Beauty benefits of natural ingredients
Natural beauty products are all the rage with supermodels, Bollywood stars and the girl next door. Mother Nature offers gentler and prettier ways of making your skin and hair glow. Best of all, they have lower levels of synthetic ingredients, preservatives and chemicals that can cause adverse reactions and they’re kinder to the environment as well. On Nykaa you can choose from a host of fresh picks packed with the goodness of nature’s finest botanical ingredients. Natural ingredients such as Honey, Neem, Aloe Vera and Tulsi are choc-a-bloc with multiple health and beauty benefits for beautiful skin and silken tresses. In the second part of this two part series, Nykaa highlights some popular natural ingredients, their beauty quotient, and the best brands bursting with nature’s goodness.
Beauty benefits of Neem
The seeds, bark, leaves and fruit of neem have medicinal qualities. Neem is a proven antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, analgesic and anti-inflammatory. Its special qualities make it an excellent herb for soothing skin irritation and reducing inflammation without causing excessive drying. Used regularly neem prevents wrinkles and fine lines. For centuries women have boiled neem leaves and applied the water on their faces to stave off age spots, pigmentation and wrinkles.
Its antibacterial and antifungal qualities make it an excellent antidote to blackheads, whiteheads and open pores. It’s also a key ingredient in hair care products because of its effectiveness in treating scalp conditions. Massaging neem oil into the roots reduces breakage and strengthens strands, preventing thinning and itching.
Skin friendly lemons
This tart citrus fruit is a real skin saver. Dilute fresh lemon juice with water and apply on stubborn zits, blackheads and acne scars for a few minutes to dry out spots and fade marks magically. Drinking lemon juice and water is an effective antacid. It is also a well-known antidote to pigmentation, freckles, skin darkening and brown spots. Use it regularly to bleach skin and fade patches and darkening. The acid content of lemon juice gently exfoliates the darker superficial layers, revealing fairer skin. If you have sensitive, dry skin, apply a mixture of honey and lemon juice. Honey is an emollient and prevents skin irritation. Applying lemon peel on darkened elbows and knees can lighten them.
For centuries women have also used lemon juice to lighten nail discoloration. Dipping nails in a small bowl of lemon juice for a few minutes allows the citric acid to remove stains, spurs protein and keratin production in nails making them stronger and healthier.
Coconut, the bountiful nut
Forget those expensive creams and potions. This inexpensive fruit is choc-a-bloc vitamin E and fatty acids like lauric, myristic acid and capric. It’s an antifungal, antioxidant and anti-bacterial agent. Unlike commercial moisturizers, coconut oil provides deep and real moisture, strengthening underlying tissues and removing dead cells that make skin look rough and flaky. It’s also great for adding shine to tresses and is a natural moisturizer. Use it as a dry skin emollient or massage into tresses to get shiny, frizz-free locks. It can also be mixed with baking soda and used as a moisturizing exfoliator.
Virgin coconut oil is an effective antidote for skin inflammations like rashes, eczema, psoriasis and severe dryness. Just massage gently into the affected area twice a day. It’s also effective against fungal infections like Athlete’s Foot.
The fragrant, beautiful rose
This sweet smelling flower has a host of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that make it a sought after beauty ingredient. It also has excellent emollient properties, delicately moisturizing dry skin without the cloying stickiness of oils. It also has antiseptic and astringent properties, making it effective against inflammatory skin conditions such as dermatitis, rosacea, redness and itchiness. Rose oil helps to reduce pores and refine skin texture. Some studies show rose essential oil’s efficacy in healing wounds, reducing blood levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and calming the nerves. A recent study showed that rose and lavender oils can treat anxiety and depression in post-partum women.
Rose hip oil (derived from the small fruit behind the rose flower) is rich in vitamin C, oils and proteins that soften and moisturize skin. It’s the only vegetable oil that contains retinol (vitamin A) to treat lines, wrinkles, pigmentation and other signs of aging. Rose hip oil is therefore a common ingredient in sunscreens.
Tulsi’s revered beauty benefits
This holy plant’s goodness goes beyond spiritual beliefs. A decoction of dried ground tulsi leaves and honey is supposed to have great health benefits. It is also believed to have restorative benefits on those suffering from skin diseases such as ringworm, eczema, itching and skin eruptions. It is also believed to be a cure for leucoderma or loss of pigmentation.
A mixture of tulsi and lemon juice lightens scars and pigmentation, controls acne and restores a glow to the skin. Applying a thick paste of tulsi leaves mixed with water as a face pack is believed to cleanse pores and remove impurities from skin. Chewing tulsi leaves has a detoxifying effect and cleanses the blood of impurities.
Tress care with shikakai
Acacia Concinna or shikakai, a native shrub from central-south India has been used for centuries as a traditional shampoo and a home remedy for treating hair and scalp conditions. It is a natural detangler and promotes hair growth. The naturally low pH makes it an ideal strand cleanser that rinses out dirt and grime without stripping strands of natural oils. Shikakai users swear by the conditioning power of this natural cleanser that strengthens roots and leaves strands silky and glossy.
Regular use strengthens hair, reduces hair fall and treats dandruff and other scalp issues. It can be ground into a powder and applied or soaked overnight and boiled before use. A mixture of reetha, amla and shikakai is an age-old hair potion to condition the scalp and treat hair fall. Extracts from the ground pods are also used to treat skin conditions.