Anusha Swamy aims to promote inclusivity with the launch of her cosmetic brand, Myst
Struggling to find the right shade of make-up to match the intricacies of dark skin tones has been the story of many women. But, in 2017, the beauty industry received a major shakeup with the Rihanna-owned brand, Fenty Beauty unveiling an unprecedented array (40 different shades) of foundation to match any skin tone. In the aftermath, more and more mainstream brands — think MAC, Estée Lauder and Bobbi Brown along with their Indian counterparts Colorbar and Nykaa — began prioritising inclusivity in colour.
It is on this philosophy that Chennai-based make-up artiste, Anusha Swamy and her business partner, Hari Vatsa founded the brand Myst Cosmetics. However, the duo decided to take things a step further — by creating genderless products that are rooted in diversity and body positivity.
Come as you are
Unveiling her label with a single eyeshadow palette called Drama, the brand’s campaign for their debut offering featured 21 individuals — drag queens, cis-men and women of varying skin tones and a ‘beauty ambassador’ with down syndrome. “The idea was to dismantle the social conditioning that make-up and beauty products are only meant for a certain section of people with certain skin tones,” offers the make-up artiste, who is also a popular pole fitness dancer and choreographer.
A brand built on personal experience, we learn that the name Myst is a portmanteau of the words ‘my strength’. “I had hit a low point in 2016, both in work and in my personal life, and the only thing that could make me feel good was make-up. The pick-me-up was not in the sense of wanting to dress up and head out, but using make-up as therapy or an art form.” In tow with the idea of using the body as a
canvas, Drama (the eye shadow palette) not only includes hues like fuchsia, maroon, marsala and jewel tones of gold, silver but also feature soft nudes, eggshell and grey.
Environmentally conscious, the ingredients in Myst’s cosmetics are vegan and cruelty-free, while the packaging attempts to make minimal use of plastic and relies primarily on paper, cardboard and tin for the encasing. With at least six other offerings in the pipeline, Anusha says her aim is not to populate the brand with products like lipsticks and kajal that are readily available, courtesy of other homegrown Indian brands. “Instead, at Myst, we want to create unique products that are accessible to everyone,” she shares,
adding that the brand’s next release is a product ‘that helps you clean up’.
Rs 2,999. Available online.