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If there’s a skincare ingredient that withstood the test of time, it is the humble ‘ubtan’. From grandmothers to moms, every woman in every household has collectively included ubtans in their skin upkeep and most recipes have been passed on from generation to generation.

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Why are ubtans so popular 

Ubtan’s popularity in India is based on the fact that each of its ingredients come with coolant properties, which are perfect for Indian weather. Besides adding glow (depending on the ingredients mixed), they also slough off dead skin cells and help exfoliate. The anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties in ubtan help reduce acne, spots, and pimples. In light of our minimal knowledge in ubtans and all its glorious benefits, we headed to Forest Essentials to unveil their exclusive ubtan bar and understand its ingredients, techniques, and the power behind this traditional beauty product.

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The ubtan process

As we filled in our dosha sheet, a sheet the beauty label offers to better understand one’s mood, personality and body, we were able to understand that beauty is not only skin-deep. Inner peace matters just as much. The dosha quizzes are curated by Forest Essentials experts, after which you can create your own ubtan according to your skin needs.

Is your skin easily inflamed? Is it too sensitive, too dry or too oily? It’s all about understanding your skin first. The Ayurveda doctor then offers ingredients and impressive herbs by using blending charts to make your own ubtan. Each chart is specific to dry, oily, or combination skin. Once selected, ubtans are mixed in a jar and the benefits are explained with each step. Suffice to say that the final product is the purest and freshest combination of herbs as per individual needs.

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Ubtans in Ayurveda

According to Ayurveda, ubtans should be in tune with your dosha. Doshas are categorised into Vata, Pita and Kapha, so individual ingredients vary as per your category. Vata contains moisturising ingredients, Pita is rich in cooling ingredients, and Kapha comes with warmer ingredients. Ubtan ingredients range from gram flour (besan) to almond powder along with turmeric, aloe vera juice, lemon juice, and rose water. Even rose petals, Fennel Seeds, Star Anise, Fenugreek, Saffron make for great additions. Ubtans essentially are made from finely ground herb, flower, and root powders. The sun-dried herbs grounded by hand come with natural and rough texture. Use them as cleansing scrubs for daily wash or as face packs for deep exfoliation. Add rose water, milk, yogurt or aloe vera to make a creamy paste for a face mask. 

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Ubtans and their ingredients

Ingredients such as fresh fruits, roots, flowers, lentils, bark, herbs, and others from Ayurvedic texts are hand-grounded and blended. They come in small batches to ensure its freshness and potency. These non-foaming cleansers do not strip away the skin’s natural moisture.

How does one use ubtans

Take half a teaspoon of ubtan and add a mix that is well-suited to your skin concerns, which could include milk, cream, rosewater or yogurt. Mix the paste in a bowl. Leave the concoction for a minute to absorb; this will help activate the potent herbs and ingredients of the ubtan. Once the mix appears to be a little more dry, re-add a few drops of the liquid to dampen it, and then massage it on your face. Essentially, the creamier the concoction, the better you can apply onto your skin. 

Here are the best ubtans you can find in the market today: 

Forest Essentials Facial Ubtan Soundarya, Rs 1075

Mamaearth Ubtan Body Butter For Dry Skin With Turmeric & Honey For Deep Nourishment, Rs 599

Shankara Deep Cleanse Facial Ubtan, Rs 1050

Just herbs Body Luster Sandal Turmeric Ubtan Pack, Rs 725

Pahadi Local Apricot Meal Scrub, Rs 775

Ohria Ayurveda Tej Vardak Face Wash Ubtan, Rs 990

Kama Ayurveda Ubtan Soap free Body Cleanser, Rs 895

ENN Litt Up Insta Glow Mask Indian Ubtan, Rs 850

While the ubtan bar is only on request, the Ayurveda doctor sits with you on your dosha to figure out the best ubtans that suit your skin type at Forest Essentials. 

Latha Sunadh
Deputy Editor
When she's not trying on a new serum, researching on yet another classic fragrance and sharing lip balms with her 5-year old daughter, Latha Sunadh keeps it reined in with a nice song and a good book. Special skills include obsessing over handmade, home-made and handcrafted luxuries.