Ayurveda was a very early adopter of the mantra that “beauty comes from within.” The 5,000 year-old-science is known for extolling the benefits of balancing the whole body, supporting digestive health, optimizing energy, and treating each individual according to her specific dosha (constitution)—and not just finding the right facial cleanser or aesthetician.
But that doesn’t mean you should ignore skin and hair. In fact, Ayurveda’s got more beauty practices than Estee Lauder—and they all do double duty, boosting your overall wellness while they give you a glow.
Some of them might not sound all that intuitive—traditionally there’s a lot more oil used than lotions or creams, and exfoliation is part of the drill for detoxing purposes—so we asked top Ayurvedic practitioners to share some of their favorite holistic beauty tips that you can do easily. Put them in your routine now for that inner-outer beauty balance.
Your Ayurvedic constitution also points to your skin type, says Lisa Amechazurra, marketing manager for skin-care line VPK at Maharishi Ayurveda. (The VPK line stands for the three doshas: Vata, Pitta, Kapha.) Vata is thin, dry, fine-pored, delicate and wrinkle-prone; Pitta is susceptible to rashes, breakouts, and rosacea if out of balance; and Kapha is thicker and oilier, prone to enlarged pores, blackheads, pimples, and eczema. Her company’s website provides great information about treating each one, as well as other Ayurvedic beauty secrets.
“Full-fat milk or cream-based masks are wonderful for soothing and cooling irritated or inflamed skin,” says Dr. Mohan. Once a day dip a cotton ball into a small bowl of raw milk and wipe your face thoroughly with it to remove dirt from your pores. Thanks to its fats and lactic acid, “it has tremendous moisturizing, softening properties,” says Ritu Srivastava, spa manager at the Ayurvedic spa, Ananda in the Himalayas in India. Adding milk or cream to your bath will also soothe and nourish your skin. And if you’re vegan, coconut milk has similar properties, says Dr. Mohan.
It’s key to toned and firm skin, great for places that retain fluid, and helps cellulite, says Dr. Pratima Raichur, author of Ayurvedic beauty bible, Absolute Beauty. For Vata and Pitta skin types (dry or sensitive skin), use a raw silk gharshana glove for an effective but less abrasive form of exfoliation. For Kapha skin type (thicker, oily skin), use a natural bristle brush. Starting with your feet, massage in upward, circular motions toward the heart. Then rinse off.