When was the last time you had a close, thoughtful look at your skin?
Was it this morning, just before you were about to begin your morning routine?
Or, was it when someone clicked a picture of you, and you couldn’t help but zoom in on your
What did you notice?
A new wrinkle? A line that has now become deeper? Apparent dullness? Missing glow?
And, if you’ve ever asked yourself “why does my skin look dull even when I follow an elaborate skincare routine" or “why aren’t those high-end, “miraculous” products working for me?”, this is your cue to switch to something that goes beyond skincare!
An Ayurvedic skincare routine surpasses the effects of hours of facial at a spa or salon.
It is not only cost-effective (recall the number of dollars that you spent on your last facial session!), but also rewarding for your overall health- both physical and mental.
When you follow an Ayurvedic skincare routine, you deliver the goodness of potent, time-tested herbs to your skin. This means, unlike chemical-laden products, you get long-lasting results without damaging your skin.
But before we tell you how you can build an effective Ayurvedic skincare routine, let’s first understand your Dosha type!
If we ask you to list the skin types that you know or have heard of, you might spurt out Dry, Oily, and Sensitive in one breath.
You might have heard how genetics play their role and determines these skin types.
You might have also heard that one thing that determines these skin types is sebum production! Too much sebum production leads to oily skin, very less sebum production leads to dry skin and irregular production of sebum in varied skin areas leads to combination skin.
But did you know that Ayurveda has a different story to tell? A story that originated more than 5000 long years ago.
Ayurveda categorizes skin, not based on sebum production, but on the basis of bio elements or doshas.
Doshas are a combination of the five elements (Pancha mahabhutas).
- Vata Constitution: Akash (Ether or Space) + Vayu (Air)
- Pitta Constitution: Agni (Fire) + Jala (Water)
- Kapha Constitution: Prithvi (Earth) + Jala (Water)
Skin types in Ayurveda are based on these 3 doshas!
And did you know that any skin issue that comes your way can be wired back to an aggravation in your dosha type?
Well, it's true!
Just as each dosha has its own characteristics, each dosha skin-type has its own characteristics too. Most likely, your skin will be like your prevalent dosha.
- Vata Skin: Vata skin is usually dry, thin, delicate, and cool to touch. Vata skin ages faster and tends to be dry, rough, and flaky when Vata is imbalanced.
- Pitta Skin: When Pitta gets imbalanced, it becomes prone to discoloration, pimples, freckles, and moles. This type of skin is sun-sensitive and tends to flare-up with rashes, eruptions or sun patches on prolonged exposure to the sun.
- Kapha Skin: Kapha skin-types tend to age at a slower rate. They are
prone to a dull complexion.
When it comes to combination skin, Ayurveda approaches it by considering environmental and seasonal factors too.
- A person with Vata-Pitta skin, for example, would follow the recommendations for Pitta skin in summer and Vata skin in winter.
- The Kapha-Pitta type would follow Pitta recommendations in summer and Kapha
recommendations in the spring.
- The Vata-Kapha type would be best served by generally following Vata guidelines, with extra cleansing of the oily zones.
Over time, your skin type may become imbalanced because of external factors like climate, diet, and lifestyle habits or environmental pollution. Hormonal changes may also mask your original skin type.
Such deviations in your natural skin type, according to your prakriti or dosha type, should also be considered when choosing a skin-care programme.
If you have questions or doubts, ask for an assessment with an Ayurvedic expert or take a free dosha quiz.
That being said, we are here to spill the skincare secrets of the 5000-year-old practice of Ayurveda.
These skincare routines have been passed on to us from the sages that used to reside in the Himalayan mountains millenniums and millenniums ago.
So, approved by Ayurveda and backed by Science, here is a 6-step guided Ayurvedic facial skincare that will make your skin look and feel the healthiest it’s ever been!
- Cleanse + Purify for a clean base
- Face mask (Mukha Lepan, Anulepan)
- Facial steam (Swedana)
- Tone the skin
- Facial oil massage (Snehan)
Let's dig deeper into each step.
Step 1: Cleanse your skin thoroughly, twice a day!
The Ayurvedic facial starts with cleansing the face and neck. The first step is preparing the surface of the skin so that there is maximum absorption of the potent Ayurvedic ingredients that are going on the skin in the later stages.
Think: canvas prepping before painting!
Imagine the amount of dust and dirt, throughout the day, caked up on your skin in a gross icky amalgamation!
Who would want that!
Cleansing is important to clean the skin and remove blemish-causing nasties.
Here is a very simple yet effective Ayurvedic way of cleansing your skin, with the use of commonly found ingredients in your kitchen!
- Take raw milk and add a few drops of lemon and honey
- Mix the ingredients thoroughly
- Dip a ball of cotton into the mixture and dab it on your skin
- Massage the applied mixture into your skin in circular motions for 5 minutes
- Wash it off with cold water and pat dry
Scrubbing with the use of Ubtan (Ayurvedic Scrub) helps remove the dead skin cells without stripping the skin of its natural oils. It should be done once or twice a week.
