The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide: Brown Girl 2022 Edition

holiday gift guide

It’s that time of year again! And you know what that means: gifts, gifts, and more gifts! With so many gifting options, and so many people to buy for, how do you choose? We’re here to make gift-giving easy! Here’s Brown Girl Mag’s Holiday Gift Guide — all South Asian small businesses ready to fill your carts with holiday goodies!

For the Fashionistas…

There’s a fashion lover in every group! Here’s where you can shop for your’s:


Where would one queen be without another queen fixing her crown? Nowhere! Honor your favorite queen with a little something from LadkiPower and let’s empower one another.


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Shop AnAya

Give the gift of apparel infused with culture with Shop Anaya.


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holiCHIC by Megha Rao

Want to honor your South Asian culture by dressing like a star? There’s no better way to do it than with some holiCHIC!


Color is at the forefront of this brand. So give the gift of colorful apparel to someone who loves some rang barse!


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Everything from resort to formal wear just got easier to get your hands on with rental services from PRESERVE.


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A contemporary twist on clothes made in India — who wouldn’t want this in their closet?


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Aayka Fashion

Your one-stop shop for custom, made-to-measure clothing brought to you by artisans from South Asia.


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Add a personal touch to your gift for that someone special with DenimRush’s customized merch!


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Tuff Bandit

Get your loved ones to get their tuff on with this custom and re-worked clothing brand!


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Is there someone with elevated taste on your list? Give them the gift of NAVEDA, where minimalistic clothing meetings universal elegance.


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Choose from a collection of high-end trends and breathtaking pieces.


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Ammarah is bringing slow fashion, a love for culture, and a celebration of their artisans all together, one garment at a time.


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Inclusivity and diversity are at the forefront of KUMARI. What better messages to spread than these during the holidays?


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Choose something for everyone from your list at Phenomenal.


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For the love of Lifestyle…

From candles to accessories and everything in between, the following brands have you covered for the one who LOVES all things lifestyle:

Culturally Inclined

Pick up the Desi Chaat desi family game and make the holidays all about fun and games!


Keep the party tradition alive with this party game that’s “stirrin’ sanskar.”


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Spread some joy with playful greeting cards and beautiful gifts by Pyarful.


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Mixing Up Masti

Now everyone can play a “drinking” game! Mixing Up Masti makes for a fun game for everyone!

Scrumptious Wicks

Candles never smelled so good – your loved ones will fall in love with scents inspired by food and culture.


Who wouldn’t love a gift for toastie-toes? Sign me up!


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Masala My Life

Have your loved ones #livetheblend with these consciously-curated and South Asian-inspired gift boxes.


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From mugs and prints, all the way to accessories, hafandhaf has a little something for everyone.


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Aadil Abedi

Pristine paintings are your’s (and your loved ones’) when you shop with Aadil Abedi.


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Candles are a long-lasting present. Gift one by ADITI.


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Babbu the Painter

A little something that celebrates sisterhood through art and accessories.


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Kan’t forget the Kids!

The most precious holiday gifts are those toothy smiles from little ones! Here’s who can help you make sure you get those this holiday season:

The Heritage Supply Co.

Every child can use something that brings them closer to their traditions.

Kulture Khazana

Gifts that children will treasure and put in their khazana forever…

Modi Toys

Home to mantra-singing toys and books inspired by Hinduism. Modi Toys brings you the best of both worlds: Education and tradition.


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Let their imagination run with multicultural books and games by indigrow.


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Introduce the little ones to countries around the world with country-specific gift boxes from IN KIDZ.


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Dress the kiddies to impress! Start them young with apparel from HAVA.


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Hindi By Reena

Connect them to their mother tongue with Hindi-learning subscriptions. They’ll thank you later, trust us!


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The Culture Tree

Promote literacy about South Asia to the younger generation with a little help from The Culture Tree.


