She comes across as a glow-getter and a determined one at that! Browse through her Instagram feed featuring her travels, beauty reviews and collaborations with leading brands. Nikita Upadhyay, author of Roots to Radiance: Wholesome Beauty Solutions for the Millennial Life is millennial and unapologetically so. This former digital head of Cosmopolitan understood the perks and perils of the ‘Insta-age’ and hence created a modern beauty handbook, a ready reference for when you want to whip up a home remedy, be it for dry skin or frizzy hair. Our beauty editor, Aparrna Gupta catches up with Upadhyay and they discuss home beauty remedies, myths, reading labels and everything in between.
1. Would you describe yourself as a journalist, a beauty blogger, an influencer or an author?
Nikita Upadhyay: All of these! The beauty of current times is that there are no labels anymore in terms of anything. What I do in terms of beauty writing is closely linked to beauty blogging and eventually, it has led to me becoming a published author.
2. What’s your idea of beauty?
Nikita Upadhyay: My idea of beauty is feeling beautiful through all phases of life. I’ve had bad skin and good skin; I’ve been overweight and underweight but the thing that’s been constant all these years is that I’ve always believed that I’m beautiful. Beauty lies in feeling beautiful while working towards what and who you want to be. More than an idea, beauty is a feeling. Love yourself today while you’re working on being what you want to be tomorrow.
3. Has your concept of beauty changed over the years, from when you were a beauty editor to now when you have authored one of the best-selling books on beauty?
Nikita Upadhyay: I’ve become more of a minimalist when it comes to make-up. These days I only like to use clean cosmetics and as my friend, Bobbi Brown (founder of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics) says, “skin should look like skin”. A lot of people buy brighter tone foundations because they think it’ll bring them an otherworldly glow, but it just gets them a grey undertone. So, ‘acceptance’ is perhaps the right word in this context. I think that’s what has changed for me. The more you accept how your skin is and get products in sync with that, the better your skin will behave.
4. Tell us about the journey of Roots to Radiance. In an age when all the information is available at the click of your fingers, what inspired you to pen down a book on beauty?
Nikita Upadhyay: So many online articles on beauty, that’s true. But I like to call ‘Roots to Radiance’ a reference book. It’s not a novel that one has to read cover to cover. It’s a book that’s charted out different parts of the body into simple chapters and listed remedies for all concerns. For example, the chapter about eyes will have 10 recipes each for puffiness, dark circles, wrinkles etc. I have even listed 50 things one can do under 3 minutes to improve hair and skin health. That’s something us millennials can definitely benefit from.
My mother who looks so young that is often mistaken for my sister has inspired me to write this book. I belong to a small town in Chhattisgarh where there was no online shopping while I was growing up.
5. During the process of writing ‘Roots to Radiance’, you have spoken to international experts, which are particular tips that stayed with you?
Nikita Upadhyay: I was super kicked when I had all the movers and shakers of the beauty industry support and endorse my book! It rarely happens for a book to have this kind of compilation. Dia Mirza, an actress who’s awarded for her great skin and contribution to the environment wrote the foreword. A beauty mogul (Bobbi Brown) who’s an inspiration to millions (on how to build a brand) has penned down an inspiring letter for stressed millennials! A Hollywood dermatologist (Dr Barbara Sturm) who treats celebs like Bella Hadid, Kate Moss, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kim Kardashian has done a skin Q/A for my book. The man who is known as the finest nose in the world (Roja Dove) has taught people how to pick their signature fragrance. And since beauty starts from within, Asia’s star chef (Sanjeev Kapoor) has contributed some easy to make recipes for glowing skin.
Here are the tips that stayed with me:
Dia Mirza, Former Miss Asia Pacific, Actor, Activist, UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador wrote the foreword…and taught me an amazing morning ritual for a youthful glow which is in my book. And some other life lessons that are bigger than beauty.
Bobbi Brown taught me that it’s okay not to have a clear idea or things figured out upfront…but one has to have an open mind. Being open is the key quality of success.
Dr Barbara Sturm taught me not to over-cleanse my face i.e. using face wash only once in a day (at night).
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor taught me the usage of Indian superfoods and pairings to boost their efficiency.