The best beauty secrets from India

Obsessed with Duchess Kate’s Bhutan-inspired summer look? You’ll want to add these amazing makeup and skincare secrets to your regimen, too.

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If you read the internet (and if you’re reading this, it’s pretty clear that you do), you’ve probably noticed that India is having a moment. A big, royal moment, in fact.

After Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, recently graced our Instagram feeds with stunning, Bollywood-worthy ensembles in front of the Taj Mahal and in the center of Bhutan, everyone became obsessed with her wardrobe. Women around the world were so taken by Kate’s shift in style, in fact, that one designer—Mumbai-born Anita Dongre—saw her website crash, selling out of similar styles to Kate’s dress just a day after the Duchess appeared in it.

But why stop with the garb? There’s even more to be inspired with. Our editors rounded up a few key makeup and rejuvenating skincare trends from India that will look and feel great on you this summer. From bright swashes of color to enchanting smells, get ready to follow in Kate’s footsteps and meet some new warm weather favorites.

1. Hot new nail colors

If there’s one place that knows how to embrace bold, beautiful colors, it’s India. And our editors think the best way for you to dip a toe (or finger!) into the trend is with a rich, saturated hue on your nails. Clearly, Essie agrees, because it just launched a new resort line of India-inspired polishes for spring. Essie says that the four colors (including a pink called Dehli Dance and a stunning pale green called Going Guru) were “influenced by the magnificent fashion, diverse culture and sheer beauty of India.” No matter where you wear these dynamic orange and cerulean shades (to, say, host brunch or attend a wedding), they’ll add a happy glow to your hands and feet.


Essie Resort 2016 Collection in taj-ma-haul, Spicy Apricot Marigold will bring out your tan ($9, Essie).

2. Brighter eyes

Show off that beautiful gaze by embracing a little bollywood inspired blue eye makeup. Vogue called it a trend for 2016 after seeing intensely blue highlighted eyes all over the runway, and our editors whole-heartedly agree. But, rest assured, you can achieve the benefits of this look without the high-fashion drama.

First, remember that there are tons of shades of blue out there, and no matter what your skin tone, there is one for you. If you have darker skin, opt for a vivid navy or cerulean tone; if you fall on the lighter end of the spectrum, opt for a baby blue shade or a soft light-wash denim look.

Then keep this phrase in mind: a little blue goes a long way. Keep your new look subtle by using it as a thin eyeliner, just at the outer tips of your lashes. Leave the rest of your look simple and elegant, and let your eyes do the talking.


Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Cobalt is a vibrant but dark teal hue that will draw just enough attention to your eyes ($22, Stila Cosmetics).

3. Airy, exotic fragrances

A go-to scent in India, Patchouli is popping up in many fragrances all over the world this season. It’s a deep, romantic scent, perfect for summer nights—and research indicates that it even has mosquito repelling properties.

When dealing with stronger scents like this, though, make sure to invest in a luxury fragrance that balances the deep patchouli smell with top notes of citrus, jasmine or rose to keep it fresh. And remember to spritz the perfume lightly, only on your pulse points (your inner wrists, and just behind the ear).


Tom Ford White Patchouli combines patchouli with jasmine, rose, and refined muguet to create a subtle but enchanting fragrance ($115, Sephora).

4. Naturally glowing cheeks

In India, natural beauty and dewy, sun-kissed looking skin has always been coveted. The best way to look like you just got back from Bombay? Swipe warm neutral or earthy pink toned blush on your cheekbones for a natural flush. To apply, start at the apple of your cheek, and move the brush up and out, in a slight diagonal-fashion. The best thing about the Tarte palette below? You can use it as eye shadow too.


Tarte Cosmetics Double Duty Beauty Limited-Edition Eye & Cheek Palette in Classic Courage will give you a healthy, sun-kissed glow ($28, Tarte Cosmetics).

5. Smooth, refreshed skin

In India, rose water is beauty staple in a variety of ways: as natural eye drops, as a light perfume, and even as a welcoming shower to be sprinkled over arriving guests at traditional Indian weddings. But rose water is most commonly used by Indian women as a misting spray or toner applied directly to the face. It’s natural fragrance is calming, and the solution also acts as a hydrating skin-brightener.

If you’re a fan of Evian water mist sprays, check out Heritage Store’s Rose Petal Rosewater ($10, Amazon) to mist your face on a hot morning. (It also works wonders after a long plane ride, to refresh your dry skin). Or try a rose water toner from a company like VLCC, one of the most popular beauty product companies in India, founded in New Delhi.


VLCC Rose Water will refresh and hydrate your skin for a softer, smoother complexion ($32, Indian Products Mall).

6. A silky complexion

If toners aren’t for you, an all-purpose moisturizing oil is another must-have for the summer season. Jojoba oil, apricot oil, the essential oils of sandalwood, patchouli, and ylang ylang all work together in Indie Lee’s moisturizing oil to create an essential blend guaranteed to keep your skin hydrated all day long. And if you need another reason to splurge, this line is entirely eco-friendly, so you can achieve great skin without harming the environment.


Indie Lee Moisturizing Oil, in Patchouli Sandalwood smells amazing and hydrates without feeling oily ($36, Anthropologie).

Emily Gregor
Emily Gregor
Emily Gregor is a magazine journalist, graphic designer, event planner, and world traveler. A firm believer that lipstick can save the world, Emily is passionate about beauty, skincare, and corgis.