5 Top Skin, Hair Benefits & Uses Of Gram Flour | Besan | Pottukadalai Maavu | Chickpea Flour | Garbanzo Bean Flour

Gram flour has been used for skin and hair care for centuries in India. It is so very gentle on the skin that we even use it on new born babies skin! Gram flour is also called as chick pea flour, garbanzo bean flour, besan in diferent parts of the world. Besan is made from chick peas which is very very rich in protein. Besan is made from chick peas but chick peas is not made into besan directly. To make besan or gram flour, the outer skin of the chick peas is removed and then it is dried and polished. When it is dried and polished it is called channa dal. We use channa dal to season all our dishes and when channa dal is ground it becomes gram flour. You can also make gram flour at home easily, but to make the gram flour at home you need roasted channa dal. When channa dal is roasted instead of powdered, it becomes roasted channa dal which is famous for it’s use in making coconut chutney, we call it pottu kadalai in Tamil. We can eat roasted channa dhal as such as it is fried. We can easily grind the fried gram dhal in a mixer to get homemade gram flour. Gram flour is also made from chick peas directly without frying but the flour made by frying the peas is more flavorful and that is the one we prefer and use here in India. I prefer to make my own chick pea flour by sun drying the roasted chick peas till crisp and then grinding to a fine flour in a mixer. We make wonderful dishes with chick pea flour and hot homemade bajjis made with chick pea flour are an absolute favorite of mine. I also make small protein balls out of chick pea flour for my son by mixing homemade gram flour (pottukadalai maavu) with equal quantities of powdered sugar, nuts and enough homemade ghee to form small balls, it is such a healthy, tasty and popular snack here in India. We call this sweet pottukadali urundai in Tamil and in my personal opinion, these are the types of sweets that our children should be eating. North Indians use gram flour to thicken the gravies but here in Tamil Nadu we use it mainly for making snacks and sweets. Apart form it’s wonderful use in cooking, we use it extensively for external applications like in face packs, hair packs and scrubs. Gram flour thickens into a firm mask on the skin which makes it perfect for deep cleansing but at the same time, it doesn’t strip the skin of it’s natural oils. We also use gram flour for hair wash and it is perfect for people who are allergic to strong chemicals and perfumes found in most of the products now. Gram flour is especially useful for babies as it is so very gentle on the skin and if we know how to use this protein rich flour, we will keep coming back to it again and again…..


am sure, many of you must have tried this besan and turmeric face mask
at least once. This mask is very popular because it is made with common
kitchen ingredients, very effective and easy to make. This besan/
kadalai maavu face pack is very good for treating acne, skin whitening
and it leaves your skin glowing. Regular use will also reduce the facial
hair. Almost all Indian household will have besan and turmeric powder
in the kitchen. I don’t remember a day that I haven’t used turmeric in
my daily cooking. We
call besan flour “Kadalai maavu” in Tamil, try to make your own besan flour. If you don’t want to, try to buy chick pea flour from
reputed brands. Please don’t buy gram flour that is bright yellow, as
the gram flour might be artificially colored. You can also make your own
chick pea flour by grinding dried chick peas in the mixer to a fine
powder like I mentioned above. Chickpea flour is full of proteins and it is great for the skin.
This face mask is very good for acne prone, oily
skin. This face pack can be used by people with very sensitive skin too,
provided you use good quality ingredients. To make the face pack, first
rub a piece of turmeric to get the paste. Now add the turmeric paste to
the chick pea flour. Add the required amount of whole milk to get a
thick spreadable paste. To use, wash your face, wipe dry and then apply a
thin coating of the paste all over the face. Wait for it to dry and
then wash it off.


                          If you are allergic to harsh chemicals or if you are suffering from very dry skin you can easily substitute the soap with gram flour. During winter season, I switch over to besan and water mix to wash my face, sometimes if I am in the mood, I might add a few things like tomato puree or turmeric powder to it too. Besan mixture cleans the skin amazing well and since it’s very fine there is no damage to the skin at all even if you use it daily for longer periods of time. I was using it almost daily last winter along with homemade bath powder as a face wash and this face cleanser saved my skin from dryness. If your skin is very tanned, you can mix the gram flour with little bit of fresh yogurt and apply on the tanned skin, this will remove the tan very effectively and will soothe skin of the irritation caused by sun exposure. You can also use besan flour for babies during winter season, but don’t add anything to the besan mixture when you are using it for babies except pure turmeric powder. For babies who are allergic to shampoos, you can use besan water mix to wash their hair. Please make sure the besan is of the highest quality or better still make your own flour from fried gram dhal at home especially if you are using it for babies. After using this gram flour to wash your face, you might be smelling of the gram flour for a little while, but I actually love the smell….:)


