Model + Beauty Entrepreneur Pritika Swarup Shares Her Top 5 Ayurvedic Wellness Hacks

Pritika SwarupPhoto Credit: Jordan Keith

Pritika Swarup is about to add another accolade to her lengthy list of successes: IMG model, Ivy league student (she just graduated from Columbia University with a degree in financial economics), philanthropist — she’s an ambassador for Operation Smile — and, now entrepreneur. Swarup is gearing up to launch the Indian-inspired all-inclusive beauty line, Prakti. Prakti will fuse the cultural richness, rituals, and spirituality of India, with the contemporary energy of the West, making it the first beauty brand to combine the unique appeal of these two worlds. Through Pritika’s career in the fashion and beauty industry, she has had the opportunity to work with best-in-class skin experts, makeup artists, and trendsetters, and even her own family members — all who have helped shape her views on beauty and wellness. Her family matriarchs in particular instilled the principles of Ayurveda into her philosophy, emphasizing holistic beauty, with clean, natural rituals and remedies. These two influences from the East and West have come together to create her universal approach to skincare. We sat down with the stunning and intelligent Swarup to discuss inner and outer beauty and her first foray into entrepreneurship.

Pritika SwarupPhoto Credit: Jordan KeithWhat is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Every morning when I wake up, I stretch and meditate. My body usually needs a few minutes to come alive. I meditate to prepare for my day. Since I switch gears a lot between my various involvements, I need to be mentally clear, organized, innovative, and extra efficient with my time. I also set my intention for the day.

Where did you first learn about Ayurvedic skincare practices?

My mother, a yogi and wellness guru, breathed the principles of Ayurveda into my life since childhood, emphasizing holistic beauty with clean, natural rituals and remedies. So, yes there was a lot of homemade masking, milk baths, and yoga — I’m very lucky to have a mother who has such knowledge. I didn’t appreciate the importance of many of these rituals until later. Instead of normal face wash my mom would bring a mix of neem, aloe vera, and rose water into the bathroom. She learned these practices from my grandmother; they have been passed down from generation to generation in my family. My mother knew about a lot of these Indian wellness hacks before anyone else did and jumped on the Ayurvedic holistic wellness bandwagon. That said, it’s so exciting to see such interest now in the U.S.

Tell us about your go-to homemade face mask recipes.

I alternate between a few homemade mask recipes —

1. Turmeric, chickpea flour, lemon, honey, yogurt, coconut oil
2. Ground up orange peel, glycerin, honey, lemon
3. Neem powder, rice powder, turmeric, olive oil or clarified butter

Pritika SwarupPhoto Credit: Jordan Keith

What is your number one beauty rule?

Keep the balance between your mind, body, and soul. This is what Ayurveda is all about as everything is connected. When my skin is acting up, sometimes it’s because I’m stressed or not eating right. I learned to be attentive and understand myself so I could get to the root of any issues.

What does the concept of beauty mean to you?

My concept of beauty is likely to be considered the converse of its traditional definition. It’s not about aesthetics. Even as a model, it’s about what you radiate from within that makes a great photo. It’s ultimately about the emotion, not the clothes or makeup. In short, beauty is not external. My mom explained this to me before I was even in grade school (she still tells me this every day). As a young girl, you feel the pressure to be put together and pretty all the time, which can really affect your self-confidence and personal growth. I swear I wore more make up in high school than I do now. Once I lifted that pressure off of my shoulders, I felt so free and beautiful in my own skin. You don’t need to be wearing makeup or be all styled in a look to be beautiful. If you feel beautiful then it will shine through.

What’s next for Pritika in the beauty world?

Later this year, I’m launching my Indian-inspired skincare company, Prakti, which is based on a hybrid platform that fuses the cultural richness and spirituality of India with the contemporary energy and technologies of the West. Think the complete opposite of already existing Ayurvedic/Indian brands. Prakti celebrates the modernization of India while empowering women across the globe to be their most beautiful selves and inspire them to pursue multi-dimensional, fulfilling lives, fearlessly. My goal is to bring Indian beauty to the forefront of the global industry and directly into the hands of the millennial/GenZ consumer.

Pritika SwarupPhoto Credit: Jordan Keith

What inspired you to build Prakti?

When I started working in the fashion industry at the age of 17, I realized how much Indian beauty and holistic wellness were significantly underrepresented in the market. The clear lack of inclusivity and true representation of global beauty not only Indian beauty practices, but the beauty of Indian women and all women, disturbed me to my very core.

Over the years, I could not understand why there had never been an Indian-inspired brand to truly reach global scale. Indian culture is so rich in beauty rituals and known for its healing and proven wellness remedies. So I thought, what was it on the product side that couldn’t resonate with the Western consumer? That’s when I identified a white space in the market between traditional Ayurvedic Indian brands and Western brands. There was no brand that bridged the gap and had the ability to appeal to global consumers. That’s how Prakti was born.

 How has your experience as a model and background in finance helped shape the company?

Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work with best in class skin experts, makeup artists, and trendsetters, all who have helped shape my views of beauty and wellness. I’ve “specialized” in beauty, appearing in campaigns including Fenty, Mac, and Clinique, which gave me an in-depth understanding of the industry’s market trends, and behind the scenes operations. I’m so grateful for these experiences because they gave me a unique perspective when creating my own beauty brand.

My background in finance helped me understand the complex business side of things. I had no idea that my decision to major in financial economics at Columbia would eventually lead to this – it absolutely allowed me to build a strong foundation. As an analyst, I worked closely with founders, so I knew what I was getting into when I decided to start my own venture.

Together these experiences allowed me to see a new path full of possibilities…that is Prakti.

Pritika SwarupPhoto Credit: Jordan KeithHow has the pandemic changed your beauty routine?

I really stopped wearing any makeup since the pandemic began. It’s been so liberating. Prior to the pandemic, I was accustomed to having to wear makeup for photo shoots and events. Lockdown changed all of that. Instead of being out in public, I was inviting everyone into my home through video diaries for publications such as Harper’s Bazaar. People no longer expected to see you “all made-up”. In fact, it would’ve been disingenuous to appear so. That said, my beauty routine is super simple now.

Is there a pandemic beauty hack you can share?

I used to wash my face 2 – 3 times a day because of photo shoots or red carpet events, but I realized that washing my face once a day is definitely enough. My skin feels so much better with less wear from constant washing.

Pritika SwarupPhoto Credit: Jordan Keith

What is a piece of beauty advice you still follow to this day, and who gave it to you? How old were you?

Always protect your skin from harmful external factors such as sun exposure and air pollution. That means wearing sunscreen, a hat, or a head scarf. I spent many hot summers in India with my Nani, and she always stressed the importance of protecting my skin before going out. I still remember getting yelled at when I was caught riding my bike outside without a hat. My mom also lathered me with sunscreen every time I went out and I hated the sticky, tacky feeling, but I had to suck it up.

Now I’ve taken this advice to another level — I’m developing a daytime moisturizer that is a four in one product that shields from the above aggressors. I can’t wait to share it with the world!

What three products can’t you live without?

PritiPolish – Instant Glow Exfoliator (coming to market this Summer) – can’t wait to share this product too!

Coconut oil – I use this all over my body and massage it into my hair a few times a week. Coconut oil really has so many uses, and I’m obsessed.

Aquaphor – A little on my lips leaves them extra moisturized and soft.

What to you is the greatest luxury in life and why?

For me, the greatest luxury in life is being able to spend time with the ones you love. I knew from a young age what it was like to spend lots of time away from my family. I moved to New York when I was 17 and since then have constantly traveled for my career. The pandemic has brought this back into focus as I’m sure it has for many people.