I use brown sugar and cinnamon with a little water to exfoliate then SK-II cleanser and their RNA moisturizer. These items are very gentle on my skin. I get a deep cleaning facial and eye massage once a month at FaceGym which is primarily a massage and facial all in one on your face. Before that, I had been going to Korean and Chinese facialists and they spend at least 15 minutes massaging the face which helps increase collagen production and blood circulation––making your face less puffy. I drink loads of water everyday and box 3 days a week. I sleep trained my son when he was 2 months old. He goes to bed around 7:30pm and I go to bed by 11pm. I sleep a minimum of 7 hours every night––with the exception of Game of Thrones night. I started meditating 10 minutes a day when someone at the Buddhist temple I go to suggested that I try it. I heard on Oprah’s podcast that she started doing mindful meditation while walking on the stairs. I like this idea of being able to move and meditate. My favorite way to meditate is to listen to chanting music while I walk home after I drop off my son from school for 10 minutes. Before that, I had always struggled with sitting and meditating and this has changed my life in every possible way for the better.
I use the La Mer broad spectrum sunscreen lotion and Laura Mercier foundation in tone of Suntan and then a Kohl eyeliner. I consider eyebrows to be the most important feature of a face. I have them threaded and shaped twice a month and I use Chanel (black matte) eye shadow to accentuate them.
I put coconut oil all over my hair overnight every other Friday night. I use a clarifying shampoo (Shampoo Davines Solu) once a week. I rarely use a hair dryer. After a simple blow dry, I put my hair in a bun for 10 minutes and then apply Bumble and Bumble hairspray. It gives a very natural wavy look.
Beauty Secrets Passed Down
My mother and grandmother were very beautiful and elegant, I wanted to be like them. They were powerful women. I grew up in their shadow. They always smell decadent. They always told me: ‘you must enter with a presence and leave a presence.’ My grandmother passed away 18 years ago, but I remember her smell so vividly. I try to follow their path––I never leave my house without my Kilian perfume. My grandmother and mother would put some of the cooking ingredients on their face while cooking. I started doing this and it’s magic. I always put some yogurts or cucumber juice on my face while cooking and eating. If they are cooking curry with turmeric, they will put paste on their face, same with yogurt. They will squeeze cucumber juice on their face as well. With the tomatoes they use to make vegetable stew––they squeeze the juices on their face. They would just use whatever fresh ingredients were on hand on their face, and that’s how I learned to do it as well.
My grandmother was Burmese. She used to use Multani Mitti––which is a form of clay sunscreen from Burma––before gardening under the sun. I’m always searching for a similar sunscreen. It protects your face very well.
6 years ago after I had a baby, my housekeeper told me that turmeric is a magic ingredient for losing baby weight. I started putting it on my stretch marks. It was amazing. I lost weight in a month. I took turmeric pills. I had turmeric roots and I would eat a small piece every morning. Growing up I absolutely disliked the smell of turmeric and it was everywhere. My aunt used to make an oil and turmeric spread. I was terrified of it but had to eat it to be polite. Now I put turmeric in everything. It’s a magic ingredient to feel light and energetic. I started liking it out of necessity.
South Asian Culture
I think people in South East Asia are extremely hospitable, to an extent it could feel overbearing. In the Hindu culture they consider guests as a second god, they have a high regard for teachers and guests. Treating guests is a way of earning good karma and a stairway to heaven. There is a strong community feeling at all times. Now I really miss that in my everyday NYC life. When I moved to the US at 18, I wanted to fit in and reject South Asian traditions. But after college, I found my way back home and now I appreciate it. I take my son to India every year so he can learn the culture. At the hotels, I rarely see a woman come to breakfast without taking a shower, putting on beautiful clothes and wearing gorgeous jewelry. Last year I went to get breakfast in my jeans and t-shirt and I felt so disrespectful because the women had put so much effort into their appearance. I had to go back upstairs and change.
Rice and Bean porridge––we call it Khichri. This is the simplest Bengali Burmese food. To me it is traditional family food.
Advice to my younger self
I always say to my son: “Easy does it”. To tone it down. Don’t be so anxious. The universe has a great way of equalizing and giving gifts. I’ve always been a competitive person. The side effect of that is having the anxiousness to make things happen faster than others. I wish I enjoyed the failures more and could not always operate at 9 but maybe at a 6 instead. If nothing is working out, just step back for a second.