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For the Self-Care Advocate

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the importance of self-care. Here’s where you can buy from for that perfect, at-home retreat this holiday season:

Ammu Beauty

Heirloom formulas made naturally at home, Ammu Beauty is a godsend for believers of the clean beauty regimen. Customers swear by its Glow To Sleep Facial Oil!


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Umm Skincare

From body essentials and curated spa bundles to a ‘build your own experience’ package. Umm Skincare is here to provide you a relaxing retreat, in the comfort of your own space. And that too, without breaking the bank. 

Khalm Skincare

Give your loved ones a taste of luxury with Khalm Skincare’s line of top-quality, luxe skincare products infused with the woodsy, rare elixir – Oud. It’s called ‘black gold’ for a reason!


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Do you have a friend who is always stocking up on serums but they don’t work on her brown skin? It’s time you became their guiding light and introduced them to Plantkos.  

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Soma Ayurvedic

Here is a brand tapping into the healing powers of Ayurveda but without the fancy frills. Soma Ayurvedic does not aim to charm you with a glossy appearance, it just lets the product do all the talking.  


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A luxury brand of botanical skincare products, rooted in Ayurveda and tapping into the rich biodiversity of India. A gift from Ranavat is fit for the Queen.


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Moms have been begging us to realise the power of kitchen staples like turmeric and honey. Aavrani actually listened and came up with solutions for every major skin concern under the sun. And their Glow-Activating Exfoliator has over 200 positive reviews. 


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Shaz & Kiks

Shaz & Kiks is a South Asian haircare brand you need sitting on your beauty shelf right now. Their ‘Back To Your Roots Scalp and Hair Pre-wash gives you all the benefits of a deep hair oil massage without the fuss of greasy strands.  

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Areesa Botanicals

The brainchild of a certified skin expert, Areesa Botanicals is here to reform your self-care journey with a portfolio of face masks, serums, and hair oil, made with 100% organic ingredients.  

Shop Ghlee 

Have you ever wondered if you can put shea butter and coconut oil on your chapped lips then why not grandma’s favorite pantry ingredient, ghee? Boy, are we glad that Shop Ghlee found some logic here. Its Nourishing Lip Balm is a life-saver in these dry, harsh winters.  

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Prakti Beauty

Modern innovation meets tradition; Prakti Beauty is here to fill the gap for South Asian-led beauty brands. The brand’s exfoliator – Priti Polish – has been an instant hit in the beauty market and together with its Maha Mask, they make for a splurge-worthy present!


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For the Make-up Guru

There is no denying that make-up gifts can be instant mood-lifters. And when they are meant for brown skin, they are even more satisfying. Here are the brands you need to invest in for the upcoming celebrations:


Much like the brand’s name, Kulfi beauty products are a perfect combination of fun and sweet. Particularly those Nazar No More stickers that every brown girl needs to ward off the prying eyes of nit-picking aunties. But really, it’s their award-winning eyeliner that has beauty enthusiasts feeling weak in the knees. Time to amp up those naturally beautiful South Asian eyes.


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It recently became the first South Asia-owned make-up brand to be stocked by Ulta Beauty. LiveTinted’s Huesticks are a one-stop shop for all your make-up needs – color correction, blush, eyeshadow, and lipstick. Who doesn’t want that for a gift?!


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Samreen’s Vanity

A make-up brand that is vegan, cruelty-free, halal, and kosher-compliant; we are so here for it! Samreen’s Vanity’s range of pigmented eyeliners can really stand the test of time. We say, grab em!

Wander Beauty

Who hasn’t heard of Wander Beauty’s famous gold foil Baggage Claim Eye Masks? Its list of admirers includes the likes of Hailey Bieber and Kerry Washington. Come on, treat that new mom friend of yours. She deserves it!


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Mora Cosmetics

As expecting mums, many of us have struggled to find make-up that curbs our anxiety over the use of chemicals in this crucial period of our lives. Mora Cosmetics has changed that with its halal range of multi-sticks. We promise your friend will be thanking you and her stars for this one. 


