"I met my husband, the fashion designer Naeem Khan, when he was 21 and I was 24. I had run away from an arranged marriage in India and I was working as a model in New York, and I met Naeem two weeks later through a mutual friend. We had gone to the same school in India, and he knew me but I didn’t know him. Our first date was at Studio 54. I have a picture—look how skinny we were ! And we’re both wearing pink. So funny. We didn’t drink then, we were just high on life. Naeem became Halston’s assistant for two years. We went with Halston to all of these parties, but I had no idea who people like Andy Warhol or Liza Minnelli were. I just thought everyone in America had this life, I had no idea that it was quite special. My husband is a very different guy. He cooks, he fixes the house, he designs clothes. He gets involved in my getting ready, and he’s always telling me what he likes. I love it.
I’m a jewelry designer and a face yoga instructor. For me, beauty is about the process. Mine is a very holistic approach. I think good skin is the most important thing, so I exfoliate every single day using the Clarisonic with a mix of Johnson’s Baby Soap and Forest Essentials Soundarya Facial Ubtan, which is an ancient Indian granular scrub made from crushed herbs and flowers. Anything that granular will take off a layer of dead skin and make your skin just shine. But the best thing is the Japanese SK-II Facial Treatment Mask—my son’s girlfriend works in beauty PR and she was telling me that Japanese brides use them every day for months before they get married. I love them for travel. I don’t care if they make you look creepy, I always put them on during long flights and just go to sleep.
My face moisturizers are always changing. Right now I’m using Re‑Nutriv Replenishing Comfort Crème because it has the right amount of grease for my dry skin. But for the beach, I wear Safe Sea Sunblock with Jelly Fish Sting Protective Lotion, because it protects from the sun, jellyfish, and sea lice.
I exfoliate and moisturize every inch of my body every single day. I use a really rough loofah that I buy at this stupid little wig shop on the corner of 36th Street and 8th avenue. Then I use Keri lotion to moisturize. I’ve tried so many different products, but nothing is as good as Keri. It’s thick when you put it on, so right now I’m a little moist, but in an hour it will have absorbed completely into my skin. I’ve been doing it all my life.
My secret to getting rid of a puffy face is the Neti-Pot. It’s obviously great for your health, as a holistic way of warding off a cold or sickness, but it’s such a good beauty treatment. A spoonful of Neti-Salt with warm water through your nostrils will clear your sinuses and de-puff your face. It looks it’s scary but I use it once a week, and if I feel like I’m coming down with something.
I don’t wear much makeup. I have never worn foundation, except for when they would put it on me when I was a model, but I could not wait to take it off. It makes me feel like my face isn’t breathing. One thing I do like to do every day is enhance my eyebrows. Twelve years ago, I was at a party and Bobbi Brown said she’d like me to be in her book and she gave tips on my eyebrows. And now I’m hooked. I use Bobbi Brown's Eyebrow Brush because it’s firm with a perfect angle, with Bobbi Brown Mahogany Eye Shadow. For my eyeliner, I use Chanel’s Stylo Yeux Waterproof Long Lasting Eyeliner in Noir under my eyes, and it doesn’t smudge. I love liquid eyeliner, but now that my eyes are older, they’re not as taut. When my lids are feeling nice and smooth, I’ll wear it. I used to wear an exaggerated cat eye every day—I’m Indian, so I can get away with it. And then I wear a little bit of Bobbi Brown Plum Wine Shimmer Blush. It’s very light and I love its sparkles.
I like a bright lip in the day, but not so much but at night. My husband insists on bright lip colors. When I say ‘How’s my makeup?’ he says, ‘Well it’s not done because you don’t have your lips on.’ But when Bobbi Brown did my makeup, her suggestion was that I should only use gloss to let my natural color come out. So I use just Vaseline most of the time.
I don’t have to do much else to my face because I get eyelash extensions all of the time. I have a woman come to my home to put them on and then they last a really long time, but I’m not introducing her to anyone else—she’s my secret! I get addicted to them, because they look so good, and I start to feel bald if I don’t get them, but she will tell me if I need to take a break.
If you clean your skin and your mouth well, you'll smell good and you will look bright. When it comes to personal hygiene, people don’t take care of their tongues. To have a white-coated tongue when someone’s talking to you is so unattractive. So, I use a tongue scraper every day. My son’s girlfriend introduced me to the Luster Premium White Whitening Light System. If you do it seven days in a row, it really whitens your teeth and makes a difference. You know when you see someone who's had their teeth whitened and you wonder why they look younger?
I have been wearing perfume every day since I was 16 years old. Now I love layering perfume. One of my favorite perfumes is Jasmal by Creed—it smells like jasmine. In the summer, I like to wear light fragrance, like Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien.
For my hair, I don’t really do much. I mostly just throw my hair in a bun, but I take care of the health of my scalp. I use tea tree oil and coconut oil, which I heat up a little bit, on my scalp, two to three times a week the night before I wash it. It makes your scalp feel so good and keeps your hair thick. Indians have such good hair, because for generations, all Indians have oiled their hair. Then, I wash with Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy Shampoo to make my hair really soft and moisturized, because it can get dry from coloring it—I get a single-process color because I’m very gray. Sure, I want to be gray, but it would age me a lot. I used to say I would go gray at 60, but I’m 58 now, so I think I’ll wait until I’m 65. Then I’ll just cut it short and spike it up, like Linda Fargo. To me, her signature hair is gorgeous and amazing."
—as told to ITG
Ranjana Khan photographed by Emily Weiss in New York on July 18, 2013.