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Michelle Ranavat of Ranavat Botanics

The Ayurvedic advocate on Indian royalty-inspired self-care routines and the beauty of simple, certifiably organic formulations.

Ranavat Botanics may be the youngest brand we’ve profiled so far, having only launched in August 2017. But don’t mistake its youth for lacking in aspiration or authenticity. Helmed by Michelle Ranavat, a former investment banking analyst and supply chain specialist, Michelle possesses the know-how and flair both in business acumen and scouting for some of the best organic ingredients to use in her Indian royalty-inspired products. It’s how the brand went from idea-to-launch in less than a year — and probably why the Los Angeles-based label has already received an enthusiastic welcome in the conscious beauty community.

Offering three kinds of masks and three complementary tonics to deal with hydration, detoxification and brightening, as well as a hair serum, Ranavat Botanics’ collection was created by grouping together botanicals which best addressed each concern.

Most impressively, in the sea of buzzy terms that swirl around ‘green beauty’ marketing campaigns — and where the term ‘organic’ is the only one that is regulated by the FDA and USDA — Michelle made sure to obtain the proper certifications for each of her products from the onset.

Rooted in a modern approach to Ayurvedic treatments, Ranavat Botanics makes use of wholesome ingredients like manuka honey powder, arrowroot and organic flowers to elevate the quality and experience of a daily beauty ritual. Just as kings and queens of Indian royalty once indulged in the healthfulness and lavishness of self-care practices, Michelle hopes to encourage the same appreciation of self-love and personal time in our busy lives

“In the US, there is very limited oversight in the cosmetics and skincare space, which makes it very difficult for consumers to know what they are using.”

Ranavat Botanics

Ranavat Botanics’ current line-up features three toniques, three masques and one hair serum

You launched Ranavat Botanics at the Indie Beauty Expo in August 2017. Congratulations! Can you tell us about your background, how you got into beauty — and the story behind the brand?

My educational background is in engineering (Bachelors in Industrial and Masters in Engineering Management). For the past seven years, I was working at a chemical company my father started that supported the R&D pharmaceutical industry. I loved diving deep into supply chain, discovering new products and building efficiency and quality into our network. After my second son, I was fascinated with making Ayurvedic-inspired masks and recipes. I slowly began replacing my $150 serums with Ayurvedic remedies — and they worked! Unfortunately, many of the ingredients are plentiful in India but are very difficult to get here in the US — and of good quality — so I realised that we needed to make Ayurveda more accessible and of higher quality.

With your experience in the supply chain industry, saying that you have a knack for sourcing is an understatement. Tell us about your ingredients’ sourcing process.

Here in the US there is very limited oversight in the cosmetics and skincare space, which makes it very difficult for consumers to know what they are using. I wanted to use accredited third parties (like the USDA or Made Safe) to put actual weight and meaning in the words ‘organic’ or ‘non-toxic’. Each Ranavat Botanics product will have either the Made Safe (certifies a product is non-toxic) or USDA Organic (certification from the US Department of Agriculture) seal.

Searching the world for new treatments sounds very exciting but most of my diligence is focused on documentation. If the farm doesn’t carry the proper certifications, I will not move forward in the process, no matter how amazing it sounds.

“I don’t like to hide behind complex formulations.”

How do you ensure your organic products’ efficacy and potency?

I would say it first starts with the formulas. I keep only effective or active ingredients in my formulations so many of them are very simple. For example, the Toniques line each consists of one single ingredient. I don’t like to hide behind complex formulations. Rather, I like to focus on the story behind how the flowers are handpicked from remote farms and steam-distilled to create a beautiful and natural aroma without removing any of the vitamins and minerals.

In terms of potency, I believe freshness is key. This is why our Masques are in powder form. They are activated the moment you are ready to indulge in your treatment; much like how a spice comes to life when you are cooking a meal. It also adds a special element of customisation so that you can mix and mask between our line of Masques and Toniques to cater to your skin’s needs.

Ranavat Botanics Lavender Tonique

The Organic Lavender Tonique is made from certified organic and steam-distilled lavender flowers

Tell us about the lavender, eucalyptus and jasmine flowers used in your toners, and the best skin types they are most suited for.

All of the treatments in the line are not formulated by skin type. All products are gentle enough for all skin types. Instead of categorising our skin (which is constantly changing), I like to focus on addressing our skin’s needs in its current state. So before your ritual, you can ask yourself if you need: hydration (jasmine), detoxification (lavender) or illumination (eucalyptus). Each of our Toniques is paired with a Masque with those same three properties. So you can either use the pair, or mix them to create your own custom combination!

What are the core differences between your masks in terms of ingredients and their benefits?

Each mask is targeted towards a specific skin goal: hydration (Kiss of Royal Tea), detoxification (Eternal Reign) and illumination (Flawless Veil). All of the masks are formulated with a high concentration of manuka honey powder so they are gentle and do not irritate your skin like most clay masks. The formulations include organic ingredients — many of which are native to India and have incredible healing properties that have been used for thousands of years.

How does Ayurvedic medicine inform your product recipes?

The line is a modern interpretation of Ayurveda as they are unique compositions that I personally formulated. Each Masque and Tonique are composed of organic herbs that specifically target either hydration, detoxification or illumination. In Ayurveda, there is a focus on dosha and the treatments are very specific, which is why Ranavat Botanics takes a more modern approach.

Ranavat Botanics Illuminating Group

The Flawless Veil Illuminating Masque and Eucalyptus Illuminating Tonique pair together to allow you to mix and mask according to your skin’s needs

What is your ultimate dream for Ranavat Botanics as a conscious beauty brand?

My ultimate dream is to encourage more self-care. I truly believe taking care of ourselves is as important as taking care of others, and I love knowing that Ranavat Botanics helped create that little bit of care and luxury in someone’s life. Feeding our skin with real ingredients is so vital and my goal is to provide a beautiful ritual where you can feel good about what you put on your skin and how amazing it looks after.

Ranavat Botanics is inspired by Indian royalty way back when maharajahs and maharanis indulged in lavish daily self-care rituals. What are some interesting facts you can share with us about these rituals?

When you think about royalty, you think about how they wanted to live forever. They wanted the most luxurious and fresh botanicals, and above all, they prioritised self-care. They knew 5,000 years ago that what they put on their skin impacted their health and their lives. My mission is to provide this same luxurious experience so that we can add a bit of royalty and self-care into our lives.

What does conscious living mean to you?

To me, conscious living means knowledge. It means understanding each ingredient impacts our wellbeing and to use products where we understand their origins. It’s not about being perfect, but about doing what we can to lead better and healthier lives.

“When you think about royalty, you think about how they wanted to live forever. They knew 5,000 years ago that what they put on their skin impacted their health and their lives.”

Images courtesy of Ranavat Botanics