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Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune

Neeta Singh has spent two years refining Neeta Naturals, a company in Ashland that makes a line of botanically based skin-care products, including facial masks, floral waters and facial and body oils.

Neeta goes natural

Generations of traditional Indian beauty treatments are distilled into a new line of skin-care products made in Ashland.

Drawing on a lifetime of holistic and ayurvedic approaches to healthy, youthful skin, Neeta Singh has spent two years refining Neeta Naturals. Singh’s studies as a perfumer and travels to her native country to purchase ingredients are behind her gentle, subtly scented, botanically based facial masks, floral waters and facial and body oils, even men’s beard oil.

Launched in August, Neeta Naturals can be sampled and purchased at Saturday’s Conscious Living Fair in Ashland.

“It was passed down to me for generations,” says Singh, a 38-year-old mother of two. “I was just so into organic, natural.”

Saffron, cumin and turmeric are widely used not just in Indian cuisine, but the culture’s home remedies and cosmetics. These are among the items — in addition to mustard oil, honey, nutmeg, yogurt and clay — that Singh used in 2000 while competing for the title of Miss India.

“It’s just something I grew up doing, says Singh, recalling childhood trips with her mother and aunts to public bathhouses.

The women in Singh’s family used body and facial masks to prepare for India’s frequent festivals and religious ceremonies. A former model, Singh says once she moved to the United States, she felt “so distracted” by the vast array of mass-marketed beauty regimens. So she reached back to her roots and applied those tried-and-true techniques to make toiletries for her husband, 13-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter.

“I knew what I was doing,” says Singh. “I wanted something simple, elegant and natural.”

Singh infuses jojaba, argan, camelina and grapeseed oils with her formulas, including the key components sandalwood and neem. Neeta Naturals are made in 1- to 3-gallon batches every month or two at Singh’s Ashland facility near a company that supplies organic alcohol for her roll-on perfumes, which can be used as underarm deodorant.

“My perfumes don’t scream out loud,” she says, explaining that hints of hemp terpenes assist with longer-lasting aroma.

Cold-pressed, organic hempseed oil also factors into Neeta Naturals, the family’s most recent business endeavor since her husband, Ajit Singh Nehra, started growing hemp locally two years ago. Nehra’s work in soil science for organic farmers brought the couple in 2003 to Southern Oregon.

“It started with a search for happiness,” says Singh.

Mustering the courage to translate her love of holistic skin care into a career, Singh consulted with aromatherapist Lakita Dunkers, who has worked for an essential oil company locally and boasts a background in massage. Dunkers assisted Singh with developing her website, www.neetanaturals.com, and readying products for sale.

“There is a simplicity to them,” says Dunkers. “So she really is getting back to the basics of nature.”

A few drops of all-natural, plant-based oil is all that’s needed to keep skin’s inherent oil production in check, says Dunkers. The principle is contrary to so many “oil-free” moisturizers on the market.

“Our skin is trying to find its natural balance,” says Dunkers.

Singh’s business model also balances the concepts of self-care and tuning into one’s body, says Dunkers. The Neeta Naturals line, based on ayurveda, India’s traditional system of health care and wellness, is due out later this fall. Ayurvedic massage demonstrations will underscore Neeta Naturals’ participation in the first Conscious Living Fair, to be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites.

Reach freelance writer Sarah Lemon at thewholedish@gmail.com.


Conscious Living Fair

With twice the demand for vendor spots than spaces to showcase them, the first Conscious Living Fair is poised to become a semiannual event.

The daylong gathering hosts a diverse lineup of holistic and alternative practitioners from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites. From massage therapists and naturopathic physicians to coaches who specialize in getting clients organized and out of debt, the Conscious Living Fair brings healing therapies for body, mind and spirit under a single roof, says Kathy Kali, who planned the event.

Kali says she saw a void in local holistic-lifestyle events.

“There are so many healers in our valley offering work that’s uplifting and inspiring,” she said.

Chiropractics, acupuncture, skin care, aromatherapy, sound therapy, ayurveda, counseling, intuitive readers and astrologists are the major “niches” that Kali intended to fill. Because Kali turned away more vendors than she accepted, based on the size of Ashland Hills’ Cosmos Ballroom, a noontime meet-and-greet will give anyone who couldn’t get a booth a chance to network.

For a list of vendors and presentations, see www.consciouslivingfair.com. Admission is $5. For more information, call Kali at 541-450-0781.

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