My Beauty Uniform: Holiday Kumar

beauty_uniform_holidayFor this week’s beauty uniform, we talked to the lovely Holiday Kumar, who runs the ice-cream company OddFellows and lives in Manhattan with her husband and twins. Here, she shares her funny shower ritual, pick-me-up underwear and the book that changed her life…

How did OddFellows come about?
When I was pregnant with my twins, I was craving ice cream—specifically savory ice cream—and I couldn’t find anything I liked at the grocery store. One night my husband was talking to our friend Sam (a pastry chef) and mentioned my search. So Sam made a pint of pretzel ice cream and brought it over one night. I devoured it instantly! We were like, “We should sell this stuff.” The birth of my twins coincided with the birth of our first ice cream store.

Has there been anything surprising about running a business?
Everyone is like, “Oh! You run your own business, that’s so cool. You make your own hours, you make your own decisions.” But there are times when I wish I had a 9-to-5 job, so there would be time set aside to relax. We’re waiting for that time when we can step back a little, but we’re in our second year of business so it’s still busy! Neither my husband nor I had any experience in the food industry. We’re first-time business owners, so we had to make a bunch of mistakes and learn from them.

What makeup do you wear?
I bring color to my cheeks with blush, usually NARS Orgasm, then go with a peachy lipstick. I love Chanel Rouge Allure in Conquise, it’s like sunshine on my lips. Right now I’m using CoverGirl LashBlast Volume mascara, which really does give my lashes volume. When I’m going out, I’ll wear a light foundation with SPF and some concealer—my favorites are Bobbi Brown tinted moisturizer and Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage. I like those brands because they offer a variety of colors for different skin tones. I’ll line my eyes with Almay Liquid Liner and wear a classic red lipstick, like Chanel Rouge Allure in Pirate.

Do you have any secret little tricks that make you feel great?
Wearing beautiful underwear is always a pick-me-up. I love love love Thinx Underwear—their undies are cute and also comfortable for that time of the month when you’re feeling a bit more self-conscious. Also, I’m all for supporting companies that give back to the community, and every pair of Thinx you buy helps a girl in the developing world stay in school by providing her with reusable cloth pads.

What’s your nighttime routine?
After spending the whole day with kids and work, I’ve found that reading before bed is my “me time.” Right now I’m reading the older book Fear of Flying, but I always have four or five books on rotation. For beauty, I use Avene lotion to remove my makeup. Then I cleanse my face with a homemade scrub (a mix of almond meal, dry milk and a pinch of unrefined sugar). While my skin is wet, I mix a homemade essential oil concoction with Pratima Vitamin C Serum and massage that on my face. I finish with Sundari Omega 3 and Amalaki night cream.

How do you learn to make skincare products at home?
The book Absolute Beauty changed my life. I learned to view beauty products not as cosmetics, but as food. Even though we eat to get most of our nutrition, our skin is our largest organ and also “eats” what you feed it.

What’s your stance on bath vs. shower?
With two toddlers and two shops, I’m always strapped for time. So I follow my little ones’ lead. If they want to take a bath, I bathe with them. If they want to shower, we all take a shower! In the bath, they play with these wooden boats I found on Etsy. But they’re really into showers because it seems like a more adult thing to do. They love the salt scrub I’m using right now. Afterward I slather on some sweet almond oil instead of skin lotion.

How do you take care of your hair?
To be honest, I’ve never learned how to style it, so I just leave it down or tie it up in a ponytail. I only wash my hair every few days, otherwise it gets dry. For moisture, I put argan oil on the ends.

Do you eat any foods that make you feel great?
I love Ayurvedic cooking. My husband is Indian and I was looking into how to make Indian foods. When I was pregnant, I took an Ayurvedic cooking class in the East Village, called Bhagavat Life. Ayurveda teaches that, depending on your disposition, there are foods that help balance you. It changed my whole approach.

Do you have an overall beauty philosophy?
I try to open my mind and heart to new things and new experiences. Before I became a mother, I didn’t take good care of myself. My priorities have shifted—now I’m a lot more concerned with nurturing myself and my family. I feel like I live in my own skin. To me, that is beautiful.

Thank you so much, Holiday!

P.S. Six women’s beauty uniforms, 16 hair tutorials and an everyday hair trick.

(Photos courtesy of Holiday Kumar. Interview by Caroline Donofrio)

  1. After reading this, I immediately went out and picked up the NOW 100% Sweet Almond Oil that Holiday referenced. I’ve been using it for a few days now and I can totally see a difference in my skin. Thank you!! Tremendous post and recommendation.

  2. My husband is Indian also, from Hyderabad :)
    Beautiful family!

  3. Beautiful family! What ethnicity is she? She looks Southeast Asian!

  4. Oh my goodness, what sweet kiddos! (and a lovely article, but I was mostly focused on the twins – so adorable)

    I have a 9-5 (okay, 8:30-4:30). It’s seriously those hours, and I adore it. I also feel insanely lucky. I can answer emails in my off-time, but it’s not expected.

  5. I love all of the Beauty Uniforms! Her skincare routine is so interesting..and clearly it works wonderfully!

  6. Jo, at the bottom of this post you link to the hot air brush post. This reminds me, I’ve been wanting to ask you — could you create/post a good tutorial on how to use this tool to achieve waves?

    I bought one and was excited to use it, but so far I’m only able to use it to dry my roots to give volume.

