Still today, Indian women cultivate and transmit beauty secrets and rituals that date back hundreds of years.
For body care, oils, scrubs and powders are the essentials. Massages are a tradition where men and women coat themselves in essential oils.
Powders made from natural products are also heavily used. Among their many purposes, curcuma powder is used as a scrub, and sandalwood powder for its dermatological and antiperspirant properties.
When it comes to face care, “fairness” creams are essential for having a light complexion, which is the leading beauty criterion in India.
And finally, they use “Kajal” to enhance their eyes, which is a natural balm made from ghee, that is both a cosmetic and an eye-care product that prevents irritations.
Indians use a number of different products for their hair: henna in powder form is used as a dye but sometimes as a shampoo as well since it protects the scalp and gives hair a silky texture. The oils that are often used guarantee shiny, healthy hair.
Did you know ?
1/ Three Indian stars belong to the very private circle of L’Oréal faces: actress and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai; Freida Pinto who was discovered in the film Slumdog Millionnaire (2008) and more recently, the actress Sonam Kapoor who stars in Bollywood is the new L’Oréal Paris face in India.
These three icons perfectly incarnate ideal Indian beauty: fair complexion, long dark silky hair and big expressive eyes.
2/ The Bindi – or kumkum – is the dot that Indians draw between their eyes.
It is a religious symbol but it can also be used as a mere cosmetic ornament. Coming from the Sanskrit word “bindu” which means “a drop”, the bindi represents a person’s mystical third eye and symbolises good luck.
Traditionally applied with red kum-kum powder, today it is sometimes replaced by stickers of different shapes, sizes and colours.
3/ Each beauty attribute has its importance in India but its order of priority is not the same between men and women, although complexion is still key.
For women: 1. a fair complexion, 2. a blemish-free complexion, 3. an attractive figure, 4. beautiful eyes, 5. long silky hair
For men: 1. an athletic build, 2. a fair complexion, 3. a blemish-free complexion, 4. expressive eyes, 5. strong hair
Source : L’Oreal consumer insight study, 2011