Finding Her Inner Royal

Michelle Ranavat ’03 adapts ancient Indian beauty rituals for her skin- and hair-care line.

Michelle Ranavat

Ranavat is bottling regal indulgence and sharing it with people around the world. Grey and Elle

Michelle Ranavat ’03 nurtured her creativity through her industrial engineering coursework at UW–Madison. But it was during a trip to India that she first tapped into her inner royal.

While perusing palaces, Ranavat marveled at the ornate detail, meticulous craftsmanship, and luxurious atmosphere created by some of the country’s early kings and queens. She was transported to a time in which eternal beauty was a lifelong pursuit, and one that these royals undertook with the help of Ayurveda — an ancient medicinal practice — and ingredients readily available in nature.

Ranavat was quick to realize that it didn’t take a palatial estate to evoke this essence of luxury. Armed with the cultural knowledge of Indian beauty practices she grew up with, she is bottling regal indulgence and sharing it with people around the world through RANAVAT, a skin- and hair-care line rooted in Ayurvedic Indian beauty rituals.

“The beauty industry pumps out thousands of new products every single year,” Ranavat says. “When I created the line, I didn’t want it to just be another product, another clean beauty line, even another Ayurvedic line. I really wanted to have something that was connected to a deeper meaning.”

Luckily, she doesn’t have to look far to find it: Ranavat ensures that her brand transcends simple self-care by highlighting the significance of products like the Flawless Veil Resurfacing Saffron Masque, which contains Ayurvedic elements like saffron and turmeric, or the Fortifying Hair Serum, which takes inspiration from the Indian practice of hair-oiling.

“We’re not just trying to sell a skin-care treatment to give you better skin,” Ranavat says. “We do that, but we also want to share the heritage and the tradition behind it.”

Ranavat’s current work may seem remote from her days as an industrial engineering student, but for her, the only thing more natural than the products she develops is the path that led from factory field trips in Wisconsin to a beauty empire in Los Angeles. Her unique blend of STEM and self-care is well suited to turning time-tested traditions into the new-age rituals of the modern, everyday royal.

“Royalty is a state of mind,” Ranavat says. “Anyone can be royal, and we are shattering the idea that it’s only meant for certain people … because I think the moment that we say we’re worthy of it is when it becomes real.”

Published in the Winter 2021 issue

Tags: Alumni, Business, Health and medicine, women

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