The $7 cream that changed everything I knew about skincare

Have you ever abandoned a beauty product – or actually, any product – simply because it seems old fashioned? Like something your grandmom would use? Something your grandmom did use? And it’s cheap? And cheap plus old fashioned can hardly be the recipe for effectiveness, right?

Once again, I am rudely reminded of how we shortchange ourselves by following such superfluous logic. Seems the fact is that if something has stuck around for almost 70 years, without feeling the need to fancy itself up or change the formula an iota, it speaks volumes. Volumes about its efficacy and success.

That’s the story of Vicco Turmeric Skin Cream. An Ayurvedic skincare product I have grown up seeing on my grandmom’s dressing table, where it was placed by her mother. In fact, Vicco Turmeric Cream has been such an inherent part of most Indian households that it has to be embedded in the country’s genetic memory itself.

Which is why, growing up, I worked hard to stay away from this slightly ugly looking tube. Too simplistic to compete with the aisles of retinol- and bee-venom-laden skincare potions, Vicco Turmeric was an absolute no-no in my skincare arsenal. Till now.

Till I started reading rave reviews from across the world about this $7 product (in India, it’s actually $2!) and decided so much rave-making is worth a second chance.

vicco turmericA single, solitary tube was ordered from an extremely surprised aunt who was travelling from Mumbai and once I’d gotten used to the slightly sweetish fragrance of sandalwood – even my husband, who’s annoyingly finicky about sleep time scents, did not find it disruptive – and since then there’s been no looking back!

Seriously, my skin has never looked cleaner (just cleaner… can’t find another way to describe it) and both the acne and acne scars have seriously diminished. So have blackheads and facial hair. It’s also made everything more even toned, taut, firm and bouncy… happy skin, as I call it. Even my pores look smaller. Almost overnight. I. AM. NOT. EXAGGERATING.

In fact, I’ve now even switched it up from night time to day time as well, since it makes for the perfect BB cream and primer replacement. It simply sinks into the skin, leaving behind a golden glow and has superb oil control properties that just keep carrying on the grease-control from morning to night. Plus, it feels so cooling on the skin, making it a mandatory application during hot, humid summer days.

So, just what is it about this super-simple cream that’s turning it into the magical unicorn of skincare?

Vicco Turmeric is a simple mix of turmeric extract and sandalwood oil in a beeswax base. But it’s the proportions that count: Unlike a lot of fancier products that list turmeric and sandalwood as key ingredients but have minuscule amounts lurking at the bottom of their formula, Vicco Turmeric does not believe in being miserly.

With 16% turmeric, it goes way beyond the definition of a mere cosmetic cream. That’s why, generations of Indian mothers swear by it for everything from acne to cuts, burns, insect bites and skin infections. In fact, it’s one of the very few products that are allowed to be manufactured under the Ayurvedic Drug License (it’s also FDA-approved), due to its holistic underpinning of traditional medicine.

Then, there’s also the fact that the potent properties of both turmeric and sandalwood are unsullied here by an alcohol base or chemical fillers, which end up doing more harm than good to your skin.

Traditional Ayurvedic way of grinding turmeric and sandalwood into a paste
Traditional Ayurvedic way of grinding turmeric and sandalwood into a paste

And if you’re really not a fan of sandalwood, or the smell is too strong for you, there’s Vicco Turmeric WSO – which translates as ‘Without Sandalwood Oil’. Though, why anyone would want to deprive themselves of the super skincare benefits of sandalwood, I simply cannot imagine! In fact, I personally adore the fragrance and find that it makes me feel relaxed and helps me sleep better.

Where to buy Vicco Turmeric Skin Cream

Even if you’re not travelling to India anytime soon (and don’t have any conveniently placed aunts either), don’t despair. Vicco Turmeric is available at most Indian stores across the world. Or you can grab it off Amazon.

It takes a minute or so to rub the thick mousse-like formula into your skin but a little goes a very long way. So, a single tube would easily last you about three months.

In fact, I’m coming across an increasing number of men (yes, not kidding!) who are ‘fessing up to using Vicco Turmeric as an aftershave balm. With superb results.

That’s quite a bang for your seven bucks, right?

Have you ever used Vicco Turmeric Skin Cream? What’s been your experience with it?


  1. I’ve used Vicco Turmeric Cream before but I felt like it broke me out. I was already having acne flare-ups so it’s actually hard to say. Now that my skin is clear, I’ll probably revisit it. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. We use that product here in Trinidad. And you are absolutely correct. We disregard what works for what is current or trendy. This post is reminder that tried and proven is sometimes best. I made a note to pick up a tube next time I’m out shopping.

  3. I completely agree. This cream is one of the only things that actually helped me when I had acne. Thanks for bringing this on the top of my mind! I have this in bathroom but rarely use it these days – like you said, fancier creams look so much more promising. Will use – esp in humid months it works well.

  4. Hi, years ago i tried it as well (was using my moms hihi), but a few min after applying it felt really dry on my skin. Is this maybe more for oily skin rather then dry/combined skin?

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