Reshma Bhano stares into the camera as she carefully applies a layer of red lipstick.
It is a You Tube beauty tutorial on “how to get the perfect red lips”, but it comes with a serious message.
Bhano is an 18-year-old acid attack victim from Mumbai.
On May 19, 2014 she was travelling with her sister to attend an exam in the northern Indian town of Allahabad when she was allegedly set upon by her estranged brother-in-law and two other men.
She tried to run but was caught, by the hair, by two motorcyclists. They held her down and poured concentrated sulphuric acid on her, causing severe burns to her face.
“It felt like everything was burning,” she says.
“I used to see others but I never thought this would happen to me.”
Bhano lost her left eye in the attack and her right eye is partially closed and infected. Her face has been severely disfigured and scarred and she needs cosmetic surgery to correct the disfigurement partially and to remove the contractures around her mouth.
She has undergone treatment in Mumbai and other locations.
The online beauty tutorial was filmed by Make Love Not Scars, a non-governmental organisation aimed at giving acid attack victims a voice and trying to stop the open market sale of concentrated acid.
In it Bhano talks calmly through brushing your lips with a toothbrush to remove dead skin, applying lip balm, lip liner and lipstick. She then begins a serious message.
“You’ll find red lipstick easily in the market just like concentrated acid. This is the reason why everyday a girl becomes a victim of an acid attack. “
Bhano says she wants to study to eventually work in an non-governmental organisation and says she has learned the true meaning of beauty.
“It’s not necessary that beauty is in a face. Those who have a beautiful mind are truly beautiful.”