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Looking good enough to eat acquires a whole new meaning when you look at pretty pots and jars across beauty counters.
Looking good enough to eat acquires a whole new meaning when you look at pretty pots and jars across beauty counters.

From chickpeas to avocado, potatoes to papaya, a lot of stuff comes out of the kitchen to be slathered onto the face. All in the name of beauty. We've heard what doesn't kill you makes you stronger

By Harveena Herr

Published: Sat 29 Apr 2017, 2:00 PM

Last updated: Sat 29 Apr 2017, 4:53 PM

I'm jamming here, with strawberry, kiwi, pomegranate, along with milk, cream and coffee. Mango mousse, whey protein, honey, yoghurt and oatmeal could start my mornings or very well be a luxurious start to a bath. I almost forgot lemon, lime, coconut, lashings of chocolate, dates, sprinkling of salt crystals. I could go on, but you would think that I need to finish my rather large breakfast order.
Not really, I'm rattling off a random list of edible things that could be sitting on the dresser, or bathroom counter or fancy little bar bridge that now lives in posh-looking bathrooms everywhere.
The owner and creator of Dubai's home-grown brand Apothecary by Mamta Nihalani weighs in: "I think, nowadays people are realising the importance of natural versus chemical. In the long term, natural is way better and less harmful to your body." She makes her point with real examples: coffee is one of the best ingredients out there for cellulite and general exfoliation, as is sugar. Strawberries have incredible benefits due to the fruit acid in them. People are steering away from chemicals more and more now and awareness is being drawn to all things natural and wellness.
Looking good enough to eat acquires a whole new meaning when you look at pretty pots and jars across beauty counters. A quick check across brands in every price range reveals that many of the things that are acceptable on your plate can end up in your favourite beauty products. This is partly because of the genuine antioxidant and healing qualities that nature's bounty has. But it must be considered that a product containing honey, or dates for instance, is not going to worry me when I slather it on to my skin. Case in point, the Shiffa range - the name in Arabic translates to mean 'healing' - includes the popular Date ferment extract.
Says Roger Rached, Business Unit Manager for Kérastase Paris at L'Oréal Middle East, "In emerging markets, beauty treatments from edible products have a long tradition. In more developed markets, consumers are becoming more aware of the power of nature, as opposed to the effectiveness of additives such as sulphates, silicon and paraben. So, it is not only a desire to use edible products, but also a decision to avoid additives and take back control of beauty the old-fashioned way." The new to market in the UAE, Aura Botanica, contains coconut and argan oils that the company says they extract in a responsible and environmentally-friendly manner.
So why is it attractive to customers - rubbing strawberries on your face, or milk cream on your feet? Mamta Nihalani's theory is "If you can ingest it you are definitely comfortable to put it on your skin. Once you've experienced the benefits first hand and seen the results, it naturally draws you in." "Plus," she adds with a grin, "It's less expensive!"
Himalaya's Herbals' Moisturising Cucumber and Almond Peel Off Mask, Pore tightening Tangerine Wash are just a few among the product offering that suggest you scooped spoonfuls off your plate as a beauty panacea. The Blackhead Cleaning Daily Scrub incorporates walnut granules. N.Bar has launched Body Boom scrubs in the UAE and they all have coffee - you could try the packs that contain coconut and strawberry in addition.
So far, notes Mamta, most customers have loved the benefits of using natural products. Customers today are more discerning about what they buy and put on their skin. They are really enjoying the sensory experience and overall physical vitality offered by such products. Says Nihalani, "When people tell me how these products benefit their children's eczema or excess hair fall, that's when you know things are heading in the right direction with going all natural."
Rached cites the precedent, "The use of edible elements to enhance and preserve beauty has been there since the beginning of time... in the ancient beauty rituals of the Greeks (mulberries, honey, and olive oil), the Romans (saffron, almonds, and butter) and the Egyptians (milk, almond oil, and apple cider) among others. Now at Kérastase Paris, we've been watching trends towards natural beauty and conscientious consumption for a while."
Cleopatra bathed in asses' milk, it is said, and she was a ravising beauty of her time! Now that is the one ingredient that I haven't encountered in all the brands I've seen. We should do something about it - launch a range of products - 'Cleopatra's Kitchen Essentials'. I think I'm on to something here.
Harveena likes coffee, dogs, children, recycling, upcycling, cycling, parachutes, strawberries. In no particular order

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