Could Kumkumadi oil be the elixir our skin has been waiting for?

Let’s debunk this Ayurvedic powerhouse.

Harper's Bazaar India

Loosely translated as saffron oil—red saffron, called kumkuma in Sanskrit, being the main ingredient in this mix—Kumkumadi oil or tailam is a combination of over 21 herbal ingredients that are said to make your face ‘glow like gold’. While the blend has been around for centuries, it is gaining popularity in the home-grown beauty market in creams, sunscreens, scrubs, under-eye creams, and more. 

But what does it really do?

While the oil has myriad benefits for the skin, the one on top of our list is minimising hyperpigmentation and discolouration. Ayurvedic herbs like saffron, liquorice, red sandalwood, manjishtha, and laksha act as a skin barrier, protecting it from harmful UVA and UVB rays, helping boost collagen production, reducing tan and pigmentation, and helping in the overall brightening of the skin. 

And, speaking of boosted collagen production, Kumukumadi oil has antioxidants galore, which help fight dryness and plump your skin, making fine lines and wrinkles less visible. It also hydrates and nourishes your skin, resulting in younger-looking, radiant, glowing skin.

Need we continue to lobby for, as Diet Sabya would call it, #KumkumadiGate?

But we shall because it doesn’t stop there. The oil also aids with acne—preventing new breakouts and repairing old scars. With the powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of manjistha, Kumkumadi oil helps clear out clogged pores, shed dead skin cells, and balance excess oil production, thereby controlling the formation of acne. It also calms redness caused by acne, leaving skin clear. 

And now that we have sold you on using this oil, let’s discuss the best way to use it. Of course, this is presuming that if you are using it in the form of a serum, sunscreen, or eye cream, you know what to do. But if you are using the oil, then it is best when used after a wash on clean damp skin and left overnight. 

Here are some of our favourite Kumkumadi variants in the market:

Kama Ayurveda’s Kumkumadi Miraculous Ayurvedic Night Serum

SoulTree's Advanced Kumkumadi Refined Radiance Night Cream


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Sadhev Kumkumadi Tailam


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Anantam Soundaryam Kumkumadi Serum