Organic, natural, vegan, going green… sound familiar? From Instagram to Facebook, Twitter to Pinterest, they are by far the most popular hashtags of the digital age with everyone taking the health route. And lest you think the trend is limited to food alone, here’s a quick reminder that it’s not. Like the body needs wholesome foods, our skin and hair also require to be indulged with equal goodness. And this is where the concept of organic beauty products kicks in. Remember the good old turmeric and milk combination your grandmother advocated and how you’d squirm at the idea? She knew what she was talking about.
Old is gold and this isn’t always sold
For Krithika Prasad, a working professional turned home entrepreneur, her tryst with the goodness of organic ingredients began when her six-month-old child developed a rash that rapidly spread to the whole of her body. “I had picked up the best childcare products in the market and had been using these soaps and creams for the baby. After pondering over it for days, it hit me that I had never once faced this issue with my older girl and it was only because she grew up on home-made oils and concoctions made by my mother and grandmother. Rose water, besan flour mixed with curd, sandalwood paste, coconut oil blended with herbs… this was what she was raised on. It was the chemically-laden store-bought products that were causing this problem,” shares Krithika. That is the moment she decided to pursue this seriously and began researching more on natural ingredients available at home and experimented with a few recipes. “I started touring neighbouring villages, met with old ladies, listened to their numerous stories of using natural ingredients for decades and came back richer with knowledge,” she adds. That is how Kayashastra, her home-grown brand was born.
Ably assisted by her family, Krithika who works out of her garage has devised numerous natural products for the hair and skin. Her hair cleanser Kesa Shuddhi for example is an amalgamation of Indian herbs, barks, roots, saffron and rose. Parsnip butter for cracked heels is made of Indian white dammer and ghee. Danta Druda which can easily replace your toothpaste is a tooth powder made of babul barks, clove, amla, Himalayan salt and ginger among other natural ingredients. No wonder then that Krithika was one of the first few people to take on the #NoSoapChallenge in Bengaluru. She suggests using natural body cleansers instead. “You can also put in discarded flowers from your puja into your bath water. Or boil them and use the water as a natural spritz for your face,” points out Krithika.
Ancient knowledge meets spirituality
It was an abhishekam at a temple that set off Anjoo Iyengar on the journey of making natural bath and body products but with an added twist: her creations are all divinely blessed. “I’ve been into spirituality for the past 28years and one fine day when I was visiting a neighbourhood temple, something stirred within me when I was watching the process of lingabhishekam. The anointing of the idol with ghee, curds and honey has a lot of inner meaning to it and the same theory applies to us too since we are equally a part of this divinity. So why then do we infest our bodies with chemicals?” asks Anjoo. That realisation made the former fashion designer embark on a holistic journey that sees Anjoo bring together ancient Indian knowledge and spirituality through a line of skin care products called Ggreenlady.
“All my products are usually made in the early hours of the morning, more specifically between 4.30am and 6.30am (the auspicious brahma muhurta) amidst chants. The products are also divinely energised with homams. Full moons and new moons are the times when I’m busiest making my products,” she adds. As a spiritual coach and counselor, she prefers to meet clients in person and customise her products for them. “I keep in mind their emotional quotient, their health and other factors and personalise the product. For example, my cream perfumes are accompanied by a crystal in accordance with their emotions. I ask them to apply it on their pulse points and belly button. Clients give me positive feedback and that’s what makes me happy,” she tells us. The herbal ingredients are sourced from farmers from across various places including Kerala, where Anjoo’s special Kasturi Manjal comes from. “My panchagavya creams are made from pure ghee and cow arka. The saffron face cream is one of the top favourites as it is infused with natural saffron. The soaps are made from natural lemongrass, spirulina, charcoal and other ingredients along with various essential oils. The idea behind sourcing these rare and natural ingredients is because the body deserves their goodness. Divine energy is an added blessing,” smiles Anjoo.
Be beautiful, naturally
In fact, the trend isn’t surprising at all, says Thejaswini Shashikanth, founder of Miracle Works Bath and Body Products. “The demand for natural and organic beauty products in India is growing by the day because people have realised the difference between using chemical-loaded products versus organic products on their body. India has a rich legacy in Ayurveda which believes in using natural ingredients. And that is exactly what I do with my line,” explains Thejaswini. Hence, all the ingredients for her products are sourced from her own backyard and from a friend’s farm in Shivamogga. “I know every root and essential oil that goes into the making of my products. We even sit down to pound, pulverize and dry out the roots and flowers. The whole process is steeped in goodness so you can imagine the benefits it can have on the body,” she adds.
Thejaswini’s tryst with going organic and natural began when her daughter’s eczema and asthma problem found no respite. “I started making lotions at home out of natural essential oils and put her on a no spice, no sugar diet and she’s cured of this problem. My hair oil was made when I started facing extreme hair fall and my scalp began to show. I use amla and hibiscus flowers to brew this oil and it takes a week to make it. People swear by it that it has cured dandruff and hair fall,” she says joyfully. She has now added natural soaps made of extra virgin coconut oil, shampoo bars, bath salts and lotions to her range. “Always be aware that what you put into your body shows on your face. So be responsible and use the right natural products. Your body will have plenty to thank you for,” sums up Thejaswini.
D.i.y castile soap
300grams coconut oil
300grams olive oil (pomace)
300grams avocado oil
Distilled water 297grams
Essential oil of your choice – 25grams
Mix the water and lye in a plastic container. This heats up, so ensure you use good quality plastic. Leave aside for 30minutes to cool.
Measure the oil and heat it slightly. Once the temperature of Lye solution and oil blend is 60degrees, mix the two.
Blend for 5minutes with a hand blender till the mix emulsifies. As you blend, the consistency of the mixture will get thicker. Once your blender starts leaving a trace on the surface, mix essential oils and additives (opt for rose powder, desiccated coconut or turmeric) and pour into a mould. Unmould in 24hours and cut into bars. Leave the soap in a well-ventilated area for 4weeks before use.
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