Beauty Secrets My Indian Mother Taught Me

by Faz Abdul Gaffa-Marsh

Whether you realize it or not, you've inherited your mom's beauty secrets. The older you grow, the more you tend to put your mother on a pedestal. I mean, only after you're living on your own, or get married or have your own little tots that you realize how much sacrifice your mom had to go through to bring you up. Between your demanding a doll that dispenses stickers from her stomach (true story), to dealing with your breaking the curfew every Saturday night and worrying whether you've been ran over by a truck when you've switched off your phone, you now know as an adult how important your mother, or your mother figure has been all your life.

I don't mean to brag, but my mum is badass. Not only has she had to put up with three headstrong individuals at home, about seven years ago, she selflessly donated one of her kidneys to my dad. My mother is not the first person you'll see when you enter the room. She's usually the one sitting quietly in the corner at family functions, or helping out in the kitchen or reading. She doesn't command attention when she walks into a room, mostly because of her tiny stature next to her husband and children. Like myself, she detests hospitals and doctors, but when push came to shove, she rose to the occasion and changed lives.

She may not lift weights or move mountains, but to me, she's the strongest woman in the world.

Plus, being Indian, she has heaps of secrets and tips that have been passed down from generation to generation — and I'm spilling some that involve everyday things you can find in the supermarket.

1. Always, always have turmeric at home

Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

My mother is an amazing cook and one of the things she has taught me is how incredible the super spice is for use in the kitchen — and on your skin. If you're broke, or if you've run out of your usual mask, combine equal parts of turmeric and gram or chickpea flour with three to five tablespoons of milk. Turmeric usually stains skin, so use the mask before bed so it can wear off overnight.

#2: If in doubt, turn to coconut oil

There is no end to the magic of coconut oil. Between oil pulling to using it as a hair mask, my mother rocked coconut oil way before it was cool.

#3: Ginger rocks too

Ginger paste is a common ingredient in Indian food and it's very often an ingredient that my mother reaches for when anyone in our home is feeling bloated or gassy. Simply dump a teaspoon of ginger paste into a glass of hot water and let it steep for a while before drinking it. Ginger helps calm the intestinal cavity, and dispel gas from your digestive tract. It also helps improve circulation, which can brighten up your complexion.

#4: Dates make all the difference

My mother is particularly health conscious, so she stays away from sugar as much as she can. She also cooks without salt entirely but somehow magically still makes delicious meals. One of the ingredients she always has in the fridge are dates. Not only do they curb a sweet craving, dates are a great source of energy and fiber. They help combat multiple ailments such as bone health and strength, anaemia, and even help promote a healthy heart. Thanks, mom, for all your words of beauty wisdom!

Images: Faz Abdul Gaffa; Getty Images; Kim Knoch, Daniel R Blume/Flickr