Gram flour (or Besan) is an ingredient that you’ll always find somewhere in the cupboards of an Indian household and mine is no exception. Milled from a small chickpea like lentil, this fine flour has been used for for decades as so much more than just an ingredient to make onion bhaji’s. I’ve recently been so intrigued at the beauty boosting qualities of such an easily available product found in homes all over that I decided to do some research. I asked the ladies who really know their stuff (that would be the women of my family of course) and made a list of all the things gram flour can be used for to enhance our beauty.
Exfoliation – Gram flour has been used as a base for numerous masks (even to this day) due to it’s exfoliation qualities and it’s ability to draw out impurities from the skin. By mixing it with a bit of milk or yoghurt, it can easily used as either a face scrub or face mask. I’ve tried and tested it and if I’m honest when it’s completely dry it’s quite difficult to get it off. It gets right into you skin and you do have to scrub a bit to get it all off. I guess that’s where the exfoliation part really kicks in!
To help calm angry red spots – As a teen I had horrendous acne and if I had £1 for every time an aunt said to me to use Gram flour on my face, I’d be rich enough to buy myself a new face! By creating a mix of Gram flour, yoghurt and fresh lemon this mask is said to help calm angry active acne and keep blemishes/marks at bay. I tried this one when my acne was at it’s worst and I’ll be honest, it didn’t help my spots but when my skin was sore and ached from the spots, it did help cooling my face down.
Evening out skin tone – Gram flour mixed with lemon has been used traditionally for “skin lightening”. I’m completely against “skin bleaching” however I do understand how much of a difference an even skin tone can make. With regular use of gram flour and lemon masks, dark marks have been proven to fade away and skin tone appears more even.
Removing Sun Tan – We’ve all been there where we’ve gone away to somewhere hot and sunny and decided to come back home as tanned as we possibly can; Then you get back and think what on earth have I done. Sometimes the tan just doesn’t look all that golden when you get back and even worse all that expensive foundation you’ve stocked up on no longer matches your new skin shade. The quickest and easiest way to get rid of it is to use gram flour mixed with lemon and a tiny amount of natural yoghurt as a daily face mask.
Reduce Oily skin – If you’re going through a period of seriously oily skin or if your T-zone looks like glistening, whatever the weather then once again it’s gram flour to the rescue. The flour is extremely dry and has this weird ability to suck out all the crap from your pores. Mix in with a tiny bit of yoghurt and use as a face mask or just in the T zone area.
Remove unwanted facial hair – This is the only one I haven’t tried (yet!) but apparently women in India often mix gram flour with fenugreek powder and make a mask that will help remove facial hair.
So there you have it, ancient beauty secrets that have been passed down from generation to generation and are still used today. Best of all, you can buy it at your local supermarket for as little as £1.70!