The health and beauty aisle at Indian grocery stores includes several natural products in wide use among Indian women. Here are some popular ones available in America.
Henna: Women mix powder from the henna plant with water to use as a natural hair dye and conditioner.
Coconut oil: Indian women regularly massage a natural oil into their scalp before washing to keep their hair healthy and prevent the scalp from drying out and itching. “Coconut oil helps to grow hair long,” advises Bibya Malik, owner of Bibya Hair Design, a salon chain in Chicago. “It is probably the most widely used hair oil in the Indian subcontinent; amla oil, jasmine oil and other herbal oils are used, as well.”
Rosewater: Most often used as a skin toner, some women also like to spray rosewater on their face as a refresher. Rosewater has a long history as a fragrance and as a flavoring in dessert recipes.
Ubtan: This mixture of turmeric, gram (chickpea) flour and herbs is combined with milk or water as a beauty treatment. Indian brides scrub their skin with it in the days prior to their wedding.
Source: Bibya Hair Design, research by Bushra Bajwa