Winters are a special season for me. I remember waking up to the smell of Nani’s (grandma) wood fire stove and hot milk, in a large cauldron, steaming up the kitchen. And there she would be dressed in a simple sari, glowing in the warmth of the fire. Her skin always glowed. To all my skin woes, at 16, her answer would be short and crisp, “Put some ghee” or “put some turmeric” or “put mustard oil” or “Tamater khao”. ‘Eww’ was my standard reply to all of hers! I was sixteen, a modern girl! Modern, smart girls don’t put all that gunk on their face. Puhhhlease, Nani you are so old!
Life in fierce winters abroad and endless skin and hair issues drove me to the end of my patience with the cosmetics meant for dry-winter skin. With little results from them, I decided to take on some of Nani’s old eww suggestions. And they worked! I can bet you she must have done a happy, slow twirl in heaven to see me finally vanquished. Sigh.
I learnt a lot about skin and hair care from her. She was my grandfather’s second wife and devoted her life to staying pretty! She dressed beautifully, always prim and proper in her gorgeous sarees, jewellery and bindi. In her words, “Beta, Nana ji ki aankhen sirf meri orr honi chahiyae” (Your grandfather should have eyes only for me), and they did.
I share with you some of her secret recipes and ingredients that she used to keep her skin radiant and soft despite the fierce Nainital winters.
A face that leads a thousand ships: this winter, keep it radiant!
1. Hydrate your skin with pure cow ghee: Take a little dollop of ghee and mix in half a teaspoon of lemon juice. Gently rub it in circular motion on cleansed skin covering the face, neck and decollate. Massage for 5 mins and wash with warm water and a gentle soap like Dove. Avoid using facewash.
2. Clarify the skin with Besan, cream, turmeric and un-boiled milk: Milk in 2 tbsp besan (gram flour) with 1 tbsp cream, a pinch of turmeric and a tablespoon of un-boiled milk. Apply on cleansed skin and keep for 20 mins. Wet your finger tips with warm water and gently remove the pack by rubbing it in a circular motion. Wash with warm water and moisturize.
3. Smooth lips: Lips need special care in winters as they get chapped and dry easily. The best trick is to avoid completely licking the lips. Licking expedites dehydrating the sensitive skin. Non-scented Vaseline balms are a good carry along and applied frequently. What also works magic for smooth lips is to gently exfoliate them with a mix of olive oil and fine sugar. Just two minutes gently and wash off. It helps rejuvenate the skin removing dead skin and getting fresh skin over. You can do this almost daily!
4. Tan free: You can soak in the sun fearlessly with this night care, of course don’t forget the sunscreen. Make a mix of half cup pure rosewater, quarter cup glycerin, 3 tbsp mulethi (licorice) powder and 10 drops of rose oil. You can mix and store it in a sterilized jar or make a fresh batch every time. For me its convenient to make a batch for a month. Apply this gently on cleansed and scrubbed skin. You can keep it on overnight too and wash in the morning. If that doesn’t work you then keep for 30 mins and wash off with warm water. Applying a good night cream after this is a good idea.
Sunscreen! My Naani had no sunscreen in her skin routine but she never left the house without an umbrella. She would be often teased for it but she stuck to it. I am not sure if she understood that the sun was harmful to the skin or she did it out of intuition. In her own words, she would say, “dhoop mein meri shakal jhoolus jaati hai” (the sun dries up and burns my skin). Protecting her skin from the direct rays of the skin helped her skin stay young and blemish free till the ripe age of 80. How is that for precaution? Wow, isn’t it.
Here is a skin protocol that one must follow to keep your skin young. UV rays are extremely damaging to the skin, they accelerate ageing as well as cause scarring and blemishes. In winters, our skin is more prone to sun damage as we tend to seek the warmth of the sun and avoid using umbrella or sun shade. Sun damage shows up on our skin as blemishes, pigmentation, wrinkles and dullness.
- Don’t step out in the sun without a hat and glasses
- The sunscreen application protocol is: The moment you wake up, wash and apply sunscreen. If you are going to be indoors, repeat at 8/9, then at 1pm, then at 3pm, and at 5 pm. If you are going to be outdoors, repeat every 2 hours covering the entire face and hands.
Bodylicious this winter is possible! Continue reading on the next page to know how!