The title may sound like I’m waxing poetic, but I think it is apt because of the helpless feeling of luxury and royalty you get when you use these two products. I’m reviewing Aika Wellness’ Radiance Elixir and Ranavat Botanics’ Radiant Rani serum. I’m writing about these two products together as they have similar inspiration and ingredients. Both the facial oils are inspired by the well-known glow-giving Ayurvedic concoction, Kumkumadi Tailam- although, these feel like high-end luxe versions of it. They do somewhat differ in the ingredients from the traditional Kumkumadi Tailam – the traditional preparation almost always uses goat’s milk, which is absent from both the oils. Aika uses organic cow’s milk in its place, and Ranavat Botanics has eliminated the milk element. I do not know what advantage goat’s milk may have over cow’s milk or its absence, but these two oils more than deliver.
Aika has developed the Radiance Elixir to address the ‘Tridosha’ element in a person – which consists of all three Ayurvedic concepts of energetic, functional elements which are present in everyone – Vatha, Pitta and Kafa – the understanding of which helps one identify the imbalances of the Doshas in one’s body. According to Ayurveda, an ideal state of body and mind is when all three Doshas are in balance. The radiance elixir is made keeping in mind all three Doshas, and hence, can be used by anyone, without having to worry about one’s skin type. According to Aika, this elixir is “the ultimate powerhouse of elixirs this ruby red headily aromatic Ayurvedic skin food is prescribed in the ancient texts for imparting incredible radiance and luminescence to your skin.” Aika claims that the elixir does a lot of good things to the skin – reduce pigmentation and blemishes, moisturise, nourish, repair, restore firmness, is an anti-inflammatory, lighten and brighten the skin. I can imagine the claim of lightening and brightening the skin drawing a lot of Indians (of course, including me :P), and rightly so – people may think that we have an obsession with lighter skin, but we know the struggle with uneven dark patches of tanned skin (the ubiquitous problem of our arms having two significant shades – creamy pale yellow from the shoulders to our biceps – and from there, brown, the shade of well-made toast), resulting from our overly-charged melanin which makes us look more burnt from sun-exposure than give us a sexy olive-tone. So, it is natural that we look for products which can reverse this sun damage. One may think that, after being bombarded with hundreds of ‘whitening’ or ‘lightening’ products in the Indian market, any such claim by a brand may sound far fetched, but you never know- nobody has used this particular elixir for more than a year to prove it. Most Ayurvedic concoctions take time to deliver results; they’re not over-night skin miracles. Besides, cow’s milk, which is a natural source of lactic acid, is known in Ayurveda to significantly lighten the skin. And as such, I would like to give it a good year’s time before I can attest to the ‘lightening’ claim. Now let’s talk about what I have seen in the course of two months that I have been using this elixir- nothing but goodness. My skin seems more brighter (not lighter, mind you), glowing, even-toned and it also helps with the occasional pimple. I did not have problematic skin before I started using this, and hence I cannot say how it performs on extremely sensitive, acne or congestion-prone, irritated, or skin with any concerns such as eczema or rosacea. But I am positive that this elixir can address all these concerns very well. Another thing that drew me to this serum is that it has saffron as the third ingredient – saffron is known for its brightening effects. It is made with a base of sesame oil, just like the traditional Kumkumadi Tailam, and cow’s milk, and has a long list of skin-friendly herbs, almost all of them well-known skin benefactors in India and Southeast Asia. About the scent- I was expecting a more robust saffron smell, as it is so high in the INCI list, and has given the product its gorgeous ruby hue, but the scent of saffron is muted- what I can smell is a mixture of grass, milk, vetivert, sesame, saffron and jasmine. The saffron plays around in the background – I couldn’t smell the rose and sandalwood though. The mixture of scents from all the high-quality natural and organic ingredients smells very earthy and natural – not one bit synthetic. I love it- it just gives me this sense of grounding and calm. The oil has a nice slip, and can be layered wonderfully after a treatment serum. It feels very luxurious putting this on- the consistency, the colour and the scent- you really do feel like royalty. So far, I’m loving the results, and I do not want to use any other oil until the bottle is over. Since you need a very small amount at once – two pumps at the most, it will last you a long time.
