The Indian Experience: Drugstores

When I said I’d be hitting the road, reader Rae asked what a drugstore in India looked like.  Brilliant question!

The answer (at least from what I’ve seen) is basically managed chaos.  Drugstores don’t seem to be chains — my experience is that they’re one-off, family-owned businesses with an almost random assortment of products (ask the shop owner for what you need; he’ll know exactly where it is).

Sunscreens and skin whitening creams (Fair and Lovely) are common.  I found small selections of lipsticks, balms, and kohls (kajals) — the “chalk” style is most readily available, followed by potted creams (more on these in another post).
India drugstore
India, drugstore
India, drugstore
India, drugstore
In one shop I found a small selection of Lakme cosmetics, but I didn’t know what to buy.
India, drugstore, Lakme

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13 Responses to “The Indian Experience: Drugstores”

  • Eileen says:

    What a fascinating post! I’ve been in and out of drugstores in many countries and have always found it to be a fun, albeit sometimes confusing, experience. Although I’ve never been to India, I have some Indian friends so I had to smile over your comment about “managed chaos”. Thanks again for a lovely post. :-)

  • laure says:

    you should have bought some hesh pharma masks and shampoo powders, these products are fantastics ^^

  • priya says:

    lol !Indian here :) your right when you said it is a managed chaos ! Lakme has some great lipsticks, foundations & eyepencils but they are mostly targeted towards Indian skintones. But I gotta say those kohl pencils rock!

  • Charan says:

    lakme has fantastic liquid eyeliners and blushes :) . Take a look at the Lotus brand for lip balms. you would love them.

  • Cherie says:

    Very cool to see this!

    Wonder if you could get a thing started where readers submit photos across the world of their ‘drug stores’??

  • AnnieA says:

    Whenever I’m in a new country I love going to drugstores. Years ago in Allure magazine they had articles on the beauty products of different countries with fascinating facts (e.g. it’s impossible to to buy sunscreen higher than SPF 4 in Brazil), which I miss…

  • Rei says:

    Wow what an interesting post! I’ve never been to India before. It’ll be cool to see how drugstores all over the world are like.

  • Ashley says:

    Hi! I often visit India and love the drugstores. Lakme has good facial cleansers, masks, and exfoliants in my opinion. I’ve always wanted to try their face creams too! One thing you MUST get while in India is a mask (made with dry powder & you add the water) of powdered multani mitti (a clay from the region) and sandalwood. Never have I used a product that makes my skin so glowing and healthy!!

  • Rae says:

    Oooh!! Thank you so much for doing this, Karla — you just made my morning!! =D That is definitely quite the store; they have such a variety of items in such small spaces!

    *mind is a little blown* :P

  • lexi920 says:

    That’s awesome. It reminded me of the time of how fascinated I was by the skincare Parisian pharmacies carried.

  • this shop reminded me of the old type of pharmacies in small town of malaysia where you can’t try anything unless you ask the assistants. i don’t see many shops like these anymore back in malaysia. interesting.

  • Jessica says:

    Really interesting article! It would be wonderful to see more articles like this! Lakme makes a fantastic kajal pecil that won’t budge and is truly a beautiful, glossy black!

  • Neha says:

    hi. im from india and on the other hand i am curious what US drugstores are like
    the concept of drug stores here is totally different actually:)

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