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Pampering the skin

Vandana Luthra was in the city to launch a new beauty treatment called "White Secrets". An interview with the woman behind VLCC, the slimming and beauty clinic..

CREAMY WHITE skin and a peaches-and-cream complexion just got a lot more exclusive than buying fairness creams off the shelf from the supermarket. Vandana Luthra was at the TTK Road's VLCC clinic recently to launch her newest skin treatment, "White Secrets." Apart from removing suntan and clearing blemishes, her treatment is supposed to cleanse, moisturise and protect the skin.

"It's not about being fair. There's so much pollution and dirt around today, that the skin needs special care to stay smooth and young," explains Ms. Luthra, chairperson of Curls and Curves India Limited (CCIL), parent company of VLCC, the slimming and beauty clinic. VLCC helps people lose weight through a combination of diet, exercise, counselling and therapy.

"White Secrets", a natural skin care line, is a blend of European creams that have been improved upon by VLCC's labs to suit Indian skin. The creams penetrate the layers of the skin, cleansing and removing pigmentation, claims Ms. Luthra. Each sitting is an elaborate affair of applying various creams and lotions in a certain order, then waiting till the concoction hardens into a mask.

After about half-an-hour, the mask is removed and "you can see the difference after just one treatment," says Ms. Luthra.

The entire treatment is tagged between Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 25,000, depending on the condition of the skin. One course of treatment usually consists of 10 sittings of one-and-a-half hours each, and includes bio-lifting to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. There are no take-home treatments, it's all to be supervised by the VLCC staff and done at the salon. The combination of creams used depends on whether the person has normal, sensitive or hypersensitive skin.

"If you're 50, VLCC aims to make you look 35," asserts Ms. Luthra. "You can't fight Nature, but you can age gracefully. And how you look, plays a large role in how you feel about yourself." And to try to make good her claim of shaping people's confidence, she's started an Institute of Beauty, Health and Management, to train young people in the craft of cosmetology.

The institute, that's just over a year old, is in New Delhi and another is planned for Mumbai. "There's a need to educate and develop the beauty industry and so VLCC is planning more such institutes to cater to the need for qualified cosmetologists." Although the course is not yet accredited, a tie-up with the Delhi University is imminent, she claims, and says they have already tied-up with the London College of Fashion. The three-year course also teaches management along with nutrition and beauty to equip aspiring cosmetologists to set up business. Applicants to this course need to have science subjects as part of their school curriculum, so that "they can understand all the intricacies of the skin better."

The institute will also have regular training workshops for professionals already in the beauty industry.

Ms. Luthra terms Chennai an "enlightened city" and says that the residents are more conscious about their appearance and weight than the other metros.

And as if to prove her point some of VLCC's clients, including a man, turned up to ask her for "beauty advice." She urged them to take the "head-to-toe" package that would give them a makeover after the weight loss and "make you feel like a whole new person." She's planning to open a third centre in the city next year to keep the city feeling young and fit.


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