Cleopatra, of the drop dead looks and one of the most desirable women in history, is said to have worn a gold mask to bed to preserve her beauty. But the new age woman isnt stopping at just gold to beautify herself. Diamond, platinum, silver and pearls are being used in a wide range of products that claim to do everything from erasing wrinkles to making the skin glow.
Precious metals seem to be the ingredients of choice for a vast range of luxe beauty products. And theyre being made by everyone from the local giants like Shahnaz Husain, Vandana Luthra and Blossom Kochhar to topnotch brands like Ponds, Natures Essence and Avon.
Earlier precious metal Ayurvedic treatments were only for the rich but its commonplace today. Advances in the personal care market have helped integrate the properties of precious metals into mass beauty products and services, says Husain.
It is claimed that the products with precious metals as primary ingredients transfer the essential qualities of the metals to the skin. The gold/silver/platinum rich products can also fight acne, keep the skin taut and brighten the complexion.
Many sceptics dismiss these claims and insist that the molecules are too big to penetrate the skin. However, their creators differ. Says Luthra: The idea is not to make the skin absorb the gold dust but its essence. These products give best results when used as a part of facial treatments. Agrees Neeraj Kumar, business manager for Natures Essence: Just like a clothes iron, golds heating properties clear wrinkles without the gold penetrating the skin.
Heron Awomi, manager product and training, Blossom Kochhar Beauty Products, says: We use gold and silver ions to balance the PH of the skin through a process called iontophoresis. This process uses a galvanic machine to pump the ions into the skin along with a fluid to aid the process.
Husain, who has set up the Platinum Parlour in Delhi providing high-end beauty treatments, says that precious metals and gems are prepared for use in the products according to Ayurvedic systems along with latest techniques.
Diamond is used in the form of bhasmas (ash) and combined with plant extracts and essential oils. For the gold products, 24-carat leaf is combined with plant extracts. Nano technologys reduces the size, shape and surface properties of the platinum particles, she says. The different ways of processing the metals help the skin to imbibe their qualities better.
Each ingredient is used for different skin types and to treat specific skin problems. Platinum blends well and works on all skin types, says Luthra.
Platinum recharges the skin and strengthens collagen and elastin which form the supportive tissues, says Luthra. Its also an anti-oxidant, boosts cell renewal and is known to have anti-ageing properties.
Gold suits dry and dull skin, says Luthra. Its age-control and revitalising benefits help reverse damage. It is also anti-bacterial and transports oxygen molecules directly into the skin, influencing cellular functions.
Husain says: Ayurvedic texts say diamond has age-defying and rejuvenating effects that help control visible signs of ageing.
Diamond is said to purify and remove congestion from the tissues, getting rid of toxins and wastes. Being the hardest material on earth, its good for exfoliating the skin to smoothen, soften and brighten it, says Luthra.
Silvers cleansing action kills bacteria on contact, soothes the skin and speeds up cell repair. Pearls reverse the effects of sun damage and tanning.
No wonder then that the cosmetic markets brimming with products loaded with the goodness of gold, silver and more. With an eye on the mass market, Unilevers Ponds Gold Radiance line recently hit shop-shelves. It offers five anti-ageing products: Youthful Glow Day Cream, Precious Youth Serum, Youth Reviving Eye Cream, Youthful Night Repair, Radiance boosting Cleansing Mousse which start at Rs 499 for a 25gm day cream to Rs 899 for the Gold Radiance Serum.
Blossom Kochhars pearl, silver and gold gels in the Aroma Magic range target specific skin types (priced between Rs 350 and Rs 450 for a 50gm jar). The gold gel brightens dull skin while the pearl gel works well on oily skin by deep cleaning and detoxifying. Silver gel moisturises dull and dry skin.
The products are mixed with different ingredients to heighten the benefits. Husain adds plant extracts and oils. Her five diamond range formulations, contain herb and flower extracts of lotus, basil, dates, orange, carrot seed, vetiver. These are hydrating compounds, powerful nourishers and sun-filters, and also have detoxifying and anti-ageing properties, she says.
The platinum range is blended with ingredients like rose, ginseng, aloe vera, green tea, grapefruit, cucumber seeds, jojoba oil and shea butter. Luthra combines it with essential oils.
They make for coveted accessories, now try precious metals for their potent rejuvenating properties.