Ivory Station

Boss Lady, a multipurpose, gender-neutral, vegan beauty brand is breaking all outdated rules

Vegan beauty, BossLady Cosmetics, Sustainable beauty

Boss Lady, a multipurpose, gender-neutral, vegan beauty brand is breaking all outdated rules

Kajol Bafna, a 25-year-old Political Science graduate had a kind of an awakening when she was told that a particular shade of lipstick was not suited to her skin tone at a beauty store. “Why not?” she thought, “Why should a girl wear what others think she should?”
Those answers culminated into her own beauty venture Boss Lady. She decided to drop her dream of becoming a lawyer and pursue her natural talent of makeup artistry full time. The 25-year-old Mumbaiite started her vegan beauty company three years ago when she was shocked at the lack of sustainable and cruelty-free beauty products, both, homegrown and internationally. It was then when she decided to be her own boss and create a homegrown beauty brand, which is as good as international bigwigs. Hence, Boss Lady Cosmetics was born.
At this time, when cruelty-free and vegan beauty is becoming almost a norm among Indian brands, the brand defines luxury for young millennials in a sustainable and guilt-free way. Embodying the new-age ideology, Boss Lady is a brand made by a millennial for millennials and may just be the next big thing,
BossLady Cosmetics, Vegan Beauty, Sustainable beauty

Image Courtesy – Boss Lady Cosmetics

IvoryStation talks to Kajol Bafna about her journey, her philosophy and her vegan beauty products. Look out for some of her essential make-up tips.
Why and how did you decide to start Boss Lady Cosmetics? 
I come from a commerce background and I was studying for my Master’s in political science when I decided to make the switch. I was always good at makeup and my parents always told me to pursue it. Then I enrolled at the Fashion Academy and I had the time of my life. People think that it’s just how to apply eyeshadow and how to apply lipstick but that’s not the case. [You have] to understand the colours, the undertones, there are so many small details that go [in it]. I wanted to work at MyGlamm and Nykaa as their in-house makeup artist, create videos, create products for them and understand what kind of formula to use. But something in me changed. While I waited for the final interview, I went through different brands. At that time there weren’t a lot of Indian brands in the market. So I was just seeing different kinds of international brands. I was studying the formulas, understanding the ingredients and that’s when I saw that most of them are not even cruelty-free.
As somebody who’s very sensitive about animal cruelty, it was just very harsh for me to see that I’ll be working with somebody who’s going to create these kinds of products or you know put something [like this] out there. And so I decided to create my own brand.
What is the philosophy behind Boss Lady Cosmetics? 
I didn’t want to create just a beauty brand. I wanted to create something that would have made everyone feel that ‘oh! this is a brand for me!’ We are meant for every Indian skin tone and I mean it. The brand is also eco-conscious towards animals and the planet. The core philosophy stems from my religious values as I practice Jainism. For us, our entire life is based on being cruelty-free, so how could I even put a product out there which would have harmed all living beings, right? We ensure that none of the ingredients have any ramifications on the environment.
But you can’t become eco-conscious and environmentally friendly in just a day or a year. But we continue to take small steps like recycling programmes. We cut down on the use of plastic and we don’t pack our products with plastic bubble wrap or waste paper.
It is more than just being conscious. It’s about being who you are. Boss Lady also stands for being who you are. People say if you are going to an office, you have to wear nude lipstick. I ask them why? You can wear red lipstick or bold maroon colour and that’s what I do. Just be who you are, run with it and just own it. So that’s our brand tagline as well. That’s what we are, trying to tackle one day at a time.
Vegan Beauty, Sustainable beauty, BossLady Cosmetics

Image Courtesy – Boss Lady Cosmetics

How are vegan beauty products different from other products? How are the formulas and the feel of the products different? 
The red pigment that goes into red lipsticks, red nail polishes or even your paint is derived from crushing 100,000 Cochineal female bugs. You kill these bugs to get one pound of red pigment. It’s just not worth it because we have alternatives. At Boss Lady, we know that we can get any colour pigment we want by being vegan. We use many kinds of kinds of butters to give a moisturising, smooth application. A lot of other brands use lanoline, which is a byproduct that is left behind after shaving the wool of a sheep.
But the butters are derived from shrubs and plants, so why use a living being?
If you use MAC lipstick and if you use Boss Lady lipstick, you won’t be able to tell the difference. I can guarantee that. People ask us if in future we would move to a non-vegan product, and I tell them that, that is never going to be Boss Lady. Even if it’s not possible to make a certain product vegan, we won’t have it.
Sustainable beauty, makeup products

