India is the Birthplace of Ayurveda, and an Untapped Reservoir of Beauty Secrets
There is a lot that India, the birthplace of Ayurvedic medicine, can teach us about how to take care of our skin and hair. There, beauty care is treated as a ritual with a spiritual approach that is based on natural ingredients. These rituals underscore the importance and understanding of ancient methods because they simply just work.
The following are my 10 favorite beauty secrets i have uncovered through my journey into Ayurveda. They are safe, natural, and can be used in your daily skin and hair care routines.
My favorite ingredient for skin care by far, turmeric is used not only as a spice in Indian cuisine but also as an ingredient in the nourishing and beautifying face mask that is applied during the Haldi ceremony. But why exactly is it so popular in India? It not only cleanses the skin, but has anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and anti-septic properties. I apply turmeric-based face masks when I see that my skin has a breakout and needs to be revitalized.
Have you ever wondered why rose water figures so often in DIY cosmetics? Thanks to its cooling and anti-aging properties, rose water works really well as a mixer for powdered face masks. Another good idea is to keep a little bottle of rose water in a bag and apply it during the day to refresh your skin, a perfect pick-me-up for the long hot summer days in India.
You have to be careful while buying rose water. Take care to make sure you get a good quality product because it’s not easy to distinguish real rose water from the rose perfumed water that is more commonly available. Remember this rule of thumb: if the price of pure rose water sounds too good to be true, then it most probably is. You can also review our guide to buying high-quality rose water.
MULTANI MITTI CLAY
Multani Mitti is an essential ingredient in taking care of oily and acne-prone skin in India. Personally speaking, it is one of the best clays I have ever used. Multani Mitti cleanses deeply, smooths the complexion and make pores less visible. People with acne and blackheads will benefit the most from this natural clay. A word of caution however, for people with dry skin. Multani Mitti could be too harsh for them, so should be used carefully.
Universal and very popular, coconut oil has many usages in India, not only for cooking. It can be used as a skin moisturizer, make-up remover, teeth whitener and hair oil. I have been using coconut oil twice a week in my hair for the past 7 years and, thanks to that, my hair has noticeably become softer, fuller and better nourished.
ALOE VERA GEL
Similar to coconut oil, Ayurvedic medicine universally endorses aloe vera. Aloe vera when applied to the skin, especially in gel format, nourishes, smooths and heals wounds. What is also good about aloe is that it gets absorbed very fast by the skin, which especially during summer is a plus. Aloe vera can also be used in hair care. Frizzy and thick hair will benefit the most from its properties.
In India, Amla (or Indian Gooseberry) is used mainly in hair care either in hair oils or in the form of a powder. Simply mix amla powder with water, apply it to your scalp, leave it for half an hour and wash it off. Amla is rich in vitamin C, thus strengthening and nourishing hair. When used regularly it can slow down premature hair greying.
Henna is used not only to decorate the hands and feet of the bride before an Indian wedding, but also in hair care. Henna is a natural colorant but, does not damage the hair like chemical-based ones. Quite the opposite, in fact, because henna nourishes and gives the hair a healthy glow. Unfortunately, people with blonde hair will not benefit from henna’s healthy properties, unless they are planning to dye their hair into a darker color.
In addition to being a culinary ingredient, chickpea flour is often used as an Ayurvedic cosmetic ingredient in India. It is often added to the classic Bridal face mask “Haldi”, but also as a stand-alone ingredient for face and body cleansing. Another interesting property of chickpea powder is that it can remove unwanted hair the on arms and legs.
We are all aware by now of the anti-aging and antioxidant properties of vitamin C. In India, squeezed lemon juice is applied to the face with a cotton ball. Lemon brightens the complexion, cleanses pores and removes dead skin. For those with oily skin, adding a few drops of lemon to their DIY face masks can work wonders for their complexion.
Last but definitely not least is the most famous export from India: Yoga. Exercising yoga makes our body healthier and more flexible. While yoga is not exactly a secret, especially in overall wellness, its positive effects for the skin are not widely recognized. Yoga relaxes and calms down the mind which, believe it or not, helps in smooth the skin and has anti-aging effects. Maybe it is worth it after all to join that neighborhood yoga session?
Which of these 10 Indian beauty secrets do you already incorporate in your daily routine? Would you be tempted to put a new one into practice?