Aavrani cofounder Rooshy Roy didn’t plan on starting a skin-care brand. Through she always knew she wanted to start something, the pieces didn’t come together until she left a career in finance for business school and met her cofounder, Justin Silver. Silver had perviously worked on the beauty brand Tatcha, and Roy quickly realized that she could introduce Indian ingredients to American women in the same way Tatcha did with Japanese ones.
“There’s so much that’s so sacred to our culture that hasn’t been brought here,” Roy recalls telling Silver. “I told him about the turmeric mask as an example. It’s just so iconic and Indian tradition to the point where it’s even a part of our wedding ceremonies. And for the first time, I was starting to appreciate that it was kind of cool that I have this innate knowledge, because I didn’t always feel so proud of my culture. I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit where there weren’t a lot of people that looked like me at school, so it was one of those things where I didn’t even realize what I knew and what I could offer.”
The result was Aavrani, an ingredient-driven brand focused on the rituals of beauty. “It’s really centered around that holistic approach,” Roy says. “Beauty isn’t just about the products we apply topically, but the way we feel from the inside out. And so thinking about that approach, and then also thinking about minimizing the number of ingredients and products, and just things that we do to our faces, I wanted to launch the brand in the most minimal way with respect to nourishing our skin completely, but also using the least amount of ingredients and fewest number of steps.”
The brand consists of just a handful of key products: turmeric mask, balancing serum, whipped moisturizer, and eye elixir. “[We want to] maximize each product’s benefits and the way that they end up working together so that women can feel like they're really glowing from the inside out, that they can practice their skin care with a little more intention and a little more integrity, and really see the benefits by minimizing the number of products and ingredients they’re using.”
When it comes to her own skin, Roy takes an equally calculated approach, carefully tailoring her routine to each season. “I try to be very intentional with choosing products specific to my skin and the way it reacts to products and temperature and seasonality and all of that,” she says. She also tries to focus on the routine as a whole, instead of slathering on trendy ingredients that don’t mix.
“I’m very holistic when I think about the whole routine of making sure that the products and ingredients work together, and then thinking about what my skin needs from the lens of what the ingredients can do. For example, turmeric is the most potent and powerful natural anti-inflammatory,” she says. “So during that time of the month where I will experience some hormonal breakouts, I always like to use a turmeric mask to help my skin activate that blood flow and really prep it for the ingredients. It’s very much just thinking about it from an ingredient benefit and what my concern is at the time of putting that together.”
Above all, she’s a believer in keeping it simple. “The more you add to your routine, the more you’re kind of making your skin rely on those products,” she says. “It’s fun to interact with beauty, but I think sometimes people underestimate the cost of adding so many products, because if you can’t keep up that routine almost indefinitely, you’re kind of signing up for all of these transitions, and that’s what really wears on our skin.”
What products make the cut? Read on for the sunscreen with zero white cast, a luxe heated eye mask, and the turmeric mask that started it all, as Roy drops her skin-care routine.
I don’t actually cleanse my face in the morning. Because I’m very targeted and intentional in my evening routine, I don’t believe in overstripping the skin on my face. And because I fully moisturized last night, I want that to continue penetrating my skin. I just will splash a little water on my face to wash away all the shit that forms in our eyes while we sleep and all of that, as a kind of wake-up.
At night I start with removing my makeup with Bioderma’s makeup remover for sensitive skin. I love that product because it’s as close to water as possible, but it also gets everything out of every little nook and cranny. And then I will use Boscia’s Black Charcoal Cleanser every night. It does a light, gentle exfoliation, without being overly stripping to the skin. It doesn’t leave my skin feeling taut.
Three times a week, I’ll use our turmeric mask, the Glow Activating Exfoliator, at night. This is a super-deep cleanse that not just cleanses but physically exfoliates the skin, and helps resurface the texture.
And in the wintertime especially, you don’t want to be doing that too often. That makes the skin raw and too exposed—sometimes I’ll even just use it on my T-zone. And then in the summertime, I need the whole face, like out to my ears. It’s by far my favorite product, because it’s so malleable to the situation. I can use it as a spot treatment when I feel hormonal acne rearing its head, and turmeric activates blood flow, so immediately it helps even out that inflammation that’s brewing underneath the skin.
