Beauty products from my childhood or Inflation proof wonder products

Remember those sticky and eww smelling creams that somehow were a staple in most Indian homes. Their USP would be their claim to be ayurvedic or antibacterial etc. That is all it took for us to go buy the creams and use them ad nauseum.

All maharashtrian homes had these two crazy ointments, one called 'kailas jeevan' and the other called 'amrut malam'. These were ordered much like grocery, more often than not at our friendly kirana store.

Warning- Nostalgia trip ahead...

Kailas Jeevan had a muddy - sandalwoody smell and was super cool to touch.It instantly cooled you down. The beauty was the cream actually would separate, i.e , some water would collect on top. Yet such was the innocence of the time, that we used the water up as specially good for the stubborn prickly heat. For me summer is memories of kailas jeevan layered on my itchy back. And did it work or what. It still works, and is still as easily available. It is one of the oiliest creams ever. Its watery and oily, and yet smells like clay and sandalwood. It is super magical. In winters you can use it on your cracked heels, when they begin to burn a bit, this ointment cools it down. It does heal too. Also this cream is super good for foot odour. And all you guys dont pretend like your feet never smell. I will own up, when I was in school, mine would smell because of the unholy combination of nylon socks and closed shoes. My mom used to make me apply a wee bit of this cream on my feet, and what do you know in one week the smell would just go. It is a superb cuticle cream by the way, oil rich and easy to blend. Though my favouritest cuticle cream still remains boroline, this one comes a close second. A cuticle cream has to be oil rich, softening, and should be able to kill a little bit of bacteria too. Both these creams work wonders on all the criteria.

The second cream was actually a balm. It was the predecessor of the tinted balm.Pink in colour, it had the texture of amrutanjan. And was used to heel chapped lips. It had a very wierd and funny fragrance. But it was what we used more out of making our lips look pink. If you were in a dry climate, amrut malam would certainly be in your house. It would heal chapped lips. It continues to do so. It has been a go to product for smoothening out dried knees and elbows, where the dry skin can actually hurt. I still find my self reaching out to this childhood magic remedy. As a child I was always fighting with other kids in the playground, I came home with scratches , scrapes and what have you. This was the balm that would be applied for the wound to heal properly. This is not meant for a fresh wound, the wound would be cleaned with dettol, doused with soframycin. If I was badly hurt, then dettol would be followed by sprinkling of turmeric which hurt super bad, but it was de rigeur and I was only a child. The turmeric and ghee mixture was the absolute in terms of pain as a child. On days when you came home with a bleeding knee, your mom just washed the wound, dried it and then applied a mix of warm ghee and turmeric mixed into a smooth paste.

Any ways coming back to amrut malam, once the wound showed signs of forming a scab over it , amrut malam was applied all over that area. It basically kept the skin soft and germ free, so the scab would not itch, or get so dry that it would fall off and cause pain. It prevented all kinds of infections and the best bit was had a faint rosy medicinal smell.

Though my mom bought lakme lipsticks, the creams in our home were always herbal and /or medicinal.Other creams that comes to mind are vicco turmeric (i can even sing the ad right now), boroline (came out way before boro plus, though boro plus smells better, boroline still works the magic on my cuticles), and afghan snow (by the way the company still produces a lot of things, shampoos, soaps and creams included). Afghan snow was the first oil free, mattefying cream that made your skin look super hydrated. The site looks promising , and I already have a growing list, by the way the afghan herbal soap is super super good.

At the end of the day, when I think of a time before Maybelline, Revlon , I think of these creams that were used for numerous purposes. So typical were these creams that not having one was a matter of discussion. It was always at home. And I must say each of them deserves another chance. They still work and are inflation friendly.


  1. Wow....That was quite a memorable walk backwards :-))

    I remember Amrut Malham...but not the other one. And yes..Vicco Turmeric, Boroline, Afghan Snow, Ponds Cold Cream. Beautiful memories

  2. afhan snow is still available u know....nostalgia!!

  3. What a wonderful write-up! I've never heard of Amrut Malam, but my mom always carried some Kailas Jeevan in her handbag. It wasn't easily available in Chennai (still isn't), so we would always buy it during visits to Mumbai. I also have fond memories of Vicco Turmeric, Boroline & Ponds cold cream. Strangely enough, I was thinking of getting some of these old creams just the other day.

  4. @ggg- i totally reccommend kailas jeevan, it is the best remedy for skin irritations, just that it is too oily. but yes sometimes just a familiar whiff takes me back in a time when things were simpler.
    @shivani - yes and who would guess they even have a website.
    @poohkie - thanks thanks. o poohkie next time you come to bombay you should also buy a stock of afghan snow, kailas jeevan and amrut malam. never know when you may need these multipurpose goodies. and the crazy thing about all these creams is they still work as well and give a lot of fancy products a serious run for their money.

  5. I never used dey seem nicee..

  6. o u shud.. bhumika they are like super multipurpose creams..

  7. Hi every one Afghan Snow has come out with a full new range of soaps and body butter creams.Is called PETALS by ES PATANWALA the one i am using at the moment is CUCUMBER AND GREEN TEE. Its fabulous and so smooth on the skin does not feel oily at all. There are others too the papaya and carrot then blackcurrent ,lavender etc. These have natural oils like olive, coconut and almond. shea butter and kokum butter. I think you all should give it a try. call 23422899

  8. My granny who recently passed away at ripe age of 97, always used Afghan snow, its light floral smell would tell me Granny is coming, she was a great patron on this cream, and seen it through different packaging, she disliked particularly the current packaging and once made me return it saying that its not the real one. She has used this cream for more than 75years.And when I was arranging her cupboard post her demise found a big unopened jar of Afghan Snow...which I bought back with me and its fragrance reminds me of her...

    1. So sorry for your loss and thanks for sharing this memory here. My maternal granny too used Afghan Snow forever. I still associate the floral powdery fragrance with her. Fragrances are so magical.


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