NEW DELHI: A quarter of Indian households surveyed by community platform LocalCircles reported issues with cosmetics they purchased in the last three years.

“With lots of concerns reported over a 36-month period on LocalCircles, the platform decided to conduct a pan-India survey to understand issues faced by Indian consumers in the last three years with the cosmetics they purchased from physical stores or online,” it said in the findings of the survey released on Monday.

India’s beauty and cosmetics industry is booming, led by a surge in online commerce as well as a greater appetite among consumers to purchase such products. This also means a slew of new products being pushed into the market.

The survey received more than 37,000 responses from consumers in 305 districts of India. Of these, 48% respondents were from tier 1 cities, 27% from tier 2 cities and towns and 25% respondents were from tier 3 and 4 town and rural districts.

Meanwhile, 15% of those surveyed reported having allergic or severe reaction to the cosmetics they purchased over the last three years. During the same period, 34% of households purchased cosmetics that turned out to be fake or counterfeit. 55% of those who received a counterfeit cosmetic via online platforms were able to return it while 45% failed to do so. Similarly, only 35% of those who purchased a counterfeit cosmetic from stores or market in the last three years were able to return it, while 65% of them could not do so, the survey findings revealed.

Overall, 56% have had no issues at all with products purchased. On an aggregate basis, 25% of households have had issues with cosmetics they purchased in the last three years, of which 15% faced an allergic reaction or severe ailment.

LocalCircles said that such findings make it important to have an inclusive framework that includes medical experts and consumer representatives to better understand implications of using unsafe cosmetics.

“LocalCircles will be sharing the findings of this survey with key stakeholders within the government to sensitize decision makers about some of the adverse experiences of cosmetic users in order to help improve the quality of cosmetics and how they are sold in order to protect the interests of the consumers,” it added.

In 2020, following recommendations of an eight-member panel headed by the Drug Control General of India to frame new laws for medicines, cosmetics and medical devices, the central government notified new cosmetic rules.

The new rules mandate sharing all information about the manufacturer and the country where the product was manufactured, ingredients used, directions for safe use, among other details, to be placed in the label of cosmetics to enable consumers to make an informed choice. The government also decided to set up the first Central Cosmetic Laboratory and appoint inspectors across states.

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