Beauty Entrepreneur Kiran Singh Is All About Hydrating Her Skin This Summer
Some habits are hard to break. Like that childhood fascination of rifling through someone’s purse just to find what wonders it holds. None of us could really stop ourselves from rummaging through our mums’ and aunts’ handbags, and swatching their cosmetics, spritzing their perfumes, et al. At Hauterfly, we still love doing that, although we don’t snoop around in each other’s purses (that would be slightly creepy)!
Instead, we have intense conversations about the brands and products we swear by, or our current obsessions like it’s a matter of national importance. What’s more, any opportunity we get to speak to women in the beauty business, we grab with both hands. And so we bring to you Beauty Speak — where beautiful women in the business share their beauty secrets.
The online retail space in India is anything but easy. Throw in beauty, and what you’ve got is a crazy competitive industry. You’d think that would deter most, but not Kiran Singh, founder of the soon-to-be-launched beauty portal, Barunii.
After having worked with beauty companies like L’Oréal and Kaya for nearly two decades, Kiran is now following her passion for skincare at her own enterprise. As she says, Barunii is for the thinking Indian woman who puts good skin first, before everything else.
Today, she chats with us about her favourite beauty products, her skincare regime, and what keeps her glowing all day, every day.
What is your skin care regime like?
Good skin is my obsession, it always has been! Even while I’m travelling, I am happy to busy myself observing fellow travellers’ or air hostesses’ skin, and making mental notes of what the person should do.
Currently, I’m obsessed with hydration. Well-hydrated skin is the best gift a woman can give herself. I believe one has to work both on the outside and inside to see good results, so my beauty ritual for hydrated skin is a combination of beauty products and supplements.
For cleansing, I alternate between SKII’s Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil and the Vichy Purete Thermale 3 in 1 One Step Cleansing Micellar Solution. These are gentle and do not make my combination skin dry.
I’ve been very weary of toners, but I have recently discovered this hydrating toner with vitamin E from The Body Shop, and it works perfectly for me.
Given the Mumbai heat, I find it difficult to layer up too much these days. So I stick to Lancôme’s Absolue Eyes Precious Cell’s day and eye cream handy.
I avoid putting traditional sunscreen, and use the L’Oréal facial mist with SPF 50. It’s not sticky like cream and leaves a lovely sheen on the face.
Air conditioning wreaks havoc on my skin. So when I’m in office, I keep reaching for my Pure Lavendar facial mist from Kama Ayurveda. A good hand cream is important too – I keep switching between L’Occitane and The Body Shop’s Moringa Hand Cream, or one from Marks & Spencer.
As I said earlier, I also take supplements to boost my hydration levels. I have just started taking L-Glutathione tablets for antioxidants and to boost my skin’s hydration level, and wash it down with a water soluble Vitamin C tablet for the absorption of L Glutathione tabs.
I end the day with cleansing and toning again. At night, I use Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate oil.
Which products do you use occasionally but at regular intervals, and how often do you change up your skincare regime?
I use the Clarisonic Face Brush once a fortnight for deep cleansing, and I do this at night to ensure my skin is at its cleanest to absorb high potency serums and creams that follow. The next morning, my skin always feels extremely supple. The supersonic technology of this brush is ideal to remove all the impurities that a face wash cannot.
I change my skincare ritual regularly, but I do follow it through for at least 2 to 3 months. Otherwise, one does not see results. Often, we get impatient and drop off the discipline mid-way, and that’s why you never see results.
Did you face any skin issues while growing up?
I grew up with oily skin and always felt that it looked dull and greasy. But back in the ’90s, we did not have enough beauty knowledge, nor did we have easy access to the host of beauty brands that are available in India today. The last few years have seen so many renowned beauty brands making their foray into the country.
Today, women have so many choices and easy access to buy brands online. There is, however, one thing I feel that still has a long way to go, and that is increased beauty awareness among urban Indian women. It is changing among the younger lot, but older ones are still holding on to their old prejudices or are happy with the status quo. I was lucky to have worked in various beauty companies and, therefore, could make the right choices, but that did not happen till I was in my early 30s.
What is a typical day in your life like, in terms of your skin and haircare?
I keep a set of essentials by my desk at all times. I prefer to keep them handy and visible, and not tucked away in a kit inside a drawer. As I said, air conditioning and I don’t go too well together. So in office, I keep my facial mist to hydrate my face regularly. I like to use a good hand cream, as it makes me feel fresh, so I keep one in my handbag too.
