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By Sedef Kokcuoglu, West Coast Editor

Since before princess Devaki begot Krishna, Indians have celebrated the idea of perfect beauty in spirit and appearance. From the intricate art of tying a sari to the tradition of decorating brides’ palms with henna motifs; the pursuit of splendor has long preoccupied Indian women. Today, their tried-and-true secrets and miracle recipes, handed down from mother to daughter for countless generations, can address a myriad of aesthetic concerns in an ayurvedic and holistic fashion. Use this article as your guide to the ancient wisdom of Shiva’s children. Their all natural and innovative regimens will revolutionize the way you look at cosmetics.


The flowery arrows of her veiled gaze pierced the heaven of his heart; their eyes slowly met and set their love ablaze” Urdu love song

Dark Circles
For immediate results: Compress your eyes with cheese cloth pouches, filled with grated raw potatoes. The starch seeping through the fabric will ‘lift’ the paper-thin skin around your baby blues. For lasting results: Apply almond oil to the eye area before going to bed every night. Quick Tip: Remember sliced apples make fragrant and effective eye pads, as they are rich in potassium, tannin and vitamins B and C.

A phenomenal Indian recipe against dark and tired under eyes recommends the following: Crush 5 fresh mint leaves with a little water in a mortar. Then, add the strained juice to one table spoon of almond oil and half a table spoon of honey. Stir thoroughly and apply to the problem area before turning in.


To groom thick and dark eyelashes, worthy of Bollywood stars, apply a layer of castor oil on your lashes at bedtime.

Fine Lines and Crow’s-Feet

To prevent the appearance of fine lines and crow’s feet, apply witch-hazel around your yeux daily.


Dawn comes on the waves of pink and gold cloud. Her richly ornamented face brings joy to the world. With a radiant face this daughter of heaven looks glorious. Her splendid face shows wisdom, divine beauty, as she comes escorted by the sun’s rays” Rigveda sings to Ushas, the goddess of dawn

The cleanser, toner, moisturizer trio have become familiar entries in our pampering lexicon, but did you know that you can prepare an effective skin regimen in your very own kitchen?

Cleansing Mask

Mix two table spoons of oatmeal with four table spoons of buttermilk. Apply the resulting smooth paste all over your visage. After 10 minutes rinse off with lukewarm water and pat dry. The oat meal in this concoction will buff off dead skin cells, while the mildly acidic whey will cleanse clogged pores.

A Fool Proof Skin Tonic

Split a hand full of grapes in half and rub them all over face and neck. The enzyme content of this yummy fruit, fit for the gods, will smooth and refine your skin.

Liquorice Moisturizing Cream
Steep one tablespoon of liquorice root in 3 tablespoons of cold water for 6 hours. Then, melt one tablespoon of beeswax in a heat resistant bowl floating in a pan of hot water (like you would chocolate). Remove the gooey, molten wax from the heat and slowly beat in the strained liquorice solution. Stir until cool and hardened. The resulting potion will nourish your skin and light up your complexion because liquorice is one of the most powerful herbs in Oriental Materia Medica.

Refreshing Scrub
Blend one tablespoon of chopped fresh pineapple with one table spoon of ground almonds. Rub the mixture over face and neck using gentle circular movements. Pay special attention to oil prone zones, as the enzymes in pineapple soften and slough off blackheads, lodged deep in the pores.

Her long silken tresses like the lustrous plumage of a black swan, a simmering swarm of bees, spill down like the dark rain-swollen clouds” An ancient hymn describing the beauty of Shiva’s wife Parvati

Ritha & Citrus Shampoo
Soak a cup of ritha nuts in a warm cup of water overnight. The following day, mix the strained liquid with a table spoon of fresh lemon juice. Apply to hair and scalp and rinse well with water. Despite the lack of chemicals and detergent, this home made shampoo will clean your locks thoroughly. Don’t be fooled by the lack of lather as the citrus essence, present in the lemon juice, cuts grease like a hot knife through butter.

Henna Conditioner for Dark Hair

Stir a cup of henna powder, two cups of plain organic yogurt and one table spoon of oil into a muddy mix. Apply the mask all over scalp and hair follicles, using a pair of surgical gloves. Don’t worry, for the yogurt and oil components will arrest the coloring effect of the henna. After slathering every strand with the blend, wait for an hour and rinse.

Though cultures differ from one other in striking ways when it comes to traditions, religious beliefs and social customs, the universal idea of beauty - epitomized by a clear complexion, lustrous hair and meaningful eyes - endures across borders. Hence India, one of the richest and oldest cultures in the world, has volumes to teach us about the fundamental nature of exquisiteness. Just enter the realm of Mumtaz Mahal, Shakutala, Urvashi, and Menaka - legendary sirens who drove men, and gods alike, insane with their loveliness – and you shall see.



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