Ranavat has been making waves in the beauty industry ever since its launch in 2017. Though only around for a few years, the Ayurvedic skin and hair care company has quickly amassed a cult following and was even the first South Asian-owned Ayurvedic skincare brand to launch at Sephora at the beginning of 2022. Expertly blending science and tradition, Michelle Ranavat created her namesake brand as a way to introduce her heritage to the world. And also, as a love letter to her parents. We spoke with the brand founder about the origin story of Ranavat, her best-selling Fortifying Hair Serum, and her own personal skincare routine.
(Image Source: Note PR)
Mane Addicts: How did Ranavat come to be?
Michelle Ranavat: The real inspiration for launching an Ayurveda-inspired skin and hair care brand comes from my parents who immigrated from India to the US nearly 40 years ago. They came to America to build a new life and provide for their family, and I am forever in awe of their resilience and mental strength. They taught me to dream big, and Ranavat was built as a love letter to my South Asian heritage using the clinically-proven Ayurvedic rituals and ingredients that provide incredible results.
MA: What was that final push that helped you get the ball rolling with the brand?
MR: After going through my postpartum hair loss experience, I turned to Ayurvedic rituals that I grew up with to help combat hair loss and encourage hair regrowth. Hair oiling is a tradition I grew up with, and I couldn’t find anything on the market that used ingredients like amla and jasmine, which are known to strengthen and protect the hair, so I was inspired to create my own. I wanted to build a brand that would honor these traditions, but also introduce these amazing and efficacious ingredients to the world.
MA: Your Indian heritage has strongly influenced the brand. Did your upbringing in Wisconsin inspire any part of the brand at all either?
MR: Definitely! Growing up in a place that wasn’t familiar with South Asian culture made me realize there was a need to share these traditions on a broader level. It was really difficult feeling that my beauty traditions were “weird” and I want to change that for future generations. Beauty can really bring people together and I want Ranavat to be a part of this movement.
MA: To those who may be unfamiliar with Ayurveda, can you briefly explain what it is?
MR: Ayurveda literally means the science of life. I see it as the science that allows us to holistically understand the body and skin, and use ingredients that help us regulate our body’s response to stress and help the skin from becoming inflamed.
MA: Why use Ayurvedic traditions in your Ranavat products?
MR: Using Ayurvedic traditions not only honors my culture and heritage, but it has given me an opportunity to tell a rich ingredient story. Saffron, for example, is one of the most incredible ingredients for the skin, and most people know it as an ingredient used in cooking. I wanted to tell the stories of these ingredients and show how beneficial they are for the skin. Today, we are taking it one step further by clinically proving our line.
MA: Let’s talk about your Fortifying Hair Serum. What is the origin story of this product?
MR: After giving birth to my two sons, I experienced a substantial amount of postpartum hair loss and decided to explore tried and true traditional Ayurvedic methods to help with the regrowth. I began a weekly hair oiling ritual and over time saw that it was making a huge difference in the overall look and texture of my hair. I knew I had to create my own supercharged hair serum with the highest-grade botanical oils. Before launching Ranavat, I studied engineering and worked in ingredient sourcing, so I always had a passion for the science behind formulations and ingredients.
MA: How did you decide on the formula and the ingredients?
MR: As an engineer, I’ve always been fascinated by ingredients and how they can create an experience. I wanted each ingredient to tell a story but also provide value to the formula. For example, saffron is a common ingredient we use that has such a deep history in Indian culture. It also happens to be incredible for the skin—and the scent is transportive. I love that we have these multidimensional ingredients that work on so many different layers.
MA: What are some of the biggest benefits one can gain from using the hair serum?
MR: Hair oiling uses nutrient-rich ingredients like amla and jasmine to promote growth and hydration. If this process is done weekly, it’s known to help with hair thinning and loss, increase hair’s tensile strength, reduce frizz, prevent heat damage, and boost hydration.
MA: How do you incorporate it into your hair care routine?
MR: I add three to four drops of the serum to my hair in the morning to increase shine, fight frizz, and protect my hair from heat damage. I also do a weekly hair oiling ritual by massaging the oil into the scalp and combing it through to the ends. Leaving it in overnight keeps my scalp and hair healthy and nourished.
MA: Speaking of your routine, can you walk us through your daily routines for both the morning and evening?
MR: In the morning, I first like to cleanse my face using our Creme Cleanser and spend a few extra moments massaging it into my skin, releasing any tension. I then follow with the Jasmine Mist, and then our best-selling Brightening Saffron Serum all over my face and neck. It gives me an instant glow and the perfect canvas to start my makeup. After applying SPF, I use Westman Atelier’s Vital Skin Foundation Stick, which gives my skin a super natural look, and add the Super Loaded Tinted Highlight in Peau de Pêche (also by Westman Atelier). For my eyes, I swipe on the Jillian Dempsey Khol Eyeliner, and then I finish the look with the Ilia Balmy Tint Hydrating Lip Balm.
I follow a similar routine in the evenings, cleansing with the Creme Cleanser, and swapping it out for the Facial Polish two to three times a week. I follow with the Jasmine Mist and Brightening Saffron Serum. In colder months, I layer on the Renewing Bakuchi Creme as my final layer. Once a week, I do a four to five-minute masque with the Saffron AHA Masque to gently resurface and exfoliate the skin.
MA: Which steps of your routines do you never skip even when you’re pressed for time?
MR: I never skip my skincare routine. Even if I’m not applying makeup, I always cleanse, mist, and apply the serum (and never miss SPF for daytime).
MA: What are some of your favorite products?
MR: While I love every treatment I’ve created, the saffron serum stands out to me because it is the true queen of my ritual both a.m. and p.m. From the brightening effects of saffron (I love the glow it gives me) to the youth-preserving results, it does it all. The icing on the cake is that it feels like a meditation when I massage it into my skin—the perfect way to start and end my day!
MA: What advice would you give to someone who needs help creating a manageable hair care routine?
MR: I would say to start with scalp health—healthy hair starts at the scalp. It’s one of the reasons hair oiling is so good for the hair; the scalp massage during a hair oiling ritual not only invigorates the scalp but increases circulation and stimulates the hair follicles, all encouraging healthy hair growth.