We now know, as have Ayurvedic devotees for centuries, that the way we live affects our skin. Diet and lifestyle have a huge impact on the health of our skin; and cluing into your dosha also helps big time. A way to take the Ayurveda goodness one step further is with Ayurvedic beauty products.
Have questions? We have answers. Judith Bourgeois Education Specialist at Shankara, a line of carefully crafted Ayurvedic beauty products, lays her wisdom on us. Read our interview to find out what makes a product Ayurvedic, how they differ from other natural beauty products, ingredients that are perfect for your skin, and how to set up an Ayurvedic beauty regimen of your own.
The Juicy Details on Ayurvedic Beauty With Judith Bourgeois of Shankara
Liz Thompson: What makes Ayurvedic beauty different from other natural beauty products?
Judith Bourgeois: Ayurveda is all about bringing back and maintaining balance, and balance is what will address symptoms at a deeper level for long-lasting results. Otherwise, we might end up chasing one symptom after another, getting rid of one problem only to see another one arise. When the whole is not considered in its totality we are bound to fix something while creating an imbalance somewhere else. Ayurveda offers a much more holistic approach.
LT: Are there certain ingredients most commonly used in Ayurvedic beauty that don’t appear as often in other natural beauty products?
- Neem - Purifies the skin, which is the first step in achieving healthy, youthful skin.
- Brahmi - Aids in skin regeneration, repairing and renewing.
- Amla - Assists Brahmi in protecting the skin. It also prevents damage and boosts collagen production.
- Ashwagandha - Synergistically enhances the effects of the other ingredients, and helps the skin adapt to stresses created through diet and lifestyle as well as from the environment.
LT: How does Ayurvedic beauty fit into modern beauty routines?
JB: Ayurvedic products are simply formulated differently to account for all aspects of the skin. There are many simple Ayurvedic tips that will support the health and radiance of the skin.
For example, we know that stress, tiredness, or toxic accumulation will show up in the skin. Lifestyle choices that include following a good daily routine, meditating or doing yoga, eating fresh, unprocessed, organic food, and eating your largest meal when your digestive fire is at the strongest (between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.) will definitely help.
Going to bed early, before the second pitta cycle of the day starts (from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.) is ideal, according to Ayurveda. If you stay up past 10 p.m. you will inevitably get your second wind and probably stay up much longer (aggravating vata) and also get hungry again. Your digestive fire gets activated at that time but it is not as strong as it was around noon time. This second pitta cycle of the day serves a different purpose. It is really there to help the body to detoxify. When we stay up late and eat again, we miss out on that wonderful purification process.
LT: What are the best skincare ingredients for each dosha?
JB: Before I answer this, I would like to mention that it is not enough to select dosha-specific ingredients, but that they need to work synergistically together which can only happen with the proper formulation and precise percentages for each and every ingredient.
To bring into balance the fiery nature of pitta, products will need to be hydrating, cooling, and soothing. Ingredients will have anti-inflammatory properties to calm down sensitivity, irritation, and redness if present. Moisturizing and slightly sebum-balancing ingredients will adapt perfectly to the conditions of the skin and bring balance whether the skin feels perfectly normal or partially dry or oily (combination skin). Blue chamomile, sandalwood, almond, and borage oil are good examples.
To bring into balance the cold, light, and dry nature of vata, products need to be warming, rich, highly hydrating and moisturizing. Ingredients are selected for their regenerative qualities to help slow down the somewhat accelerated aging process. Rose, life everlasting, macadamia, and foraha oil are good examples.
To bring into balance the cold, heavy, and oily nature of kapha, products will be warming, light, and sebum-balancing. Ingredients will also have stimulating qualities to help with congestion and sluggishness. Bergamot, geranium, green tea, and bitter orange are good examples.
LT: How do you advise someone new to Ayurveda in choosing products for their skin?
JB: One bit of advice I usually give is that your Ayurvedic skin type will not change with age. Everybody’s skin will get a little dryer and a little thinner (the serums will play an important role here to help replenish hydration and assist in collagen production) but the skin type won’t change. Since we are working with products that will balance the skin on many levels and not just on the level of symptoms, it is important to remember this. For example, the heat in pitta skin, or its tendency towards inflammation is still there no matter the age.
7 Ayurvedic Beauty Brands You’ll Love
There is truly something for every skin type and issue with Ayurvedic beauty. The best part? You can choose products based on your dosha so you’ll know they work on your skin type.
Ancient wisdom meets modern beauty in this thoughtful brand. Using wildcrafted and organic ingredients, Shankara includes hand-picked herbs, actives, and essential oils to create unique products with each dosha in mind. Made in small batches and cold processed to ensure the integrity of each ingredient. Try Balance Oxygenating Mask to detox and depuff skin with yerba mate. To get in on the full experience, visit Shankara Spa at The Art of Living Retreat Center in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.
This high-quality skincare is authentically Ayurvedic. Dr. Pratima Raichur, Ayurvedic practitioner and author of Ayurvedic skincare bible “Absolute Beauty”, created the line in answer to her patients’ skin concerns. The result is a beautifully crafted line of skincare items that reflect the issues of each dosha, while supporting and maintaining healthy, vibrant skin. Shop by product type, dosha, or skin concern, and visit the Pratima Spa next time you are in Soho.
This brand offers both natural Ayurvedic skincare remedies and holistic health consultations to treat the whole body. Choose from items for your dosha or to treat specific concerns, like eczema, muscle and joint pain, and acne. Try the Tridoshic Face Serum, made with therapeutic grade botanicals to restore a sense of balance to all skin types.
A streamlined line of skincare products that are big in spirit. The basics of Ayurvedic skincare cleanse, tone, and moisturize face and body, made with natural food grade ingredients. Apothecary7 utilizes ubtans, powdered blends of Ayurvedic herbs and natural ingredients, mixed with milk or rose water, that can be used to cleanse and exfoliate the skin for glow from head to toe. Try REFRESH: Cleanse & Polish to clear, smooth, and create a radiant appearance.
Luxury and ancient beauty secrets meet in this sensuous line of skincare. Based on the Three Pillars of Beauty, Arya strives to balance outer and inner beauty with lasting beauty by using ingredients that create a healthy-looking complexion, that also makes you feel good about the care you are giving your skin, and supports healthy beauty over time. Facial oils are always a great place to start when trying a new line, and Arya Face Oil combines argan and sweet almond oils with traditional Ayurvedic herbs tulsi and brahmi to reduce signs of aging, and give the skin a restored and vital appearance.
6. Jiva Apoha
Ayurveda meets Shamanism in this one of a kind line. Handcrafted, holistically blended oils balance body, mind, and spirit. You can request a custom blend, but may we suggest beginning with Sundara (Beauty) Face Oil for a sense of repair and regeneration.
Set up your new beauty ritual with this carefully crafted line. Organic ingredients are used to create products for vata, pitta, and kapha doshas, as well as tridoshic blends. Rasasara offers products for skin, hair, and baby, all designed with the individual in mind. Try the Cleansing Bar made for your dosha.
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