          Gram flour is great for treating acne and acne scars especially if it is combined together with herbal extracts. Both holy basil and neem leaves extracts are great for treating acne scars, but it is hard to apply the thin extract, especially homemade extracts on the face without a solid base and gram flour is perfect for that. To treat acne and acne scars, take a handful of fresh neem leaves and holy basil leaves in a mixer. Add little boiled water to the herbs and grind to a smooth paste and strain to get the extract. Mix the extract with gram flour to get a thick paste. Apply this mixture on the face and wait for 10 to 15 minutes before washing it off. This treatment is very very effective even for treating the worst kind of acne and above all it is a very safe treatment. But make sure to use the juice of the herbs immediately for best results.         


            As I mentioned above, gram flour is great for using it on babies skin and if we use it with pure turmeric powder for their bath regularly, there will be gradual reduction in their body and facial hair. This gram flour and turmeric mixture is also one good alternative for mothers who can’t make the traditional bath powder at home. For women and young girls there is an other method using gram flour that gives good relief and that is a paste made with alum, turmeric powder, besan and rose water. To make the paste, first get a piece of shaving alum or potash alum. It is also called as pickling alum and it is sold either in block form or powder form. If you have got it as a big piece break a small piece and powder it finely. Take 1/4 tsp of the powdered alum and add it to 2 tsp of pure gram flour, 1/4 tsp of pure turmeric powder and make it into a paste using rose water. The paste should neither be too thick nor too thin. Apply this paste all over the face as a face pack and regular use gradually reduces the facial hair growth. Alum and turmeric are both very good for hair removal and this is one of the best natural treatment for hair removal at home. But try to use pure homemade rose water for making the paste, you can find the recipe for rose water in the blog….


                    The best way to use besan for hair is by making a hair pack with it. Besan hair pack improves circulation in the scalp, removes the grime
and dirt and strengthens the roots. I was searching for a good
hair pack recipe to make good use of the besan that I had made freshly a week back. Many of the
recipes I read, suggested using it with water. Besan, if used
alone can be quite drying, so I decided to use it along with fresh Aloe
Vera gel. This mask is super conditioning and leaves your hair soft and
very manageable. It also strengthens the hair roots. Aloe Vera and lemon
are both good dandruff fighters and will greatly reduce reduce dandruff
from your scalp. This pack is great for people with normal and oily
hair. If you have got dry hair, you can substitute lemon with sour
yogurt/curd. Good quality besan is available everywhere now, so
try to get the best and also if you are not able to get fresh Aloe Vera,
you can use store bought Aloe Vera gel too. To make this hair pack,
first take a fresh Aloe Vera leaf, wash and cut the thorns on both
sides. Make sure to clean the green juice (you can see it in the picture above) that flows out of cut Aloe Vera leaf. Add the gram flour, lemon juice to the Aloe Vera gel and
blend it to get a smooth puree. The mixture should neither be too thick
nor too thin. Apply it all over the scalp and wait for it dry on your
scalp, before washing it off with a mild shampoo. For best results, make
sure that your scalp is not greasy before applying this pack. I tried this same mask with multani mitti too, though I liked both the hair masks, I liked the hair mask made with besan better….



  1. Prairiecactus
    April 5, 2015 / 10:01 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your recipes…I really enjoy your blog.

  2. Anonymous
    April 7, 2015 / 1:52 am

    which manjil do you want us to use for the face pack, the kasturi manjil or regular manjil?for the hair pack and face pack which maavu do you want us to use, the fried gram that is ground or regular channa dal that is ground?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      April 7, 2015 / 5:54 pm

      You can use any type of pure turmeric for the face pack, though I would prefer kasthuri turmeric. For the packs, try to get and use good quality gram flour from the shops. If you don't get good quality gram flour in your place, simply grind fried gram and use that………..

    • Anonymous
      March 24, 2018 / 3:52 pm

      Should we dry roast the pottukadalai until fragrant or there is some color change then grind? It tastes raw and bland to me when I eat it as is….Or no need just grind? I ask because there are some things we roast until we get the color change and other things we roast until aroma comes but there should be no color change like some dals I forgot which dals. I just remember some aunties shouting on this point.

  3. Anonymous
    April 8, 2015 / 4:16 pm

    The regular gram flour sold is not roasted, correct? So the roasted gram flour will never be sold that you have to make yourself, correct? And for hair and face the roasted is better, correct?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      April 9, 2015 / 6:51 am

      What you are saying is correct but if the quality of store bought gram flour is good, both store bought and homemade will work equally well for hair and face….

