Kumkumadi tailam is one product that most of us, regardless of skin type, concerns, age, or budget, can and should use. An ayurvedic recipe, this beauty oil is excellent as a facial skincare product, which not only maintains skin health, but also treats skin issues. A careful blend of plant, flower, fruit, and milk extracts, it is one of the most wholesome beauty products you can find.

Traditional components

Kumkumadi oil is made of a whopping 21 to 26 ingredients. Some of them are quite dear to lovers of traditional Indian beauty rituals.

For instance, the main ingredient in this potent potion is saffron, which is fabled for its ability to transform your skin tone and brighten the complexion. Additionally, ingredients like anti-inflammatory and antiseptic turmeric are also present.

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Floral components like lotus pollen and neelotpala (a type of water lily), give it a boost of important plant nutrients, like many other herbal Ayurvedic oils. This is really good for the skin because these natural oils are recognised by our body as something they can absorb, whereas chemicals are often incompatible with our system.

Then, cooling and soothing ingredients like chandan, or sandalwood, and khus, or vetiver, and bael fruit, make this suitable for use in a hot, tropical country like India, where acne, oiliness, and inflamed skin is a common concern due to the heat.

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Containing the essence of plants like Java fig and mahua, it almost has a medicinal effect on skin, while ingredients like licorice treat superficial concerns like discolouration and age spots, among other things. But that’s not all. Ingredients like purifying astringent manjishta, and the many root herbs used to make the dashmool powder this concoction is known for, lend a multitude of benefits to skin.

Other than these common traditional ingredients though, this oil also contains some unusual components like lac and goat’s milk.

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Primarily created in southern parts of India, this oil is largely coconut-oil based, but can also contain sesame oil.

Benefits

If your skin needs moisture, look no further than this oil. Known for re-texturising coarse skin with its repairing and rejuvenating functions, it’s most remarkable and speedy benefit is like the way it smoothes and softens skin. In a few days, it brings a radiant glow to the face as well.

However, the benefits aren’t quite so few. This oil superbly performs difficult functions like evening out your skin tone, by healing scars, getting rid of spots, and clearing out discoloured patches.

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Thanks to the vetiver and sandalwood, it also calms angry acne, and is known to keep blackheads at bay.

Is it for all skin types?

This is the most important and common disclaimer attached to kumkumadi oil: don’t over-use this if you have oily skin. While it is great for improving the skin’s natural ability to remain moisturised (you will notice you need less external moisturising once you start using this), it might be too oily for skin that is already greasy. That being said, it can be beneficial for problem skin, so it isn’t a strict no-no.

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In fact, if your skin is prone to scars, blackheads, pigmentation, and you have old blemishes, this oil is perfect for you. So, it can soothe and prevent acne in many cases, and is not necessarily bad for acne-prone skin. Not only that, it can help reverse dullness and damage caused by sun exposure and premature ageing.

How to use it

Ideally, kumkumadi thailam is great for face massages. But, if you don’t have the time for that, you can always use the serum form it is available in as a final touch after applying all your night-time skincare, as you might do with a beauty oil. Ideally though, it should be allowed to get absorbed into the skin nicely, even if it is with a brief massage.

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If you have really oily skin, it is inadvisable to keep a thick layer of this oil on at night. For you, this oil should be massaged in after cleansing, and left on the face for 20 minutes. After that, the excess oil should be wiped off with a steaming wet cotton towel, leaving only a thin layer of the oil on. Either that, or you should apply the product very sparingly.

Variations you can buy and try

Several companies manufacture this recipe in different forms and different price points, so here are some kumkumadi oils you can try.

Kama Ayurveda Kumkumadi Miraculous Beauty Fluid Ayurvedic

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A luxurious version of this ancient remedy was popularised by beauty brand Kama, and is a hot favourite among lovers of luxe herbal skincare.

Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala Kunkumadi Tailam

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South Indian Ayurvedic apothecary Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala’s traditional, homegrown version of this oil is as fuss-free as it gets, and will not set you back as much as the pricey Kama version might.

Alanna Night Miracle Serum

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Marketed as a serum, this product is more like a beauty oil. While it isn’t marketed as kumkumadi tailam, it contains the oil as a main ingredient, and does all the work at a reasonable price point. 

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