Ranavat Botanics offers a lighter, yet creamier oil – the base is made from sesame oil, rice bran oil and a coconut oil-derived emollient and dispersing agent. This gives the oil an almost lotiony consistency, and a milky creamy texture. Yet when you put in on the skin, it magically transforms into a light oil, giving you the most gorgeous glow instantly, without making you look greasy. I haven’t used this one as long as the Aika elixir, but the few times I have used it, it gave me an instant glow that was very satisfying. The scent of this is pure luxury- it smells like royalty in a bottle. You will instantly be greeted with a heady saffron aroma rounded with a good dose of sweet rose. The Ayurvedic herbs play in the background. Unlike the Aika elixir, the herbs don’t overpower the scent of the saffron, and obviously, I prefer the scent of this. You’d smell the intoxicating aroma of saffron and rose for quite some time on the skin, making you feel like you’re in the domain of a Rani (Queen) indeed. I love this for its scent and instant radiance that it gives.
Comparatively, both the serums have very similar, high quality, organic ingredients like sesame oil, saffron, liquorice, turmeric and other exotic ones like Flame of the Forest, Himalyan Cherry and Lotus Seed. All of Aika’s ingredients, across its range of products, are certified organic, except clays, wherever used. Ranavat Botanics uses mostly certified organic ingredients. I like Aika’s elixir because it looks and feels more natural and earthy, if you get what I mean. I like Radiant Rani’s scent and the overnight results it delivers. You can easily switch between the two, if you think Aika is out of your budget. If you prefer a better scent, then definitely choose Ranavat Botanics. I can see both of them delivering similar results.
Because ultimately, what matters are results and ingredients:
Aika Radiance Elixir Ingredients List: Sesame indicum (sesame oil), Cow’s milk, Crocus sativus (saffron), Vettivera zizanoides (vetiver root), Rubia cordifolia (manjista), Glycyrhhiza glabra (liquorice), Cinnamomum Tamala (Indian bark), Prunus cerasides (Himalayan cherry), Nuciferra nelumbo (sacred lotus), Santalum album (white sandalwood), Curcuma longa (turmeric), Burberris aristata (Indian barberry), Mesua ferra (Indian rose chestnut), Beutea monosperma (flame of the forest), Ficus religiosa (holy bodhi fig), Jasminum officianale (jasmine), Alphinia galangal (galangal), Acorus calamus (sweet flag), Cera alba (beeswax), Santalum spicata (sandalwood oil), Rose damascena (rose otto), Jasminum officianale (jasmine).
Ranavat Botanics Radiant Rani Illuminating Botanical Serum ingredients: Sesame Oil (Sesamum Indicum)*, Rice Bran Oil (Oryza Sativa), Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides**, Manjishta (Rubia Cordifolia)*, Saffron ( Crocus Sativus, Lodh Tree Bark (Symplocos Racemosa)*, Nutgrass (Cyperus Rotundus)*, Vetiver (Vetiveria Zizanoides)*, Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza Glabra)*, Bay Leaf (Cinnamomum Tamala)*, Himalayan Cherry (Prunus Cerasoides), Lotus Seed (Nelumbo Nucifera), Pushkarmool (Inula Racemosa), Turmeric(Curcuma Longa)*, Indian Barberry (Berberis Aristata)*, Cobra Saffron (Mesua Ferrea)*, Flame Of The Forest (Butea Menosperma)*, Priyangu (Callicarpa Macrophylla)*, Banyan (Ficus Bengalensis), Mustard (Brassica Campestris)*, Tocopherol+, Rose Essential Oil (Rosa Damascena). *Certified Organic, **Vegetable derived, +Derived from non-GMO soy.