Exfoliation removes dead skin cells, embedded dirt and toxins, balances sebum production and stimulates the skin, making it receptive to the nutrient-rich facial mask that should follow in your Ayurvedic facial.
Step 2: Ayurvedic Face Mask (Mukha Lepan, Anulepan)
According to the ancient Ayurvedic scholar Sushruta, a face mask or Anulepan provides charm, complexion, cheerfulness, energy, and strength to the skin. It eliminates sweat, foul smell, abnormality of complexion and fatigue.
When doing an Ayurvedic facial mask, do it the Ayurveda way!
It can be a tedious task to find a 100% Natural face mask that actually works wonders for your skin without stripping its moisture off.
For a nourishing and rejuvenating base face mask, you can opt for a simple chickpea flour treatment.
- Take one teaspoon of chickpea flour
- Add a pinch of turmeric and mix it with raw milk to form a paste
- Apply it to a cleansed face
- Wash it off after 15 minutes
Nothing can be better than a face mask freshly made for your specific skin type and by your own hands!
It helps achieve a clear and radiant looking complexion.
How to prepare a Base Ayurvedic Facial Mask:
- Take 2 tablespoons chickpea flour
- Add 1/4 teaspoon of Triphala powder
- Add 1/8 teaspoon of Turmeric
- Add 1/4 teaspoon of dried neem or mint leaves (if using fresh leaves – use 1/2 tablespoon of mashed leaves)
- Mix it into a paste
- Apply the mixture on your face
- Let it dry for 10 minutes
- Rinse off & pat dry
There are different face masks for different skin types. Let’s go over a few!
For Vata Skin type:
Vata skin has less or no secretion of sebum which makes it prone to getting dehydrated. This type of skin gets wrinkles at an early age.
- Mix in 1-2 tablespoons of mashed ripe avocado into the base face mask
- Take orange extracts like its juice and mix it with papaya juice and yogurt to make a thick paste.
- Add a few drops of almond oil/coconut oil/olive oil along with a few drops of glycerin
- Apply this natural face mask on dry skin for enhancing glow whilst preventing the formation of wrinkles
For Pitta Skin type:
Pitta skin is prone to pimples, tanning and acne due to excessive secretion of sebum by the oil glands
- Add mashed cucumber (1-2 tablespoons) with the base face mask
- Mix Fuller’s earth and sandalwood powder or paste with rose water
- Add some Tulsi leaves
- Apply it to the face
This home-made natural face mask normalizes oil secretion, removes dead skin cells, cleanses clogged pores and tightens the skin.
For Kapha Skin type:
Kapha skin is neither too dry nor too oily, so it looks vibrant and moist. Herbs like lemon and Tulsi rejuvenate the skin and protect it from the sun and allergies.
Peach and oatmeal can make for an effective herbal face mask for Kapha skin types.
- Cook a peach until it is soft
- Mash it with a fork to make a smooth paste
- Add honey and oatmeal and make a thick paste
- Apply it on the face and neck
- Keep it on for 15 minutes
- Rinse with cold water and enjoy clear-looking
Facial masks are a treat for your skin!
If your skin is dry or dehydrated, the facial mask can sufficiently hydrate your skin. If your skin is red or inflamed, the mask can help calm and soothe its appearance. If your skin is oily and congested, the facial mask is a great help to draw out impurities from the skin.
Depending on their ingredients, masks can tighten and tone, hydrate, nourish, draw out impurities, help soften the look of blemishes, calm and soothe, and rejuvenate the skin.
Step 3: Take a relaxing Facial Steam (Swedana)
Swedana is a steam treatment according to the Ayurvedic medical science. The word Sweda is derived from Sanskrit swid, meaning ‘to sweat or to perspire’.
Swedana is the process of inducing sweat with the help of steam, generated from medicated herbal decoctions.
Facial steaming might seem like a tedious job to do at home but if you really ask the Ayurveda world, it is simple, safe and helps our skin in so many ways.
All you have to do is:
- Boil a hot pot of water
- Add a few herbs to the water
- Hover over the steam using a towel over the pot to trap the steam
- Allow the skin to stay in the steam for about 5-10 minutes
This simple Ayurvedic trick can help your skin with so many issues:
- Steam helps deep cleanse the skin and remove toxins. This is because the heat from the steam opens up your pores and as a result, dirt and germs can be easily removed
- It makes your skin sweat a lot more than usual. Toxins are then released from the skin’s
pores, preventing skin eruptions
- With the help of facial steaming, you can improve blood circulation in your face. Steaming causes your blood vessels to dilate. It promotes blood flow throughout your skin, as a result an increased amount of nutrients and oxygen is supplied to the skin cells that help in preventing the appearance of wrinkles.
- Facial steaming clears out your pores.
IMPORTANT: When steaming, be careful not to get too close to the pot. Don’t forget to protect your eyes while you use steam.
