Beauty junkie. Perfume collector. Candle fanatic. Book lover. Shopaholic. Vintage car rallyist. Travel buff. Countryside connoisseur. Champagne aficionado. Head-over-heels for vintage fashions and décor. Besotted by Audrey Hepburn, Marie Antoinette, Princess Sisi and Maharani Gayatri Devi. Tech addict. Devoted to Grey’s Anatomy. Dreamer.
Yup, that’s me. Anubha Charan. And this blog is devoted to my first love – the gorgeous, glorious world of beauty.
Beauty has always been about more than looking good for me. It’s a way of feeling good. Of calming down frazzled nerves. Of unwinding after an exhausting day. Of bringing home the romance of far flung destinations when I am craving a vacation.
Basically, beauty for me is self-care.
My first introduction to this world was with my mother, who did not know she was actually setting me on a career path rather than just massaging away my maths-exam-related stresses (I’m still absolutely petrified of numbers) with dollops of coconut oil infused with cooling vetiver. Even though I was not particularly fond of the gloopy oil, I would emerge from it with my headache and all feelings of dread having floated away. The great hair was a bonus.
Even then, though, I didn’t start my career with beauty. It was too frivolous, everyone said. So, as an English major with a post-graduation in law and a double Masters in journalism, I started reporting on crime. That lasted about five days, till I was faced with my first gang shootout. What made me think I could do this despite my abhorrence for blood is beyond any rationale.
Then I switched to being a lawyer. And man, were those the most mind-numbing three years of my life. I had to leave.
I did leave. And soon, somehow, found myself writing freelance articles for Cosmopolitan, on lipsticks, hair conditioners and homemade face masks.
The rest, as they say, is history.
What I found in my journey through the world of beauty journalism (after Cosmopolitan came Good Housekeeping, Marie Claire and Vogue) that this field is most categorically not frivolous. It’s art and science rolled into one big, complicated package. Have you ever tried truly getting into an ingredient list? Adenosine. Biostimulatory filler. Carnitine. Epigallocatechin Gallate. Genistein. Licochalcone. Matrixyl 3000. MMPI.20. Pycnogenol. Trichloroacetic Acid. Xeomin.
Get the idea?
I had fun getting the science. What was not fun? Writing hyperbole about advertiser’s products, not being able to speak up when something was plain hogwash, and being chained to a desk. Honestly, I have never done well with rules and hierarchies. And by then I had saved up enough to want to indulge my second love – travelling.
So, after my last bout of crying as an advertiser yelled down the phone, I quit print. And took a ‘gap year’ to travel. Paris. Positano. Sri Lanka. Bali. The Lake District. Florida. Chicago. North Carolina. Rajasthan. Osaka during cherry blossom season. The Northern Lights in a little village within the Arctic circle.
And everywhere I went, I found myself not only discovering new cultures and landscapes but also homing in on the region’s beauty rituals and their own unique products.
In Italy, I learned the power of olive oil massages to keep skin supple and blemish-free.
In the South of France, I discovered Marseilles soap, which is made to a 600-years-old recipe, has at least 72% olive oil and is free of artificial additives.
In India, I found myself stocking up on kaajal-liners, which don’t only create the most perfect smoky look but also soothe and cleanse the eyes, protect against infections and safeguard against the harsh glare of the sun.
In Singapore, I saw precious pearls crushed in a grinder to be mixed into face masks and moisturisers.
These were not just beauty rituals. They were part of the land’s cultural narratives. And the vocabulary that I understood best. I guess it’s like that for food lovers and wine connoisseurs as well… exploring the world through what you love the most.
And then, one day, I sat down at the computer and just started writing. About all the fascinating recipes, rituals and beauty products that I was experiencing on my travels. Thus, The Beauty Gypsy was born.
A combination of my love for beauty and travel. A narration of my way of seeing the world.
Through the years, I have discovered myself through this journey as well. I now know that to me, skincare is more important than makeup. And that fragrance is the music of memories. I learnt that I love mixing simple homemade masks with luxurious store-bought versions in my routine. Rather like a combination of eating out and cooking at home.
And I have a particular soft spot for products that are super-effective and hold together sensorially for a luxurious selfcare experience. AND while I absolutely love my Hermès lipsticks and Sisley’s face masks (the Black Rose one is divine!), on this blog, you will also find a special focus on small batch, artisanal and ‘safe beauty’ brands that are reinventing and improving the wheel AND keep a protective eye on our environment.
Because it’s those little discoveries that marry together my dual loves of beauty and travel: beautiful soaps that are poured by hand in Morocco, a small haircare brand in India that keeps up the forgotten art of shatadhauta ghrita (100 times washed ghee), a young company in Amsterdam that’s bringing tulips into our skincare, a family-run outfit in Malibu that makes the most luscious products out of seaweed, a former doctor who makes velvety body oils out of hand dried herbs in Colorado… there are so many of these beautiful stories out there.
Are you ready to discover them with me?
Drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org for suggestions on what you want me to review or what you want to see on the blog. Or just to say hello!
And come see me over on Instagram, where I share bite-sized beauty tips, hacks and reviews, along with a behind the scenes look into my world.