The Beauty Memo

Pritika Swarup’s AM/PM routine

With a career in modeling, a near-completed degree in financial economics and her mission work for the Operation Smile charity, Ivy League student PRITIKA SWARUP is committed to doing – and feeling – good. Here, she shares the daily wellness rituals she swears by, from Ayurvedic practices to homemade skin saviors



The first thing I do is…

…stretch and meditate. It’s in no particular order, but I like to get my body moving. I try to do a guided meditation, but my thoughts often get into my sessions. Meditating gives me clarity and helps center my mind.

Less is more for my skin

A light, cream cleanser and moisturizer are the two key things in my routine, and if I have more time then I use a mask while I do emails. There are so many traditional remedies that I’ve used since I was young: like mixing honey, lemon, turmeric, yogurt and chickpea flour, then leaving it on the face for 15 minutes. For a breakout, I make a mask using neem powder, rice powder, olive oil and turmeric, which is a great antiseptic for breakouts. If I’m going to be outside or in the city, I always wear a sunscreen, and if I do wear makeup it’s very light – just brow gel, mascara and concealer.

My supplements cover all the bases

Every day, I take half a teaspoon of turmeric mixed with clarified butter and black pepper. I’ve been doing this since I was really young, as it’s something my mom used to do. She has always used traditional Ayurvedic remedies. I also take turmeric pills, but the body digests turmeric better with clarified butter and pepper. Depending on the time of year, I take black elderberry to support the immune system, as well as zinc. I’m also taking vitamin D and C right now for the times we are in. My mom is a yoga instructor and she studied Ayurvedic medicine for years, and a lot of the tricks that I do are from her studies – or they were passed down from my grandmother.

If I wake up looking puffy…

…I use cooled tea bags under my eyes for 10 minutes or put on a face mask. I prefer to use skincare products rather than cover up with makeup.

To help me with jet lag…

…I make sure I sleep and stay hydrated on a flight. I’ve trained myself so I can be asleep before take-off; last time I flew to India, I slept for 16 hours straight. I use a little aloe-vera gel on my face and under my eyes to moisturize; I have an aloe plant at home, so I pick a leaf and put the gel on my skin before leaving for the airport.

I love the energy of working out in a class…

…but I also do jump rope, running, light weights and I work out with apps, especially yoga and Pilates, when I’m traveling. I also Facetime my mom and she takes me through the sun salutations. She did yoga long before it was popular, and she taught us all about health and lifestyle when we were growing up; we don’t really eat red meat, and we never had fast food.

My parents give the best advice

My mom told me to stop always planning ahead and to be present in the moment. This applies to everything, from being on set shooting to being on a mission site in Mozambique with Operation Smile, or even just when I am doing my daily skincare routine. It’s about giving my all in that moment.


I love taking time over skincare

I’m very careful about removing any makeup, and always do a mask a couple of times a week – either a detox mask or something more hydrating. To exfoliate, I’ll mix ground-up orange peel, glycerin, honey, lemon and sugar – I use these same masks and peels on my face and body. I do love using oil in my hair and body: sesame oil in winter and coconut oil in the summer, as some are better in warmer or cooler weather. I don’t believe in just putting something on your face because someone says it does this or that, but rather look at what your skin needs that day and understand your body.

Going to India changed my life

I grew up with the Ayurvedic approach to health, but didn’t understand the remedies and rituals until I actually went to India. It’s ingrained in the people, like inhaling steam when you are sick, or the turmeric hack that I take in the morning. It’s changed my perception on health and how I look after myself.

When I can’t sleep…

…and I’m at home alone with my thoughts or feeling super-wired (I’m in my final year at Columbia and I’m studying until late), I take a long shower and meditate. I’ve also started drinking kava tea; it’s amazing, in less than then 10 minutes, it relaxes me, takes my stress away and calms me right down.

On my bedside table I have…

…a bottle of water – I always try to drink a full bottle before bed; a notebook so when I have a lot on my mind I can write down my thoughts; and a lip balm.

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