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Brown Girl Beauty

Lip glosses, lip oil, blush and highlight palette, and eyeshadows – all that just for brown skin. Brown Girl Beauty is true to its name. With the right amount of pigment and shimmer, these products are perfect for a fun night out.

Bili Beauty

Vegan and cruelty-free makeup inspired by India and founded by Sarah Sophy Thomas, their “Eyes of India” eyeshadow or “Be Bold Creamy Matte” lipsticks are totally worth adding to your makeup bag.


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For The Food Connoisseur

Whoever said that the way to happiness goes through one’s stomach was not joking! Check out all the yummy, scrummy goodies you can share with your loved ones over the holidays:

Malai Ice Cream

Nothing can cheer you up better than a tub of sumptuous ice cream on a dreary, cold winter day. And with flavors like Baklava and Carrot Halwa, we bet you’re in for a treat.


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Kolkata Chai

It’s New York City’s favorite masala chai and there is no reason why it shouldn’t be the highlight of your holiday gathering.


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A Fresh Sip

“Let’s meet for drinks. But hey, they are alcohol-free,” said no one ever up until now! You know where to get those party drinks from if you want to skip the brutal hangovers next morning.

Baraat Ice Cream

If the buzz surrounding Kat and Vicky tying the knot is anything to go by, it’s obvious we all love a good desi wedding. And if there’s no event in sight, there is always Baraat Ice Cream to serve up your appetite with its traditional, merry flavors. 

Element Truffles

Ayurveda-inspired artisanal chocolates? Yes, they exist! And they are both naturally sweetened and dairy-free too. Raise your hands if you’re thinking what we’re thinking? Chocolate diet it is! 

Knead Some Love

Move over Nigella! We like our desserts with a desi spin like Knead Some Love’s Ras Malai Rabri Cake. Care to join in?


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The Chai Box

No South Asian gathering is complete without a cuppa chai – it’s a ritual. And The Chai Box’s carefully curated tea blends will make you cherish these moments even more. 


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Insta-worthy mithai made by award-winning chef Surbhi Sahni, who are we kidding here? You know you want it and some more. And if there is anyone you are hoping to impress this holiday season, consider the job done. 


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Madhu Chocolate

Mithai Bonbons, Saffron Milk Chocolate, Dark Masala Chai Chocolate… are your tastebuds doing a happy dance? Your loved ones will be too when they unwrap that gift box!

Are you feeling spoilt for choice with this holiday gift guide? Well, there is always that typical bath and body gift bundle you can get from your nearest departmental store, but it probably won’t bring in the smiles. If ‘thoughtful’ is what you’re aiming for, you can trust we have you sorted. Happy holidays and happy shopping!

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By Brown Girl Magazine

Born out of the lack of minority representation in mainstream media, Brown Girl Magazine was created by and for South … Read more ›

South Asian Creators Claim Their Space at the Cannes Film Festival

Ever since we can recall, the Cannes Film Festival has been a merger of movies and glamour. On one side, there are hand-picked films — ready to premiere and make their mark in the world of entertainment — and on the other, audiences and paparazzi alike are served epic moments in fashion.

The festival, aimed to preview upcoming films from all over the world, invites a wide variety of guests that span the film fraternity, of course, but more recently, has opened its doors to many digital content creators, including renowned South Asian creatives.

With a more vast guest list comes a more recent debate: Cannes is a film festival and not a fashion showcase. Kickstarting the debate this year was none other than ace Bollywood director, Nandita Das, who in an Instagram post shared:

Sometimes people seem to forget that it is a festival of films and not of clothes!

In short, Das wants Cannes’ narrative to continue to focus on films.

[Read Related: Cannes Film Festival 2022: Red Carpet Representation at its Finest]

But of course, there’s been a paradigm shift in the guest list over the last few years; this shift has allowed talents from various industries — including lifestyle content creators, entrepreneurs, etc., who showcase their work in fashion and beauty like fine masterstrokes — to walk the carpet and represent their craft, making space for others in their industry.