Step 4: Toning the Skin
Toning enhances skin tone by making it look brighter and clearer.
A skin toner will cleanse off that grime from your skin that your cleanser or face mask failed to pull out.
Ayurveda suggests the use of rice water to cleanse and tone facial skin for its amazingly undeniable benefits.
Rice water is rich in beauty nutrients that make it a fantastic rejuvenator for both skin and hair. It is a wonderful way to hydrate, brighten and tone the appearance of your skin. It can also be used as a mild cleanser to cleanse the skin as well as tighten the pores.
Benefits Of Rice Water
Rice water contains vitamins such as B1, C, E, as well as minerals. It helps to:
- Shrink pores
- Tighten the skin
- Reduces fine lines
- Brighten and soften the skin
How to make this nutrient-rich, potent face toner in a few easy steps:
- Add a cup of organic rice to a bowl
- Pour some warm water into it until the rice is covered
- Stir and keep it aside for 30 minutes, until the water turns cloudy (this will help the vitamins and minerals to seep into the water, creating a nourishing rinse for your skin and even hair)
- Separate the water from the rice
- Pour the water into a container and refrigerate
- Use it as a toner or face mist to reduce excess oil and brighten the face
Not just rice water, Ayurveda deems the toning water of Rose, Neem, Mint, and Basil to be of equal potency!
Rosewater is the most widely used toner for its soothing, calming and cooling effects on the skin.
- You can boil rose petals/neem leaves/mint leaves/basil leaves in one cup of filtered water.
- Once cool, strain the liquid
- Use it as toner
- Refrigerate it and make a fresh batch every week
Step 5: Snehan (Ayurvedic oil massage)
According to Sushruta Samhita, Ayurvedic massage (abhyanga) pacifies Kapha and Vata dosha, softens dryness & roughness, enhances the complexion and the luster of the skin, promotes body tissues (tones muscles), provides strength
(3) and acts as a natural moisturizer.
For these reasons, Ayurvedic oil massage is one of the most effective means of slowing the skin’s aging process! It works to purify, nourish, and tone the skin on a deep cellular level.
Our skin serves more purpose than just simply holding the organs together. It protects the body from pathogens, acts as a sensory organ, helps with thermoregulation by producing sweat and dilating blood vessels, providing water resistance, controlling water loss, and much more.!
And in return, what do we often feed our skin?
Chemicals, toxicity, artificial fragrances and harsh ingredients!
It's time we give our skin the love of nature in the form of 100% natural and safe ingredients with Ayurveda! Here’s how you can do that:
- Mix 1 ounce of almond oil with 10 drops of essential oil (appropriate to your prakriti)
- Warm the bottle of oil in hot water for a few minutes, and then prepare to give yourself a facial massage (self-massage with oil).
- Now enjoy a relaxing and skin-soothing massage!
There is nothing better than experiencing a rejuvenating and refreshing skin-relaxing massage that doesn't punch a hole in your pocket!
Step 6: Moisturize
Lastly, Moisturize, moisturize and moisturize your skin!
There is no such thing as too much moisturization!
Do you moisturize your skin every day?
If yes, good job taking care of your skin!
If not, WHY?
Moisturization is one of the most important and gratifying things that you can ever give your skin!
It is an absolute essential, especially when it comes to the age group of 40+, where the skin starts to lose its strength, starts appearing thin, frail and dry.
Moisturizing your skin regularly helps to keep that moisture locked in, helps skin appear firmer, softer and more elastic, and gives the skin a youthful-looking glow!
Before moisturizing your skin, make sure the skin is damp. Put some plain water or rose water into a spray bottle and spray on the face a few times to first moisten the skin.
While the face is still wet, apply a thin coat of Jojoba Oil to seal in the moisture. According to Melanie Sachs, author of Ayurvedic Beauty Care, Jojoba Oil is closest to the skin’s sebum. As a result, it is highly unlikely to cause irritation.
Our skin is the largest and a very complex organ of our body. It plays a number of vital and essential roles in maintaining the overall health of our body. Taking care of it must come among the top list of self-care dos. Ayurveda has time and again been proven for its undeniably helpful ways for bettering one’s health, and skin health is something that has been prioritized by Ayurveda since thousands of years ago.
Follow this 6-step simple Ayurvedic skincare routine and be assured it as a savior to any and every skin-woes!
What is the one DIY skincare recipe that you absolutely swear by and can’t go without? Tell us in the comments below!
(1) P.V. Sharma, Sushruta Samhita, Vol 2, Chikitsa Sthana, Chaukhamba Vishvabharati (2013), verse-63, pg-499.
(2) De, K, et al. “Effect of Rice Starch as a Bath Additive on the Barrier Function of Healthy but SLS-Damaged Skin and Skin of Atopic Patients.” Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12353708.
(3) P.V. Sharma, Sushruta Samhita, Vol 2, Chikitsa Sthana, Chaukhamba Vishvabharati (2013), verse-30, pg 494.