There is no ‘either this or that’ when it comes to your beauty rituals – a perspective Vasudha Rai sets out to prove in her upcoming audiobook, The Book of Holistic Beauty. An exploration of wide-ranging topics from DIY remedies, injectables, and actives to meditation, nutraceuticals, and gut health, this book celebrates beauty from a holistic lens. Rai discusses her thoughts on mindfulness, scepticism around wellness practices, and more.
GRAZIA: How does mindful eating help improve our gut health and overall well-being?
VASUDHA RAI: Food is the foundation of not just beauty, but mental and physical health. We know now that poor food choices exacerbate conditions such as anxiety by increasing inflammation in the body. The same inflammation is the cause of dermatological issues, such as acne, rosacea, and eczema. I personally find that when I avoid sugar, I see a reduction in the frequency of migraines and an improved clarity in my skin.
G: How has your perception of wellness changed over the years? Do you approach it as a set goal, or as a sustainable lifestyle?
VR: Wellness is an ongoing lifestyle; it’s a combination of choices we make throughout the day, plus a couple of practices that we may choose to follow. For me, wellness used to be a lot of time with yogic practices, but now it’s more of how I handle myself through the day. For instance, I went to my visa appointment, which took seven hours. Usually, I would’ve been enraged, but recently, I chose not to lose my calm over issues that I have no control over, like traffic jams and delayed flights. So, trying to master my emotions is wellness for me today.
G: In your opinion, what is it that the beauty industry often gets wrong?
VR: I think the industry is too binary for my liking – it’s either this or that. Scientific or natural, cosmetics or no makeup. Whereas the truth is that life or beauty rituals, for that matter, aren’t and shouldn’t be black or white. Today, we live in a world with scientific advancements and an increased interest in traditional practices – why can’t we do both?
G: What are the beauty rituals you swear by on a daily basis?
VR: Washing my eyes with rosewater, oil pulling, daily massage, and retinol at night.
G: How do you, as a wellness expert, address scepticism surrounding certain wellness practices, which are often dismissed as pseudoscience and unscientific?
VR: Personally, I feel each to their own. If a wellness practice is being forced on someone it loses that sense of well-being. There is no need to change the narrative – people should do what they believe in and enjoy. For me, I love all these practices that are considered pseudoscience, but I don’t want to ‘convert’ anybody.
G: Tell us about your AM and PM skincare regimen.
VR: AM is massage, then wash with water and top it up with moisturiser and sunscreen. PM is a cleansing balm, retinol, and moisturiser. When my skin feels flaky, I use my DIY mask: Equal parts Kasturi Manjal with red and white sandalwood mixed with honey and milk on my face and then gently rub it for 10 seconds before washing it off at the end.
G: What was your aim with your audiobook The Book of Holistic Beauty?
VR: I wanted to distil my experience of writing and researching the subject of beauty for over 20 years and give the audience a more rounded approach towards beauty, which combines traditional and modern approaches, minimalism and spirituality, among other things. So that people know that there isn’t a singular or binary approach but many things that you can try depending on what you’re comfortable with.