Influential names like Dolly Singh, Kaushal, Diipa Buller-Khosla, and Shivani Bafna — all of whom made a raging impact on the red carpet this year — weigh in on the significance of representing South Asian artists/influencers on the red carpet, and how they feel they’ve been part of this paradigm shift at Cannes Film Festival.

Diipa Buller-Khosla

I believe that each step we take at events like Cannes sends a powerful message of diversity, cultural richness, and artistic excellence. Representation matters, and the presence of South Asian creators on the red carpet at Cannes helps broaden the narrative of beauty, talent, and creativity. It allows us to showcase our unique perspectives, narratives, and contributions, ultimately contributing to a more inclusive industry. By actively participating and making our presence felt, we help create more opportunities and spaces for South Asian creators, encouraging others to share their stories with the world.


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Since 2015, the first time I walked the red carpet, till this year I have always been invited by L’Oreal Paris, one of the main sponsors of the event. It has always been such an honor to be invited to the festival through the makeup brand that I have been using for almost two decades, and, before my social media career began. Personally, I feel a sense of acknowledgment from such a prestigious brand, and its head office teams that sponsor Cannes Film Festival, and value the work I have done and continue to do as a South Asian content creator within the beauty space. Makeup, hair, and beauty will always play a big role within the film industry and it’s something I have always created my content around which is why I am proud to attend.


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Dolly Singh

This is a proud moment not just for me but also [for] my peers and the entire content creator ecosystem given that we have reached such new global stages and presence. Of course, as you said, such film festivals, once considered as an exclusive hub for a congregation of the finest acting talents have, in the last few years, opened their arms to more people from the entertainment industry.

This is not just a sudden phenomenon with a burst of Indian creators at the festival this year but there is increased participation from non-film and non-South Asian celebrities across various spectrums from different sides of the world. Along with the many filmmakers, actors, producers, etc I also met some amazing influencers and entrepreneurs from other sides of the world. It’s amazing to represent India and celebrate and champion the advent of the digital ecosphere on such a prominent platform.

The confluence of actors and creators signified the amalgamation of traditional cinema and new-age digital influence, highlighting the transformative power of creative expression and how festivals like Cannes have become more forthcoming and progressive in their approach.

Cannes, like any other prominent festival, boasts of a red carpet that is synonymous with fashion and glitz, and I wanted to use this opportunity to represent all the amazing Indian fashion designers on the carpet besides, of course, attending the screenings. As someone who is just not an influencer but also an actress, I thoroughly enjoyed all the red-carpet screenings and meeting like-minded film talent from around the world at the event. At some point in the future, I would like to be attending Cannes for a film I’ve featured in.


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Shivani Bafna

Creators are often placed into boxes of where they belong and the rooms they can be a part of. Being on the red carpet dismantles the ideology that there’s a cap on how far we, as creators and as a South Asian community, can go and what we can achieve.

The Cannes Film Festival has always been viewed as the epitome of a glamorous event — everyone who attends looks like they’re living their best lives. I used the platform to share an authentic message of what the experience felt like for me. To represent all of us who doubt our potential, experience imposter syndrome, and are nervous to find their place, yet continue to push through to achieve their dreams!

As the first Indian American influencer to walk at Cannes, I hope I can inspire young women to confidently ask, ‘Why not me?’


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There’s no doubt that the Cannes Film Festival is centered around films, and continues to be a unique space for the global film fraternity to bring their art and showcase their aptitude. But, creators like Bafna, Singh, Buller-Khosla, and Kaushal — a special shoutout to Raja Kumari for being instrumental in paving the way as well — have their own set of responsibilities to fulfill upon their invitation to the prestigious event. Their will to represent their South Asian identities, celebrate their industries, and continue to hold space for their peers makes their presence at Cannes more than just clothes.

All images in the featured photo are from the influencers’ Instagram feeds.