Love Pens and Pop Lighters from BossLady Cosmetics

It is very bold to say that one won’t be able to find differences between a MAC and a Boss Lady lipstick. Can you elaborate? 
I actually had a customer who said that! We have a red lipstick called Dimple named after my mother because she loves the colour red. A customer told us she loves it more than her Ruby Woo. I think every makeup addict has owned Ruby Woo at some point or the other. And if somebody tells you that your creation is better than this legendary product, it’s just wow!
lipstick, vegan lipsticks

Love Pen in Revirginized

Who is your brand targeted to? 
We have consumers of all ages. We have somebody who is in their early twenties to somebody who’s in their late thirties. Women, primarily, and even men. There are a lot of men who have bought products from us, either to gift or wear themselves. We have a number of people who are eco-conscious; a lot of people who are vegan or who really support sustainable lifestyles are the kind of people who buy Boss Lady.
The beauty industry is extremely triggering, to a point that image and body dysmorphia is induced by conventional beauty standards. How does Boss Lady Cosmetics tackle that issue? 
We ensure that nobody who comes to Boss Lady feels that a particular colour doesn’t suit them. Even our advertising campaign has all kinds of faces and all kinds of ethnicities. That’s how we are building our brand.
BossLady Cosmetics, Sustainable beauty

Image Courtesy – BossLady Cosmetics

What is the definition of Indian Beauty according to you? 
That’s a tricky one! I would say Indian beauty is simplistic. Look at our mothers. My mom uses her lipstick in a lot of different ways. She uses it as her bindi. [This is] how Indians are. We don’t use one product just for one purpose. Indian people love beauty. We need our bindis and we need our kajal.
What are some of your best-selling products?
Our Hug All Day Waterproof Eye Flick is one of the best sellers. We created this product for people who struggle with winged eyeliner. When I was doing makeup artistry, I personally struggled so much to get the perfect wing. So I wanted to create a liner that helps people get the right stroke in less than a minute. Many beginners opt for it. It’s also waterproof, it’s smudge-proof and transfer-proof and it lasts for up to 14 to 15 hours easily without bleeding. The Love Pens, our lipsticks, have also been one of the best sellers because of the packaging. You can reuse the packaging as well, as a key chain, as a bag charm or a Christmas ornament. Hence people love it. People actually come to buy Boss Lady because of the packaging first and then the product!
lipsticks, vegan lip products

Love Pens by BossLady Cosmetics

What are some challenges that vegan beauty brands like yours face in India? 
People still think that foreign products are better than Indian products. People also confuse vegan for organic, which is not the case. Vegan is very different from organic. So people are still taking time to change their mindset about vegan products. They think that a vegan product will become stale in six months, which is not true. Our products stay for three, four years easily. So the biggest challenge is people’s reluctance in accepting Indian vegan brand. Vegan and cruelty-free have become the norm in the Indian beauty industry. We create a lot of content to educate people about the benefits of vegan beauty.
Boss Lady truly exudes the millennial luxury vibe. What does new-age luxury mean to you? 
An experience. Luxury today is not just about money anymore, but it’s about the experience that you provide to your user and to your customer. If a product is for 3,0000000 or 4,000 rupees and you give a poor experience it doesn’t become luxury. For me, luxury is giving that feeling of opening a box and feeling ‘Wow’. Everything counts, from how we send the product. We give a sticker or a bookmark or handwritten note along with the product.
That sounds very exciting! We’re also eager to know what is next in store for Boss Lady Cosmetics? 
We launched our new collection, which is called the PlayStix in 20 shades – ten metallic and ten matte shades which are multipurpose. We created them in such a way that you can use them wherever you want, however you want on your eyes, lips, cheeks or body.
 vegan lipsticks, colourful makeup,

The PlayStix collection from BossLady Cosmetics

Lastly, what are some essential makeup tips or hacks that you swear by?
One of the biggest hacks that I know as a makeup artist is to always keep an earbud handy. So whenever you’re creating an eye look like a smoky eye or a winged liner, having the earbud dipped in your makeup remover is the holy grail of makeup hacks because you can quickly correct any mistakes. Next, I would say, you can use a product however you want. For example, your lipstick can be used as a blush because lipstick is creamy in nature. If you want that dewy and fresh summery look using lipstick as a blush is a perfect way to achieve that.
Boss Lady Cosmetics are also available on TataCliq, Smytten, PaavoIndia and Amazon.
By Tanushi Bhatnagar 
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