Shopping·5 min read

Kulfi’s Founder Priyanka Ganjoo on the Five-Minute Makeup Routine She Swears By

Priyanka Ganjoo
Design: theSkimm | Photo: Kulfi
May 7, 2024

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Skimm Her Life is a series in our weekly newsletter, Skimm Your Life, where smart women share their favorite things.

After trying Kulfi’s hero brow gel that is a constant sell-out at Sephora, we knew we had to pick the brain of the brand’s founder, Priyanka Ganjoo. Today, Priyanka shares some backstory on the brand, as well as the must-shop beauty products she keeps on rotation. Priyanka, Skimm your life for us…

For our readers that might be new to you and Kulfi, give them theSkimm on what sets Kulfi apart from other makeup brands on the market. What product should they start with?

Kulfi is centered around joy and celebrates South Asian beauty and culture. From our campaigns that champion self-expression to our understanding of color theory and olive undertones, we are creating a space for more of us to feel seen in beauty and products that compliment a diverse range of skin tones. Readers should start with our Main Match Concealer. We did so much research on undertones to create new and unique concealer shades. We often hear from our customers that our concealer is the first time they’ve found a true shade match. It’s hydrating without creasing, delivers medium coverage that’s buildable without caking, and is self-setting with a radiant finish. It’s perfect for dark circles, hyperpigmentation, redness, and blemishes. Our customers love buying two shades: one that’s a great match for their face and one for highlighting under eyes. We have a shade matching quiz to give your perfect shade match for both.

What inspired you to start Kulfi? What advice would you give to readers wanting to make any jump – whether that be in their careers or experimenting with makeup?

I struggled to find products that complimented my undertones, even during my five-year-long career on the corporate side of the beauty industry. I realized there was a huge gap in products being offered along with who had a voice in beauty front-facing and behind the scenes. That’s what inspired me to start Kulfi. My advice to readers would be to just start and don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good.

What’s your favorite unconventional or hacky way to use certain Kulfi products?

I’ve come up with most of my hacks from traveling. I didn’t want to carry all of my makeup, so I got creative! I use the Cheeky Chiku and Purply Pataka Kajal Eyeliners as lip liners, because of their brown and plum hues. Because the Kajal Eyeliners are already ultra-smooth, hydrating, and long-lasting, they’re perfect for lips. I also like to mix my Main Match Concealer with moisturizer for an easy skin tint and glow; I then apply concealer directly on spots where I feel I need extra coverage. I wear shades Pome Pome and Extra Elaichi.

Free The Brow, your brand’s hero brow gel, has sold out on Sephora countless times. What problem-solving aspects were you thinking about when developing this product?

The inspiration for Free The Brow came from the dichotomy I noticed in how we treated our facial hair: by aggressively waxing and threading it, while nourishing the hair on our head. I wanted to create a ritual of nourishing our brow hair, much like the Sunday hair oiling rituals I grew up with in my family. As its namesake suggests, Free The Brow is a call of encouragement to our mission of challenging beauty standards and celebrating brows of all shapes and sizes. Most brow gels flake or leave white crusts, which are super visible on darker brow hair and thicker hair. We created a flake-free, crunch-free flexible hold gel that is comfortable to wear and move in all day. It was important that our brow gel provided strong lamination and shaping powers, while being nourishing and conditioning to the brow hair. It’s truly the best of both worlds!

What are some of your go-to products in your beauty routine?

For skincare, I love Dieux’s Instant Angel moisturizer. It gives instant radiance for dry skin like mine, and it keeps skin soft all day long. For hair care, I love the Fable & Mane HoliRoots Hair Oil. It keeps my hair from getting tangled, and I love how lightweight it is. Kulfi’s Free The Brow Gel, Main Match Concealer, and the Kajal Eyeliner in Cheeky Chiku (brown) are in my five-minute makeup routine, together with the Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara. For spring, I’ve been loving the new shades of Haus Labs blushes. I layer the powder formula on top of our Mehndi Moment Blush for a vibrant all-day flush. Finally, my go-to lip combination at the moment is using my fingers to tap in Kulfi’s Lipstick in the shade First Sari and layering it with iNNBEAUTY’s Lip Oil in Frose.

Psst: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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