The newest record that the Deepika Padukone-SRK-starrer, Pathaan, seems to have broken is entering the INR1,000-crore club (10 billion) at the gross worldwide box office. And while she appears to be seemingly calm and collected, Deepika stresses, “The movie is out, yes. But I don’t think the tsunami has settled yet,” in an exclusive interview with wknd.
To start off the new year on such a high feels a lot like an extended celebration, says Deepika. “Not only on a personal front but also for the Indian film industry. It’s brought friends and families back to the cinemas and the noise that India is making globally… It was high time. I’m glad it happened with Pathaan,” she adds, with a sigh of relief.
But on the work front, while this may amount to a lot, it’s not all that Deepika has been up to lately. Whether it’s becoming the first Indian brand ambassador for labels with global resonance, such as Louis Vuitton or Cartier or creating a cherished moment for Indians across the globe, unveiling the Fifa World Cup Trophy, 2023 for Deepika has been a “redefining year,” she adds. “And the icing on the cake with all of that was to launch my own self-care brand.”
Adding yet another feather to her hat prior to that, Deepika launched her very own self-care venture, co-founded with Indian entrepreneur Jigar Shah, in November 2022. Positioned as a modern Indian self-care brand, 82°E seeks to offer a holistic approach to wellness, with the first segment launch revolving around clinically-tested skincare products that come with a promise of being cruelty-free, vegan and made in India.
Revisiting the initial journey of cultivating the brand and starting with skincare, Deepika mentions, “There’s always been curiosity about my skin and what my skincare routine is. So, it definitely came up in research. But adding to that, I believe good skin is also a reflection of your lifestyle and brings forth the need to prioritise self-care. With these factors combined, it felt like the right place to start.”
On the professional front, Deepika’s job demands she looks a certain way at all times. Being in the public eye, wearing excessive amounts of makeup for long hours at a stretch, skincare has naturally taken a central place in her downtime, says Deepika. But for all those wondering, in a schedule as hectic as one can imagine, how does the actor manage to salvage her skin?
“It’s a function of many factors,” the Gehraiyaan actor responds. “I think an important part is that a lot of our health is inherited through genetics, passed down from our ancestors. But a lot of it has also got to do with our lifestyle and the products we use on a daily basis,” she adds.
Cautious to not make any exaggerated claims through her branding, Deepika believes that skincare in itself is not the only factor that promotes healthy skin. “At no point can we claim that using 82°E or any skincare brand for that matter will transform your life. If you’re not combining that with a healthy lifestyle, eventually that will show on your skin,” says Deepika. “It begins with nutrition, hydration, exercise and getting enough sleep,” with sleep being the number one factor for good health, she adds. “I think sleep is so underrated.”
But in Deepika’s experience, skincare products have certainly helped enhance her skin health. “Using the right skincare products can definitely improve how your skin looks and feels,” she adds.
“Keeping my skin clean by using a cleanser, keeping it protected by wearing sunscreen and keeping it hydrated by using moisturisers that give me intense hydration are the most important steps in my skincare.”
While Deepika’s secrets to good skin are a combination of all these factors – lifestyle and use of products combined — another important factor she throws in the mix is consistency. “One needs to do it consistently. Whether it’s diet or exercise or skincare, what people forget is that you have to commit to it long-term. For lasting results, it needs to become a part of your lifestyle. You need to do it day in and day out.”
Stemming from an ethos of prioritising consistency over complexity, the core mission for Deepika’s 82°E has also been to simplify skincare. “It’s something I learned from my mother at a very young age and has stayed with me since. She’d always say, ‘Less is more’, especially with regards to skincare,” the actor adds.
“That combined with what the experts have told us is to stick to the fundamentals. All you need to do with consistency is to cleanse, hydrate and protect, and that should take care of most of your skin needs.”
What’s also unique about Deepika’s skincare line is its ingredients — rooted in South Asian origins. Whether it’s incorporating Ashwagandha, a medicinal herb that finds prominence in Ayurveda; Bakuchiol, a plant-based alternative to retinol; or Patchouli plant, the products at 82°E are a rich combination of traditional eastern ingredients backed by market-driven research.