The other two key active ingredients are neem and honey. I added the honey specifically to help hydrate the skin and not get that overly stripping effect, which is something I just learned from my grandmothers growing up. And then neem is amazing for blemishes, acne, and redness, specifically irritation. I remember, growing up, my dad would show me how he would chew on the leaves, because it’s an antibacterial and it helps with the strengthening your gums and and your teeth.
After the exfoliator I use the Balance Restoring Serum, which is actually what I realized I needed in the winter instead of more moisturizers. The classic thinking is that in the winter we need more moisturizer. But really, we should be thinking about how we make our moisturizers work better for us. I love this serum; I use it twice a day. It helps your moisturizer penetrate more deeply into the skin, and strengthen that natural moisture barrier that we have, so that it actually preserves the hydration from your moisturizer for a longer. It’s activated by tea tree oil, chamomile, and cucumber, so it leaves a super cooling, soothing, and nourishing effect, which I love right after the exfoliator. It’s like a nice little like yin-yang experience from a sensory perspective.
My Eye Creams
At night in the winter, I’ll add some of the True Botanicals Pure Radiance Oil to my Eye Elixir. I love it because it has papaya seed, which is great for dark circles, and I’ll apply it in a massage sort of way. I think the key thing about eye creams that we should remember is a big chunk of it is the act of applying it alone, because you’re massaging that part of your skin that’s fragile and tends to react much quicker to nonmovement. for example, if you have blocked tear ducts or you’re not washing your make up off fully, it’ll get puffy and fluid will gather. So even if you don’t have an eye cream, I would start with using just your moisturizer and intentionally applying it under and around your eyes just so that you can see how much of a difference that intentional approach makes. I try to associate a ritual with every product, so I love massage and face yoga.
$110.00, True Botanicals
I only use moisturizer in the winter; in the summer I stick to the serum and a sunscreen. Morning and night, I’ll use my Softening Hydra-Whip, mixed with a couple drops of The Ordinary Rosehip Seed Oil. The Hydra-Whip already has rosehip seed oil, but in the winter time, I need that extra oil and nourishment.
$9.00, The Ordinary
I discovered The Ordinary after we launched Aavrani, because I knew that I needed an extra boost in the winter. I didn’t want to risk adding an ingredient that potentially wouldn’t combine with the Whip well, so I thought, Why not just maximize the one of the ingredient that’s already in here that I need? The brand was so appealing to me because of what their philosophy is around raw and clean ingredients. It was so aligned with what I actually believe, in a way that finally gives that transparency to customers. I trusted that brand right away, and started using it in 2018, and to this day I still stock up on their rosehip seed oil. I buy like three at a time from Amazon. It blends so well, it locks in the moisture the way that I need, and it’s such a lightweight oil that it doesn’t feel heavy on the face while also serving as like a nice little boost primer for my makeup.
In the summertime, after washing my face with water, I’ll only use La Roche Posay SPF. It’s a clean— but not physical—sunscreen, because with my skin tone, physical sunscreens leave a very gray cast. I love this sunscreen because it blends really nicely into my skin and isn’t oily.
$30.00, La Roche-Posay
My Lip Balm
In the winter I use Weleda Skin Food’s Lip Butter. I like that they have such an intentional approach to ingredients—the thing about skin care and ingredients, it’s like we always want stuff that'’s new, but it’s really the stuff that’s been used for a long time that has withstood the test of time. I always like to see brands and companies that have been rooted in ingredients over a long period of time. This brand was established in 1921, so I always look for that little bit of trust from from the brands that I’m using.
My Eye Mask
I always end my routine by taking care of my eyes. I’ll start by taking out my contacts. I’m on screens all day and staring at screens all night, so my eyes are drier than ever. I actually take an intentional approach to rehydrating my eyes too. That’s something I think about as beauty that people might not necessarily associate with beauty, but it has an effect. I use a couple of drops of Systane Hydrating Lubrication, but then do some heat therapy on my eyes to help relieve the tear ducts that are blocked from all the blue light that’s coming in and evaporating all of the hydration. I don’t have a choice but to not look at my screen because I’m wearing a heat mask, and it helps me get that few minutes of intentional reflection in the day, even on days where things are crazy. It just brings me back to where my feet are, and not where my mind goes.
Bella Cacciatore is the beauty writer at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore_.
Originally Appeared on Glamour