Thursday, September 24, 2015

Urban Ubtan (For the Face)

An inexpensive, all natural face mask that leaves my skin soft and glowing...I’m obsessed with this ancient, but new-to-me facial mask that I happened upon during a short trip to Dallas. 

On our last day we had some time to kill before our flight and stopped in at a South Asian supermarket before returning our rental. I love any mask with turmeric (why? see below!) so decided to give this a try and now it’s my favorite go-to mask.

Ubtan is a face pack made of natural powdered ingredients and was traditionally used for South Asian brides before their wedding day. There are many variations of Ubtan, but this seems to be the most popular combo.

It’s a bit messy in that you need to mix the powder with a liquid to make a paste, so if you’re not careful it can get everywhere and turmeric can be staining. BUT it’s totally worth it for the results!

You can go ahead and purchase this brand online, I've seen it on or if you see it by chance in a South Asian store - grab it! You can also easily and cheaply buy all of the ingredients above and make the mask on your own. 

I’m lazy and right handed so I just pour out some powder into my left palm, and using my right hand I gently pour my liquid of choice into the powder, mix the two gently so the powder doesn’t go flying, and then start applying to my face.  

But you can also use a glass or steel bowl (don’t use plastic it will stain your plastic), and then apply using a spare makeup brush for even application. Let it dry completely and then pat to moisten and then wash off. It will be pretty stiff so you should moisten a bit before washing so that it comes off more easily. When moist you can even rub it in a few times to exfoliate.

The box suggests using plain ol’ water, but I use buttermilk to make mine into a paste. You can also use regular milk or rose water. Why milk you ask? See below for all the benefits of this mask:

Gram Flour (Besan):  This is ground up chickpeas. There are some 15 benefits to this gluten-free flour, but bottom line it helps to balance and brighten skin.

Turmeric: In its powdered form, it is a grounded up version of the roots of the curcuma longa plant. It has numerous benefits as well, but overall is anti-bacterial, brightening, and stimulates cell growth to improve skin elasticity making it anti-aging.

Barley Flour: Another ingredient with tons of benefits, barley is rich in selenium which helps in improving the elasticity of the skin, keeping it toned and bouncy. Barley is also anti-inflammatory which will reduce the occurrence of acne.

Sandalwood Powder (Chandan): Love the scent of sandalwood! This also helps with softening, brightening, and is also anti-inflammatory.


Milk/Buttermilk: Due to the lactic acid in milk, applying it on your face and body can shrink pores, brighten, and moisturize. Buttermilk is fermented milk and therefore has more lactic acid than regular and will be more beneficial.

Rosewater: If you’re not onboard the rosewater train yet, this is distilled water infused with rose petals. Like the ingredients above, it helps with toning, softening, and restoring skin pH balance.