• this is india 75

This is India! 75

Welcome back to This is India! I always have funny/weird stories about India to share with friends or family when I talk to them. This is just meant to be an honest portrayal about my life in India through short anecdotes. I also share here what I’ve been up to online outside Werkenntwen.

What I was up to other than here:

  • I am in the mountains seeing amazing tribes & experiencing so much I can’t wait to write about! I’ll check in with more next week. Until then, PLEASE follow along on and ! :)

Now your story,

This isn’t actually a story. But, it’s something that surprises a lot of foreigners when I tell them.

When I come to India, I bring loads of junk food back with me but I also bring a lot of toiletries… deodorant, lotions for skin and face and stuff like that.

One of the reasons is that I like certain brands, but another is that many of the toiletries you can get in India are for fairness.

That means they have chemicals in them that whiten your skin. You can buy spray on deodorant that will start to bleach your armpits. Your face wash will lighten your face. All the commercials for beauty in India are about fairness. “look how fair she looks!” It’s the same for the men.

At first I was really surprised to see brands like Loreal, Garnier, and all the rest advertising like this because at first it seemed kind of wrong to want to lighten your skin so much… but it’s not wrong it is just the way they want it to look just like I like to look tan and want to be as brown as possible.. so I waste time laying out in the hot sun with oil on and risk getting skin problems, which seems much crazier than bleaching your face, doesn’t it?

Either way, it just shows a small difference in culture. Sometimes while I’m basking in the sun an Indian friend of mine will stay under the umbrella so they don’t look dark. It’s not really that they have racism against being dark, but more a preference for beauty.

On the other hand, some Indian friends of mine who are quite western love to lay out and get darker – so it’s not something everyone is into. Have you experienced this when you travel?

This is India!

Did you enjoy this post? Let me know in the comments or by sharing it with the social media links! I’d love to keep giving you travel tricks & tips so feel free to subscribe by e-mail in the big purple box below. Don’t forget you can follow me on , ,  & ‘.


About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. christine wilhelm November 7, 2015 at 7:42 am - Reply

    Tribal Pashtoon (Pashtun) women sometimes use for beauty a thick, white flour-like facial make-up, heavy black kohl eyeliner and bright red lip coloring. It is as they say..”beauty is in the eye of the beholder” because the combination does turn out quite bizarre. I saw the white make-up only one time when I had been invited to be with hundreds of women that were free to caste off their chadras (burkas) in a women’s only park in Kandahar during an Eid-a-Milad picnic . We spent a wonderful day preening, feasting and laughing together, just women. So nice.

    • Rachel Jones November 7, 2015 at 7:25 pm - Reply

      wow that’s amazing! Thanks for sharing. You’re right, beauty is so subjective.

  2. Justine November 7, 2015 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    Totally! It’s the same way in Indonesia and Cambodia…and probably most of SE Asia. When I moved to Indonesia I didn’t realize just how many products had skin bleaching agents in them…like deodorant, lotion, body wash, etc. I totally kicked myself for not packing more of my favorite American products. I tried not to make the same mistake when I moved to Cambodia ;) Ha, I do love that as Americans we’re always laying in the sun, trying to get tanned. Oh, the things people around the world to be “beautiful” ;)

    • Rachel Jones November 7, 2015 at 7:26 pm - Reply

      hahah I know!! I was in Bangkok thinking I’d stock up for India, but obvi couldn’t as much as I thought it was about the same there. I am so obsessed with having a tan!

  3. Katie November 8, 2015 at 8:57 am - Reply

    I experienced the same thing in China. While I was laying out in the sun, women would carry umbrellas around to avoid the sunlight. I found it intriguing what they considered beautiful there-white porcelain skin, big eyes, double eye lids and a “goose egg”‘ face shape as well as very thin. These standards are universal around the huge country. In America the people are so diverse that it’s hard to point out “standards of beauty” because everyone has very different opinions and ideals of beauty.

    • Rachel Jones November 8, 2015 at 9:33 pm - Reply

      Yeah, exactly. My phone is Chinese (the MI) and when it’s on “selfie” reverse screen it has “beauty mode” which lightens the skin, makes the face narrow, and eyes larger.. I didn’t really until I was with a Singaporean girl taking a selfie and she said “why is your phone in chinese beauty mode?” haha

  4. Vijay November 13, 2015 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    Hello Rachel,
    I came across your blogs accidentally, and I couldn’t resist to complete them… As a amid travel blog reader I loved the blog or the way you expressed… But as an Indian things little pinched me… In most of the blogs I could see the complains about the places/people/country. In few blogs really showed your love towards India, and this is the reason you are here from long time…
    I am Maharastrian and working in Delhi, being an Indian itself I get lot of cultural shock while traveling in India. So I am not surprised about the weird experiences which you get…
    I could say I loved the blogs and keep writing further… It would be great if we highlight positive stuff about India also. Most foreigners just come to see Chaos, crowd, weird smell… But hardly somebody take back that India too is progressing ahead with pretty good pace despite of all the cultural diversity… Had it been there more than 28 official languages, multiple cultures, religion it would have been difficult even for America also to achieve where it is now… India is a country which has internally 28 different countries…. Still it bounded together…
    Anyway thanks for writing all about so far…
    All the best for your stay in India….

    • Rachel Jones November 13, 2015 at 6:29 pm - Reply

      Hello Vijay, glad you found the blog! I have over 500 articles on here, most about India and I think you’ll find that other than the stories on “this is India” where I show the struggles and funnies I deal with, articles are just telling people how to travel India and all the reasons to explore.

  5. Avantika November 26, 2015 at 3:47 pm - Reply

    Hey Rachel Jones

    yes Indians gives preference for beauty. like i always carry an umbrella in summer. thanks for very clear views of your experience in India.

    • Rachel Jones November 26, 2015 at 5:38 pm - Reply

      It’s smart to carry an umbrella and good for preventing wrinkles too!

  6. Avantika November 27, 2015 at 11:48 am - Reply

    Very quick to response Rachel, very good! And you right it prevent wrinkles too!

  7. Erin Bliss December 7, 2015 at 3:49 am - Reply

    Hey Rachel,
    Just want to let you know that I love your blog!!! I will be moving to India this next month….to Goa actually! Maybe i will see ya around! I am addicted to your “This is India” series as it reminds me of being there and I always get a nice laugh that brightens my day. Keep shining your light beautiful lady :)

    • Rachel Jones December 7, 2015 at 10:34 am - Reply

      Oh awesome! I’d love to meet up once you’re here! :)

  8. Erin Bliss December 8, 2015 at 12:16 am - Reply

    I would love to! Will be in

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