Our mood and health is reflected not only in our skin, but also in our attitude to life and to others. That is why, when we talk about beauty, we do not speak from a superficial or aesthetic point of view, but as an attitude of life.
The secret of lasting beauty is not outside of us, but emanates from the depths of our body and mind. For Ayurveda, beauty is the projection of how we are internally, both physically, mentally and emotionally. And it is not, of course, to consume lots of products that assure us that they will work miracles in our body and in our skin, when, the truth is that that “magical” ingredient does not exist bottled.
All Ayurvedic beauty products that are applied to the skin are totally natural. For the most part, they are made with ingredients that we can easily find in any kitchen, and those that are somewhat less common, are just as easy to find. If we are also able to introduce certain daily routines on a regular basis, these products not only provide cleaning, hydration and nutrition, but also calm and eliminate tensions.
The principles of cleansing, nourishing and moisturizing apply to facial care.
According to Melanie Sachs, author of “Ayurvedic Beauty Care“, a five-minute routine like this is enough:
1.- Wash your face well with warm water. “Dead skin cells will absorb water like small sponges and swell, making them easy to remove,” she says.
Normally, Ayurvedic cosmetics recommend using chickpea flour or oatmeal paste with water to wash the face. Undoubtedly, they will not be bad for us, but if as many Westerners you are used to the use of soap all of your life, make sure it is a neutral soap, glycerin soap, or cold saponified soap, like those of the Cattier house (which leave the skin as the bottom of a baby), or those that we teach you to make in this blog, to prevent your skin from drying out excessively since soaps are very alkalizing in general.
If, beforehand, you need to remove your make-up, use a soft and natural micellar water or, better yet, a vegetable oil, as Sara Montiel (famous Spanish actress) did, who removed her make-up with the old-fashioned olive oil.
2.- Place a little running water or rose water in an atomizer and spray your face a few times to moisten your skin.
3.- While your face is still wet, apply a thin layer of jojoba oil to seal the moisture. According to Sachs, jojoba oil is the closest to skin fat, so it is very unlikely to cause irritation.
It is often thought that oil does not hydrate enough and that is better to use creams (which are also very good if they are natural or made by yourself); but it is not exactly like that. The oil moisturizes, it does not hydrate, and that is why in the previous step a hydrosol is used before applying the oil, and then, we have the perfect mixture! …
These herbs and vegetable oils that are used in the elaboration of creams, masks and other Ayurvedic beauty rituals are perfect foods for the skin. But beauty for Ayurveda goes beyond the skin, has to do with harmony, the balance between body, mind and spirit and proposes daily routines to achieve it through cleaning and internal nutrition, the use of spices, foods and oils favorable for each type of skin, rest, detoxification, yoga and meditation.
It is important to remember that the skin is the largest organ in the body, consisting of seven cellular layers and, in addition, each of these seven layers is directly related to one of the seven dhatus (body tissues). Together, they are the main way to detoxify the body topically. According to Ayurveda, the skin is an important channel of secretion (elimination of toxins) and absorption of nutrients, regulates body temperature and produces a lot of endocrine hormones. It is the first line of defense against external attacks and reflects everything that happens within us.
Everything we put on our skin goes straight into the bloodstream, distributing throughout our body. For this reason Ayurveda tells us “don’t put anything on your skin that you can’t put in your mouth”.
We can say, then, that the state of our skin speaks to us of our state of health and that of our emotions. Its care not only brings us beauty, but is fundamental in our health, in the same way that we must take care of ourselves inside, both physically and mentally, to be able to radiate all our inner well-being. In short, we must take care of ourselves inside and out because they are parts of a whole.
The secret of absolute beauty is to live in harmony with our natural design and our base constitution, be it a Vata, Pitta, or Kapha constitution:
Malnourished and dry skins (skins with predominance of Vata) need more earth, water and fire (more influence of Kapha and Pitta).
Sensitive skins with a tendency to redness and dermatitis (skin with a predominance of Pitta) need more space, air and ground (more influence of Vata and Kapha).
Oily skins (skins with predominance of Kapha) need more fire, air and space (more influence of Vata and Pitta).
NOURISH AND MOISTURIZE THE SKIN ACCORDING TO OUR CONSTITUTION
Prepare a body oil by mixing two tablespoons of almond oil with 10 drops of an essential oil indicated to your skin type:
To nourish and moisturize dry skin “vata”, we will use sweet orange or geranium.
To nourish and moisturize sensitive skin “pitta”, we will use jasmine or sandal.
To nourish and moisturize oily skin “kapha”, we will use lavender or bergamot.
Beauty is the perfect balance of the five elements that make up each person.
The way to achieve this balance is to find out what our base constitution is and follow some habits of life that allow us to stay in balance. We achieve this through the power of the flavors: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and astringent, since each of them also arises from the combination of the five elements and that will make our own elements hydrate, nourish, cleanse or simply rebalance. We will use one or the other, depending on what we need, both externally and internally.
Experts in Ayurvedic beauty agree: to cultivate radiant skin and a sense of inner balance you have to design a daily routine with some activities that promote health.
DIET: In general, Ayurveda recommends a healthy and comprehensive diet (mainly vegetarian) for all constitutions. Fatty, fried, refined and processed foods, salt, sugar, seafood and red meats can cause skin problems, so it’s best to avoid them.
EXERCISE AND SLEEP HYGIENE: Ayurvedic experts suggest exercising at least five times a week until you perspire along the spine and under your arms. Exercise promotes perspiration (which releases toxins from the body), increases circulation and calms the mind.
