I could discuss brows for hours. My first ever beauty treatment was at sixteen to get my brows threaded; for many South Asian girls, the ancient Indian hair removing process is one of the earliest beauty rites of passage. I see my favorite eyebrow shaper Daxita Vaghela every six weeks or so for threading and a tint. Who needs Botox when you have a good brow shape? In-between visits I use a thickening brow gel such as Glossier, Boy Brow, £14, Glossier to brush them up and fix hairs in place. BBB London, Brow Build Gel, £20, Look Fantastic is a great option, too.
What is the best technique to color my hair without it going orange?
Like many South Asian women, my hair is naturally jet black, but I like it to look a little softer and more brunette. For the past few years, I’ve been seeing Anita Rice at the Buller & Rice Salon in London every six months or so. She paints a tint on my hair that only lifts the color slightly. With each appointment, the shade lifts a little more. I’ve now reached a dark brown balayage shade I absolutely love. It’s the lightest shade I can go without bleach, which suits me just fine. In-between appointments I use Moroccanoil, Color Depositing Mask in Cocoa, £28.85, Look Fantastic which knocks out any brassy tones.
What is the best treatment to help smooth acne scarring?
I get asked this question a lot, as acne scarring can look more obvious on darker complexions. I am a big fan of regular micro-needling and swear by the Skin Pen device, which is available nationwide in lots of great clinics. Two of my favorite aestheticians – Nilam Holmes and Fatma Shaheen – use it for skin smoothing and collagen building. If it’s good enough for them, it’s definitely good enough for me.
Which type of serum should I use to stop my skin from looking dull?
My ride-or-die skincare ingredient is vitamin C. I use it every single morning and have done so for the past ten years or so. I am convinced it’s the reason my skin looks better now in my mid-thirties than a decade ago – along with daily SPF, too! I love the OG SkinCeuticals, Phloretin CF Serum, £145, but it is definitely an investment. Another great option is Balance Me, Vitamin C Repair Serum, £32, Look Fantastic which I often recommend to friends looking to make a start on a more considered skincare regimen.
What are the best blushers for South Asian complexions?
The textures, formulas and color pay-off from blushers have improved so much in the past five years. You can now get really excellent glow-giving cream blushers that look incredible on brown skin. I love Rose Inc, Cream Blush in Azalea, £23, Liberty London. It’s the perfect deep pink that can be used on the lips, too. Tower 28 is another one of my favorite new launches of 2021; the Tower 28, BeachPlease Luminous Tinted Balm in Golden Hour, £18, Cult Beauty is the most flattering peachy-coral I’ve tried in years.
What’s the best hair removal machine?
I’ve been asked this question quite a few times because for South Asian skin tones, the wrong lasers and IPL can cause hyperpigmentation. Around ten years ago I had a course of the Soprano Ice laser for my underarms, and it did a great job with hardly any discomfort. Other than that, I must say I’m pretty low maintenance – a basic razor in the shower for my legs suits me just fine.
Do you oil your scalp, and how often?
Hair oiling is an ancient Indian ritual that is part of so many shared childhood memories in South Asian households. As a young girl, once a week my grandmother or mother would apply castor oil into my scalp and massage it in. Left overnight and washed out the next morning, hair oiling is said to promote healthier, thicker hair. I still do it once a week as an adult and as a mother now myself, I oil my kids’ hair, too. One of my favorites is the Fable & Mane, HoliRoots Hair Oil, £29, Cult Beauty.