South Asian facial masks are one of the rare treasures of natural skincare treatments rooted in tradition. Using only natural ingredients, the skincare masks have become generational, passed down from mothers to grandmothers, to aunts, and birthed in countries such as Pakistan and India. In this part of the world, core beauty regimes lie within the ingredients they grow, and in this article, I will be sharing how to make two of our most famous facials, known to provide fulfilling results sourced directly from the earth.
Multani mitti and Haldi face masks are known to have the reputation of being incredibly nourishing and exceptionally cleansing. Haldi, meaning Turmeric in English, is a traditional ingredient of Indian facials. Haldi is known for its miraculous powers to produce a natural brightening glow to your face. Also used as a culinary spice, the bright yellow powder is said to hold the key to treating acne and supporting skin health. Studies even support the growing evidence that a compound found in turmeric can be used to treat various dermatological diseases. Multani mitti, meaning earth/clay in Urdu, is a porous clay, used as a natural cleanser. The place of origin where this clay is mined is in Multan, Pakistan, where it is exported across the Indian subcontinent, and is considered a promising skin product. High in minerals and water, the clay is known for its brightening and anti-inflammatory properties.
Multani mitti is also known by its other name: Fuller’s Earth. This astringent skin product is a staple mask when visiting salons in Pakistan for a day of relaxation, or at home when all you want is a self-care day to focus on the needs of your body and mind. The advantages of using this traditional clay mask are known to many, and as a user myself, the results certainly show it. Here are a few of the benefits listed below:
Fights acne: Multani mitti has a mattifying effect on your skin, and therefore allows the clay to remove impurities and dead skin cells and controls the production of excess oil. In turn, this mask not only exfoliates your skin, but also works in eliminating whiteheads and blackheads.
Combats inflammation: Multani mitti is rich with cooling and calming properties. This makes it a completely natural remedy for sunburns, infections or inflammations irritating your skin.
Anti-ageing: This clay is traditionally known for its skin-tightening effects. It reduces fine lines and is typically put under your eyes to reduce dark eye circles, and overall brighten your appearance.
Before trying this facial at home, it is important to note that this facial may not be suitable for those with sensitive or dry skin as this type of facial absorbs oils. For someone with dry or sensitive skin, this may likely lead to redness or irritation.
Using this product in moderation is important. Whilst it comes with a wealth of benefits, overusing it may still strip the skin of its moisture. Applying the mitti once every two weeks will help you reap the rewards of this skincare gem. A common custom in Pakistan when using this as a facial, is to add a few drops of lemon and rosewater to the mask. This not only smooths the consistency of the clay, but it also provides an aromatic fragrance to the mitti, granting you a pleasant and relaxing experience when putting on the mask. It is truly a blend of all-natural ingredients, reminding us that caring for our skin can be a simple endeavour, especially when we use what nature has given us.
Haldi is a spice used traditionally and commonly in many Indian dishes, for its multitude of medicinal values, but also because it serves as a natural food dye. Haldi is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties when digested, but this spice holds equal value when lathered upon your face as a mask.
Indian wedding traditions, such as the haldi ceremony, where turmeric paste is traditionally applied on the bride and groom’s face, as both a ritual and a symbol of their status as husband and wife. As a ritual passed down over generations, culture itself acknowledges and even promotes the benefits and advantages of turmeric on the skin, which are seemingly endless.
Antioxidant: Turmeric is full of antioxidants. Factors like pollution or sun exposure can damage your skin barrier, however, the antioxidants within turmeric can eliminate molecules that damage the skin and reduce as well as protect the effects of environmental damage.
Protects against sun exposure: Curcumin is a bright yellow substance in turmeric. It is a “potent anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-neoplastic and antioxidant [that] combats free-radicals and free-radical damage,” says Dr. Patel. It thus works as an agent in reducing the effects of UV radiation, much like sunscreen.
Brightens the skin: The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties present within turmeric relieves dark spots and hyperpigmentation. It also improves the overall complexion of the skin and leaves your face feeling freshly rejuvenated.
Another brilliant fact about turmeric is that it “can be used on all skin types, but it’s particularly great for dull, itchy and/or sensitive skin,” says Dr. Bhanot (an Ayurveda expert at The Ayurveda Experience). This spice works wonders on the skin, and it is truly a marvel at how many benefits it encompasses, for not only your skin but also your hair and digestive system.