Shop My Shelf: Vasudha Rai

Written By Dr. Pooja Shah Talera

Did you ever look at someone’s skin and wonder what her routine is or look at their hair and wonder if it is good genes or a good hairdresser? We wonder too. Quite often actually. Shop My Shelf is our repository of recommendations sourced from people whose skin, beauty, wellness and general life principles we admire! In this edition we asked beauty and wellness columnist and author, Vasudha to share her journey, skincare wardrobe and wellness philosophy with us.


READ TIME: 7 minutes

Vasudha Rai on Skincare in India

You’ve been a writer, author, columnist for beauty and wellness. How did it all come to be?

My journey began with my mum. She has always been a beauty woman. She has always taken such good care of herself. I vividly remember her beautiful well manicured feet, lovely long hair and kajal. I grew up watching her with her full vanity kit that had a proper mascara and lipsticks with a lip brush. As a career, it happened accidentally. My dear friend Malini Banerjee recommended me for the position of a beauty writer in Cosmopolitan. I took a copy test set by the very intimidating Priya Ramani and took the job for peanuts. But this was the best decision I ever made. Although beauty was my weak spot and those days beauty and health were different and most doctors didn’t stress enough on lifestyle impacting skin, I was always aware that my lifestyle impacted the wellbeing of my skin. But I really got into wellness after being diagnosed with endometriosis, which is incurable. So I tried everything to curb the inflammation - supplements, acupressure, yoga, supplements, superfoods and Ayurveda.


Absolutely, the idea of skin health has really evolved and at KOSA we encourage our clients to adopt a holistic approach to their skin, that does not necessarily have to be rooted in a single methodology. I can see that your book GLOW also comes from a space of exploration. What was the idea behind it? It’s a great reference book that funnels traditional Indian wisdom and Ayurveda principles to a very simple format.

Thank you! Whilst looking for lifestyle solutions for endometriosis, I did a lot of research. I read all of Dr. Lad’s books, I did my yoga teachers’ training, I started meditating and I referred to a lot of Ayurveda. Through all of this I realised that there was a gap in the market for simply reference books that modernises ancient knowledge, which need not be read cover to cover but can be used for any topic one may be interested in. I also wanted my audience to subconsciously understand that beauty is not just about products, but also about wellness which was why I divided it into four pillars of beauty - vitality, clarity, radiance, and peace. Ultimately, what really helped my rosacea was when I started meditating, my endometriosis saw huge relief with transformative yoga and my acne got better when I simply exercised and cut the sugars out.

Who are your beauty and wellness icons?

Wellness is Vandana Shiva. For beauty I love Caroline Hirons. I used to like the writing  of Calgary Avansino, who was the beauty and wellness director for Vogue. I know everybody loves to hate on Gwyneth but I love Gwyneth Paltrow. I love what she stands for.  Dr. Vasant Lad’s books are phenomenal and Dr. Robert Svoboda’s books are amazing.

I have yet to meet a beauty and wellness enthusiast who does not know Vasudha. I love that you emphasize on the traditional sciences and support local brands equally. Our traditional philosophies and methodologies deserve equal international recognition and we need more people like you championing this cause!

Sharing a conversation with Dr. Vandana Shiva and I really want you to credit this to her. She was like, “This is what the West does. First they attack and then they appropriate.” As influencers, it's our responsibility to not only be aware but also sensitive about our traditional practices as well.  Claiming I love Centella Asiatica but don’t believe in Ayurveda is simply paving way for the West to sell our own sciences to us. Why isn’t my Gotu Kola as cool as their Lotion P50? Why is it that after Madonna started Ashtanga that we think Yoga is cool. Since we are so aware and woke generation, we should protect and uphold what is ours, maybe even figure out new uses and ways of showcasing it. Everything does not have to turn into golden milk for us to accept it!

Your beauty and wellness routine?

Well, in the evening it’s very short but in the morning, quite long. I need two hours in the morning before I get down to actually start working. After my oil pulling and jal neti, I do my meditation. This is followed by a face massage, face yoga and then a bath. Breakfast with my chai and fruits is a large part of this. It’s my form of self care and helps me feel a little more grounded. In the evenings, I exercise.

What’s your typical skincare routine now that you’re on topical tretinoin? 

I use tret twice a week but I use no other actives, none whatsoever. The rest of the steps are bland and focussed on building my barrier. I am a cleaning junkie and end up spending most on it. I love the Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm and the Pahadi Local Peach Oil. With the balm I occasionally use cleaning cloth to gently exfoliate. I use the iS Clinical Tri-Active Exfoliating mask once or twice a month if I need deeper exfoliation. Malaya Advanced Repair Mask is my favourite for a poreless and placid looking complexion. I use the Biologique Recherche serums, VG Tensil for lifting and Collagene Natif for firming. If my skin is starting to feel raw, I use the Creme Masque Vernix as an overnight treatment. The iS clinical Youth Eye Cream has delivered super results for me. Sunscreen ofcourse is a no brainer.

What about the big ticket treatments now that you are 40?

I’ve tried Ultherapy. I wasn’t pretty impressed with it because I felt like my face massages gave me the same results. But yes you need to have the luxury of time and be consistent. I haven’t considered fillers or Botox. I am going to try and avoid it as much as possible but never say never.

An expensive but worth-it product or treatment? 

The Aquagold®

What’s your signature beauty look? 

Red lip. I love a red lip. I used to wear a red lip almost every day when I was beauty director of Harper’s Bazaar.  Some of my favourite reds are the Tatcha Kyoto Red Silk lipstick for an orange red, Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche lipstick in Gazpacho for a deep red (unfortunately discontinued) and the Bite Beauty Longwear lip stain in Sangria Slush. That is my current favourite. Having been to art school, makeup is really like a form of self-expression for me. It’s just that now I’ve found my look - red lip and beautifully defined lashes. Chanel Le Volume Mascara is my staple.

What is your favourite workout? 

Favourite is yoga but the most effective is walking. 

What is your go-to tea?


What’s your bedside beauty essential?


What is the last thing you do before you go to bed?

Look up beauty reviews on MakeupAlley.

What would be a back-up career, Vasudha, if you were not doing what you’re doing today? 

Yoga teacher. I’m a certified yoga teacher. So perhaps some asanas and some homemade masks for you to take home after class!

IS CLINICAL Tri-Active Exfoliating Masque


An ideal combination of physical and biochemical exfoliation for instantly smooth skin. This exfoliator combines powerful botanical enzymes, Salicylic Acid and eco-friendly micro-beads to give a transformative exfoliative treatment. Dramatically helps to smoothen, brighten and soften the skin.


Tri-Active Exfoliating Masque 


A protective cream that can also be used as a mask to recondition the epidermis with lipid-rich ingredients that revitalise the skin. This protective, healing and firming cream masque is formulated with a selection of active ingredients rich in lipids, proteins and antioxidant peptides that virtually reproduces the original composition of the vernix. It relipidates the complexion, improves barrier function and repairs damaged DNA. The skin is left feeling comforted, nourished, hydrated and strengthened.


Creme Masque Vernix


A serum with collagen is an excellent firming agent that tightens the skin's pores and improves the oval of the face.


Serum Collagen Natif 


This intensive toning serum provides an instant lifting effect, while regenerating epidermal tissues over time for a firmer, denser complexion. It reshapes the contours of the face to beautify it from every angle. The skin is left feeling firmer and more elastic with a healthful radiance.


Serum VG Tensil


A steam-distilled precious and pure rose water awakens, uplifts, and hydrates - an exhilarating luxury for tired skin.


Wild Rose Himalayan Mist

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