Ayurveda is an ancient Hindu practice focused on self-care which dates back more than 5,000 years and has recently become a popular wellness trend in Western culture.
Designed to bring balance to your mind and body through diet and the use of natural herbs, Ayurveda believes true beauty is composed of three vital elements: a well-nourished body, a balanced mind, and a peaceful spirit, and follows the mantra that “beauty comes from within”.
Here, Aradhana Bhandari, founder of Ayurvedic wellness brand,Kacchi London, shares her top 5 tips for creating a holistic, long-term beauty regimen that will turn you into the most beautiful version of yourself.
1.Know your Dosha
According to Ayurveda, the resilience and glow of a person’s skin is considered a reflection of their health and their ‘Dosha’ – three energies believed to circulate in the body and govern physiological activity. These are ‘Vata’, ‘Pitta’ and ‘Kapha’.
Knowing your Dosha can give you a better understanding of your skin profile and how best to manage your diet to avoid any flare ups, as well as how to build a skincare regime that it suitable for your skin’s specific needs. For example, the Vata skin type needs to be nourished and hydrated regularly, whereas those with the Pitta skin type are susceptible to rashes, breakouts and rosacea and need to give their skin plenty of sun protection for it to stay balanced.
It’s important to keep in mind that whilst one is usually dominant, all of us have some characteristics from each Dosha, so you may need to trial a few different regimes before finding what truly works for you and your skin.
2.Hydrate your skin
In Ayurveda, keeping the skin in perfect order is seen as vital in the overall scheme of general wellbeing, as it is widely regarded that skin health can be indicative of other issues in the body.
Meeting your daily water requirement has amazing skin benefits, from helping slow down the effects of ageing and enhancing skin elasticity to flushing out harmful toxins and improving the overall physical appearance of your skin. Therefore, keeping your skin moisturised and hydrated should be central to your beauty regime.
If you struggle with plain water, try adding a fresh slice of lemon or lime, which are high in minerals and vitamins. Alternatively, adding cinnamon to your water is a great way to improve blood circulation and ensures your skin is better hydrated. You can also add Kesar or saffron along with cinnamon to help improve your skin tone and keep your complexion clear and blemish free.
3.Practice oil pulling
Oil pulling, also known as ‘kavala’ or ‘gundusha’ is an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique that supposedly draws out toxins in your body, refreshes breath, promotes healthy teeth and gums and can naturally whiten your teeth. Oil pulling also has the ability to reduce skin problems such as acne, eczema and psoriasis, and others, so it is well worth incorporating into your daily routine.
The practice involves swishing a tablespoon of edible oil, such as coconut oil or olive oil, in your mouth and between your teeth on an empty stomach for around 20 minutes. If 20 minutes sounds like a long time, simply do oil pulling while in the shower or driving to work in the morning. Afterwards, spit out the oil in the bin and immediately rinse your mouth out with warm water [or use salt water for added antimicrobial properties] before brushing your teeth as normal.
4.Learn the art of self-massage
Ayurvedic self-massage, known as ‘Abhyanga’ isa simple way to feel pampered and relaxed and is a vital part of the Ayurvedic skin care routine.
Self-massage offers many beautifying benefits including decreasing the effects of aging, helping you look and feel more radiantand keeping dry skin at bay.
For best results, use a warm herb-infused massage oil[ideally, one tailored to your dominant dosha(s)] to massage your skin, and do so just before going to sleep to allow your skin time to fully rejuvenate and soak in the goodness of the oil.
Ayurveda recommends spending a minimum of fifteen minutes on self-massage each time you practice it, devoting love and attention to each of the tissue layers. To enhance the ritual even further and find deeper meaning, listen to calming music during the massage, or light some candles and meditate before you rinse off.
5.Nourish from the inside out
As the saying goes, you are what you eat, and Ayurveda takes the old adage a step further by adding, “you are what you digest”. Therefore, it recommends incorporating a combination of Ayurvedic herbs, diet choices, and lifestyle practices to help achieve healthy, glowing skin the natural way.
Adding natural Indian ingredients like turmeric and flaxseeds to your meals can offer many skin benefits. Turmeric contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components which may provide glow and lustre to the skin, and flax seeds contain lignans and antioxidants that help in the prevention of fine lines and wrinkles on the face. Flax seeds have also been used in Ayurvedic medicine for improvement to hair health.
Whether you choose to give your beauty regime a complete Ayurvedic overhaul, or simply begin incorporating just a few of these habits into your daily routine, we could all benefit from Ayurvedic practices to bring back the balance.
By taking inspiration from this ancient practice, you will not only begin to look better on the outside, but will feel renewed on the inside, too.
Aradhana Bhandari is founder of Kacchi London.