DIY: Get glowing



This powerful ancient beauty treatment is still used today for a thoroughly modern glow

My first exposure to Ayurvedic beauty was when I joined a brand known for being an early pioneer in sustainable beauty. I loved that job! It took me to far-flung places like the Amazon; and started me on what would become a quest to help make beauty a better steward of the environment. Some years later while attending a wedding in Delhi, I learned about a traditional Indian beauty treatment called Ubtan—a Hindi name for a beauty mask or paste solely made of plant ingredients. This paste is used by the bride months before the wedding to perfect her complexion. Even grooms are known to use it.  Fret not—you don’t have to wait to get married to use an Ubtan.

Made entirely of natural ingredients, an Ubtan is the Ayurvedic (and gentle) version of microdermabrasion. It helps decongest the skin and boost its radiance. It is also known to minimize the appearance of acne scars, dark marks and discoloration. Ubtans can be customized depending on your skin type. Ubtans are a natural way to improve your complexion, and gentle enough to use weekly. Many of the plant ingredients in this recipe have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  

We’re using this recipe as a starting point for our Exfoliating & Skin Polishing Cleansing Powder—which we plan to make available in 2018. In the meantime, we thought it would be fun to share these Ubtan recipes to help get you glowing.

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The materials you'll need

  • Seed/coffee grinder OR mortar and pestle
  • Wire mesh strainer or sieve
  • Labels
  • Amber/Brown glass bottle(s) and cap closure—for final powder mixture


(dry ingredients for all skin)

  • Aloe Vera soothing, cooling, healing, repairative, regenerative, softening
  • Corrianderaromatic
  • Calamusdemulcent soothing action, aromatic
  • Comfreyhealing, reparative, cooling, soothing; helps prevent scarring (vulnerary) and promotes healthy cell proliferation; relief to dry and irritated skin
  • Cumin
  • Elder flower reparative, aromatic
  • Fenugreek soothing to inflamed skin conditions (acne, eczeme)
  • Lemon peel cleansing, decongesting, astringent, anti-inflammatory; skin brightening; oily, acne, mature, itchy skin; mature skin, wrinkles
  • Licorice soothing to inflamed skin; skin brightener, aromatic
  • Manjistha anti-inflammatory action for acne, eczema; anti-oxidant
  • Nutmeg anti-septic action; aromatic
  • Tulsi (holy basil)— anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-oxidant, adaptogenic
  • Sandalwood anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-septic; promotes hydration; aromatic
  • Vetivercleansing
  • Lentil flour physical action for gentle sloughing of dead skin cells

(dry ingredients for mature/dry skin)

  • Aloe vera see above
  • Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) increases strength and stamina of the skin, and helps to decrease fatigue and stress; anti-oxidant
  • Lemon Peel see above
  • Haritaki (Terminalia chebula) anti-inflammatory; toning to weakened tissues; hastens healing through healthy cell proliferation
  • Jasmine normal to dry skin; mature skin; soothing to inflamed, itchy skin
  • Rose toning and mildly astringent action; soothing and uplifting
  • Neem (Azadirachta indica) soothing to weeping or dry rashes; combines well with Sesame, Tumeric or Vetiver
  • Vertiversee above
  • Licorice see above

(liquids for acne/oily skin)

  • Witch hazel
  • Jojoba oil or olive oil
  • Astringent herbal tincture made with Sage
  • Anti-microbial herbal tinctures made with Calendula, Goldenseal or Echinacea
  • 5-10 drops of Essential oils—orange or grapefruit

(liquids for mature/dry skin)

  • Honey and jojoba oil combination
  • Rosa Mosquita oil— not recommended for oily skin
  • Wheatgerm oil— Anti-oxidant rich; Nutrient-rich, with fatty acids; Vitamin A, Vitamin E. It is healing to dry skin; promotes healthy cell proliferation to prevent scarring and dark marks, and maintain even skin tone; readily absorbs, with softening and moisturizing effects on skin

directions for making herbal powders

  • Sterilize all equipment and containers
  • Grind all plant ingredients you wish to use—and based on your skin type—until they are a very fine and uniform powder
  • Sift and remove any large particles, and regrind if necessary to obtain the desired consistency. You want a very fine powder that will not cause abrasions
  • Put your mixture in air-proof amber glass containers. Store in a cool, dry place.

to use

As long as you keep the Ubtan dry, you can store it for several months. When you’re ready to use it, mix with rose water, or even milk, to make a smooth, creamy paste.

  • Dispense a quarter-sized amount of powder into hands.
  • Mix with rose water, a hydrosol, distilled water, or even milk, in palms
  • Rub hands together to activate the powder and create a creamy paste
  • Gently smooth over dry face to remove dirt, grime and dead skin cells.
  • Massage gently into skin using circular motions, avoiding the eye area
  • Rinse thoroughly with warm water and pat to reveal skin that is completely cleansed, fresh, and renewed
  • Follow up with a Facial Tonic or Hydrosol, and your preferred Moisturizer.

All information on NATIVSK/N is meant for educational and informational purposes only. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products and/or information are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. Readers are advised to do their own research and make decisions in partnership with their health care provider. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or are taking any medication, please consult your physician.