And going with a regular schedule of restful sleep like going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every day because, as Dr. Mehmet Oz explains in his book: “You: Being Beautiful“: “Sleep and exercise stimulate growth hormone, which promotes increased production of collagen and elastin to keep skin tight.”
PRACTICE YOGA TO HAVE RADIANT SKIN: Incorporate a balanced practice of yoga in your daily routine (if we have not yet done it) improves lymphatic and blood circulation, tones the muscles and helps us connect with our breathing, three actions that improve our beauty to subtle, but important levels.
The recommendations, according to dr. Deepak Chopra’s Ayurvedic Center, also include drinking plenty of water and making our own cosmetics to moisturize the skin:
“-Know your skin type.
-Watch what you eat. If your body metabolizes food correctly you will increase your energy, avoid illness, have more mental clarity and your skin will look healthier.
-Enjoy a restful sleep. Light dinner, meditate before bed and lie down earlier to get up with renewed energy and glowing skin.
-Meditate to combat stress. Meditation is one of the best practices to reduce the anxiety and tension of the day, you will notice how you recover the shine in the look and in the face. Take a few minutes a day to breathe consciously and deeply. In addition to calming the nervous system you will improve the oxygenation of the skin and help it to purify.
-Drink plenty of water and moisturize your skin. We already know, but sometimes we forget that our body is composed of 60-70% water, so you have to drink abundantly to help the normal functions of the body (such as the elimination of toxins) and to return its good appearance.
-Make your own cosmetics to moisturize your skin. Choose a vegetable oil adapted to your skin (sesame for dry skin or almond for oily and normal skin) and massage yourself throughout the body without forgetting the head, neck, forehead, belly and soles of the feet. Your skin will regain elasticity, calm the nervous system and lubricate the joints.”
And it is important to lead a healthy lifestyle (which includes diet and activities), according to our constitution, but it is also important to pay attention to the quality of everything we consume, not only orally but also topically. In Ayurveda there is a saying that says, “Don’t put anything in your skin that you wouldn’t put in your mouth.”
Nothing better than cosmetics made by oneself to avoid introducing toxics into our body and to recover the natural shine of our skin. The raw materials with which we are going to make our recipes are important. A priori it seems very complicated, but, in reality, Ayurvedic beauty products are very basic and simple to make and, shortly after starting to use them, you start to notice how your skin is getting prettier.
Nowadays it is difficult to choose our cosmetic products since there are endless possibilities and, in addition, it is increasingly common to find labels that tell us that they are made with natural products of organic production. It is what in the article on “the movement of natural cosmetics ” we have called “greenwashing“, which is a strategy to sell more and better because consumers are increasingly more annoyed with the amount of chemicals that surround us and that are included in our shampoos, shower gels and other cosmetics and hygiene products.
The moment you ask yourself which cream to buy, stop and think if you understand and know the components that it carries, what they consist of, and if they are components that you could ingest without getting intoxicated.
Therefore, making your own cosmetics, in many cases with oils and ingredients from the pantry, will save your skin and the environment a lot of toxic chemicals.
We hope that these recommendations will inspire you and help you understand that the way to shine with all our splendor is much simpler than we think.
We want in this article to highlight the importance of some beauty and skin care routines that, normally, it is not convenient for us to perform on a daily basis, but that have a decisive importance in the care and regeneration of our skin in the long term.
In our post “Feeding your skin inside and out“ we talked about beauty routines to keep our skin cared for and toned.
Thus, we expressed the importance of wearing face masks and exfoliants once a week to cleanse the skin of dead cells and regenerate it.
Facial exfoliation, and, if possible, body exfoliation with raw sugar and oil, is very interesting when it comes to regenerating our skin and standardizing the tone.
I also really like the body exfoliation with sea salt because it leaves my skin very hydrated and sea salt provides minerals and trace elements. However, I understand that exfoliating with brown sugar is especially interesting for the skin of our face since sugar contains a proportion of glycolic acid that chemically exfoliates the skin when it melts into the epidermis.
Just a tablespoon of a vegetable oil of your choice for a tablespoon of brown sugar. This combination can be applied directly by massaging well and then rinsing with water. After that, it would be great if you spread some serum or vegetable oil appropriate to your skin type.
If you prefer to prepare a container with exfoliant for a few occasions, an interesting ratio would be to use three parts of sugar for one of oil. Many people also like to add a small teaspoon of honey to enhance the regenerating effect of this combination.
And always, after a good body exfoliation, a massage with oils is very convenient.
Argan oil is anti-aging and is perfect for all skin types, but we can vary the pleasures with hemp oil (avoids itching and redness) or apricot oil (tonifying), rosehip oil (regenerator), borage oils, macadamia or avocado(very moisturizing), or jojoba, and, perhaps, hazelnut oil if we have oily skin.
In any case, and as we always say, it is more important to massage yourself with a culinary olive oil if you have nothing else, than to use a synthetic body moisturizer.
According to the Charaka Samhita, massage with oils appeases the doshas, improves the complexion and shine of the skin, tones the muscles and acts as a natural moisturizer. For these reasons, he explains, Ayurvedic body massage is “one of the most effective means of slowing down the aging process of the skin…. It purifies, nourishes and tones the body at a deep cellular level.”
A few small gradual adjustments in our daily lives and spend more time taking care of us, can make us happier and healthier and, therefore, increase our beauty improving the way we see ourselves.