  4. Anonymous
    April 12, 2015 / 1:21 am

    Hi Ramya like you have a tab for health and beauty can you also have a tab for pregnancy pre and post. Like we take methi ladoo, jeera and ajwain water, aaliv seeds, kamar kas gaund, char gaund, and have a mothers massage and some yoga postures must after 45 days. Bless you. Ekta.

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      April 12, 2015 / 4:53 pm

      Thanks a lot for your wonderful suggestions, Ekta. I will try my best…:)

    • Anonymous
      April 13, 2015 / 1:45 am

      And to prepare before, during and after monthly cycle time so we have enough iron and other essentials…

  5. Unknown
    January 26, 2016 / 6:56 am

    Is kadalai maavu and potukadalai maavu s same ??

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      March 1, 2016 / 5:05 am

      no kadalai maavu and pottukadalai maavu are not same. Kadalai maavu is made from the unroasted gram and pottukadalai maavu is made from the roasted channa dal…

    • Bhuvana C
      May 5, 2016 / 6:54 am

      Hai mam this is Bhuvana .Thank you so much for sharing your recipesI had a pimple problem but i am not sure is this pimple or not, it look like a small small dots and black mark on forehead and cheeks.nowadays i am not using any soap or face wash in my face i am using paachai parrupu and vatti verru and kadalai maavu pack daily.please suggest me to get rid of this dots and black mark problem mamThank you.

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      June 6, 2016 / 2:53 pm

      I think the dots you are referring to are . Try upping the intake of water along with reducing stress to get rid of blackheads (I have personally experienced it). Also continue doing the home treatments…

    • arthi kirthi
      August 30, 2016 / 11:15 am

      We can use the mixture of gram flour, sandalwood powder and rose water to clear the acne and acne scar

  6. Anonymous
    October 5, 2016 / 5:13 pm

    Hii mam this is shree I am suffering from acne scars ando I am using kadalai mavu with kaa Thursday manual daily will this help me???

  7. Anonymous
    October 22, 2016 / 2:38 pm

    Hi Ramya mam.. I thank you for d wonderful recipies of home remedies. I'm 24. I have fine lines under the eyes and dark circle too. I sleep normally and don't have much problems either to worry about. What could you suggest me to cure the darkness and for the wrinkle under the eyes… Thank you.

  8. Anonymous
    November 18, 2016 / 10:33 am

    Hello Ramya. Can you please suggest a daily face wash made with natural ingredients for oily skin. Thank you

  9. Anonymous
    November 18, 2016 / 10:34 am

    Hello Ramya, can you please suggest a daily face wash made with natural ingredients for oily skin. Thank you

  10. Anonymous
    January 8, 2017 / 5:42 pm

    Hi.Tq for the tips. I have oil skin, n due to used of chemical cream..my face become darker n started having pimples end up with scars. Lately i start using kadalai flour over night. After reading ur blog will start trying neem & basil juice.

  11. Anonymous
    February 27, 2017 / 12:33 pm

    hi mam i am sudha…i am having dark complection then my body ..i am fair but my face alone getting black ..kindly suggest any..and i am using kadala mavu foe face instead of soap from past one month due that problem but it remains same..

  12. deepak yogi
    June 19, 2017 / 3:29 pm

    HI MA

  13. Anonymous
    June 27, 2017 / 3:05 pm

    Hi.how can gramflour be helpful in hair growth and removal

  14. Anonymous
    May 24, 2018 / 2:48 am

    I wrote this comment and pottukadalai is already roasted so there is no need to do this. However it tastes so bland on its own. I am wondering how they made this pottukadalai themselves in the home compared to store bought one. There is also a kind of roasted snack red chickpea with red skin on it which you rub off and eat but that tastes entirely different and that is sold as roasted. That is roasted over sand or sea salt.

    “For babies who are allergic to shampoos, you can use besan water mix to wash their hair.”

    I made my own flour from 2 handfulls of pottukadalai by pounding it in a granite mortar and pestle and then mixed it with warm water into a light not thick paste and then applied it on the head then washed it off with water right away, I didn’t let it dry. I oiled the hair with coconut oil 30 min. prior. Bits of dal remained in the hair which I tried to rub off with my hands. The hair after it got dried became dry. Maybe if I mixed it with yogurt a different result could happen. Or I should try oiling with sesame oil before hand. (we don’t get good oil, we get mosum ennai not nalla ennai)….I didn’t try using aloe vera because they sell it by the leaf which is huge and not sure how to save the rest for how long without it spoiling in the fridge. I boiled and drained the WHITE basmati rice water and it cooled and is now fermenting. Perhaps this water could be added to the flour and used instead…..My hair is chest length….

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