Ready to glow this summer? These simple tips from the time-tested wisdom of Ayurveda (literally “the knowledge of life”) will help you look and feel your best!
#1 Body Skin Care
Abhyanga, or self oil massage, will restore youthfulness and radiance to your skin. Like all Ayurvedic beauty practices, the benefits are never purely superficial, and the application of oil over the entire body is renowned for its healing effects on the body and mind. From boosting the immune system and balancing the nervous system to promoting flexibility in the muscles and lubrication of joints, Abhyanga is like giving yourself the gift of beauty from the inside-out.
The ideal oil to choose depends on your constitution, but in the summertime it’s safe to say that organic virgin coconut oil is an excellent option. If it’s a cool day and the oil has solidified (as coconut oil will if it’s under 76 degrees), warm it up first to liquefy it. Massage your entire body slowly, with loving care (this increases oxytocin levels), before you shower. The water in the shower will help the oil penetrate more deeply.
Bonus tip: Apply ground chickpea flour to your skin in the shower to soak up residual oil and leave your skin extra soft.
#2 Facial Skin Care
Here are the steps to doing an Ayurvedic facial.
Pour boiling hot water into a large bowl. Cover your head with a towel and lean over the bowl, breathing in the steam for 5-10 minutes. This will open your pores, release toxins and prepare your skin for a mask.
Bonus tip: Add 5 drops of nasya oil or a combination of eucalyptus and rose essential oils to the steam to improve respiratory health and promote mental clarity.
- ½ tsp organic neem leaf powder
- ½ tsp organic triphala powder
- 1/8 tsp organic turmeric powder
- 1 Tbsp organic chickpea flour
- Organic rose hydrosol (rose water spray)
Mix ingredients to form a paste and apply to face, avoiding contact with the eyes. Leave it on for 5 minutes and rinse several times with warm water. If you need to replenish some oil to your face afterward, apply a thin layer of coconut oil. Finish by spritzing with rose hydrosol
#3 Hair Care
Massage coconut oil into your scalp and comb it through your hair. I hate to be redundant with coconut oil tips, but it truly is our ally in beauty! Leave the oil on for a minimum of 30 minutes before shampooing, but if you can leave it overnight, even better. Put an old towel over your pillow to prevent staining, or wrap one gently around your head. Coconut oil is full of fatty acids that will repair split ends, penetrate the scalp and thereby soothe the nervous system, preserve color, resolve dandruff, detangle, and hasten hair growth. This treatment will also leave your hair looking lustrously healthy. Wow!
Bonus tip: To get the oil out of your hair more easily, do a “dry shampoo” which means don’t get your head too wet before shampooing.
I heard a quote that recently that really resonated (source unknown): “Haste and superficiality are diseases of the 20th century.” While I’m sure hastiness and superficiality have existed to some degree historically, they are prevalent features of our modern day culture and are root causes of psychological and physiological illness. None of these ancient Ayurvedic beauty tips are hasty in the same way that putting foundation on your face to cover blemishes is, and they’re not superficial either because they have far reaching health benefits. That said, nothing can make our skin shine and our hair lustrous like taking the time to do a well crafted cleanse, like the Ultimate Rejuvenation Cleanse, at least twice a year. After all, 80% of the skin’s appearance on the outside is determined by the health of our organs, blood, lymphatic and circulatory systems. So enjoy the immediate benefits of the practices I’ve described here, and do the work of radiance from the inside-out by following Michael Pollan’s sage slogan, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.”
Image credit: Susanne Ollmann
Emmie Stamell is an Ayurvedic practitioner and yoga and meditation teacher. She offers private Ayurvedic consultations, mindfulness coaching and personalized yoga. She loves connecting with folks and is happy to answer questions. Feel free to reach out via email: Emmie@sukhayoga.org or phone: 781.608.9369. Learn more about Emmie at www.sukhayoga.org