Shahnaz Husain is one of the leading beauty experts in India today. As an entrepreneur, she has carved a special space for herself in the beauty business not only in India, but in other countries as well. In an interview with Excelsior Correspondent, she talks on a wide range of issues.
Please tell us something about the early journey as your success story is an inspirational one and needs to be highlighted.
While training in London in cosmetology, I came across instances of damage caused by chemical treatments. In a way, this changed the course of my life and career. I wanted to find a natural alternative that was safe and without risks. My study of Ayurveda convinced me that it could offer the ideal answers to modern cosmetic-care. I returned to India and started my first herbal salon in the verandah of my home in New Delhi, in 1971, in a very small way. I adopted the concept of “herbal care and cure.” It was a totally unique, path-breaking concept. I rejected the existing salon treatments and devised my own. I also began to formulate my own products using plant ingredients and natural substances, based on the Ayurvedic system. Today, the salon treatments and products have become breakthroughs in natural beauty care. We have become known, not only for our treatments for general beauty care, but also for our therapeutic products and salon treatments for problems like acne, hyper-pigmentation, scars, premature ageing, dandruff, hair damage, hair loss, etc.
I began to extend my salons on a unique franchise system. I started encouraging ordinary housewives to start a beauty salon in their own homes and thus achieve financial independence. This way they could have a career and yet be close at hand to care for home and family. I trained them and gave them the Shahnaz Herbal franchise by which they could carry out my specialized treatments. It was the beginning of my franchise system and beauty training academy. The fast paced extension of the Shahnaz Husain Salons and other ventures is due to our franchise system. Today, the Shahnaz Husain franchise has become a successful business model, with tremendous international goodwill and demand. Today, we operate in more than 100 countries, with our franchise ventures and direct product distributors. From one herbal salon to a worldwide chain of ventures, it has been a phenomenal journey.
Where do you find yourself now and where do you see yourself five years or ten years down the line?
Today, I head an organization that is the largest one of its kind in the world, with a global network of franchise ventures, comprising of franchise salons, spa, retail outlets, beauty training institutes and over 380 Ayurvedic products for beauty and health care. Today, we operate in more than 100 countries, with our franchise ventures and direct product distributors. From one herbal salon to a worldwide chain of ventures, it has been a phenomenal journey. We are expanding our footprints across the globe, so I see Ayurvedic beauty care leading the international cosmetic market within the coming decade. Product innovation has helped our organization to remain a dynamic one. So, I will continue to innovate and launch advanced products in Ayurvedic beauty care.
As you are from the world of beautiful things how will you describe beauty?
Beauty is a total impact of physical beauty power, brain power and spiritual power. It is the blending together of physical, emotional, mental and even spiritual qualities into one integrated whole.
What is beauty and your criteria of judging beauty?
In my book, “The Book of Absolute Beauty” I have written, that a beautiful woman is one who has learnt to value herself physically, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually. She has a radiance and vitality that comes from sheer good health and physical fitness. She has energy, vitality, a flawless skin, shiny hair, a slim and supple body, self-confidence and self-assurance. Today, beauty consists of holistic care that includes diet, exercise, relaxation, along with external care.
What is your advice to young children so that they develop good habits to retain healthy skin and good personality?
Beauty cannot be achieved in a day. It is the result of regular care and a healthy lifestyle. The importance of good health should never be undermined. That is the true foundation of beauty. Experts are sounding the alarm at the sedentary life children lead these days, not to mention their junk food diets. Children are spending more time in inactivity, looking at computer and television screens, or cell phones. Lack of physical activity means poor blood circulation and inadequate oxygenation. This can be the cause of lack of energy, chronic fatigue and lethargy. Exercise, on the other hand, builds up stamina and strength and improves blood circulation to the organs. Every tissue of the body needs oxygen. Children who are physically fit sleep better and are also more capable of handling emotional stress. It’s a wake up call for parents!
What is your advice to old women so they don’t feel depressed over losing glare in advanced stage of their life when skin is wrinkled and body is frail?
Answer —-A woman who has been following a healthy diet and lifestyle, finds it easier to cope with changes, as she ages. Actually, regular exercise helps to delay aging changes and has a beneficial effect on both body and mind. Along with exercise, adopt a healthy eating pattern, with an emphasis on fresh fruits, unrefined cereals, salads, sprouts, lightly cooked vegetables, yogurt and skimmed milk, clear soups, fresh fruit juices. Your diet should be low in fats, sugar and starch, but high in vitamins and minerals. This kind of diet will raise your level of fitness and also help your skin and hair. Along with regular skin and hair care, including salon facials, keep an open mind. Cultivate interests and hobbies. Learn something new. These give another dimension to the personality and make you feel more active and youthful.
Your favorite diet / Movie/ film star and actress / picnic spot / books / leisure activity?
My Favourite Diet is simple home food, consisting of Dal, Chapati, Salads and Yogurt
Favourite Movie – Gone with the Wind
Favourite Film Star and Actress – Amitabh Bachhan and Kareena Kapoor
Favourite Picnic Spot – Hyde Park in London
Favourite Book – The Power of Now
Favourite Leisure Activity – Writing poetry and painting.