Hermes Beauty: How it Connects with Consumer Psychology

The oldest saddler brand of the world, the Parisian Hermès, rolled out its beauty métier in India last week. Here’s how it wears

Last week, on a sultry May morning, the scene unfolding at the Hermès store in The Chanakya mall in Delhi wore a warm-white glow. The Hermès teams from Mumbai and Delhi as well as visiting heads of the business of beauty from the storied Parisian house of saddler objects and fashion stood around smiling and hospitable. They were receiving fashion and beauty media, bloggers, vloggers, influencers and well, the post-influenced (the already converted to the cause and chase of high luxury and the pursuit of beauty).

The context was the launch of Hermès Beauty, the brand’s sixteenth métier, first launched in 2020 with Rouge Hermès, a collection of lipsticks created under Gregoris Pyrpylis, the director of Hermès Beauty. The design, research and development work was initiated in 2015 and overseen initially by Agnès de Villers, the CEO of Hermès Parfum & Beauté.


Les Mains Hermès Nail Enamel and Enamel Base Coat.
Studio des Fleurs.

Rouge Hermès is now followed by Rose Hermès, Les Mains Hermès and Hermès Plein Air, additional beauty ranges that include makeup and colour cosmetics, nail paints, complexion care, a luxuriant hand cream, among other products like mineral powders and silken rouges. The brand rolled out this entire beauty métier in India.

At the store, makeup artists from Paris dipped their makeup wands in the brand’s philosophy and vocabulary, offering lipsticks, mineral powders, complexion balms, tinted moisturises mixed with foundations to turn the expectant faces of guests into smooth landscapes of human existence. Or best versions of ourselves, as we say. A lip illustrator was “live” at work on the side; painting the shape of lips of female guests by looking at them even as a Masterclass explaining the products and how to use them, held onlookers in rapt attention.

But here is the thing. While beauty products are bought and sold publicly, in stores or online, and can be traced back to customer profiles and useful brand loyalty analytics, the art and craft of painting one’s face or caring for one’s complexion or body is an intimate ritual with untold secrets. It is a “small-big” space where we allow products to enter. Details matter. Smells, texture, finish, colour intensity, how long a product lasts on lips or the skin, how it makes us feel… What is its name? Like ready-to-wear garments, silken saris, fine shawls, jewels now assigned proper nouns as names for category distinction and shopping allure especially on e-commerce, colour cosmetics, nail paints and lipsticks have held names for decades. These names appear plucked from heaven and earth, from coffee bars, cakeries that mint fresh bakes, forests and mountains, from fables and tales, encoded thus with customer-connect (or reject) buttons.


Hermesistible Infused Care Oil range.
Studio des Fleurs

“The art and craft of painting one’s face or caring for one’s complexion or body is an intimate ritual with untold secrets.”

Does the name Bubble gum pink give you a heady tickle or is it orange jojoba and lavender lush that comforts us? There are other codes: how many ways can one use a bronzer, a mineral powder, a blush, an oil or a balm? All this and more then determine why we desire one product over another, one brand more than another, one skincare lotion over another, despite a very competitive market.

So while this writer has, so far, only tried the lipstick (a soft matte in a lovely Indian Rose hue), the Rose Hermès blush powder and Les Mains Hermès, the hand-cream, billed as the first care product from the brand, here’s why the beauty metier offers a certain seduction. First and foremost, the hand cream, for instance is Cosmos (natural and organic certification for cosmetics) certified, is plant-based and has 98 per cent natural ingredients. There are other alluring aspects. The Rouge Hermès lipsticks come in 24 shades but these draw colour references from colours of 75,000 silks and 900 shades of leather from Hermès’ other métiers. Curiously, as one of the makeup artists revealed, the shapes of the lipstick bullets differ between the one for matte finish which has a pointed tip and the satin finish which has a rounded tip.


Rose Hermès, Beautifying Lip Rose and Silky Blush.
Studio des Fleurs

The Rose Silk Powder on the other hand, has eleven shades and four lip enhancers. All products have refillable containers, as does the H Trio line which includes a healthy glow mineral powder and an iridescent mineral powder. The latter is a face illuminating product with a concentration of mother-of-pearl that sparks shine. The lip balms named Hermèsistible promise emollient textures, boosted for glow and hydration and are composed of six oils. All products have white mulberry extract as the signature ingredient, for its anti-oxidant properties.

Colour, touch, feel, texture, smell and sustainability focussed refillable packaging notwithstanding, a writer must also deal with the attraction of language! Consider this from Pierre Alexis-Dumas, the artistic director of Hermès, excerpted from the beauty metier’s press release: “The idea is one of benevolent artifice, which is not used to deceive, but to elevate. I associate Hermès’ beauty objects with self-fulfilment, with the colour of an individual’s personality.”


All products are available at Hermès stores and sales outlets in India (and 47 countries). Prices: Les Mains nail enamel ₹4,200; Plein Air complexion balms ₹7,100, lipsticks, ₹6,100; limited edition lipstick ₹6,650, Hermesistible infused care lip oils, ₹5,150. 

Banner: Rouge Hermes. Photo courtesy Joaquin Laguinge.