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Multicultural Beauty

By: Nancy Jeffries
Posted: December 10, 2007
For centuries, Indian women have practiced scrupulous beauty care as a matter of hygiene, sacred duty and enjoyment. A book launch held at Soho’s Design in Textiles celebrated the publication of Almond Eyes, Lotus Feet: Indian Traditions in Beauty and Health by Shirada Dwivedi and Shalini Devi Holkar.

Holkar, an American by birth and an Indian princess by marriage, has studied and lived the time-honored beauty rituals and home remedies drawn from the lives of Indian women—including princesses, their maids and local shamans. Holkar and Dwivedi followed the arc of an Indian princess’s life from birth to puberty, marriage to pregnancy, motherhood to menopause and beyond. The result is a book that provides recipes for natural, herbal and organic beauty products and a discourse on the Indian philosophy of beauty that begins in the womb.

The book includes tips for keeping skin soft and supple, citing the powers of saffron and chickpea flour to exfoliate and praising turmeric for its ability to speed the healing of minor scrapes and add an attractive glow and sheen to dark skin. Other tips include achieving a radiant complexion with twists of papaya, banishing under-eye circles with a ground almond mixture, warding off the signs of aging with yogurt masks, and natural hair treatments—including coconut oil, lemons and neem to ensure shiny hair.

The book is available from Collins, an imprint of Harper Collins, and its sale benefits the Women Weave International Fund to promote economic development for women in India, which was founded by the author.