Ayurveda is India’s traditional system of healing. It is holistic, meaning it views each unique individual as an intricately connected network of energy that has a body, mind, and soul. The ayurvedic approach to skin care comes from naming outer, inner, and secret beauties.
- In Ayurveda there are three aspects of beauty. Outer beauty covers all aspects of caring for and beautifying physical beauty including skin, hair, nails, posture, and fitness. Inner beauty works with the mind, offering advice on how to calm thoughts and develop positive mental attributes, such as love and compassion. Secret beauty addresses the deepest part of being, the very soul resting on the foundation of a healthy body and peaceful mind. Secret beauty is about reaching one’s fullest potential and finding life’s purpose. Ayurveda was discovered thousands of years ago by rishis, or seers, who travelled into deep meditative states and experienced phenomena that quantum physics is just discovering today. One of these discoveries is that, though the world looks solid, everything in the universe is actually energy and light.
- Humans are vibrational beings. The whole body, including the skin, responds to touch, light, music, color, aroma, and even emotion because they impact people on a vibrational level. Not only does the body respond to all vibrations – from the physicality of touch to the subtly of emotion – but the mind, body, and soul function together as a whole. The whole being, including the skin, is impacted by lifestyle, including key elements such as diet, exercise, relaxation, meditation, contemplation, and spiritual practice.
- Working with an ayurvedic approach to skin care, professionals look at what is going on with a client’s skin, but also watch and listen for clues as to what is going on with them emotionally and even spiritually. Ayurvedic skin care can include dietary suggestions, various mindfulness techniques, and a willingness to connect deeply, soul to soul, in order to effect change in the skin. Ayurveda teaches that individuals are each completely unique, but do have commonalities. The rishis gave three natural groupings for these qualities which they named vata, pitta, and kapha doshas. Each person has all three doshas but one of them is usually dominant. The same goes for the skin.
- Ayurveda says that skin type depends on the dosha or energy that is dominant at any particular time. Vata dosha is synonymous with dry skin, pitta dosha, more sensitive skin, and kapha dosha, thicker skin. It is understood that as people are all unique, there is no better, or worse, combination of these doshas. It is not better to have vata, pitta, or kapha dominant skin, as they each have their natural beauties and challenges.
- Vata skin tans well and rarely has breakouts, but gets more fine lines with age. Pitta skin has a wonderful glow and natural radiance, but is most prone to angry looking breakouts. Kapha skin ages beautifully, but can get sluggish and dull. Each skin type is treated differently, just like in western aesthetics, but along with topical preparations, clients are offered lifestyle suggestions that help keep their particular body and skin type in balance.
- Vata skin needs to be more deeply nourished and hydrated, pitta skin needs to be calmed and soothed, and kapha skin needs to be a little more stimulated and thoroughly exfoliated. Ayurveda teaches that the skin is an organ of digestion. It absorbs and metabolizes everything that is put on it. So, the skin should be protected from environmental contaminants and only fed natural foods.
- Ayurvedic skin care products should be safe and wholesome enough to eat. There is now a growing farm-to-face movement. Just like in Ayurveda, the skin care industry in general is using more foods and herbs in skin care products. The skin can digest many things from nature including oils, herbs flours, flower petals, muds, yogurt, and clarified butter – known as ghee – and does not do so well with synthetics in the long term.
- Ayurvedic skin care products contain oils, herbs, flowers, and clays. Sometimes these will be single items but, more usually, they will be a blend, such as clay with dry herbs, oils with essential oils and herb extracts, and flour with flower petals. The steps in an ayurvedic skin care regimen are much the same as in western aesthetics but tend to be a little gentler. Ayurvedic skin care does not use strong acids for deeper peels or machines for exfoliation.
- Ayurveda uses oil and warm water to initially clean the skin and gentle exfoliants made from lentil, chickpeas, barley or oat flour, herbs, and clay. Fruits and yogurt are used in face packs to nourish and rejuvenate the skin, and herbal oils are used for nourishment and protection.
- Ayurveda uses powerful ingredients in skin care like amla fruit, which is super high in vitamin C; neem, a skin friendly bactericide; aloe, the super soother; marma, a point massage that revitalizes the face magically; and kansa, massage wands which quickly and pleasurably eradicate stress.
Ayurveda is not just the oldest complete healing system on the planet, it can also boost the methods used by a great number of physicians and practitioners. It is a fantastic resource for time tested face massage and face lifting techniques, and makes wide use of super foods and herbal ingredients that science is just beginning to understand.
The pioneer of integrating Indian and Tibetan ayurvedic bodywork techniques in the spa and beauty industry, Melanie Sachs has worked steadily over the last 25 years to bring the benefits of these sacred healing arts to the western world. Having founded Diamond Way Ayurveda in 1996 with her husband, Sachs provides excellence in education and pure ayurvedic spa products and equipment with which to perform these classic treatments. Sachs is the author of “Ayurvedic Beauty Care” and “Ayurvedic Spa.” Diamond Way comes directly from a Tibetan idea meaning that one’s path to the highest joy is through helping others. It is this core belief that fuels the energy behind Sachs’ work.