Natural South Asian beauty secrets to add to your routine

Beauty and culture expert Meera Estrada shows us her go-to recipes and favourite products rooted in South Asian culture.
March 10, 2020 3:07 p.m. EST
March 10, 2020 3:09 p.m. EST
For generations, South Asians have been using their own secret recipes as part of their beauty routines, focusing on powerful natural ingredients that give real results. Plant-based ingredients like coconut oil, chick pea flour and rosewater stems something called Ayurvedic beauty.  While many people in the western world are just discovering Ayurveda now, which literally means “the Science of Life", this is a 5,000 year old science developed by the sages of India with an emphasis on mind-body balance and plant-based healing. So when we talk about Ayurvedic beauty, it's a very holistic look at beauty with a mind-body balance and connection, and so we're talking about beauty from head-to-toe, inside and out!Beauty and culture expert Meera Estrada shares her go-to recipes and highlights some of her favourite products rooted in the South Asian beauty tradition.

Sahajan Essential Oil Cleanser

Sahajan is a Canadian brand founded by a Canadian-Indian woman with a background in pharmaceuticals. Rooted in Ayurveda, this rich blend of Moringa, Squalane, and Rose oils in Sahajan’s Essential Oil Cleanser nourishes and hydrates the skin while melting through the most stubborn waterproof makeup. It also removes daily grime and pollution, leaving your skin fresh, clean and glowing.Sahajan | $48

Ranavat Radiant Rani Illuminating Botanical Serum

Ranavat Botanics is an LA-based luxury botanical skincare line inspired by the beauty rituals of Indian royalty. The Radiant Rani Serum is called the miracle elixir in Ayurveda because of its brightening and anti-aging benefits with ingredients like saffron, rose and turmeric root. In total, this serum is infused with 18 organic ingredients.The Detox Market | $125

Ranavat Kansa Wand

The Kansa wand is an ancient skincare tool that encourages repair while balancing the skin’s PH. It will also help to increase circulation and lymphatic drainage. If you use it with the serum, you may notice a grey-ness, and that's perfectly fine. That means there's an oxidation happening between the serum and the wand. Simply glide the wand over skin for ten to fifteen minutes, three to four times a week, stimulating energy points on the face. Focus on forehead and under the eyes.The Detox Market | $65

Vasanti Rosewater and Pomegranate Toner + Refreshing Spray

Canadian brand Vasanti is Inclusive, cruelty-free and vegan-friendly. The Refreshing Spray features rosewater & pomegranate – two ingredients that have been used by South Asians since ancient times. These powerful antioxidants heal and nourish the skin, so you’re left with a glowing, healthy complexion. Use as last step in skincare routine, before applying makeup or as setting spray after makeup.Vasanti Cosmetics | $23

DIY Turmeric Face and Body Treatment

Turmeric is the key ingredient in this treatment, known to reduce dullness, fight acne, dark spots and wrinkles. It also brightens and leaves the skin glowing. The lactic acid in yogurt will help dissolve dead skin and tighten pores. It also helps to lock in moisture.


Simply add a pinch of turmeric to a tablespoon of yogurt and a splash of rosewater (optional). Apply to face and neck area. Massage for about 15 – 20 minutes in slow, circular motions before washing off.


Mix in 2 teaspoons of chick pea flour (gram) which is a staple in Indian cooking that helps exfoliate flaky skin. In the shower, apply the scrub with a washcloth, in the same circular motions, and then rinse off and gently towel dry and moisturize. This is a great weekly treatment.

DIY Sweet Almond Body Oil with Essential Oils

Almond oil is a great carrier or base oil and the most popular for body massage (or Abhyanga) in Ayurveda. Known as the "king of nuts", sweet almonds are rich in Vitamins A & E, nourish and improves complexion reviving its natural glow.


Mix two tablespoons of almond oil with 10 drops of essential oil appropriate to your skin type: for dry “vata” skin, use sweet orange; for sensitive “pita” skin, jasmine or sandalwood; and for oily “kapha” skin, lavender is a great choice. This oil treatment is intensely moisturizing, as the oil absorbs instantly and leaves skin smooth, silky, and luminous.  The essential oils offer an aromatherapy treatment as well. Use as a massage oil or massage into damp skin after bathing to lock in moisture.

Dabur Amla Hair Oil

Dabur Amla Hair Oil is one of those super affordable gems that our mothers have been using for years. Amla, also known as Indian gooseberry, is a staple in Ayurveda and contains a lot of Vitamin C (the equivalent of 10 oranges!), and for hair, it not only strengthens and fortifies, but promotes healing and is a grey-reducer. Gently massage into your hair for 10 – 15 minutes with your fingertips and shampoo afterwards.Shoppers Drug Mart | $8

DIY Coconut Oil and Honey Hair Mask

Coconut oil is another one of those staples in South Asian beauty. 100% extra virgin coconut oil is incredibly rich in fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals that instantly nourish and protect the hair. It will increase shine, softness, and manageability while decreasing frizz. Manuka honey, which has incredible moisturizing properties, helps dry, damaged hair and split ends.


Mix one to three tablespoons of coconut oil (dependent on length of hair) with 1 tablespoon of Manuka honey. Apply to dry hair and then comb through from roots to ends. Let sit for 30 minutes and rinse, or leave in overnight for an incredible hydrating treatment. Simply wrap hair in a bun, cover in a shower cap and use a towel over your pillow.[video_embed id='1918019']BEFORE YOU GO: Would you want to work until you're 70 years old?[/video_embed]