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Giving Global Girls What They Want

April 27, 2007

Global Goddess Beauty

Giving Global Girls What They Want

Global Goddess Beauty strikes a natural balance using exotic botanicals for ethnic women with hard-to-match skin tones.

By Joanna Cosgrove 


Shalini Vadhera freely admits she’s always been obsessed with global beauty, declaring any career that enables her to travel, shop and spa in the name of product research can’t be all that bad. As a makeup artist of Indian descent, Shalini Vadhera knows first-hand how tough it can be for women with mid-skin tones to find the right shade of foundation. To that end, she launched her own beauty line, Global Goddess Beauty, that in little more than a year Ms. Vadhera’s unique approach has transformed her from makeup artist to cosmetic entrepreneur to author to renowned beauty expert – all thanks to her “global” approach to beauty.
Shalini Vadhera helps women find the right  cosmetic shades for their skn tone.

Global Goddess Beauty debuted in March 2006 with a core product line that included Ms. Vadhera’s grandmother’s secret recipe for shiny hair, Coconut Amla Hair Oil; a 10-shade range foundation, a makeup primer, an eye color kit called BoHo Exotic Eyes, and four lipglosses. Flash forward to the present and her SKU count has swelled to nearly 40 products. And to compliment her makeup line, Ms. Vadhera authored Passport to Beauty last May which outlines her global beauty philosophy.

Dubbed by one reviewer as a guide to “culinary cosmetics,” the book is a whirlwind beauty adventure that travels to the far reaches of the earth, spotlighting the time-tested natural beauty customs of women from a variety of cultural backgrounds.

“My enchantment has always been rooted in the global end of beauty,” she said. “I wanted to know why Brazilian women were known for their amazing bodies, why Indian women known for their shiny hair and why Chinese women never seem to age. It wasn’t necessarily genetics, but secrets and rituals that have been passed down over the centuries.”

Foundations come in an array of colors to match skin perfectly.
Who knew the women of Zimbabwe used boiled okra as a plumping, moisturizing facial treatment, or that the secret eye makeup remover of choice for French women was sweet almond oil? These are just two examples of the many beauty secrets revealed in the book.

Passport to Beauty was born out of Ms. Vadhera’s desire to talk about something more that just red carpet beauty when booked as a commentator on national network morning shows. “When I was researching for the book I realized women all over the world seemed to have a ‘beauty pantry’ because the recipe for flawless skin and gorgeous hair began in the kitchen, or coming from some indigenous plant in that region,” she recalled. The book essentially brought Ms. Vadhera’s goal full circle because, she said, Global Goddess Beauty was started to represent these women.

“When we launched the line we had select destinations, using ingredients those areas were known for and revealed the beauty secret behind the ingredient. Every season we went to a new destination, working with our chemists to see if the ingredients from that region were something we could put in our cosmetics.”

Formulation Hurdles

While her copious use of botanical oils have been relatively easy to accommodate from a formulation standpoint, Ms. Vadhera said her desire to use some more unconventional global ingredients – such as jasmine rice in a body scrub – has typically been met with a lot of pushback from her chemists. “We had to work around and find ingredients that were available in cosmetic grade,” she said. “The lead times are very long, of course, because we are sourcing these ingredients from all over the world, but we’re trying to find the next best thing by interviewing women who use these products.”

The line includes hair treatments
Each exotic ingredient, she said, delivers a unique treatment benefit. “Everything in the Global Goddess brand has some type of great beauty secret ingredient that will mend the skin,” she said, pointing to eyeliner pencils infused with emollient shea butter and African beeswax to ensure a smooth application, or her Darling Darjeeling eyeshadow collection which is based on the seemingly ageless women of Darjeeling who use the white teas both internally and externally to yield a glowing, healthy complexion. Even blushes are infused with ginseng and green tea. Her latest product, the Sizzling Serengeti eyeshadow collection, is formulated with nourishing Baobab tree oil from South Africa, as well as an ingredient from Cleopatra’s beauty arsenal: Moringa oil.

And often, the ingredients are beneficial to the formulation as well. Ms. Vadhera said that while her foundations are formulated with Neem oil (an Ayurvedic staple in India) for its natural anti-bacterial properties for consumers with skin disorders such as acne and rosacea, the ingredient  is said to help keep the foundation “clean.”

 “Then we added Tahitian Monoi oil and the African Illipe butter to make sure the skin would still have a beautiful dewiness,” she said. “In the concealer, we added lemongrass from Thailand, an ingredient known to firm and tighten fine lines around the eyes. It’s a nice way to give a treatment in a makeup.”

Equally as important to using global ingredients as treatment elements is Ms. Vadhera’s penchant to take the guesswork out of shade matching for women with ethnically mid-toned skin coloring.

“Being a first generation Indian-American I could never find makeup that matched my skin. I wanted to make sure my products were universally appealing to all skin tones so we did numerous focus groups on our foundations and tested it on a wide variety of ethic and non-ethnic women, and we have the lightest lights and the darkest darks,” she said. “One problem for many women with darker skin is the trouble finding a concealer that matches their foundation, so we custom tooled our foundation compacts to include a matching concealer.”

Not long after her products became available at retail, Ms. Vadhera realized how much her approach to beauty resonated with consumers.

“It’s been a crazy year,” she exclaimed. “We launched on QVC UK and had a two-minute sell out. We now go on every six weeks there and continue to secure distribution in the UK. We also launched in Nordstroms and Victoria’s Secret (where Global Goddess is the No. 1 mascara).”

In addition to her QVC appearances, Ms. Vadhera is also the spokesperson, appears on the Today Show monthly as a contributor, and most recently she signed a deal with NBC to produce a show based on her book.

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