“Quantico” star Priyanka Chopra revealed to Vogue some of her favorite all-natural beauty recipes. And one mysterious beauty secret standout: ubtan.
Ubtan is a traditional gram flour-based paste that is often used by Indian brides before their wedding day to keep skin clear and glowing. Despite her increasing celebrity and access to world-class beauty treatments, Chopra still relies on ubtan to achieve perfect skin.
What’s in Ubtan?
Ubtan starts with a base of besan (gram flour), which acts like an exfoliant for the skin, scrubbing away dirt, debris, and dead skin cells. It lightens the skin, controls oil buildup and can even help remove unwanted facial hair. Traditionally, the gram flour is whisked together with sandalwood powder and raw milk to make a paste.
Sandalwood powder has inherent anti-inflammatory and anti-septic properties. It smooths the skin, reduces the appearance of scars and blemishes, and enhances the mood with its light, sweet, and woody aroma. It has the ability to sooth sunburns and clear skin tanning, combat aging, treat acne, and cool the skin.
Raw milk is also incredibly beneficial for the skin, boasting nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and protein. It contains natural healthy bacteria and living enzymes that improve the skin’s microbiome. Raw milk is also quite moisturizing and helps to complement the exfoliating effects of gram flour. If you fear the risks of raw milk more than you seek its unpasteurized benefits, opt for an organic pasteurized version of milk instead.
In Chopra’s ubtan concoction, she combines gram flour with yogurt, lemon, whole milk, sandalwood powder, and turmeric. Turmeric has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. Ten different studies have shown statistically significant improvement in the severity of certain skin diseases with either ingestion or topical application of turmeric. These skin conditions include acne, alopecia, atopic dermatitis, facial photoaging, oral lichen planus, pruritus, psoriasis, radiodermatitis, and vitiligo. Meanwhile, lemon juice has exhibited success in treating photo-aging, hyperpigmentation, tissue inflammation, and tissue healing.
In the following ubtan recipe, wheat bran and rose water are added to the mix. Wheat bran offers more exfoliation while rose water adds a dose of aroma as well as additional antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
- 1/4 cup besan (gram flour)
- 1 tablespoon sandalwood powder
- 1 tablespoon wheat germ
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 tablespoon yogurt (raw if possible)
- 1 tablespoons milk (raw if possible)
- 1 tablespoon pure rosewater
- Juice of half a lemon
- Combine all ingredient in a bowl.
- Whisk until completely combined.
- The mixture should be a thick paste. If it is too thin, add more gram flour. If it is too thick, add more milk until desired consistency is achieved.
- Rub the mixture into your facial skin. As you scrub, the ubtan will turn grainy and dry.
- Once you've applied the mixture to your face and exfoliated thoroughly, rinse your face clean.
- You can multiply the serving size to make enough to use for the entire body, not just the face.