When it comes to beauty, I thoroughly enjoy using products that have unique ingredients and scientific formulations. However, when my fascination with beauty and skincare began as an intrigued 10-year-old, I couldn’t access any of these. All I had were ingredients from the kitchen and my mother’s advice.
While the efficacy of DIYs and at-home remedies is debatable, it’s a fact that the modern beauty industry is tapping into some of these natural ingredients with a modern take. From Ashwagandha and Turmeric to Aloe Vera and Honey, we now have the goodness of these ingredients (and more) packed with powerful formulas as the latest offerings from sought-after beauty brands. Tapping into the power of ancient beauty rituals, another homegrown brand, Old School Rituals, transports us back in time with its extensive skincare range.
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Even though we have an abundance of homegrown beauty brands in the Indian market, this one stands out with its intricate storytelling which shows impeccable attention to detail. Old School Rituals is created with bundles of love by Smita Vallurupali who is a multi-hyphenate in every sense—an actor and singer who’s now taken on the role of a beauty entrepreneur. In a freewheeling chat, she took us into her world of celestial nymphs and ethical ingredients.
ELLE: In the abundance of homegrown beauty brands, what inspired you to start Old School Rituals?
Smita Vallurupali (SV): Creating my own line of skincare products has been a longstanding dream of mine since I was 24 years old. Being an avid beauty consumer, I always had my eyes on products and designs from all around the world, so subconsciously this was always there in my mind. Then, when I had my baby, I was on the lookout for the correct products that I could use on her skin which led me to my own kitchen. So I started whipping up my own concoctions for my baby and for myself too. When friends started reaching out to me because they wanted to use my homemade creations, a certain sense of confidence was instilled in me that motivated me to build a safe and clean skincare brand. That’s how Old School Rituals came into being.
ELLE: Your brand’s packaging is extremely intricate and detailed, it narrates a story. Is there a specific reason behind that?
SV: I’ve always been extremely detail-oriented as a person, so of course Old School Rituals was subjected to my intricacies of being perfect. Growing up, all of us have heard tales from our mothers and grandmothers—tales that involved nymphs, and mystical creatures. I believe that a brand also needs to be able to weave a story with all that it offers. This is why with Old School I chose to narrate the brand’s story with the visuals. The details of the Apsara’s on the packaging right from their outfits, to the jewellery they adorned—all of it was created to be personal. Each one of them represents a certain part of us while evoking nostalgia.
ELLE: Out of your repertoire of 32 products, what is the one product you swear by and why?
SV: I always hesitate to answer this question because I definitely have more than one favourite product. Each and every product, whether that’s a skincare product or a haircare one, has been a true labour of my love. However, I absolutely swear by the Red Sandalwood and Saffron glow-defining powder every single day and I often alternate it with the Indian spices nectar. The perfect alternative to a relaxing facial, these two products are my go-to from our vast collection. I always gravitate towards them because you can witness an instant difference in your skin.
ELLE: Since your brand is built on ancient beauty rituals, what are a few rituals that you follow?
SV: As someone who has always been intrigued by beauty and all that it entails, I’ve always placed a lot of importance on following beauty rituals for yourself. Engaging in these rituals has allowed me to switch off from the world, take a step back and just unwind. A beauty ritual that really tops the list for me is scrubbing your body. After a long day, it’s the only thing that soothes me and makes me feel good from within too. Another ritual that helps me hit the reset button is the classic champi, I’m sure everyone agrees with me on this one.
ELLE: Old School Rituals prides on ‘old school wisdom’, how do you blend these rituals with modern innovations in science?
SV: We’re striving hard to balance the power of ancient wisdom with modern innovations. Old School Rituals was created in order to blend our age-old rituals with skincare advancements that we witness every day. The only way we’re able to do this is by using beauty rituals passed down by our grandmothers as a starting point for all of our research. The whole idea is to give consumers the best of both worlds!
ELLE: Your brand has taken quite some time to come to fruition. What were a few challenges that you faced in this journey?
SV: Being a beauty entrepreneur, I’m no stranger to hindrances and obstacles. However, I don’t let these define my journey or the journey of my brand, I look at them as a lesson. When I began working on the product formulations, balancing out the natural ingredients with the scientific ones was something that took a lot of time, and we wanted to be extremely sure of our formulations.
ELLE: Your portfolio contains aura salts as a product, something unique for a beauty brand. What was the thought process behind introducing these?
SV: I am a strong believer in cleansing your aura and purifying it. Beauty rituals are all about prioritising self-care and cleansing your aura is right there. These aura salts are powerful bath salts that are created using a blend of ingredients that pull out negativity from your body.
ELLE: Do you plan to extend your current portfolio of products?
SV: We have extensive plans to extend our portfolio of products. With the upcoming festive season, we’re gearing up to launch 3 new products that embody the very essence of Old School Rituals. Since rituals are at the centre of our philosophy, we’re also looking to create Old School Ritual experience centres that allow the consumer to blend their own products and create rituals for themselves.