starts with eating the right kind of food. Q. What do you think about India’s obsession with light skin and brands that promise whitening? Brightening and whitening are as distinct as apples and oranges. Whitening treatments are unethical, the concept itself doesn’t work. You don’t become white by applying creams. Plus, the idea of healthy skin has nothing to do with the tone of the skin. Every skin tone can meet the radiant skin standards if people start taking care of it properly. Even though brands try to hide their motives under the name of ‘brightening’ when they’re actually selling whitening ingredients, the two words are not interchangeable. Just like hydration and moisturisation are not the same thing, and dry and dehydrated skin are not the same thing. Millennials want radiant skin, not lotions for whitening. They are comfortable in their own skin. Q. Your career advice to millennials? We are the most conscious, purpose-driven generation. We prioritise ‘cause’ above everything else, even money. But I would like to suggest that everyone (not just millennials) get out of toxic workplaces. The mental discomfort that comes with it is a thief of prosperity. Toxic jobs, in the bigger picture, offer you nothing. Trying to cultivate, promote and normalise positive working spaces is the only way to grow. In fact, we must apply this philosophy to friendships and relationships too.
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