#FlowerPower|Embrace Flowers And Flower Extracts To Upgrade Your Skin And Hair Routine This Diwali
The magic of blooms can transform your beauty regime
PASTES, PACKS AND PASSIONS
When I stir up beauty recipes, I am in my element. I so love what I do that I often say ‘I do what I dream; I dream what I do’. And I pray to the universe that this may remain forever true. My studio and kitchen are often hit by these frenzied moments of creativity, when I bring out on my worktable bottles of oils, essences, fresh flowers and whatever else my mind fancies. These are moments when the spirit of the flower witch within me gets its full expression. I am in the throes of passion by accident: Just a smell, word, memory, taste, sight, touch, song, mood— anything sensorial or emotional can trigger this happy madness. And with immediate effect that recipe/innovation/creation has to be instantly manifested. I am lucky that I am surrounded by very gentle, generous and extremely patient souls who are forever ready for experiments.
Some of the recipes below are results of my moments of madness, which I have sometimes created on my own, at times with my mother, Ruby Biswas, and my colleague, Shruti Anand. The others have been generously shared by my friends Kshama Shamsukha, Aparna Gupta and Vasudha Rai; Ayurveds Dr Ipsita Chatterjee and Dr Sharad Kulkarni; and by beauty brands like RAS Luxury Oils.
This flower, I think, is the most popular flower in beauty care and I am especially fond of the desi gulab. Rose heals emotions and is excellent for skin and hair care. It is cleansing, calming, moisturizing and promotes youthfulness.
Desi gulab and green tea ice pack: To remove under eye dark circles, take a cup of green tea liquor and mix it with almond oil (¼ tsp) and crushed desi gulab petals (1/2 tsp). Freeze this in an ice tray. Once a day, take one ice cube in a soft cotton cloth or gauge and gently press it around your eyes for three to five minutes.
(by Ruby Biswas)
Called jaba in Bengali, this vibrant flower has numerous beauty benefits. Being rich in vitamin C it boosts collagen production, thus helping in brightening and firming skin. It also nourishes and strengthens hair roots. In fact, the famous Jabakusum oil has been an essential part of Bengali households, as well as a Bengali bride’s wedding trousseau. According to Dr Chatterjee, hibiscus-infused oil can be excellent for hair re-growth and the paste of the flower can be used as a natural hair dye.
Jaba-infused coconut oil: This recipe is my take on the flower-infused oil. In one cup of coconut oil, add one cup of fresh jaba buds and store it in a transparent jar. Keep it in sunlight for 4–5 weeks, stirring the contents once a day. Then strain the oil and store it in a dark bottle. You may add a few drops of rosemary and ginger essential oils if you wish. Take a teaspoon of this oil and massage it on to the scalp, spreading it across the lengths. Keep it on for twenty minutes and then shampoo as usual.
This quintessential India flower is popularly known as geinda and is known for its ability to fight acne, deep-clean skin pores and brighten complexion. It also adds shine and health to your hair.
Geinda and orange body scrub: To remove tan and exfoliate skin, especially elbows, knuckles, ankles and heels, make a scrub with coconut oil (1 cup), orange peel powder (1 tbsp), geinda petals (1 cup) and sugar (½ cup). Massage this on damp skin for ten minutes and then shower.
The humble aprajita (blue peony) flower has suddenly come into the limelight and is being considered as an exotic bloom. Traditionally offered to Goddess Kali, this flower is found in abundance near temples in Kolkata. So, not so exotic for me. It is often used in Ayurvedic treatments for its cooling effect on the circulatory and nervous systems.
Aprajita and black tea hair dye: To give your hair a deep indigo glow, make a strong cup of liquor with black tea leaves (2 tbsp). Strain out the tea leaves and add fresh/dry aprajita flowers (1 cup) to the liquor. Simmer for ten minutes. Let it cool and then run it through a food processor to get a smooth paste. Apply it on your hair, starting from the roots and carefully going down to the tips. Leave it on for forty-five minutes. Rinse off and shampoo as usual.
This versatile Indian flower has several beauty benefits. Popularly known as kamal or padma, lotus contains linoleic acid along with several other nutrients that make it an ideal ingredient for balancing skin’s sebum production, brightening complexion and hydrating skin.
Lotus and coconut face oil: In a 100 ml transparent glass jar, infuse coconut oil (you can use jojoba, olive or avocado oil, or a blend of all these oils, as well) with a cup of fresh lotus petals. Let it rest for 4–6 weeks. Keep it in the sunlight every day and shake it up once a day. After the resting period, strain out the oil and add 2–4 drops of blue lotus essential oil. You can use it as a face massage oil.
Touted now as one of the most healing and nourishing oils, calendula has for ages been used for its curative properties. Sangeeta Jain, co-founder, RAS Luxury Oils, who works extensively with calendula, points out that this flower has been used in several homoeopathic preparations. According to Jain, calendula oil is so gentle and conditioning that it can also be used to massage newborn babies.
Calendula face cream: To make calendula-infused oil, take dried calendula flowers in a glass jar. Then fill it with almond oil till the petals are immersed completely. Close the lid and keep it in a warm, dark place. Shake every day for 5 to 6 weeks. Strain the oil into another fresh glass jar. Mix 150 gm of this calendula-infused oil with 50 gm sweet almond oil, 75 gm shea butter and 50 gm cocoa butter in a small bowl in a double boiler, on a low flame. As the ingredients start melting, stir well for fifteen minutes on a low flame. Transfer the contents into a glass jar; let it cool and set.
(by Sangeeta Jain)
This popular fragrant bloom is extensively used for its gorgeous scent as well as for its hair and skin benefits. It has cooling and moisturizing properties.
Mogra and milk face pack: Boil mogra flowers (1 tbsp) in milk (½ cup) with honey (1 tsp). Let it cool down and then blend it to make a thick paste. Apply on face and neck and leave it to dry for 15–20 minutes. Wash off with splashes of cold water.