I can live without lipstick, but never without my perfume. I like to experiment with new juices. At the moment, my office set has Bombay Perfumery’s Chai Musk, 1020, and Moire. Can’t say which one I like better, but I find them all interesting.
What products do you pack with you when you are travelling?
Flights are merciless. They transform your skin into an arid dessert — all dry! So I always carry a hand sanitizer, facial mist, and hand cream in my handbag. In my check-in baggage, I pretty much carry everything I need for my skincare routine — cleanser, makeup remover, and eye cream. To economise, I skip serum and carry a cream instead. I go light on makeup; usually a tinted moisturiser, compact, highlighter, and an eye pencil with a smudger. And perfume, of course!
What is your haircare regime like? What are your favourite products and how often do you use them?
I alternate my shampoos mostly between Kerastase and L’Oréal Professionnel. I change it every time the bottle empties. I believe we must invest in a reputed brand of shampoo to ensure we are cleansing our crowning glory with quality products. We should not trust shampoos beyond simple cleansing. They cannot really solve your concerns like breakage or hair fall. Use more expert products for that or see your doctor.
I usually wash my hair twice a week. I feel guilty for not oiling my hair before washing it. I have recently discovered the Kerastase Stimuliste hair tonic with aminexil, which nourishes the hair, from root to tip. On towel-dried hair, I just spray it on my roots and let it rest for 1-2 mins, and then go blow-dry or air-dry it. It’s a busy girl’s buddy, especially during a weekday when you are rushing to work. To tell you the truth, even on weekends, I find oiling and washing quite tedious. I rather use this time more fruitfully with my son and husband.
Do you have any quick fixes/at-home solutions for hair and skin problems that you have learnt from your mum, friends, makeup artists, or anyone else?
My husband keeps me super busy. There are times when I reach home from work and he announces that we are going out. To pick up my tired visage, I quickly cleanse my face, apply a light cream mixed with primer, and dust it with loose powder to set. I finish up with a dash of brow bone highlighter and kohl. That look is good to go anywhere!
What kind of skin or hair treatments do you get done, and how often you do indulge them? Any favourite technician or masseuse?
I think after 30, every woman must engage with a dermatologist. I am currently consulting with Dr Falguni Shah of Radiance Skin Clinic. I began visiting Dr Rohini Wadhwani of Skin Essentials in my early 30s for peels. I’ve never had faith in the efficiency and hygiene of facials done at salons. So I moved to dermat care early in life. Facials at salon are, at best, therapeutic.
Are you fond of makeup? Which feature do you like playing up on your face and what are your favourite products?
Oh, I love makeup. It took me time to figure out what works for me, but now I know my game. Makeup, when used well, has tremendous transformational power, but most of us have not given ourselves a chance with makeup and have instead held on to our old prejudices and fear.
I use L’Oréal Paris’s nude eye palette for everyday makeup. I also love the YSL Nude palette or even Lancôme Absolue’s coral tones.
A few other favourites include M.A.C. and YSL primers, Lancôme highlighter, L’Oréal Paris Sun Kissed blush (which works wonder for olive skin), YSL Touche Eclát, Lancôme’s Miracle Cushion foundation, and the Armani Mousse foundation.
Lancôme Miracle Cushion Foundation (Rs 3,600)*
*Available at Lancôme counters across India.
What about foundations and concealers?
On a daily basis, I use the Lancôme tinted CC cream and finish off with the L’Oréal Paris loose powder. Sometimes, I also use Lancôme’s Miracle Cushion foundation — it gives mild coverage and an even tone. It’s good for sweaty summers.
I don’t use any concealer. I like my face to show imperfections. I do, however, try to brighten up my eyes. I do not use eye concealer for it. I have found a way with foundation and BB creams that work just as well. The trick is to begin applying your foundation or BB cream around the eyes first, and then start blending it out towards the cheeks and the rest of your face, instead of the usual route of dotting your whole face with the product. This way, you build more coverage for your dark circles.
How do you wear your nails?
My nails are nude. I find that colours distract me at work. Since I have dry hands and feet, hand creams and the Body Shop cuticle pen are great in-between the manis and pedis.
The 5 tools/products that you can’t live without?
A good hydrating cream, a facial mist, the YSL Touche Eclát, M.A.C. Strobe Cream, a good BB cream (I keep switching between Bobbi Brown and Lancôme), and a light brown eye pencil with a smudger (I don’t like using a separate smudger — those with its own smudgers are cleaner and easier to use).