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April 29, 2013

Shahnaz Hussain--the courageous entrepreneur, who glorified Ayurveda across the world

Shahnaz Hussain is a renowned name in the world of herbal beauty care and anti-aging products and treatments. Her brand is known as Shahnaz Hussain Herbals, which is part of Shahnaz Hussain Group. The Shahnaz Hussain Group had a humble beginning, when they started their venture in the 70s in New Delhi. Today, Shahnaz Hussain outlets and Shahnaz Hussain trained professionals are found all over the country and overseas. They offer an extensive line of products in “Ayurvedic care and cure” that are sold through their retail outlets and other stores.

Early Life and Marriage

She was born in a royal Muslim family belonging to Pakistan, which migrated to India prior to independence and settled in Hyderabad and Bhopal.  She had an exposure to modern convent education (La Martiniere, Lucknow and Irish Convent), as well as traditional religious one. Surprisingly, her father got her married at a very young age of 16 and within a year she became a mother of a lovely daughter, Nilofer. She had some entrepreneurial inclinations in the beginning and rejected the monotonous life of a housewife. Her daughter Nilofer Currimbhoy actually wrote her biography named as “Flame: The Store of My Mother Shahnaz Hussain,” which is an inspiring book for the young entrepreneurs.

Shahnaz Hussain grew interest in cosmetology during her stay in Iran, where her husband used to work. When she left Iran, she enrolled in extensive training courses in cosmetic therapies and continued her studies about cosmetics for the next ten years in the prominent schools in Paris, New York, London and Copenhagen. Initially, she started with providing training in the field of cosmetic chemistry and cosmetic therapy, at some of the leading educational establishments in Europe and America.

After her rich training experience with these leading institutions of the world, she realized the importance of Ayurveda and went ahead with further education in this ancient system of herbal healing and treatments.  Some of these renowned institutions and brands where she learned about cosmetics include Lancôme, Schwarzkopf, Christine Valmy, Arnold Taylor, Lean of Copenhagen, and Helena Rubinstein.

The beginning of a great entrepreneurial venture

When she came back to India in 1977, she started with a small clinic from her small home office, defying the existing modes of salon treatments and introduced her own herbal products. She said no to chemical cosmetics and introduced safe cosmetic products made from herbs, which gave way to an era of herbal cosmetic boom.  

It was a revolutionary new concept of “care and cure” inspired by western professionalism. She also formulated certain specific Ayurvedic products of her own. This was the commencement of a historic brand called Shahnaz Hussain Herbal Care. Within no time, her range of products for scars and blemishes, pigmentations, acne, dandruff, skin sensitivity, hair fall, discoloration and alopecia became extremely popular.

She has been successful in recapturing the ancient Indian heritage of Ayurveda in the modern context and her herbal products were showcased in the leading international stores such as Bloomingdales (New York, US), Galleries Lafayette (Paris, France), Harrods (London, UK), La Rinaeccente (Milan, Italy) and Seibu (Japan).  

Awards and honors

In just four decades of business, the Shahnaz Hussain Group has earned many laurels and recently Ms Shahnaz Hussain, the owner of the group has been honored with the Padmashri Award for her tremendous contribution in introducing Ayurveda in the west. In 1996, Shahnaz Hussain was honored as “the Woman of the Year,” by the Success Magazine, which is amongst the most reputed business and trade publications. 

Among her numerous national and international awards, the prominent one is “The World’s Greatest Women Entrepreneur Award” offered by Success Group of United States. In fact, she is the first woman to be recognized for her extraordinary entrepreneurial efforts in the entire century of these prestigious awards.  Another prestigious award that she had received is the “Arch of Europe Gold Star Award for Quality”.  The other awards she has successfully won include the “Indian Government Awards for Export Excellence” and “The Golden America Award.”  Apart from these awards, she has also won an award given by “Global Quality Management” called as “Quality Excellence and Outstanding Women Entrepreneur,” which she received in London twice.

A huge empire of herbal care businessThe monetary worth of the Shahnaz Hussain Group was estimated to be around $100 million; though, it has increased manifold since that time. But, it is still a private company, where there are no shareholders. Shahnaz Hussain is a pioneering herbal care leader in India and across the world. Today, India’s ayurvedic tradition is well known in all the continents through her efforts. She has relentless drive to achieve unimaginably greater heights and to inspire others to follow.

At present, Shahnaz Hussain runs an extensive chain of around 500 franchise salons and beauty treatment centers across India and overseas. You can spot Shahnaz Hussain outlets and herbal care stores in almost all the cities worldwide and at the prominent locations. In fact, her approach of expanding her network through franchise outlets has paid rich dividends in promoting Shahnaz Herbal Clinics worldwide and also in expanding her impressive range of over 400 beauty and skin care products. 

It also grows its own herbs to be used in its vast cosmetic line, sold in the retail market. Apart from training centers and Shahnaz Herbal Clinics, the Group has also diversified into spa, resorts, salon and patented cosmetic products business.

Career Oriented Training Programs from Shahnaz Hussain 

Shahnaz Hussain is also a renowned name in the field of cosmetology training.  Her vocational training programs are quite popular in India and these career-oriented programs are recognized for employability, all across the country.  She started a chain of her own professional schools offering career-oriented herbal care and beauty treatment courses all over the country, when there was a complete absence of apprenticeship training in the country. 


Shahnaz Hussain has always been in the spotlight for her extraordinary business achievements, but controversies also impacted her life. In 2008, her only son Sameer Hussain passed away and a mystery surrounded his death.  Rabiya Hussain, the wife of Late Sameer Hussain filed a police complaint against Shahnaz Hussain, in which the latter was charged with dowry demands.

Achievements as an entrepreneur

Shahnaz Hussain is an ambitious lady, who believes in achieving milestones after milestones. In fact, she is never satisfied with her existing achievements. Her eyes are always focused on a bigger challenge, newest trend, latest practices and innovation in the world of beauty and skin treatments. She has a natural entrepreneurial talent and her business instincts always keep her moving ahead in the uncertain territory of beauty care business. She is completely aware of the pulse of the people and requirements of the customers globally, which is her chief business asset.

She has crossed national boundaries to completely become a global brand defying all limitations and obstructions. She is a living inspiration for the youngsters and all the women entrepreneurs in India, who keeps on encouraging them to pursue their dreams with confidence and extraordinary courage. She has become a living legend as the owner of the largest herbal treatment chain, which is peculiar in nature in the entire world and also as the leader of entrepreneurship in the ancient system of Ayurveda.

Tags : Shahnaz Hussain, herbal care, Ayurveda, beauty expert, chain of herbal treatment and skin care centers, cosmetic therapy, Ayurvedic healing, Shahnaz Hussain Group, Shahnaz Hussain Herbals

About Nashaat Quadri

Freelance Content Writer (Compare Infobase, New Delhi.) Ex Sr Content Writer, Western Software, New Delhi. Ex Relationship Manager, Mashreq Bank, Dubai.