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In Conversation With Aparna Badlani

Akanksha Kamath

With a background in apparel marketing and merchandising, it wasn’t long before Badlani started her own multi-designer store. After a stint with Future Group, Raymond, followed by launching stores for friends, it was finally her time.

It’s been 4 years for Atosa now, and at the time it started there were plenty other in the genre to compete with, or the “usual suspects” as she terms them. So what sets them apart? “We’re a strongly curated space that doesn’t believe in having a lot of everything, but rather enough of each thing”. Plus the fact that everything is handpicked by the owners and following a simple philosophy of: “the store is an extension of me – if the pieces in my store are not something I can relate to, you will not find them there”.

Her minimalism extends to her beauty kit, too – only after her fair share of trying and testing that is.


I have curly hair. And no, it’s not wavy. It’s very, very curly.

It’s been a long journey embracing my curls. I started out not knowing how to deal with it, so it would be half ironed, half curly, or almost always tied up in a bun. I am the only person in my family with super curly hair, and I always thought it was really unfair that I turned out like this while no one else did! I came to accept my hair only 10 years ago in my late 20s, when I finally gave up and realized it looks best when I just let it be. That was a real aha moment. Of course, I’ve had to really experiment with it to understand it. I’ve come to realize that the day I wash it, it looks the best, while the next day is a battle of the straight vs as-curly-as-they-come parts of my hair. (Don’t mind me while I look like a sheep!). So I deal with it by tying it up or just washing it again.

I swear by leave-in conditioners and anti-frizz serums. My go-to anti-frizz serum is Moroccan Oil Frizz Control that tames it down, makes it less brittle and knotted. Too much product leaves my hair limp (with an added peripheral halo of hair that appears on the crown of my head), so I tend to avoid using anything more.

As for hair colour, I’ve played around and streaked it and now it’s something I stay away from, I am of a firm belief that Indian skin tones take best to darker shades of black, mahogany or chestnut brown. I do experiment with haircuts, though. However, short is what I prefer for my hair type. Simply because when it grows long the curls get denser at the bottom, flattening out the top, and that doesn’t quite flatter my small face. Plus, shorter is just easier to maintain!


The first thing I do when I wake up is wash my face with cold milk, leave it on for 10 minutes and then rinse it off. After shower, before I head out for the day I use a Clarins HydraQuench Intensive Serum and finish off with a sunscreen. Most of my skin care routines take place at night before I go to bed – this involves a three-way routine that includes cleansing (using Clarins White Plus Total Luminescent Pearl-to-Cream Brightening Cleanser), toning (Clarins White Plus Total Luminescent Brightening Soft Aqua-Milk), and a Clarins orange exfoliation scrub that helps take off all the dirt my skin has gathered through the day. It’s very refreshing and leaves my skin feeling squeaky clean. The thing with me is that I tend to stick to one brand, I feel that if a product from a particular brand agrees with your skin, then it’s probably meant for your skin type – especially once you’ve tested it for a couple of years or more.

I have tried at least a dozen or more under eye creams, I have terrible under eyes and everything I have tried has only had a temporary effect, until I tried Kiehl’s (Line-Reducing Eye-Brightening Concentrate) for the night and Clarins (Soin Complet Jeunesse Multi-Régénérant Yeux) for the day. Perhaps, it’s the combination works! I certainly feel the Kiehl’s one stands true to its name and purpose. I use the Clarins one without fail and sometimes mix it up by using the Kiehl’s under-eye cream in the morning that does a good job. It’s all about trying out permutations and combinations that eventually work.


Anyone who has known me long enough knows that make-up and I don’t get along. For the longest time I was a no make-up girl who just wore eye-liner, eye pencil and nude lipstick on a night out. It’s only at the age of 33 (I am now 37) that I bought my first concealer, base, compact and mascara.

I always highlight my eyes when headed out for the night with a liner (but no eye shadow unless it’s a wedding occasion). I go a winged-tip for a night out. However, on a day to day basis I only wear sunscreen and an eye pencil.

Currently, I am experimenting with lip colours. From being obsessed with dark browns and nudes all my life, I have now started testing bright pinks, Marsala, berry and wine. I’m using a M.A.C Marsala colour lipstick at the moment. In fact most of my make-up is either M.A.C or Sephora, mostly because they stay on long without having to touch it up. I prefer creamy lipsticks that keep my chapped lips moisturized.

As told to Akanksha Kamath. Aparna Badlani photographed by Shovona Karmakar.



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