Allia Al Rufai is one of Bollywood’s most wanted and most discerning stylists with a roster of celebrities and brands on her resume. Her elegance, attention to detail, understated styling, and peaceful demeanour makes her a special human. She single-handedly changed the Bollywood styling industry with her fuss-free looks, non-costume-y dresses, and minimalistic silhouettes, and that’s why Allia Al Rufai is our mindful maven of the moment.
She has worked with the likes of Anushka Sharma, Kiara Advani, Deepika Padukone, and Yami Gautam, among others, slowly creating an international appeal for them that’s rooted in Indian aesthetics and personal style. The half-Indian, half-Arab now jet-sets between India and Greece (where she and her husband, Thodoris Theodoropoulo, Greek model and reality TV star-turned-entrepreneur, live) and showcases her laidback life with a good bit of wellness and self-care.
We asked the lady about her beauty, wellness, and fitness regimes, and she gave us a glimpse into her world.
What’s your idea of beauty? Is there a definition you live by?
Beauty for me is always simplicity. That’s the definition I live by. I believe staying true to yourself is what’s most important. Real beauty lies in how comfortable you feel in your own skin. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder starting with your self.
Is there a basic skincare regime you follow, and what does it entail?
To be completely honest, I’m grateful as I’ve always had clear skin with no issues even through adolescence. I seem to have taken advantage of that fact and steered clear of beauty regimes of any sort. I do however use a face scrub from Apivita, a Greek beauty label. And I swear by the same face wash I’ve used the last 10 years — Purity from Philosophy — and Hope In a Jar is my regular skin cream. When it comes to skincare, I try not to overcrowd my skin with too many lotions, serums, and creams.
Are there any DIYs you follow when it comes to your skin and hair?
I regularly use homegrown olive oil from my husband’s fields in Greece on my hair and skin. I also make a scrub with leftover Greek coffee, that’s my special, all-natural treat.
Supplements you are taking for good skin and hair?
I don’t really take any supplements regularly. Sometimes I have experienced hair loss because I’m constantly travelling and the change in water and seasons can affect it. So occasionally, I do take a supplement from Phyto for my hair.
What about your wellness routine – is there a process you follow?
I believe living in the moment is important. I find joy in the smallest things like chasing butterflies, taking pictures of flowers, and picking fruits from the trees. There is nowhere I feel more comfortable than in nature. Nature heals. I go from this manic pace of work as a stylist, which I enjoy to slow living and laidback life. I am blessed to be privileged to find a balance between both.
Haircare routine you follow?
A wellness trend that you have been loving?
I don’t see wellness as a trend. I look at it as a lifestyle.
How do you keep yourself fit?
I love Pilates; it’s the only thing I enjoy. I’m not much of a gym person, so I like to go for long walks outdoors.
How do you stay mentally fit?
I choose to live my life in a balanced way. The moment I feel the scales tip, I go back to my basics and draw back on my staples. If I feel exhausted, I listen to my body, and I cut down on work for the next few weeks. If I’m overwhelmed with work, I don’t take the next job and take a week off for myself to reboot. I also regularly take breaks from social media. I feel visually over-stimulated on Instagram.
How do you stay motivated through the day?
I think that being motivated comes effortlessly to me. On the other hand, on my off-days, coffee helps. I love good coffee.
Instagram accounts you follow for wellness and fitness?
I don’t follow accounts but enjoy following certain hashtags. I think #slowliving is one of my favourite hashtags to follow alongside #floraldesign.
What’s your productivity plan? How do you maintain a work-life balance?
I’m not one for planning as I like to live in the present. I don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing, but things have a way of working out. You take your lessons from everything life presents to you – that’s my belief system. Also, I like to learn something new every year as a way of being productive in my own way — from courses in Cool Hunting to an MIT certificate course in Entrepreneurship to Bach Flower Therapy, there’s so much out there to try and enjoy. This year I hope to learn Greek along with learning to drive.
I believe family comes first so I never work on the holidays unless I have to. I like to take that time out to spend quality time with the ones I love. You make your own priorities, isn’t it?
Talk us through your morning routine?
My morning begins with gratitude. Mornings are my favourite part of the day. There is a candle lit in my living room, and slow jazz in the background and I take my time to enjoy my coffee and breakfast. Early mornings are the best when your phone doesn’t ring, and it’s nice and quiet. I meditate sometimes and then it’s all chaos post 10 am.
What do you eat in a day to stay healthy?
I have a habit of eating through the day, so every three hours I have a small snack or meal. I’m not the healthiest person to be around, and I eat whatever I get my hands on. However, I turned vegetarian six years ago, and I’ve never felt better. Anyone debating the switch, my advice is to dive right in, and you’ll thank yourself every day.
What do you do in your spare time?
I stay off social media and instant scrolling. I enjoy reading a good book or doing a course instead. The two courses I highly recommend are Eckhart Tolle, School of Awakening and Bach Flower Therapy course.
What are you reading these days — a few books you can recommend?
These are the books I’m loving this summer. We Are Human Angels; Lessons in Stoicism and my favourite book you can keep reading or just pick a page to read any day of the week is by Oprah called The Path Made Clear. It’s a treat.