Forgotten Everyday Traditional Beauty and Health Routine



Our busy schedules, lifestyle, travels, and thinking are visible on our skin and hair. The skin and hair then take us to salons and doctors. The spas and treatments are upgraded instead of lowering in magnitude. It becomes a cycle and one tends to wonder how did our grandparents manage without these? Here comes the story of the routines which were traditionally meant for healthy skin, hair, and mind. Here are some I have understood and found true in my case.


A thin layer of jet black kajal completes our look by elegantly defining our eyes. Kajal is traditionally made at home and never purchased. The soot made from sandalwood, ghee, and other few earthy sources with drops of castor oil as a lubricant is the best cure for dry eyes.

Staring at the screen for long, we tend to forget to blink our eyes as often as we should. Subsequently, our eyes hurt enough that keeping them open causes added headaches. We then resort to artificial tear drops for instant relief. Fun fact, artificial tear drops contain the oils that are used in natural homemade kajal. Kajal, which we buy from shops, does not help cure the dry eyes because they tend to clog the ducts of the tear line. This is logical as we apply eyeliners and pencils made of chemicals to ensure they last the whole day and never smudge. We coat these on the thinnest skin- our eyelids!

Home-made kajal tends to sometimes tickle in the eyes when applied the first few times. These sensations naturally fade away in a few seconds. The oils in the kajal tend to form a protective layer sometimes blurring the vision for a second or two. The best part, the materials in kajal tend to open the tear ducts and relieve the pain and burning through its natural cooling effect.

Oiling our hairs

There are enough articles on the pros and cons of oiling the hair. Some say it must be done hours or maybe overnight before washing our hair. Some articles say leaving the oil long on hair will block the follicles and attract dirt. Though I am not an expert, the honest biggest mistake I made was to let my hair dry without oil to avoid dandruff (dermatological advice it was!). The advice led to thinning of my hair and added ignorance to learning the right way of oiling from mom! 

Different oils are supposed to be used depending on the situation. The light oils work well for everyday use, the heavy ones for pre-wash. The correct way of oiling ensures keeping the scalp healthy, without dandruff, and hair moisturized. The best time to oil the hair is when the scalp is clean. The same is followed in Spa treatments too. Yet, we tend to let the scalp dry though clean for days until we have to wash. Depending on hair type and scenarios, regular oiling of hair and ensuring to avoid dryness goes a long way in keeping the strands strong, without splits, and avoiding graying.

Wooden combs

One of the best inventions with the simple logic of avoiding plastic comb’s static energy. The wooden combs do not hurt the scalp as the plastic combs do. I confidently tell this because I am not able to keep a plastic comb on my scalp ever since I shifted to wooden ones. The wooden comb ensures no hair breakage too.

Flower in our hair:



We Indians live in a tropical region that is hot and humid. Our scalps tend to clog up and have an unpleasant mild smell once the shampoo and conditional smell wears out. Jasmine flowers in the hair were one of the routines that not just helped avoid having a stinky scalp. It also was a way to enhance the mood with the fragrance. 

While at fragrances, the earthy smell of sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli, saffron, and so on in our bath powders and tilaks were all means of pocket-friendly aroma therapy. If not for religious beliefs, the garlands, and intense sticks used for worshiping had the same effect of positive fragrances without needing luxurious essential oils! 

Bindi or Pootu

Traditional perfect round pootus are achieved with a base made of ghee and turmeric. This base is followed by applying Kumkum. Kumkum is traditionally made with turmeric, lemon, and screw-pine juice – all the ingredients we look for in our face packs.


The oil bath with no chemical soap was sufficient and there is no need for moisturizers after this. It has the added benefit of keeping the skin even-toned.

All this small stuff has kept our grandparents happy and hence they glow without cosmetics while we look like grandmas and grandpas. 

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