Solah Shringar or the beautifying rituals…one for every part of her body, beginning with the top of her head to the tip of her toes , has been customary with brides since times immemorial .Through the ages,every bride has been following almost the same rituals to enhance her looks , with slight modification in the actual process associated with that period or era. This tradition probably takes root in the “royal baths “, where the queens were anointed with aromatic oils and bathed in fragrant water baths filled with attars or rose petals to make them soft and glowingly beautiful for their kings !
BRIDAL PACKS AND MASSAGES
Anointing the body with scented oils or unguent before the bath , for several days prior to the wedding , was , and to some extent , still is a common practice amongst brides . However , this has become more of a token ceremony today , with beauty parlours ,herbal baths, and spas fast replacing the ritual . Bridal massages and packs are in fact , so popular that all commercial parlours are vying with each other to offer the bride a little something extra to make her D-day extra special .
Suparna Trikha , who is a natural beauty expert , and runs a natural treatment centre in Nizammudin , Delhi offers a pre –wedding package of ‘pure bridal pampering’ , inclusive of skin , hair and a diet programme claims , “the moment you come to us , we start beautifying you for your special day”.
This begins with an analysis of the hair and skin types and special diet routines that exclude all sweets (except those that are a must for ceremonies ), aerated drinks and fried foods. Eat full meals , she advises , that include clear soup , cabbage and spinach to flush out toxins , with plenty of soda and water , to keep the pimples , acne and blemishes away .
Inspired by the queens of yore , her special package includes a rare and expensive body massage of pure rose oil depending upon skin type. This is followed by a dry fruit pack made of almonds , walnuts , figs and pistachios , which is kept on for 25-30 minutes and then washed away with pure milk .
Time was when brides were bathed in milk mixed with saffron , camphor and various other aromatic herbs . According to Suparna , who takes you back to the bygone era , milk is a natural bleach , and ‘kesar’ or saffron , a natural toner .
Aromatherapist Blossom Kochhar points out that apart from the usual body treatments that form a part of the pre-bridal package , they have developed an exotic mood oil for the would-be-brides called ‘Bridal Bouquet’ Their body massage with this aromatic oil actually helps pep up the bride .
FEET AND HANDS
The ritual of Solah Shringar , starts with the feet and upwards to the legs, and then to the waist , back and neck , the three vital zones that are not just the most sensuous but also the most essential . So, while body exfoliation, waxing , bleaching , head and body massages form an integral part of the pre-bridal packages offered by beauty parlours , packs for the hands and feet ,as well as manicure and pedicure ,are often part of the deal as well . After all it is the hands that are the most exposed and the most used during the wedding ceremonies , says a bride-to-be. “Hands are the most violated as well as the most sensitive parts of the body “, agrees Suparna , who has developed a special carrot and margosa pack for her brides’ hands . And , for the feet , she offers the “Cleopatra Foot Bath “, where the bride’s feet are dipped in pure hot milk mixed with rose petals and a combination of aromatic oils .The feet are then exfoliated with sugar and lemon solution to remove the dead cells, and massaged with almond oil, to get them soft and ready for the mehendi.
These body treatments are recommended at least 2-4 days prior to the wedding , say the beauty consultants . “The bride-to-be should be cautious with regard to experimenting in beauty treatments “, asserts Blossom. She should not try bleaching , threading or waxing for the first time just before the wedding . If she wants to go in for something new, such treatments should be attempted at least a month before the D-day , as her skin may react adversely to them.
FACIAL AND MAKEUP
If the bride-to –be has a clear skin , she should avoid using bleach or any other strong cosmetics. Instead she should just opt for a face massage , and cleaning followed by a face pack . Facials and face packs have today become a prerequisite to bridal shringar, with each parlour offering their special brand of facials . Blossom Kochhar offers Aroma facials , her highly popular “Chocolate Souffle” and “Champagne” facials are guaranteed to give a pearly sheen to the bride’s skin. Shahnaz Hussain has for her bride the “Gold facial “, to make her glow and look miraculously beautiful on the eve of her wedding …
Once the massages and packs are over , the final makeup of the bride is taken over by the make-up artistes , whose job is to concentrate on the face and the hair , for ,after all it’s the face that is the most subjected to the cameras and flashlights . Most parlours give a combination of the pre-bridal package as well as the bridal make-up , offering a choice of make-up for the brides-to-be , from special make-up for the ‘day-brides’, to ‘evening -brides’, the ‘traditional look’ and the more contemporary one . Their bridal service includes doing up the hair, with your choice of flowers, gajras, venis, chhotis etal (some may request you to bring your own flowers), and assistance in draping the sari & the odhinis , as well as in wearing the jewellery . “The idea is to send the bride from the parlour straight to the mandap”, says Suparna , at whose parlour the bride is even given a light snack and a compulsive half an hour of rest , so that she is totally relaxed before she steps out . Delhi’s Hair & beauty experts, Ambica Pillai and Vidya Tikari ,who specialize in bridal makeover , are so popular for their services,that you need to book a couple of months in advance to be able to avail them.
Says , Vidya, “it is absolutely essential to coordinate your makeup with the time of your wedding and the attire you choose to wear. A morning wedding requires light subtle make-up , likewise with fluorescent lights in the marriage hall that demand that light make-up should be used , while in case of yellow lights, you can opt for much heavier look.”
Finally , do not experiment , remember , all eyes are invariably focussed on the bride on her wedding day. Therefore , she should feel confident that she is looking her radiant and beautiful best before stepping out into the limelight . A fact that most brides do seem to agree with these days , considering that even the most harried of brides also seems to find herself devoting those 3-4 hours on her wedding , to give herself that last minute transformation .