10 Unconventional Beauty Ingredients of Ancient India

Indian women are famous the world over for their beauty, among other things. Needless to say, this is due to beauty ingredients handed down from several generations, which have been religiously adapted and modified to suit the times. Conventionally used ingredients from the Indian kitchen to little known secret herbs acknowledged in Ayurveda, traditional Indian wisdom in cosmetology has come a long way in contributing towards the much-coveted for golden complexion and lustrous dark tresses. The amazing aspect is that, what would otherwise be just the humble ingredients of Indian cuisine, were, in fact, integral to the secret beauty routines of Indians, some thousands of years ago. Read on to find out more…

10. Cow dung and urine

Cow dung and urine
Eeks! But true! The cow is a much revered animal in India since ancient times. Besides being useful in many ways, thanks to the varied products derived from it. Even the cow dung and urine found use in several beauty products of ancient times, owing to their antibacterial properties, which protected against several skin-related issues. They were used in detoxifying body and face packs, pimple treatment and cracked heel treatment. Ah! How strange are the paths traversed to enjoy ethereal beauty.

9. Betel Leaves

Betel Leaves
Much valued for their role in traditional religious rituals and medicine, these leaves formed an important part of the Indian culture as well. No post-meal routine or a sumptuous dinner party was said to be complete without chewing on an equally sumptuous paan (betel leaf). But, the surprising and much-lesser known aspect of this leaf is its use in treating acne-prone skin, thanks to their detoxification properties. No wonder, the Mughal Queens were so fond of chewing the leaves often, and probably found it a way to achieve their famed crystal clear complexions.

8. Curry leaves

Curry leaves
These aromatics, so extensively used in Indian cooking. Besides being known for their nutritive content, were also in demand for use in cosmetic products since a long, long time. Owing to their high antioxidant content, they constituted an important ingredient of face and hair products. Whether consumed directly or applied externally to hair or face works wonders in adding that luster to your skin or lush to your hair. Who said curry leaves can only temper your soul and tickle your taste buds?

7. Pearls

Freshwater Pearls
What is now a commonly used ingredient of beauty products was once a luxury reserved to the royalty. Their widespread use in jewelry, besides being rich in antioxidant properties is common knowledge. But, they were used by the upper rung of the Indian society in the form of floral face packs to add that youthful radiance to the skin and making it softer. Do we still wonder why the wear and tear of reigning a large kingdom failed to leave its impact on the beauty of Indian royalty?

6. Sesame

Think Bagels or Tahini But, did you know what an important place sesame seeds occupy in the ancient science of Ayurveda. Which vouches for the collagen-boosting properties of  sesame seeds. Early on, in combination with deodar wood and other ingredients, these seeds made for excellent skin lightening face packs. And, we were thinking of the next best dish to make using their magically nutty-rich flavor!

5. Red lentil flour

Red lentil flour
Most of us know just how great chickpeas are, for our health, being touted for their protein content. But, wait.. Did you know that red lentil flour has been used widely over ages for making the skin soft and curbing hair-fall. So, the next time you head to the kitchen to try some good old red lentil pancakes, think of preserving some flour to be used for your beauty treatments.

4. Coriander seeds

Coriander seeds
These pleasantly aromatic seeds were known for their antiseptic properties since as early as the Indus Valley civilization. This explains their widespread use in treating pimples, acne and other skin-related issues. This apart, women of olden times used it to curb hair fall and help stimulate new hair growth. Of course, this definitely does not undermine its benefits in health and use in sprucing up your favorite dishes.

3. Fenugreek seeds

Fenugreek seeds
Whoa! Another of those commonly used condiments, especially Indian cuisine (Think of the humble dal!). Did you know they were very popularly used as facial scrubs and hair rejuvenators since times immemorial, owing to their fantastic anti-ageing properties.

2. Chickpea flour

Chickpea flour
If you are a hummus lover just like me, or cannot do without falafel on your breakfast table, you might find this interesting. Chickpea flour has traditionally being used for removing tan and softening the skin since a very long time. Ayurvedic proponents vouch for its effective use as an excellent hair pack too!

1. Turmeric

Beauty Ingredients of Ancient India

And, finally, a kitchen spice so commonly used to enrich the flavor and color of Indian cooking. The turmeric! Yes! You heard it right! Full of antioxidants. This ingredient was used since almost 5,000 years, along with skin cleansers like milk or rosewater, to remove tan and add glow. See also, health benefits of turmeric.

Author Bio: Preeti is a freelance content writer and author of “22 poems on love and Life!’ and “The little girl and the river & other poems” published on Amazon.