By Sandeep Panesar

Sandeep Panesar is an editor, and freelance writer, based out of Toronto. She enjoys everything from the holiday season to … Read more ›

Ankush Bahuguna: “My Favorite Makeup Hack is to Underpaint”

If I DM my friends a bunch of videos on any given day, one of them is almost always an Ankush Bahuguna reel. When I first stumbled upon his content, I saw him as an actor and a comedian, lifting our mood up during the lockdown one video at a time. However, his day-to-day content is more than just that — Bahuguna is changing the landscape of the beauty industry by making (and holding) space for men who aspire to be makeup artists and who have a passion for all things beauty.

[Read Related: The Art of Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes]


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Content creator, makeup enthusiast, actor: Which title do you resonate with the most? And, why?

A creator is the word I’d resonate with the most — that’s what got me here — creating comedy, creating beauty content. Even as an actor, I’m very collaborative. I tend to weave nuances around a character and make it my own. I believe, no matter what you do, your work should be unique to you and that can only happen when you build it up yourself.

How did “Wing it with Ankush” come about?

Till three years ago, I used to work for a media house that had a whole team of stylists and MUAs working on every shoot. So when the world went into lockdown, I realized I would have to don all those hats myself. I used to [regularly] shoot videos with my mother and she didn’t know anything about makeup either. So I had to try my hand at it — I would do her makeup and we’d shoot videos together. Soon I realized how much I enjoyed learning a new skill from scratch. I used to paint as a kid, so makeup just somehow made sense. It felt like even though I had a whole lot to learn, it came naturally to me. I decided I would journal these experiments [on] a ‘secret’ page called Wing it With Ankush so that I can look back at it five years from now and see what I was up to [during] lockdown. I didn’t tell anyone about it. But people eventually discovered it and there was no looking back!

One word for gender stereotypes?

One word: Ingrained. It’s so deeply ingrained in us that we find it hard to just accept people the way they are.


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How is (or isn’t) India evolving in terms of stereotypes?

We are definitely evolving. It’s a slow process but there’s hope. There’s a long way to go and for starters, I wish people could give non-cis people as much respect, appreciation, and credit, as they give to cis people like me, especially in the beauty space.

Must-have makeup products for men?

Makeup ‘must-haves’ are very subjective across all genders. Some people can’t do without a full face of makeup, while others could care less. I feel nothing is a must-have. [D]on’t wear makeup because you feel you need to, wear it only if it makes you feel good. My must-haves would be a color corrector, concealer, and powder.

Favorite makeup hack ever:

My favorite makeup hack is to underpaint. Apply bronzer and blush before your foundation. It’s so much more natural looking.

Let’s talk about your career in entertainment. What does comedy mean to you?

Comedy is a defense mechanism for me. It’s also self-expression, to be honest. That’s how I go about my day — finding humor in mundane things. Comedy is how I see life.

Beauty Influencer Of The Year Male (Popular Choice) — Ankush Bahuguna! Congratulations! You left your audience with these words in your Instagram post: “There’s always been too much self-doubt and too little self-worth.” How does one overcome that feeling of self-doubt?

As someone who has grown up constantly feeling inadequate, it’s difficult for me to not give in to self-doubt, literally every day. But I guess the idea is to be as kind and forgiving to yourself as you are to others. If you’ve come this far, you must’ve done something right. Right?


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Absolutely right!

We can’t deny that Ankush Bahuguna is going out of his way to put a smile on our faces with his day-to-day content — reels, photos, Insta stories, and more! All while paving a new path for himself and, like we mentioned before, holding space for those who aspire to be them one day. Ankush continues to push the envelope one makeup tutorial at a time, showing the modern world that it’s time to take men in makeup seriously because they’re here to stay!

The featured image is courtesy of Dream N Hustle Media.

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By Shezda Afrin

Shezda Afrin is an aspiring physician from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At the age of four, it was quite normal of her … Read more ›

17 Ayurvedic Beauty Brands on our Radar Right Now

Holistic beauty trends are more prevalent than ever — that makes ayurvedic beauty brands incredibly sought-after, as well. Do you find yourself asking what your beauty products are actually made of? A lot of us even resort to food products for a skincare routine such as honey for face wash.

