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Michelle Ranavat of Ranavat Michelle Ranavat of Ranavat

Michelle RanavatRanavat

As a daughter of Indian immigrants growing up in small-town Wisconsin, Michelle Ranavat sometimes felt as though she was going back and forth between two different cultures. Today, she merges them with her eponymous beauty brand, which brings products made in India from traditional and locally sourced ingredients to the rest of the world.

What drove you to start your own brand? I created Ranavat as a way to blend my background in science with my love and appreciation for my Indian heritage. As a first generation South Asian-American, I grew up with many traditional beauty practices that carried so much value, and I wanted to bring them to light here in the US. When I launched the line in 2014, there was a major white space in beauty. Ingredients like bakuchi, turmeric and ashwagandha hadn’t been used in mainstream skincare, and over the past few years, we’ve seen such appreciation for them. I think these ingredients just scratch the surface in terms of what Indian beauty and traditions can offer.
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“Being an entrepreneur is all about believing yourself and not letting stress get to you.”

What’s your favorite product in the line? My favorite treatment is our Radiant Rani Brightening Saffron Serum. This is my holy grail serum because it works harder than a typical vitamin C. This serum not only helps reduce inflammation to prevent hyperpigmentation, but it’s also smart enough to help your skin cope with stressors (a common cause of acne and breakouts). And it’s packed with antioxidants, too. I love that it doesn’t increase my sensitivity to the sun, so I can wear it during the day, as well as at night. The gorgeous saffron threads smell amazing, but they’re also a key ingredient, working to brighten and calm the skin at the same time. Saffron is more expensive by weight than gold, so I definitely feel like royalty when I use it.

What are your morning and evening routines? My morning starts with family time. We are all waking up, eating breakfast together and—let’s face it—running out the door. For breakfast, my family likes drinking traditional Indian chai along with almond milk (crushed almonds in milk) for my boys. Indian breakfasts are light, but they give you energy—the perfect way to boost your day. In terms of skincare, I love waking up in the morning with a generous misting of our Hydrating Jasmine Mist. I layer the Brightening Saffron Serum on top and a sunscreen, and I’m out the door.
The evening is when I get more detailed. A few times a week, after cleansing my face, I’ll do a nice massage with my Kansa Wand. It’s a great way to let go of stress and get into relaxation mode. Lastly, I love reading in the evenings. This helps my body prepare for rest and gets me away from my phone. We end the evening with family time and a rest, so we can start the next day off strong!
What would people be surprised to learn about you? For many years, while living in New York, I was a professional Bollywood dancer! I performed in TV commercials, movies and even at Lincoln Center. What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting their own business? You can do it! Being an entrepreneur is all about believing yourself and not letting stress get to you. If you can do both of those things, you’re well on your way to being successful.
Michelle Ranavat of Ranavat
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