Natural beauty therapies and treatments are not new in India but sometimes it helps to have an expert reiterate what your grandma told you. We asked professionals who sell branded natural beauty products to part with their recipes for great skin and hair. All you need to do is raid your kitchen.
Mira Kulkarni, founder, Forest Essentials
Kulkarni was introduced to home-made beauty remedies in college. In 2000, she founded Forest Essentials and recently Estee Lauder Cos. bought a minor stake in the company. She believes there are “no quick fix” beauty solutions for eternal youth and worked with vaids (ayurvedic doctors) and biochemists before she launched her range of natural skincare and haircare products based on old ayurvedic texts.
Honey body glow
½ cup pure cold-pressed almond oil
¼ cup organic honey
1 tbsp white sesame seeds, ground finely
Mix all the ingredients together. Rub all over the body and then step into a steam room for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse yourself with hot water. This recipe softens and smoothens the skin.
Kamal Passi, founder, Lotus Herbals Ltd
A keen interest in Ayurveda led this engineer to start his company 25 years ago, which exports natural beauty products under the brand Better Botanicals and Umaveda to the US, Germany and Japan. Lotus Herbals was launched in India 14 years ago, when most beauty products were chemical-based. The family believes strongly in natural remedies and treat their physical ailments only with ayurveda or homeopathy.
Nourishing hair mask
10g brahmi booti
Soak the ingredients overnight in an iron utensil. Blend and make a paste. Apply the paste well on the scalp. Leave it on for 1-2 hours and wash off with warm water. You can use this at least once a week.
Ishween Anand, founder, Nyassa
Anand is an MBA who worked in the financial sector for eight years. While in the US, she got hooked on handmade soaps and “started reading Soapmaking.com instead of The Wall Street Journal.” After learning soap-making by hand and doing a few courses, she moved to India two years ago and started manufacturing natural products. Anand currently makes handmade soaps, body butters, lotions, scrubs and air fresheners which are available at her Khar store in Mumbai and other department stores.
Salt or sugar body scrub
100g table salt or sugar
100g olive, jojoba or sunflower oil
3-4 drops of any scented essential oil
Mix all the ingredients together. Massage small quantities of the scrub all over your body for a few minutes (use it only neck downwards, not on the face) and then rinse it off. Use it once a week.
The salt or sugar helps exfoliate the dead skin cells, while the oil moisturizes and nourishes. If you have sensitive skin, opt for salt as the bigger granules of sugar might irritate the skin. If your skin is oily, decrease the quantity of oil in the recipe; if it is dry, you can increase it.
Ahalya Matthan, founder, Ally Matthan
Matthan got a whiff of what she planned to do with her life at 14. The perfumes at her father’s agarbatti factory fascinated her. Instead of plunging into the family business, Matthan got a masters degree in Perfumery Science and Technology from Versailles, France, and then branched off to start her own line of fragrance-based beauty products. Ally Matthan products can be picked off-the-shelf at Bangalore Central Mall and Raintree, near Windsor Manor, Bangalore.
2 cups of water or vodka (vodka retains fragrance better than water)
1 cup fresh chopped flower blossoms of your choice (choose from jasmine, geranium, roses, tuberoses, orange blossoms or honeysuckle)
100g beeswax (available at local pharmacy)
Place a cheesecloth over a bowl with the edges hanging over the bowl’s rim. Fill with a cup of flower blossoms. Pour the water or vodka over the flowers to cover them completely.
Cover the bowl and let sit overnight. The next day, using the edges of cheesecloth, pull out the water/vodka-soaked flowers. Gently squeeze these flowers through the cheesecloth so that the scented water (or vodka) can be collected into a small pan.
Simmer this fragrant water or vodka until about 10g is left. Cool and pour into a small bottle. Melt beeswax and Vaseline over low heat in a glass or enamel pan.
Cool slightly and stir in the perfume you made. Pour into containers such as small tins, lip gloss containers, tiny compacts or tiny jars and air-dry until firm. You have your own home-made secret blend ready to use. Perfume made this way has a shelf life of about a month.
Dr Dinyar Workingboxwalla, Aesthetician
This low-profile aesthetician has been practising for 37 years and models such as Sheetal Mallar and Mehr Jessia are his regular clients. Workingboxwalla customizes natural products for his clients, follows a holistic, no-nonsense approach to skin care and definitely does not believe in anti-wrinkle or anti-ageing
creams. “You can’t turn back the clock, you can just slow down the ticks,” is something he often tells his clients.
Moisturizer for dry skin
2 tsp apricot oil
2 tsp jojoba oil
1 tsp wheatgerm oil
2-3 drops of an aromatherapy oil of your choice
4-5 vitamin E capsules (break them open and collect the oil)
Mix all the ingredients together and apply on moist skin. You can leave it on overnight if your skin is very dry and undernourished. You can also store it in a bottle for a week.
Blossom Kochhar, founder, Aromamagic
A qualified aromatherapist and beautician, Delhi-based Kochhar has been in the business of beauty for more than 30 years. Her aromatherapy cosmetic range is chemical-free. Kochhar also manufactures essential oils for use in spas and for home beauty treatments.
1 tbsp castor oil
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp glycerine
1 tsp white or brown vinegar
½ tsp any shampoo
½ tsp any conditioner
2 drops of essential oil (either lavender or ylang ylang)
Mix all these ingredients. Apply the moisturizer starting from the ends of your hair and work your way up to the roots. Lightly massage for about 5 minutes. Put on a shower cap and leave in the hair for 45 minutes. Unlike lemon juice which bleaches hair, vinegar and essential oils add shine.
This moisturizer works specially well on coloured hair. It should be applied twice a month. But if your hair is in bad shape, you can try it weekly.
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