For wellness and beauty expert Blossom Kochhar, the idea of overall wellbeing begins with her own plate
When one thinks of the evolution of the beauty business in the country, Blossom Kochhar can't be ignored. Setting up a day spa in Delhi almost 20 years ago, she was one of the firsts to do so. A firm believer of the therapeutic power of things olfactory, she then launched the Aroma Magic line of cosmetics and essential oils under the Blossom Kochhar Group of Companies. Through Pivot Point India, owned by the Blossom Kochhar College of Creative Arts & Design, she has also been performing the role of educator, providing hair and beauty training to thousands of would-be salon professionals every year. When we meet her at the Smoke House Deli in DLF Promenade in New Delhi's Vasant Kunj, the innate sense of well-being is palpable.
“I'm a vegetarian who eats fish,” she smiles. “A funny kind of vegetarian.” After dithering between two salads from the restaurant's summer menu, we decide to go with the chef's recommendation of Vietnamese basa with asparagus roulade, and grilled vegetables with kalamata olives and feta crumble capellini.
It was while growing up in Ooty that Blossom Kochhar got her first whiff of aromatherapy. “It started right there in the Nilgiris. At boarding, in Nazareth Convent, we would be given eucalyptus oil if we had a cold. When we were too stressed during exams, they would give us crushed lavender and lemon verbena, and it would calm us,” she recalls. That's also where the first experiments on people's tresses began.
“Saturdays and Sundays we would give each other haircuts. ‘Come, I'll cut your hair,' I'd tell everybody... We used to have these really huge scissors,” she recalls.
While practising on dummies is an integral part of hairstyling courses now, those were the days of theory.
“When I did a course and came back, I had no practice whatsoever. Then, you were either good at it or you weren't. I would give people Rs.20 and ask them if I could cut their hair so I could practice. My friend would tell everybody, ‘There's a lady who'll pay you 20 bucks to give you a haircut!'”
In her tastes in food too, the South has remained. “I loooove the dosa. Whenever I go down South I gorge on it. It's so light,” she says. Overall, Thai and French food rank as favourites. “I like continental food, having food wherever I go… I like the portions in French food. They're smaller, unlike American portions.”
Going back to the origin of her product line, Blossom, trying out the Vietnamese basa, says, “When I started making cosmetics in Wellington (where husband Col. Kochhar was posted), it got me interested in studying the properties of oils. I realised that you may as well have a holistic approach to beauty. If people have lines on their skin, or if their hair is falling, it has a lot to do with their worries and stress. I found aromatherapy made people feel good, look good.”
Things then, though, were different. “That time it was very folklore-ish. It was like ‘Use this product and people will fall in love with you'. Here, my association with Pivot Point, USA, was good for me because it helped me look at smell scientifically.”
Fusing ingredients was another challenge. “Everything had to be natural. I had to use vegetable oil, vegetable waxes. Preservatives had to be naturally derived. The challenge was in that the essential oils had to be free of chemicals. Sometimes it would work, sometimes things would just curdle in the jar.” Things, obviously, fell in place soon. Last year, the company also launched the professionals' range of Aroma Magic products.
Dessert arrives in the form of crème brulee. “I used to have a major sweet tooth. After switching on to the alkaline diet I keep away, though not completely. One should try everything,” Blossom says. The crème brulee, though, meets her ready approval.