Turmeric is the root of a plant. Its powdered form has traditionally been used as a beauty aid. Regular use enhances the complexion, reduces growth of facial hair, and works as an antiseptic.
Sandalwood is used as a fragrant and as a coolant for the skin. It is a popular ingredient in soaps, talcum powders, perfumes, incense sticks and in face packs.
Mehndi or henna is a plant leaf. It is a colouring and cooling agent, and is used to make interesting coloured patterns on the palms of women for festive occasions. During weddings, applying mehndi to a bride’s palms, hands and feet is part of an elaborate pre-wedding ceremony.
Mehndi is also used as a reddish temporary dye and conditioner to the hair.
Shikakai is sourced from native Indian plant. Its powdered form is used as a traditional shampoo. The powder lathers when mixed with warm water, and this herbal product is preferred by many women over the chemical compositions of branded shampoos.
Sambraani or jhuna
Also called Jhuna, this is basically a resin mixed with some barks and roots. It is traditionally roasted on burning coals to set off a smoky aroma that is curative, anti bacterial, and therapeutic at the same time.
This is an oil extracted from mature coconuts. It is applied to the scalp to aid thick and dark hair growth, and also massaged into the skin for a rejuvenating effect.
Other ingredients such as dried hibiscus flowers and amla (gooseberry) are often boiled in coconut oil, and the mixture filtered to make an even more potent hair oil for healthy and lustrous hair.
This is a gram flour made of dried chick-peas. It is an excellent kitchen remedy used as a scrub for oily skin. When mixed with milk, turmeric, milk cream and honey, it also goes to make a good face pack that improves the complexion.
Known as Fuller’s earth, this is actually a decomposed form of volcanic ash. It is highly absorbant, and is mixed with rose water to make a cooling face mask that tightens the skin, rejuvenates and also removes tan.
Saffron – zafran or kesar – is the stigma of a flower. It is used as a colouring and flavouring agent in Asian cuisine, and is also known to enhance the complexion to a golden yellow shade when used with milk.
This is an extract of a stemless succulent plant popularly found in many countries. Aloe vera juice is widely used in alternative and complementary medicine for a variety of purposes. It is known to rejuvenate the skin, help in removing tan, cure burn marks and acne. Aloe vera extract is commercially used in soaps, shampoos, makeup, moisturisers, sunscreens and cosmetic gels.