Guest Post – How to turn your kitchen into an Organic Spa!

Shweta and I went to high school together and reconnected again after almost 15 years! It almost felt like nothing ever changed. She’s the blogger behind The Weekend List, and we also discuss fashion and beauty ideas on a regular basis. We often talk about how natural products we have been using in India for ages is the latest fad in the West. This is a great post with lovely ideas to pamper yourself and create a spa like experience at home – 

I’ve lived in Mumbai, India all my life but my serious addiction to the Internet keeps me fairly clued in as to what the Internet community is talking about. As an Indian it entertains me enormously to see the western world sing praises of the humble coconut oil , turmeric, neem…Basically all things that we have seen in the Indian kitchen for generations.

The same coconut oil I and all my Indian friends were forced to liberally apply on our hair and scalp and tolerate the greasiness and smell (no I don’t like the smell, it doesn’t remind me of the tropics, I live in the tropics I don’t need a reminder) all for hair growth (I shouldn’t complain, Indian hair while not as well groomed, colored, cut is fundamentally thick, strong and healthy)!

Now when the whole world is much more commercialized I have begun to appreciate going back to nature and am a little less mad at my mom and grandmothers for running after me with a big bottle of coconut oil…

So when Sheetal asked me to do a guest post on her blog, we immediately though of doing one on the age of secrets of Indian kitchen beauty that now seem to be exploding everywhere else

So here goes!

Coconut Oil
The cure for everything. We massage to on the scalp and apply it all over our hair 1-2 hours before a shampoo and I personally think this is the reason Indian hair is so prized all over the world while making high quality wigs. Yes you look like a grease ball, yes it drips onto the face when we overdo it, yes it smells like…well as I said its not my fragrance of choice, yes you have to shampoo twice to get rid of the grease…but it nourishes the scalp and strengthens the hair fibre not to mention it works like a deep conditioner. But every good little Indian girl thanks her mother when she grows up with long, strong hair that can withstand pollution, aging and styling abuse! Mix it with juice of a lemon for dandruff or almond oil for extra nourishment!

Oh and did I mention we massage our WHOLE BODY with coconut oil on beauty day and drink coconut water, eat the coconut flesh and cook in coconut oil and use desiccated coconut in many of our recipes since time immemorial! I think you can safely say we are coconuts for coconut!

Fullers Earth for oily skin/acne
In how many ways can I praise thee? I think I could do without food and water for a day but not my beloved fullers earth (or multani mitti as we call it). This is present in every teenagers home, and works magic on oily skinned, acne prone girls like me. It deep cleanses, tightens pores, mattifies, and smoothens skin, basically one step short of magic. Mix it with water or rose water to make a thick paste, apply, let dry and wash of with plain water…magic, pure magic…imagine my shock when my American friend innocently said oh isn’t that kitty litter (mock faints here)…no its not just kitty litter it’s the reason a greaseball like me looks normal! 

Milk or cream or yogurt with turmeric and chickpea flour for general skin brightening and health
The milk/yogurt/cream does the skin brightening, the gram flour helps in exfoliation and excess hair removal, the turmeric fights infection. Make a thick paste of the ingredients and apply on face and neck ( allover the body if your are that ambitious), wait a few minutes and scrub off with water. We call this the all over mask for everything.

Rosewater as a toner
A great way to close your pores without alcohol or chemical laced toners. Spritz it post make up for that dewy look.

Egg and plain yogurt mask for hair
Whisk a small bowl of yogurt with 1-2 eggs (depending on hair length). Put that glop on damp hair and it for a full 30 minutes and shampoo ,condition and style as usual. Put yourself through this torture atlas once a week and be rewarded with super strong hair!

Neem leaf paste or Neem Oil
Infection? Neem, Pimples? Neem, Unexplained mysterious rashes? Neem, Dandruff? Neem, Moths in your wardrobe? Just keep some sun dried neem leaves…you get the drift…Neem is our answer to most everything. It is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, hypoallergic and when consumed (it tastes like crap) a powerful blood purifier!

Castor Oil for thick eyelashes
I can always always tell when someone is wearing fake lashes…it reminds me of a poor Marilyn Monroe look alike…nothing beats the real deal and I am mortally scared of bringing chemical formulations like latisse near my eyes so the solution is old clean mascara wand dipped in castor oil. Its realllllyyyy greasy so apply before bedtime and wash of in the morning for luscious lashes!

Beer Hair wash for volume and shine
In all fairness I don’t know if this is a traditional Indian beauty treatment – I can’t imagine the sweet Indian grandmother chugging beer and pouring the rest over her head. All I know is a number of Indian women swear by it. Simply rinse your hair with water post shampoo and lightly towel dry so that hair is not dripping wet, apply flat beer or spray it on and leave for 20 minutes. Then rinse off with water and condition your ends using regular conditioner as usual. The shine and bounce is unparalleled! Remember to use only flat beer, i.e. just leave the beer bottle open overnight

Fresh Papaya for Non granular exfoliation and skin brightening
This works better than a facial I promise you. Fresh papaya – either grate it or mash it with a spoon or whir it in the food processor for a second. Apply that glop all over your skin for 20 minutes and shower off. Smooth , bright skin…I wish I knew the science behind how the humble papaya works better than your trained facialist but I don’t…

Ghee massage for extremely dry skin
Ghee is something I have everyday. The benefits are simply too long to list down and I am not even going to try…Ok ok I will try.

Ghee is a traditional Indian clarified butter used in cooking and skin care. It is famous for bone strengthening, anti aging, high in vitamins A & E, safe for people with dairy allergies, anti inflammatory, anti cancer, phew…you get the drift.

I realized ghee was getting famous when Kourtney Kardashian (of the much loved or is it hated? Kardashian clan) said she has a spoonful of ghee everyday to prevent skin aging (as do I). Be warned though that use only ghee made from cows milk and while ingesting ghee is good for anybody application of ghee is only for the very dry of skin. Works great on hands, feet and lips though!

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