Lessons from My Mother: Skincare

In general, as I've matured into my ammachi self, I've realized a lot of the advice my mother harped on me is finally clicking to me. So in honor of her, I decided to kick-off this series on Ammachic: Lessons from My Mother. The inaugural post will be about skincare, particularly a detox regime I implement, which is inspired by my mother and other experts I follow.

Though I am by no means a makeup guru, skincare runs in my blood. Some of my earliest childhood memories is of my mom whipping up concoctions of turmeric, saffron, yogurt, sandalwood, and hibiscus, and then using me as her guinea pig. Obviously, the purpose of the first-born in general is to be the trial and error for parents; in my case, it wasn't just for child-rearing, but beauty purposes. I've embraced the position.

If you haven't seen a picture of my mom, please see above. The woman, at 52, does not age and she credits it all to her concoctions. I will admit now, in honor of Mother's day, I never had awful acne teenage years because of her efforts. I've had flawless skin up until 20, which was when I was fully away from her potions. Growing up, I had a turmeric and yogurt body wrap once a week, I washed my face with basin powder, yogurt and lemon, and I slept with a sandalwood mask that my mom would grind by hand with an illegally begotten piece of sandalwood via my grandfather in Kerala. She got relatives stationed in the Middle East to send oils of oud and pearl cream that Arab princesses allegedly used. She made shampoo out of hibiscus leaves and okra water, which left my hair smooth, shiny, and frizz-free. On top of all of this, she worked full-time as a night-shift ER nurse. I basically grew up with my own personal spa and never knew it till I had to pay for sub par treatment as a adult.

I've had to come up with my own version and my routines vary depending on my current needs. This routine is for when my skin needs a good cleaning and has just been dull and ravaged with breakouts. I've made it into a quick video for you, but here is a step-by-step breakdown, with links to the items used and to my sources that guide me:

  1. Cleanse face with Micellar Water. I started using this recently after seeing Priya Mooky's skincare routine video. Her skin is flawless and I've been loving this recommendation.

  2. Face mist of my personal Rose Water concoction. I don't use a fancy brand one. Mine is made with a few ingredients mixed in a spray bottle and costs me about $8. I will share this on a later date!

  3. A deep cleansing mask: this is a home remedy I got from the OG Internet grandma Farah Dukhai. Its two spoons of Indian Healing/Benotine Clay mixed with Apple Cider Vinegar, until it becomes creamy. Only use plastic to mix, because the clay reacts with metal. Add ACV until the mixture becomes creamy and thick. Apply a thick layer, even on your eyebrows. This mask is incredible because it sucks all the impurities out of your face. The vinegar can make your eye water and it will be uncomfortable. However, while wearing this mask, you face will begin to pulsate because the blood rushes to it. Leave on until completely dry, which takes about 30 minutes. This mask is really strong so only do once every two weeks. It is so incredible, and, though I don't fully understand the magic of it, Farah breaks it down great.

  4. After doing the clay mask, I do a Charcoal Gel Mask for 20 minutes. My skin usually needs some cooling down, so this gel helps soothe and the charcoal draws out any further impurities in the pores.

  5. Finally, I wrap up with a seaweed sheet mask. This particular one was a Secret Santa gift (s/o to Sheena). Seaweed extract has high quantities of Vitamin C, which is key to revitalizing dull skin and it also drys out acne rashes and pimples, while keeping the skin smooth. End with some more of my rosewater concoction and viola! Done.

This entire routine takes me about an hour or so to do. I like to throw on the kimono and fold laundry while waiting for the masks to do their magic. Below is a video of me running through the steps. Happy Mother's Day to you and yours and stay tune for more installments of this series, Lessons from My Mother.



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