Looking stunning in a pastel-coloured sari, former Miss Universe and Bollywood star Lara Dutta Bhupathi celebrated her 41st birthday in Dubai at the Beauty World ME by launching her skincare range Arias. "I am doing good and turned a year older today.I am here at the BeautyWorld ME to begin Arias which is my skincare range. So, I say that today is the birth of my second baby, the first one came out seven years ago, but I am very excited as I spent the last two years creating Arias," chuckled Lara while talking to City Times this afternoon. After winning the Miss Universe pageant and doing well in the film industry, Lara now wants to inspire women to focus on their skincare and celebrate their inherent beauty. She also stressed on the fact that her products are for women who live in this part of the world, and who have different skin care needs as compared to those living in the West. Lara who has a legacy in the beauty industry for around 25 years spoke to us about her skincare routine, the #MeToo movement and how her husband loves her creams and masks.
What prompted you to start your own business?
I have been part of the beauty and glamour world for 25 years. I stepped into the industry when I was 16 years old and along the way I have learned a lot. I have spent almost 95% of my time in front of the camera, and my job requires me to look good. There is always pressure on women like us who find the need to look 'perfect' all the time because we get photographed so much, but I find that nothing in our life regardless of what the lifestyle is should hold you back from looking your best. I feel that it is crucial to provide yourself the best skin food that you can afford to provide yourself with. The idea was to create a skin care range using all that knowledge that I gained over 25 years as I had the opportunity to work with the best from the world. The key thing is to be able to provide everyday skin care products that are gentle, affordable and most importantly, show results. That's where Arias was born. I have used the ingredients that have proven to show results for the kind of conditions that our skin type deals with and I am thrilled with the outcome.
Social media especially Instagram and Pinterest constantly have content promoting various beauty and make-up products. Do you think social media has changed the way we look at beauty?
I think so, and we are continuously bombarded with new products online. Every single day we get notifications of something new on our inbox, social media, etc., and it gets confusing. For example - today there is a new algae product that is supposed to change your life around and tomorrow, it is not an algae, but there is a new chemical that is the latest rage - I think it gets confusing.
But I am being honest because I am 41 today and if you look at my skin, I might know a thing or two about what to do with your skin. I feel the less you mess with your skin, the better your skin treats you. At some point in your life, there has to be an acceptance about how beautiful your skin is regardless of your age or what lights are falling on your face; it is essential to accept yourself. Also, your skin care does not have to be elaborate or expensive. You don't need to open your cupboard and have 40 different skin products to use every day; you need to keep it simple. You must find what works for you and keep it simple; that's what I have done all my life. My skincare routine is fundamental and gentle and that works for me.What is your daily skincare routine?
I honestly feel that when you are in your teens or twenties, you feel like you will never grow old. You have youth on your side, and your skin looks fresh all the time, and we just wash our face and go out. We don't even use moisturiser or sunblock, and slowly but surely, once you hit the thirties, you notice wrinkles and damaged skin. I believe in the kind of climatic and stressful conditions that we live in, having a small daily routine goes a long way in preserving what your skin looks like.
Even if you have a simple habit of washing your face with a gentle face wash and using a toner only if you need to, you must moisturise your skin and apply the sunscreen daily. Sun damage is the biggest reason why our skin is aging today. We have a sunscreen which gives you a matte finish, it is not greasy, and it is perfect for this weather. I think one must wash their face before sleeping because our skin repairs itself while we sleep at night hence we must apply serum, night cream and give our skin plenty of vitamin C for radiance. We need to use vitamin E for hydration as well. We have an incredible night cream that is made out of Japanese blossom which helps diminish the fine lines and pores. You must pack your skin with nutrients, drink enough water and also exercise every day.
How involved are you in the making of your products?
I have been my guinea pig, and this journey has been two years of labour. It has been even longer than giving birth to a child. This journey has taught me so much about different ingredients and different concerns about skin. It has been a fun journey. It has been a lot of work, and I have been hands on with it.
Do you test your products on your husband Mahesh Bhupathi as well?
My husband has had face packs and multiple ones to see which one works best for him, and now I feel that he is stealing my products as whenever I go to find my under eye cream, I find that it is missing!
The most important thing is that though this is a skincare line which is made by a woman, it is equally effective on men as well. My husband swears by my products.
Lara's husbandMahesh Bhupathi who is a tennis star revealed a few months back that Lara turned down a film which was offered to her by the casting company of Mukesh Chhabra, one of those accused of sexual harassment amid the #MeToo wave in India. When we asked Lara about the growing #MeToo movement in India, she said, "I think it is about time. It is fantastic as I feel the difference today is that women are standing up for women. I think that comes from a generation shift. The older generation was taught the fact that women don't speak up, they don't come to the forefront because they should be homemakers. Women today still do all of that. We always manage home, take care of family, we are still the troubleshooters, we wear multiple hats in a day, we juggle a million works, and we don't let any of them drop. But this generation of women have become more vocal, and they are empowering each other. I cannot stress enough about how essential it is to have a sisterhood, to support other women that are speaking up. Be unafraid and unapologetic about the stand that you take."
Her husband Mahesh wrote this on his social media account, "Two days ago my wife, who's shooting out of town, got an offer from a leading international digital platform through Mukesh Chabbra's company. She forwarded it to me for my feedback. I asked if she really wanted to empower his company even after what's been in the news. Her reaction was that the digital platform hadn't really pulled back business from him either. Later, Lara got in touch with the digital platform and told them she wouldn't accept work through this company specifically. I think she did the right thing. I'm not sure it's enough, though."
He added: "While these Me Too revelations are upsetting my wife as much as they are me, maybe even more since she has seen a lot of this at close quarters and some of her friends are involved at both ends, the fact remains that the cream of the industry has refused to support the movement. Sajid Khan is not directing Housefull 4 anymore, but is that enough? Women who have been in toxic work spaces, and yet are staying quiet need to understand how hard it is for these stories to be shared. Similarly, the men must understand that even if you played your part by being a silent spectator to injustice, now is your chance to set things right."