When it comes to beauty I've always been picky about what I put on my face and body. Somehow the likes of chemical loaded products never made the cut for me. Finding quality skincare and makeup that's devoid of harsh chemicals and is also cruelty free and vegan friendly is a bit of a challenge, especially if you are living in India (for that matter even Dubai).
For years I had to rely on my friends or family (or even their friends and family) travelling from US or UK to get my monthly beauty fix. Then came the era of online shopping, which means you could get a access to the best beauty products online, delivered right to your doorstep, which was otherwise hard to find in India.
But then there was another problem. While now I have access to some great products, I still wouldn't know which product is suitable for my skin, hair and body type. At good beauty stores like Space NK or Liberty of London you have access to experts who understand your beauty needs and recommend you products based on your needs. However, with online stores you are on your own, and sometimes that can be challenging as you may not know the best products for you.
So while I would still use the online beauty stores for replenishing my tried and tested products, I was always iffy about trying out new products - what if I make the wrong choice?
Now I have a fix for that to! India's first online beauty store, Aplava, that offers completely personalized shopping experience. They're like stylists for your beauty cabinet.
The personalized beauty service offered by Aplava first does an in-depth analysis of your skin and hair by asking you a set of questions that encompasses everything from skin and hair type to concerns and lifestyle (eg sun exposure).
Once you select the right options (like lack of glow, dark circles, hairloss), their automated skin expert selects the products suitable for your needs and fixing your concerns. This smart beauty platform has been built using help of professional dermatologists and skin experts who have carefully designed solutions for specific skin needs, so you can be sure you only buy products that are suited to you. Here's a snapshot of how it works:
The product range offered by Aplava is also quite interesting with the best beauty brands sourced from all over the world. In fact they also have a good selection of vegan-friendly and cruelty-free beauty products from brands like Ren (watch out for beeswax, honey and milk in the ingredients, otherwise it's vegan), Skinyoga, Thalgo (stay away from their collagen products), Neom, Kronokare and Just Herbs. In fact if you are a vegan you know how hard it is to find non-toxic and vegan nail polish online. Fortunately they have the 3-free vegan friendly nail polishes from butter London!
I ordered a make-up remover from Ren and a lip smoothing treatment from Natio.
Here's a quick analysis of Aplava shopping experience:
- Personalized recommendation offered by experts
- Ingredients of each product in listed on the product page
- Good selection of Indian and international brands
- Prompt customer service
- Quick delivery (I ordered the package at my office and received the package in 2 working days)
- Free shipping over Rs 999 and for orders below this amount there is a nominal cost of Rs 50
- Clean website with user-friendly navigation
- It would help if they had a wider selection of brands and products
- They don't have filter for 'vegan' products and even when you search for the term vegan it turns no results (There are no products matching this selection). Although they do have a range of vegan products
- Refund is only for products that are defective or in case you receive the wrong product. No refunds if you change your mind
- No exchanges offered
- The website does not have Brand filter on many sections
I'm glad that while it is still hard to good good beauty products in brick and mortar stores, the online beauty stores are changing that by offering great products and brands, which were otherwise not accessible in India. Overall I had a great shopping experience with Aplava. Setting up your beauty needs can be time consuming, but it is a one-time process and helps you get personalized product offering so it's worth it.
Have you done your skin analysis yet at Aplava?