When Raman Puri was in her 20s working as a dietician in Chandigarh, she had chronic acne that left her face painful and bleeding. Life was miserable for the young woman and she approached various dermatologists for a cure. “They’d apply acid peels and give me all sorts of medicines but no one told me it would leave my skin so sensitive that I couldn’t go out in the sun,” says the 41-year-old mother of two.
After marriage, Raman moved to Delhi, and – because her husband’s family ran a 20-year-old beauty products factory that manufactured cosmetics for other brands using plant-based ingredients – she got a clear, insider’s view into how the beauty industry functioned, and what compounds were beneficial for which skin ailment.
She began experimenting with natural ingredients on her own skin, and was delighted with the change. “My skin became stronger, and I can go out in the sun now with no problem,” says Raman, whose personal experiments laid the foundation of her nature-based beauty label, Spaveda.
Born in Mumbai to an Army family, Raman completed her Master’s in food and nutrition in Chandigarh. She worked as a diet consultant for five years before giving it all up for marriage and raising two children in Delhi. Once the kids grew up, her interest in holistic lifestyle sparked off once again. This time, with her husband’s support and knowledge of cosmetics, she used her own passion for wellness and the service industry, and they together launched a holistic beauty brand based on traditional Indian skincare rituals two years ago.
Spaveda products include serums created with the purest botanical extracts that deliver the most efficacious ingredients deep into every layer of the skin. They also have essential oils, potent cold-pressed oils, botanical extracts, soaps, face cleansers, earth’s clay, and body butters for pregnant women. All their skin and hair products are free from parabens, sulfates, harmful colorants, preservatives and artificial fragrances.
But the proof, as they say, lies in the pudding. Raman recalls meeting a fellow school mum at the bus stop one day, and noticing that the lady’s skin had developed wrinkles and pigmentation to such an extent that she kept her face covered with a scarf. As they got chatting, Raman learnt that it was the side-effect of heavy medications after the lady developed stomach ulcers. Raman offered help with her own formulations. The lady began using those products, and when Raman saw her after the summer holidays, her skin was clear, glowing and mark-free once again.
“That really opened the flood-gates,” Raman laughs. Word got around in the kids’ school about Raman’s miraculous therapies, and even the school principal became a loyal customer. “The basis of my work is personalisation, as no two people have the same skin and everyone needs different treatments. It’s not easy to do this in a store,” she says, explaining why she prefers supplying her range to spas and at pop-ups across India where someone she has trained is present.
But that hasn’t curbed the popularity of her products, and her customers – including those from as far as Russia and the Czech Republic – are now in talks with Raman to retail her products independently as her trained distributors. Of course, the range is also available from her website, spaveda.in.
“The younger generation is exposed to a lot of pollution and too many toxins, so they crave for natural, holistic solutions for their hair and skin,” says Raman, adding, “I am happy to help.”
Beauty Review: Beta Carotene Scar Corrector
I asked Raman for a solution to acne along my left cheek, which she surmised may be due to holding my phone frequently in that position (true).
She suggested three important steps: Cleansing, hydrating and nourishing. For the first, she gave me her best-selling Kasturi Manjal Face Cleanser. For the second, I had to just dampen my skin with a face mist or plain water, before going for the third step: the application of the Beta Carotene Scar Corrector. In a week, the pimples were gone, and the skin was plumped up and felt smooth.
I consulted Raman about undereye dark circles too. Her solution: “Stop reading your phone in the dark.” I guess there are some things even nature’s best healers can’t cure.
First published in eShe’s April 2019 issue