    I can’t figure out how to make waves without getting my hair all tangled.

    Thanks :)

  7. What a beautiful family! We love savory ice creams too! We were in Portland, Maine and had pepper ice cream (as in ground black peppercorns). It was served with a molten gingerbread cake. We came home and copied the ice cream using our home ice cream maker. It was amazing!!!

  8. just loved this post, loved it! Thank you :)

  9. Ahh! Not only did I love this article and her beauty routine, but she’s also the first other Holiday I’ve heard of! So cool – thanks for that internet connection :)

  10. I am 33 an up until a couple of years back I always thought that looks were everything, but now I realize that what I always heard a lot of people saying (and never ever believed it) is that personality is more important than looks.
    I have a 6 years old daughter and she is very pretty: tall, long dark hair and everybody says she is very beautiful and when she will become a gorgeous woman. But she is very shy and doesn’t attract other kids; I mean she doesn’t have any charisma at all. That’s how I realize that looks are the least important (unless you want to be a model). My friends’ kids are normal kids, but some have a lot a personality and all the other kids want to play with them.
    kisses from spain (excuses my english)

  11. Lovely post. Thank you.

    @Daniella Rossi – I believe “disposable” pads are for disposing in the garbage, not washing and reusing.

  12. I’m looking for a new makeup remover, so this post was great timing. OddFellow sounds intriguing. I’ll have to bookmark it for this summer!

  13. love, love, love this series! So inspiring to get insights into real women’s lives…changes my idea of what is beautiful. Thanks.

  14. i am in love with this woman and her approach to beauty. can’t wait to order the book she suggested. thank you for offering such thoughtful posts. beautiful.

  15. I went to their ice cream shop in the east village the other day for a date with my little boy, so lovely and yum. X

  16. Wonderful post! Joanna, I just want to let you know that your blog has become one of my favorites to follow. I’ve loved your series on motherhood in other countries, as well as all your fashion and beauty tips. You provide such a wonderful variety of topics! I don’t always read full blog posts in every blog I follow, but do with yours.😊

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  18. I love this Beauty Uniform series (… Oddfellows!) As I’m unexpectedly involved in the restaurant industry with our pizzerias, I’m always interesting to hear a story from someone in a similar boat.

  19. Hi Joanna-
    I love this series, but most of the women you feature are very, very slender. Would you be willing to seek out more women who have athletic bodies or are overweight? Thanks!

  20. I love everything about this. If Holiday ever wants a twin playdate … :)

  21. Love this series so much! And her name is HOLIDAY!? Seriously, what better name than that?

  22. Goodness I love these posts!
    She has a lovely family.

    Something that I do find to be contradictory in some of the women’s beauty routines is this: They will say that the skin care products that they put on their skin are organic and important to be so, but then the makeup that they wear is anything but naturally derived.

  23. I’d never heard of thinx underwear, what great work they are doing! We are, of course, all aware of how important it is to help ensure children have access to education but we perhaps never think that ensuring they can go to school isn’t the only step. Definitely want to buy some underwear from this fantastic company!

  24. What a beautiful family! And inspiring career venture…savoury ice-cream just makes sense!

  25. thanks for these sweet comments! cynthia, it was actually the book Absolute Beauty. here’s her quote about it:

    “The book Absolute Beauty changed my life. I learned to view beauty products not as cosmetics, but as food. Even though we eat to get most of our nutrition, our skin is our largest organ and also ‘eats’ what you feed it.”

  26. Thanks for the link to this book-it looks great! As a fellow lover of Ayurveda, I can’t wait to check it out.

  27. Gosh! I feel like I just learned so much in reading this. Absolute Beauty, sounds so interesting, as does pretzel ice cream…holy yum! Thank you for sharing this lovely family with us.

  28. what a beautiful lady with a beautiful family! and i just love the name “Holiday”. :)

  29. lynn, you’re right! i felt the same when i worked at a 9-5 office job. i was definitely on call even when i wasn’t at the office. good point!

  30. She is definitely one of the most natural beauties we’ve seen on your blog! I just love her nighttime skincare regimen.

  31. She’s so beautiful—love her natural approach.

    This series is one of my favorites! So interesting.

  32. Which book changed her life? Was it “Fear of Flying”?

  33. Such a fantastic, inspiring series, Joanna. Thank you. xo

  34. What a beautiful family!

    This is only loosely related to the post but I’ve read a lot of articles/posts/comments about having a 9-5 job being easier than other types of employment because you have fixed work hours. In my experience (as a 9-5er!), and from what I glean from friends, these types of (professional) jobs just don’t exist much anymore. Most 9-5ers are, at a minimum, still expected to check and reply to emails when at home, be working on prof development, or just flat out continuing their day’s work. Just a loosely related thought – lol!

  35. I’ve read about the disposable pads for girls in 3rd world countries a couple of times by now, and, living in one, I can tell that it is a really bad idea. Most of the time, there is not clean water available for consumption, how are they going to wash them?
    I’ve tried washing them by hand and you need 30 litres to get them clean after one use. 30 litres! that’s a full shower or the water you drink in about ten days.

  36. Gorgeous family! Thank you for posting-I’m looking into every last link mentioned here. xoxo H

  37. Wow, really interesting! I think it makes sense that how you feed your body reflects your outer beauty. And what a beautiful family they are!