Provenance should be as vital in beauty as it is in art. Two luxurious homegrown Indian brands reveal how the active ingredients in their nourishing creams and potent serums get their competitive advantage -By Parizaad Khan Sethi
Of all the fantastic saffron grown in the world, the strain from the cool, dry climes of Pampore, Kashmir, is the most major, with a vibrant orange hue and abundance of antioxidants. The delicate flowers have to be hand-picked, resulting in Kashmiri saffron being the most expensive spice in the world.
FOUND IN: Kama’s Ayurveda’s Kumkumadi products
USE IT WHEN: You’re feeling flush, to the soundtrack of Bruno Mars and Travie McCoy’s ‘Billionaire’
Kannauj’s intensely fragrant ‘desi gulab’ is a near doppelgänger for the perfume industry’s prized Bulgarian rose. This region in U.P, known as the Grasse of the East, is a perfumery hotbed, where ancient methods of fragrance distillation are still practiced.
FOUND IN: Kama Ayurveda’s Pure Rose Water and Forest Essentials’ Indian Rose Absolute line
USE IT WHEN: you want to impress your grandma with your (purely superficial) knowledge of Ayurvedic skin commandments
Aka Rajnigandha or ‘Queen of the Night’, tuberose is prized in Ayurveda because of its exquisite and soothing aroma. In ancient times, girls were forbidden to walk through tuberose gardens so they wouldn’t be influenced by its erotic scent. *Wildly splashes on tuberose-scented products for a pushback that’s centuries too late, but, you know… principle.*
FOUND IN: Forest Essentials’ Bengal Tuberose range
USE IT WHEN: You want to show patriarchy who’s boss
Organic neem oil
Maturing Malabar neem trees from Tamil Nadu yield seeds that are rich in fatty acids and antioxidants, and when cold-pressed, give a full-bodied and intense oil with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, plus super anti-ageing benefits.
FOUND IN: Kama’s Organic Neem Oil
USE IT WHEN: You’re not ready to swallow the bitter pill that is ageing, but some bitter oil will do
This delicate Kashmiri flower from the Narcissus family is as elusive as it is beautiful. Nargis blooms only for a few months in high altitudes in India, giving pickers a short window to collect the blossoms; its seductive, floral scent balances the senses.
FOUND IN: Forest Essentials’ Nargis range
USE IT WHEN:You watch Mother India and imagine yourself as a yesteryears Bollywood beauty—fragile, heartbreakingly beautiful and elusive
Organic coconut oil
Scenic Pollachi near Coimbatore is home to organic coconut trees whose fruits are plucked at the peak of maturity, and then cold-pressed to create an oil that is light and easily absorbed, yet rich in fats and essential nutrients, with a warm, tropical scent.
FOUND IN: Kama’s Extra Virgin Organic coconut Oil
USE IT WHEN:Your Instagram posts need a boost. Coconut oil is the Instagram beauty world’s kryptonite and your cool girl status will be immediately unlocked
is a beauty and wellness editor based in New York. She was the former beauty editor at Vogue India and now serves as a contributing editor for the magazine. At age 5, Parizaad fell in love with an old cream blush she found in the back of her mother’s drawer, and has been in awe of the transformative power of beauty ever since. When she’s not writing about beauty, she researches advances in skincare as a hobby, and is constantly guinea-pigging herself in the name of beauty.
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