“All of us have at some point in our lives come across certain ingredients introduced to us by our mothers and grandmothers, especially in India. The obvious ones are coconut oil and turmeric, which get used a lot. But we’ve also used lotus in our cleanser (Lotus Splash) and patchouli extract in our sunscreen (Patchouli Glow), which has healing properties,” says Deepika, adding that these ingredients have not been very common in skincare before.
“But it’s not my discovery. It’s our experts and their research. We have our own lab in Bangalore with in-house R&D experts who have developed the products. This is a serious business, but I am proud and confident to say that whether it’s in terms of our formulation or in terms of our R&D, we’re competing with the biggest global brands,” says Deepika.
Global brands, however, especially in skincare, have naturally been more focused on Caucasian skin types. In recent years, there’s been an increasing focus on colour of skin and its individualistic needs in terms of skin health and nourishment. And while the products from 82°E are universal in nature, catering to diverse skin types — especially to sensitive skin types — is essential, believes Deepika.
“In my journey, I was always torn between using Indian products or Ayurvedic brands versus the international brands that had a more scientific approach and chemical ingredients,” says Deepika.
“I always felt like, ‘Can we not have both of these things in one bottle?’ Can we not have something that is homegrown, with Indian roots, but also combine scientific ingredients of global efficacy? That’s essentially how the idea for 82°E came about.”
Speaking about one of her products, Bakuchiol Slip facial oil, Deepika mentions, “It is what you call nature’s retinol. Bakuchiol gives you the benefits of retinol, but at the same time, it’s not as strong as retinol. While you can only use retinol at night, bakuchiol is something you can use throughout the day,” she explains, adding that it’s the research behind formulating these products and the overall quality, which has determined their pricing strategy.
While admitting that the price points are on the premium end of the spectrum, Deepika argues, “The R&D and quality of the products was non-negotiable for us, which means it would have to be sold at a certain price. It’s purely based on what the research is telling us and directly proportional to the quality of ingredients we’re using.”
The conscious consumer
With a surge in anti-ageing products being launched in the market, we ask the actor-entrepreneur about the recent obsession in society — especially in the world of beauty — around anti-ageing.
“What’s happened is that with the previous generations, there wasn’t this much information at everyone’s disposal. This is not just true to skincare, but every facet of one’s life. Be it ageing or parenting, such concepts are now met with a lot more scrutiny,” believes Deepika.
“But there also seems to be a negative connotation to anti-ageing,” she continues. “I was speaking to someone a while ago and they offered a beautiful perspective. They said, ‘Why do people go to the gym? Technically, it’s also anti-ageing. But what it also means is to age with better health’. It’s not as if going to the gym will stop you from getting old but it will allow you to take better care of yourself in that process, both physically and mentally. The same applies to everything else. It’s about being able to take care of yourself for as long as you can,” she adds.
Deepika also argues that today, we’ve reached a stage in the consumer journey “where consumers are very intelligent. It’s true that 10-15 years ago, there wasn’t much information out there to make informed choices about what products to buy but that has now changed,” says Deepika. “With social media, the power now lies with the consumer and there’s no room for selling anything apart from the truth.”
While celebrity businesses tend to garner a lot of chatter, there is now a focus on intention. Especially when it comes to the beauty business, it needs to be purpose-led, in similar ways to how skincare needs to be more than skin-deep, says Deepika.
“It’s really important to take those 5-10 minutes in a day for yourself, for things that you really enjoy doing. Whether it’s exercise, yoga, meditation or your skincare routine. There are different ways in which people can nurture themselves but having a self-care ritual is vital,” she adds. “It ultimately boosts your mood and how you’re feeling.”
“Also, skincare and self-care is not just for women. It’s as important for men. Everyone needs to find that time for themselves,” says Deepika, who recently collaborated with Shah Rukh Khan for a ‘Get Ready With Me’ video on Instagram, ahead of their first-ever media interaction for Pathaan.
The video of the power-packed duo doing skincare together using Deepika’s newly launched Gotu Kola Dew toner and other 82°E products sent social media into a frenzy.
When asked if the actor had any plans of expanding her brand’s presence in the UAE, Deepika responds, “We ship our products globally but we’re definitely working on a plan for the UAE and expanding in that region. It’s a huge market for us so it’ll be a great journey.”
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