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India is the best place in the world for lipstick lovers

Reuters/Nacho Doce
Indian shoppers are buying some of the world’s most affordable beauty products.
By Suneera Tandon
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Pucker up, ladies. If you’re living in India, chances are you’re paying a lot less for your lip colour than shoppers around the world.

After Vietnam, India is the second most affordable market for beauty products and treatments out of 50 countries, according to a beauty price index by Linio, a Mexico-based e-commerce company. At $14.36 (Rs926), the average cost of a lipstick in India is the lowest in the world. In comparison, the average cost in Venezuela, the most expensive market for lipstick, is an astounding $1,110 (Rs71,627), largely because of the country’s inflation crisis. Peru comes in second, with the average price of a lipstick at $58.78 (Rs3,792).

Linio data also show that India offers some of the cheapest cosmetic procedures in the world. Breast augmentation, for instance, is priced at around $1,650 (Rs1.06 lakh) on average in India, much less than the $10,434 (Rs6.7 lakh) consumers have to shell out in Switzerland, the most expensive market for the procedure. Similarly, a nose job in India averages at about $1,300 (Rs83,922).

Linio’s index is based on the prices of beauty brands, services, and cosmetic procedures, and is sourced from brick and mortar shops and online retailers around the world. The company says it used at least six brands at different price points to create the average price for each product.

In India, beauty products are a booming business as aspirational urban consumers with access to blogs and social media are increasingly investing in everything from lipsticks to mascaras. Lip colours alone, for instance, are a Rs3,338.03-crore market, recording growth of 16% in 2016, according to research firm Euromonitor. As a result, local brands such as Lakme and Nykaa are adding more products to their lines, and even foreign beauty brands and retailers, including Smashbox and Sephora, are ramping up their presence in big cities.

Here’s how the prices of India’s beauty products compare with those sold in the US and China:

Beauty services are also more affordable in India, thanks in part to the abundance of neighbourhood salons that offer everything from waxing to hair dyeing at relatively inexpensive rates. There are also numerous roadside barbers for men.

As a result, Indian women on average pay $2.32 (Rs150) for eyebrow waxing, for instance, much less than consumers in the US, where the service costs $11.20, according to Linio. And men on average spend just $2.72 (Rs175) on a haircut in India, though women tend to spend around $13.50 on average.

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