The term “Ayurvedic Beauty” is getting more recognition outside the South Asian world as well.

Ayurvedic beauty is coined upon the term “Ayurveda,” which originated in Hindu culture as the basis of utilizing the five life forms — air, water, ether, fire, and earth — to heal the human body.

[Read Related: The Budget-Friendly Beauty Guide you Need This Spring Season]

Ayurvedic beauty brands focus on using herbs and natural ingredients to create their skincare range and consumers around the world are attracted to these natural products.

Scroll down to see some Ayurvedic beauty brands founded by South Asians.

Soma Ayurvedic

Is your skin feeling a little dry this winter? Nourishing your skin with body oil will lend it the right amount of moisture — Soma Ayurvedic’s jasmine body oil can do that trick! Shop the oil, and their full line of products, here.


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Sama Tea

If you’re familiar with author and podcast Host, Jay Shetty, then you may have heard of his tea line, Sama Tea. Herbal teas provide many natural benefits. Has it been a stressful week? Try their lavender rose chamomile tea for some TLC. Check them out here.


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Sahajan Skincare

Know the Netflix show “Ginny & Georgia?” Loved the actress’ fresh-looking skin? Sahajan Skincare is behind that glow! They’re a must-try, featured in both Vogue and Elle India. See their full range of products here.


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Shaz and Kiks

This unique company showcases its brand with an emphasis on ‘holistic.’ Whether it’s bad hair days or excessive shedding, not only do Shaz and Kiks provide the products to help but also break down the science behind the problem. Go on your very own shopping spree by clicking here!


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Looking for accessible ayurvedic beauty products? Look no further! Ranavat is now in Sephora. With a beauty line that covers both hair and skin, there’s something here for everyone. See for yourself here.


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UMM Skincare

UMM Skincare is known for its brown sugar body scrub, made with natural ingredients, and Bakuchi oil known to improve signs of aging and hyperpigmentation. Try it for yourself by shopping here!


Give your skin the best by adding ZAILA to your daily skincare routine! Click here and start shopping!


This brand is all plant-powered, and we’re here for it — you should be too! Check out their full range of products here.

Inde Wild

Are you looking for brown skin-friendly sunscreen filled with nutrients? Look no further. Inde Wild has its very own SPF 50, with natural substances such as liquorice extract and cica, and it’s a mineral SPF suitable for all skin types. See what the brand is all about and shop it here.


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Mango People

I’m always in the market for brown girl-friendly lipsticks, and ones that are made of natural ingredients are a huge plus. Mango People does just this with their unique lipstick colors that suit all brown skin tones. Try them out here!

Kama Ayurveda

Need to swap out your shampoo for something better? Try Kama Ayurveda’s Ayurvedic Hair cleaner, infused with a variety of herbs and pulses with key ingredients like vetiver, tulsi, rose, moong beans, and shikakai. They have a variety of products to choose from so start with your hair and keep shopping for more here!


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Forest Essentials

According to Forest Essentials, night time is the best time for hydration. Check out their night cream, filled with nutrients to enrich your skin. You can shop their wide variety of products here.


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Koppen Ayurveda

A brand made for modern living, their essentials are all worth a shot! Start shopping here!


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Looking for a new face mask to try? AAVRANI has a variety of face masks and explains in detail when you should apply the mask during the week depending on your skin type. Take a look here!


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Plant-based skincare, anyone? Delhicious has got everyone covered, so click here and fill your baskets!


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Pratima Skincare

Just getting into skincare and don’t know where to start? PRATIMA skincare has starter sets, with basics, that every woman can use such as vitamin C serum, essential oils, and collagen creams. Grab yours now by shopping here!


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Fable & Mane

Struggling with hair care recently? Fable & Mane includes various hair oils in their collection that help grow and nourish your hair. Not only that, they have a scalp detox line as well — definitely worth checking out. See their full range of products here.


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