Decades ago, in 1950, Innayat Khan’s grandfather migrated from his homeland in Kabul, Afghanistan, to India where he was posted as a district magistrate. His wife – an intuitive genius at concocting traditional home remedies for skin, hair and wellbeing – moved along with him as did several other members of their Yousufzai clan.
No one could have predicted that, half a century later, two members of the youngest generation would once again revive their grandma’s traditional Persian and Afghani home remedies and build a wellness brand out of it.
It’s called Taaseer, and as the tagline goes, is made with Innayat and Khuloos, which not only mean ‘grace’ and ‘hearty’ but are also the names of the young founders behind the brand.
“These formulae were well-kept secrets for the past many generations in my family,” explains the 33-year-old Innayat, who was born in Varanasi and lived in various towns across India before the family settled in Delhi.
“When people had any skin or hair or health issues, they would come to my grandmother for solutions. The remedies she made were completely natural, safe and free from side effects.”
A few years ago, Innayat – a post-graduate in mass communication who had worked in design and user experience at OLX – began spending more and more time with her grandmother, Ishrat Khan, who had taken ill.
“It suddenly struck me that no one else in the family knew how to make all those wonderful recipes,” she narrates. “It was valuable knowledge that needed to be shared with the world.”
Supported by her folks, Innayat got together with her 26-year-old cousin Khuloos Khan and decided to launch a brand that brought the best of ancient Persian and Afghani wellness secrets to India.
An avid traveller – her family is spread across the world and she has been to 47 countries herself – she also began researching about the best of global beauty traditions including Ayurveda and Unani from India.
Their year-old brand Taaseer now offers nine products priced between Rs 150 and 3000, ranging from a potent tooth powder made with walnut bark, cardamom, dried neem, meswak and cloves to an oudh (fragrance) that aids in meditation and aligning chakras.
Aafreen – an exquisite rose oil elixir that has more than 25 benefits in nature including relieving acne, depression, migraine and asthma – uses oil sourced from Kashan, the hub of Mohammadi rose in Iran.
“Our products are sold in small quantities because the ingredients are quite expensive. For instance, the original rose oil costs Rs 12 lakh per litre,” Innayat explains. One of their earliest products, the Moajaza hair oil, uses 47 herbs and 12 base oils including homemade cow ghee, all prepared in a traditional copper vessel.
The family makes the cold-compressed oil themselves. “We’re able to achieve a very high rate of purity because of this,” says Innayat.
Their grandma, Ishrat, who is now 83, is still the signing-off authority on each preparation!
The skincare range includes a face gel, Kef, made with pure saffron, avocado, vitamin E, and natural wild aloe vera gel from Isfahan valley in Iran; a rose-water toner called Maraasim; and an ubtan called Farozaan.
“No bride gets married without the ubtan ritual in our family. It contains oatmeal, almond, cashew, walnut, zafran (saffron) and many potent oils,” says Innayat at her Delhi office, situated on the top floor of a building that overlooks the entrance of the boho-chic village of Shahpur Jat. True to the spirit of the brand, the décor is rustic and authentic.
Interestingly, they also offer superfoods like pure saffron and dried black mulberries from Afghanistan. “They are very rich sources of anti-oxidants, and also contain high levels of vitamin C, iron, calcium and protein, and really benefit your immune system,” says Innayat, offering a few.
As if living up to the values of Taaseer, the berries too are wholesome, sweet and delicious.
For more, visit taaseer.com
First published in eShe’s July 2019 issue