India is a country filled with amazing ingredients. It is known as the land of spices. Whilst these spices make our food extremely flavorful, we tend to forget how these ingredients can also help our skin. What is especially amazing about Indian spices and ingredients, is that they are best in their purest forms. We don’t need to get oils or creams, they are amazing as they are found in nature. Although there are many ingredients in the country, below are the three most popular.
Turmeric or Haldi (pronounced hul-dee in Hindi)
Turmeric as an aromatic medicinal plant. People say that South Asia is the origin Turmeric and from thereit spread to other countries in the South East Asia and pacific islands. However, India is said to have the highest number of the turmeric species.So much so that, India produces nearly 94% of the total turmeric production in the world and it enjoys nearly 50% of the global market!
In India Turmeric is a key ingredient in most households. For example, it is used in Ayurvedic and homeopathic medicines. Turmeric is so important that it is has its own ritual in Indian weddings known as the Haldi ceremony. Despite the bright yellow color of the ingredient, Turmeric’s properties allow the skin to glow and also has other beautifying effects. Below are some of the benefits of applying turmeric on your face.
- Give you a natural glow: Turmeric has many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory characteristics. Hence applying a turmeric mask will give your skin glow and luster. It will revive your skin and bring out a natural glow.
- Acne: Because of turmeric’s anti-inflammatory characteristics, it not only helps in controlling acne but also slowly fading any scarring that may have come from popping a pimple.
- Aging: Curcumin, is the main chemical in turmeric. This chemical helps protect the skin from free radical damage, and slows the aging process by decreasing the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.
Best way to use: Make it into a mask. Take a spoon of turmeric, mix it either with water or rose water and apply on your face. If you leave it on for 5-10 minutes and wash it off thoroughly, you should see an instant difference. Remember not to wear white as you may already know, turmeric stains!
Sandalwood or Chandan (pronounced chan-dan in Hindi)
This is an ingredient that has gained substantial amount of interest over the past few years. From sandalwood oils to powders, it has become a popular ingredient all over the world. But what you may not know is that, there are many species of sandalwood. Reason being, sandalwood trees require a very specific environment to grow, as a result it is native to only a few countries, such as India, Sri Lanka, Australia, amongst a few others. However, all the sandalwood is very different in all these countries. Sandalwood has a key chemical called santanol, and it is this ingredient that gives sandalwood it’s strong beautifying properties.
- Acne prevention: Because sandalwood is an excellent anti-septic, it helps in decreasing acne and break-outs. The ingredient, protects your skin from the environment, so that the unseen bacteria does not feed and enter the skin, hence giving pimples.
- Exfoliation: Due to the gritty nature of sandalwood powder, when applying it to your face it will help clean out dirt and grime from your pores, allowing your skin to breathe.
- Moisturizing: Using sandalwood oil on your face, is a great moisturizer. Not only does it eliminate dry skin, but the fragrance of the oil also relaxes and calms the body, giving your face a relaxed look.
How to use: Oil versus Powder: Using sandalwood oil versus powder comes down to what you want to use the ingredient for. The powder is great for cleansing and masking, using a similar DIY method as above. However, the oil is used more for aroma therapy.
Chickpea/Gram Flour or Besan (pronounced bay-sun in Hindi)
Unlike the other two ingredients above, that have become well-known around the world, chickpea flour as a beauty ingredient is mostly used in India. Many Indians use this ingredient for the below skin benefits:
- Facial hair removal: When you apply this gritty flour on your face as a paste, it gently removes facial hair you want gone. Although the hair isn’t gone forever, it does inhibit future growth.
- Get rid of your tan: Chickpea flour has been used to de-tan and brighten your skin tone. Additionally, when you wash your face with this flour, its cleansing properties leave the face looking better than before.
Best way to use: Similar to the above two ingredients, making a paste will yield the best results.
Pro tip: It is very common to sometimes mix all three ingredients for best results, as they call help with acne, evening out skin tone, anti-aging and exfoliation.
Together these 3 Indian ingredients help your skin feel amazing and beautiful.
Shubhangini Prakash, Founder & CEO of personal care company Feather & Bone.