When Harnaaz Sandhu won the title of Miss Universe last year and brought the crown back to India for the first time in 20 years, the 22-year-old knew it was just the beginning of her impact. Sandhu, who first got into acting and pageants to overcome her shyness, quickly realized she could make a real difference. “The first time I went on stage, it made me realize that this is what I want to do,” she tells Glamour. “I want to be someone bringing attention to what I’m passionate about, like menstrual equity, which is my advocacy.”
Inspired by her mother’s work as a gynecologist, Harnaaz launched a coalition for menstrual equality in India this past March. Through this program she aims to increase awareness and access to low-cost and sustainable solutions for women’s health and menstrual hygiene. “Finally, I have this platform where I can embark on my journey and do whatever that interests me on a global stage and inspire so many young people,” she says.
Sandhu’s family roots are also a big part of her beauty routine. For skin-care, she turns to Ayurvedic solutions. “From my country, India, I truly believe in taking care of myself naturally and using less products,” she says. “I’ve always been doing that. But since I started doing pageants, I realized that I need to have good products ready when I’m taking care of my skin, and it’s really difficult for me to always apply Ayurvedic solutions. So I do have a bunch of products that I truly love.”
To keep her sensitive skin happy and protect it from constant glam sessions, Sandhu keeps her products minimal and deeply hydrating. “My skin is very sensitive and I tend to have some dry skin during the start of winters,” she says. “Whenever I’m getting my makeup done or doing it by myself, I hope that it doesn’t lead to patchiness or dry skin during a whole day of video meetings or shooting.”
Ahead, Harnaaz shares her favorite skin-care products and go-to Ayurvedic spot treatment for Glamour‘s Drop the Routine.
I have the Clinique facial cleanser that I use, and I love it. This is something that I started using during my homecoming when I went back to India to celebrate my Miss Universe win. I realized that it settles on my skin so well and takes out all the makeup or any dirt. It always leaves that hydrating impact on my skin.
I use the Lancôme Hydra Zen Glow Liquid Lightweight Moisturizer. This is something that I use even when I do not put makeup on but I want to put something on my face. It really makes my skin feel hydrated and breathable. It settles on my skin and makes it comfortable.
I’m in love with the Guerlain Abeille Royale Moisturizer. I also use it as a primer for my makeup. This is something I found when I was in Indonesia. One of the makeup artists there used it. It was 4 A.M., 3 A.M. in the morning, and he used it before putting makeup on me. It was so nice that I got one while I was there. It also reminds me whenever I use it one of the former Miss Universe from India, Lara Dutta, who was crowned in 2000. She was the last Miss Universe from India. So I think it is really amazing. It’s hydrating and not that oily or dry. It has the perfect moisture for my skin. When I want day looks or natural makeup, this is what I use.
My eye cream
I use Sunday Riley’s Tidal’s eye cream [Ed note: now discontinued]. I use it every night before sleeping and sometimes during flights. When I have 12 hours or more on a long flight, I use it and it really helps me hydrate. It even takes care of the dark circles, the puffiness under my eyes. It works like a mask for me.
My face mask
I just used one this morning because I came from Vietnam last night, so I’m still jet lagged. It is from Ranavat. The founder Michelle Ranavat is an Indian woman. It really made my skin so good. Even though I haven’t had enough water today, it was really satisfying for my skin. I’m really excited to use it for the upcoming days too.
My spot treatment
Fortunately, I don’t get breakouts. But I believe in precaution so I use some of the Indian Ayurvedic solutions. I mix milk with corn flour. Sometimes I try to put some ghee and mix it in or just apply ghee on my face. Ghee is clarified butter from India and I put it on my skin and it makes it naturally glowing.
I use Live Tinted’s Hueguard. This is what I use when I know I have to go out and don’t want to use any kind of makeup product on my face but still have to protect my skin. This works like a miracle for me. I think this is the best SPF. It has SPF 30.
My lip balm
I love Forest Essentials lip balm. My lips tend to get dry easily, so it’s very difficult. It took me years to find which one works the best for me. Even if I drink a lot of water, I still have dry lips. Since I started using this lip balm, I finally have the plump lips I want. It actually works and it’s very Ayurvedic at the same time.
I have multiple face rollers. I put one in the refrigerator for 10 minutes, or maybe a spoon, and then put it around my eyes or around my cheeks. I do it before sleeping, when I use my night cream, and in the morning before makeup.
My night cream
There’s this night cream I use and it’s actually so moisturizing that I can use it in the daytime. It’s Clinique’s. It is so good, so hydrating, and it feels like I’m getting facial. Whenever I use it on my skin, I feel refreshed. It gives me the right amount of hydration. Even if I don’t have enough time to do the other things like using tools or icing, I know I can use this.
Ariana Yaptangco is the senior beauty editor at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @arianayap.