Mountain Valley Springs India

Blending the ancient rituals of Ayurveda with contemporary methods, Forest Essentials’ products offer an indulgent yet natural and effective approach to beauty

“Ayurveda teaches that inner and outer beauty are part of a perfect balance,” says Mira Kulkarni, founder of luxury skincare brand Forest Essentials. “The more we nurture ourselves inwardly and outwardly, the more we develop a vibrancy or radiance that manifests itself as outward perfection.” Drawing on the ancient system’s principles, Mira has developed a range of products that fuse traditional recipes with modern technologies to nurture beauty and wellness from the inside out.

Ayurveda is a holistic approach to health and beauty that was developed in India thousands of years ago. It teaches that health and wellness depend on a balance of energies that all life forms possess. “Indian physicians have known the secrets to flawless skin and ageless beauty for thousands of years,” Mira explains.

Mira was introduced to Ayurveda early in her life and was always convinced of its effectiveness. However, traditional Ayurvedic products are often more medicinal than sensual. She realized at the time that there was a gap in the market for a luxury brand that maintained the essential properties of Ayurveda while creating products that were also aesthetically pleasing, beautifully scented and pleasurable to use.

Since it was founded in 2001, Forest Essentials has become a pioneer in the luxury Ayurveda sector, with 70 stores across India and an ever-growing host of customers around the world. In 2008, the brand entered into a strategic alliance with the Estee Lauder Companies and is now working with the group to bring the very best in Ayurvedic products to the global market.

Despite its growth, Forest Essentials remains committed to its founding principles of ensuring that every product is made by hand using traditional methods and adhering to the highest standards of quality and purity. “What sets us apart is that we control the process from start to finish,” says Mira, “from sourcing ingredients through to training the staff in our stores.”

Forest Essentials’ manufacturing base is located in the foothills of the Himalayas, where local labour harvests the fresh, seasonal herbs and flowers that are the cornerstone of its products. These are made in small batches using traditional recipes that require time and care. Silk soaps are cured for 12 weeks, and as part of this process they are washed in ghee and pure silk infusions. The fresh fruit used in the brand’s Organic Fruit Scrub is fermented with roots and leaves for a month to achieve its deeply cleansing properties.

While other beauty brands are now tapping into a growing trend for Ayurveda, Mira explains that a desire to cut costs can lead to compromises in the intricate procedures required to create true Ayurvedic products. She, on the other hand, has kept Forest Essentials at the forefront of the market through a combination of meticulous research and a commitment to using only natural, fresh ingredients – an approach that has earned the brand dozens of accolades such as Harper’s Bazaar’s Best Luxury Ayurveda Brand.

The beauty industry is often based on quick fixes and surface appearances, but Forest Essentials advocates a more mindful approach that works with nature rather than against it. Its products are created slowly, with thought and care, and Forest Essentials promotes the principle of “slow beauty”, encompassing rituals and routines, and allowing time for positive changes to happen gradually, with results that stay. Thousands of years of Ayurvedic expertise would validate the fact that this ancient approach really works.