Herbs for beauty

Let me share an experience…..

It was early 2005 and I was to get married. I had taken appointments for sittings in a beauty parlor for the bridal package. It included facial, bleach, manicure, waxing and all other regular finishing touches. There were preparatory sittings scheduled ten days before wedding day so that the final day was assured to give best results. So there I was on the table to experience the facial pack which was supposed to rejuvenate and clarify my skin around ten days before the wedding.

After a cumbersome process for more than two hours involving burning sensations from the bleach, the pack was cleared off and I was asked to wash my face. It was then that I realized that instead of flaunting glowing skin, I would now have to sport blemished skin with redness all over. The bleach was actually to harsh for my skin . Though this was not a very pleasant experience I consoled myself that this was just the preparatory sittings and asked the beautician to modify the chemical components in the facial when she does it just before the wedding day. She readily accepted. Soon the thought of new life ahead took over my blemishes and when I stepped into the parlor one Day before the auspicious day for the last and final facial, the blemishes had almost disappeared. I then reminded the lady at the parlor to use milder bleach this time and so did she promise. There was another sitting of three hours this time and after I washed my face , I was red with anger this time and perhaps even confused and ashamed to be in front of my mom who was always against chemical use on skin. The faint rashes of the earlier facial were now substituted with dark red blemishes and scars. These were very prominent and the worse part was that there was no time left for self healing.

This has happened with nearly half of my friends and colleagues in one or the other facial sitting. But still the need of looking good carries us off to the parlor. But perhaps now we have a choice, a choice which deserves to be explored; that of using herbal beauty products. Just as herbs are used as spices and medications, they are also used as beauty agents. The cleansing properties of gritty scrubs, antiseptic properties of herbs, cooling and toning characters of mud based natural products and moisturizing properties of emollients are all exploited in the beautification industry. The benefits of the most commonly used beauty products are mentioned below:


Turmeric is a major ingredient in many face packs. It is the best choice for glowing bright skin. The flavanoids in turmeric give them this character. Moreover the antiseptic properties treat any mild infections and sores. Turmeric maintains the ph of the skin and this treats pigmentation of the skin. Hence turmeric paste has conventionally been applied on the elbows, face and neck to lighten the skin and keep it a fresh.


Sandalwood is used in the form of a powder or a paste. It is a cooling agent and treats blemishes, prickly heat and other skin disorders related to excessive heat. On account of its pleasant aroma, it has been a component in many body oils too. It is a good face pack as it tones the skin and also cools and clarifies it.


This is perhaps the strongest antibacterial and anti fungal agent amongst all herbs. Hence it is applied in paste form on skin to get rid of pimples and acne. Sometimes, to purify the skin and remove excessive fatty deposits, neem extract is also taken in orally to gain a healthy clear glowing skin. Another area where it is generally applied is in treating dandruff. This is also due to fungal infestation and hence the anti fungal properties of neem are valuable.


This is used to prevent premature hair loss and to nourish the hair and keep them moisturized to prevent drying. In addition it is also used to revitalize the skin by removing the dead cells and energizing the skin.


The extracts of chamomile flower is also used to cleanse the eyes and give them a shine. Also, it is used in shampoos to cleanse the hair.

Aloe Vera

This is primarily used as a humectant to moisturize the skin and hair. It is an effective component of face packs with honey and kelp.


Though predominantly used in hair nourishment henna is also applied on the skin in various forms. For hair care henna paste is made from the powdery extract of henna plant. It is then mixed with egg white and thoroughly applied for thick, shiny hair. In combination with coffee powder, amla powder and onion peels henna makes a perfect hair conditioner. Henna is also used to color the body, primarily hands and feet and for making temporary tattoos on the skin