Indian mothers. For those of you who aren’t of Indian ethnicity let me indulge you in a little ‘Reena-pedia’ definition of the term – An over-bearing, parental figure with an insatiable need to feed and a never ending list of holistic cures for any ailment. 9 times out of 10 that ‘cure’ will include the use of turmeric (or ‘haldi’ if you’re desi like me). Got a headache? Drink some turmeric milk. Developed a nasty blemish overnight? Rub some turmeric paste on it. Have an ungrateful, overzealous boss who partakes in ‘selective hearing’ at the mere mention of a raise? Throw some turmeric powder at them. Turmeric is in abundance when you live in an Indian household. I shouldn’t poke fun really; I suspect one day my daughter will taunt me of my obsession with coconut oil (kids can be mean sometimes). However, when you’re Indian, turmeric is the first, last and only option.
That statement was boldly apparent during my wedding. Cue extremely embarrassing picture…
…Shocking isn’t it? I’m going to need a large glass of wine to help me forget that picture ever existed. That was me during my ‘Haldi ceremony‘ (‘Maiyan‘ if you’re a fellow Sikh); which is performed on Indian brides all over the world. Pre-wedding rituals dictate that the bride-to-be must be covered head to toe by her family and friends in a thick turmeric paste to ensure a ‘pre-marital’ glow for her big day. I can’t tell you how much that annoyed me. I had turmeric in places that didn’t need to glow…thanks a lot ‘best friend’. Although, looking back at my wedding pictures, the stuff kinda worked!
I vaguely remember my childhood days hating the stuff. I once (reluctantly) asked my mother to reduce the amount of haldi in her food, because the kids at school thought I had Jaundice. Of course, I approached this request with great caution. If there’s one thing you must learn about Indian mothers it’s that their ‘bullshit’ tolerance is pretty low. However, turmeric has come a long way since my childhood. Gone are the notions of yellow-stained fingertips and lingering smell, turmeric is now seen as an Ayurvedic treatment loved by many.
Turmeric contains compounds called Curcuminoids, the most important of which is Curcumin. This active ingredient contains a high potency of anti-inflammatory properties known to treat a number of skin conditions as well as providing medicinal benefits. Applying turmeric to the skin can help treat acne, eczema, rosacea and can also improve skin rejuvenation. Applying turmeric to the skin can provides anti-ageing benefits due to free radicals which fights against toxins.
It’s safe to say that turmeric has become a regular in kitchens all over the world and today, I’m sharing with you a few beauty tips which allows you to incorporate turmeric into your beauty routine. **WARNING You do run the risk of looking like the lost member of the Simpsons family, but don’t worry it does fade**
The Do-It-All Face mask
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
1 teaspoon of honey
3 teaspoons of milk (or yogurt depending on your skin type)
Mix together till it forms a semi-thick paste and apply directly to the face and neck
This do-it-all face mask delivers results for all skin types. Swap out the milk for yogurt if you have acne-prone skin. It leaves you with an ethereal glow as well as providing exfoliation for dead skin cells. If you have acne scaring or hyper pigmentation, this mask is heaven sent to even those out. Leave it on for 10-20 minutes (depending on how much time you have), rinse and follow up with a good moisturiser.
The Best Dark Circle Corrector
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2-3 teaspoons of pineapple juice (fresh rather than the concentrated. added sugar kind)
Mix together to form a loose paste and apply to your under eyes for 30 minutes. Wash off and apply a an eye cream.
Both turmeric and pineapple has lightening properties so applying a mixture of both to your under eyes will make a visible difference in just a week. Turmeric also contains anti-ageing ingredients so it works well at tackling those fine lines. Please avoid the lid area when applying this mixture, unless, of course, you’re looking for an entirely new problem for your eyes.
The Anti-Dandruff Treatment
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
3 tablespoons of coconut oil
Mix together to form a liquid emulsion and apply thoroughly throughout the scalp. Leave to rest for 1-2 hours, rinse with shampoo and style as normal.
Dandruff is the manifestation of cells; which are renew at a rapid rate on the scalp. The natural oils of your scalp mixed with the formation of the epidermis forms a cluster of cells which have not had time to dry out gradually. Turmeric has antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which naturally cleanses the scalp and reduces dandruff by stimulating blood circulation.
The Skin Imperfection Eraser
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
Mix together to form a paste and apply directly on the affected area. Leave overnight and wash off in the morning. Apply nightly for two weeks.
Much like the face mask, this mixture will lighten hyper-pigmentation, scaring and any other dark imperfections you may have on your skin. Both turmeric and lemon juice have huge skin lightening properties; which will fade your marks away in a more natural way than any skin lightening cream. It also works wonders for dark underarms, elbows and knees.
The Painless Hair Remover
5 teaspoons sea salt
3 teaspoons turmeric
6 teaspoons milk
Mix together to form a loose ‘body scrub’ type emulsion. Rub over the area where you would like hair to be removed. Continue rubbing for 5 minutes and rinse with water. Continue daily until you see a reduction in hair growth.
This isn’t a quick fix so don’t throw your razor away just yet. The sea salt and turmeric act as an abrasion against the hair follicles. Continued use of this mixture will gradually reduce hair growth and, in some areas, lighten the hairs so they are less visible.
The Best Anti-Ageing Hand Treatment
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 tablespoons olive oil
Mix together and apply mixture to the back of your hands. Leave on for 15 minutes or place hands in treatment gloves for an hour. Rinse off and apply a luxurious hand cream.
Your hands are the first thing to age you. Your face may say 30, but the wrinkles on your hands may tell a different story. Both olive oil and turmeric have anti-ageing properties; which delve deep into the layers of skin providing nourishment for wrinkle-prone skin. Keep this treatment up for as long as you can and you will ensure your hands look youthful and supple.
The Cracked Heel Rescuer
3 tablespoons Neem oil
2 teaspoons turmeric
Mix together and apply the mixture 30 minutes before a warm bath. Allow the mixture to melt off in the bath and follow with a thick slathering of foot cream.
Turmeric heals inflammation as well as having soothing properties. Neem oil is a vegetable oil pressed from the fruits and seeds of the neem (Azadirachta indica), an evergreen tree which is endemic to the Indian subcontinent. Neem oil is a natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agent; which kills nasty foot fungus and any bacteria lurking around causing damage to your precious tootsies.
What are your favourite at-home beauty treatments? Comment below with your suggestions of what I could try next.