Ayurvedic Skin Care, Part II

Ayurvedic Skin Care, Part II


In Ayurvedic Skin Care, Part I we explored the health risks associated with  almost all commercial cosmetics, lotions, and nail products.  According to Ayurveda, anything used in, on, or around us becomes absorbed into our bodies down to the cellular level, affecting our health and well being (for better or worse).  Therefore, Ayurveda promotes the use of natural, edible substances, even for topical use.

Our skin mirrors our internal health, especially our respiratory, circulatory, and immune systems.  Our intake (food, water, breath, and perceptions) and our lifestyle choices (timing and amount of sleep, timing and content of meals, appropriate exercise, and our daily routines) can nourish our skin from the inside out.

Start With Your Dosha

Skin has a tremendous power to restore, replenish, and heal itself, and we can assist our skin’s natural inclination toward health by using natural, edible products.  As always, Ayurveda begins with our dosha.

Imbalanced Vata skin will be overly dry, imbalanced Pitta skin will have outbreaks and rashes, and imbalanced Kapha skin will be overly oily. As you begin to tailor your skincare to your dosha, you’ll include ingredients that have the opposite qualities from your dosha (referring to the 10 Tattvas, or pairs of attributes).

Since we’re using the rule of thumb that we would eat anything we use on our skins, we begin in the kitchen, making our own fresh products.

Grandmother’s Skin Tonic

Grandmother’s Skin Tonic is a tea that you drink.  Warm 1 c. milk*, and add 1/2 tsp. ghee, 1/4 tsp turmeric, and a few threads of saffron.  The temperature should be warm, but cool enough to put your whole little finger into the mug.  Once the honey has passed the “pinky test”,  it’s safe to add 1/2 tsp. honey (honey should not be heated, cooked, or baked because cooking destroys the ester bonds which eliminates the nutritional value).


For Cleansing, green gram powder (also called mung bean flour) works well for all doshas.  Mix one tsp. with 2 tsp. milk*.  Imagine your face goes from your collarbones to your hairline and ear to ear, so whatever you apply to your face, you apply to your whole throat as well. Gently massage in circles for about 2 minutes.  Remove with a damp, warm (not hot) washcloth.


Vata and Kapha do well with steaming; Pitta does best with a lighter, shorter steam.  Add herbs to the steam water, according to your dosha (lavender is “tridoshic”, good for all doshas).  Boil water, add herbs, remove from stove, and hold your face over the pan with a towel as a tent to keep the steam in.  Alternatively, make a steamy compress from the herbalized water, and hold it on your face.


Most commercial scrubs these days have microbeads, which are a terrible hazard to our oceans and sea life.  Using dissolving ingredients eliminates this problem.  One easy idea for Vatas and Pittas is to scrub the face with 1 tsp. raw cane sugar in small circular motions.  Remember, you are ingesting the sugar, so this should not be a daily routine. Remove with a damp, warm washcloth.  Another idea (for all doshas) is to mix 1 tsp. triphala with 1 tsp. of honey and 2 tsp. filtered water.  Or, make a grainy flour from oats, barley, or garbanzo beans.  Use gentle, circular motions, and remove with a warm, damp cloth.


For a mask, make a paste of almond flour mixed with milk* and a spritz or two of rose water.  For all skins, the following recipe works (if you have pale skin, test on inner forearm or thigh first and adjust turmeric accordingly; it can stain).  Ingredients: 3 tsp. garbanzo flour with 1/2 tsp. turmeric, 1 tsp. orange peel powder or zest, 1 tsp. red sandalwood. Warm the garbanzo flour in the pan and then mix all ingredients together.  Use a facial brush to apply a thick layer, starting with the neck and working up.  Cover eyes with cotton pads dampened with rose water and relax as it dries.  Remove with a warm, damp cloth.


For toning, rose water is wonderful for all doshas.  You can smooth it on with a cotton ball or put it in a spray bottle and spritz it on. Let it dry before adding oil.


Dosha-specific oils are used to moisturize.  Use organic, cold-pressed oil.  Try sesame or olive oil for Vata, argan or coconut for Pitta, and sunflower or almond for Kapha.  Ghee is wonderful for all skins.  To avoid petroleum products, use oil to moisturize lips–and the whole body as well.  If you are performing daily self-abhyanga, or even the quicker version of self-abhy, you will be less likely to need additional applications of oil.

Essential oils are fragrant and healing.  Read last month’s article on commercial fragrances; you may decide to switch to essential oils instead.  Many people have adverse reactions to being near someone wearing fragrance, but a negative reaction to the scent of essential oil is rare.  Feel free to add essential oils to your handmade products.


If you’d like a richer nighttime cream, mix 1/2 tsp. honey with 1/2 tsp. milk* and 1/2 tsp. oil (see above for oils).  Internally, a nighttime drink that enriches the skin can be made by warming  whole milk, adding 2 dates, 8 pre-soaked almonds, and a pinch of saffron.

Ghee, applied to the eye area at bedtime, is restorative for the skin around the eyes and the eyes themselves.  It may take some time to get used to the feeling of ghee in the eyes, and it will temporarily blur the vision, so do this right before sleep.  Apply it around the eyes and to the lashes and it will work its way into the eyes on its own.

Body Powders

It is a good idea to avoid talc (which can have asbestos), but there is an easy substitution. Mix 1 c. of arrowroot with 1/4 c. baking soda and 2-3 T. of ground, dried lavender (or 2-3 drops of essential oil).  You can put this into a shaker bottle or use a powder puff to apply. Corn starch can be used in place of the arrowroot, if you can find GMO-free, organic corn starch.


Plain arrowroot can also be used as a dry shampoo.  Just put it into a shaker bottle, shake onto the oily areas of hair, rub with a towel, and then brush out vigorously.

Instead of gels or hairspray, try aloe vera gel.  Dabbing onto the hair holds the hair in shape quite well.

*Note About Milk

When Ayurveda refers to milk, it means: Whole, organic, non-pasturized, and non-homogenized (get as close to this as possible).  Nut or seed milks will not work the same way, so if you don’t consume dairy, just skip the recipes that use milk.

Next Step:

Try your hand at these handmade products.  Make just a week’s worth at a time, because they’re not full of preservatives.  

And Leave a Comment, Below:

Which ideas did you try?  How did they work for you?  Which ones will replace your commercially-made beauty products?

Ayurvedic Skin Care, Part I

Ayurvedic Skin/Hair/Nail Care, Part I


Ayurveda says that everything we use on and around our skins is ingested and becomes a part of us, down to the cellular level.  This means there is no such thing as, “For external use only”.  If we wouldn’t eat it, we would do well not to put it on our skin/hair/nails.  When it comes to lipstick, we lick it off as we eat and speak, in addition to absorbing it through our skin.  Would you enjoy taking a big bite of that lipstick from the tube, and chewing , and swallowing?  How about a big gulp of your nail polish?

Unregulated Industry

If you google “FDA” and “cosmetics” you can read the literature for yourself.  You’ll find that, except for a very few prohibited ingredients, cosmetics manufacturers are allowed to put anything into their products. Because the cosmetics industry is so competitive, companies often hide ingredients to safeguard their proprietary formulas.  They also hide ingredients that would cause the consumer concern, calling them “other ingredients” or even “natural ingredients” (the term “natural” is completely unregulated).Read more: Ayurvedic Skin Care, Part I

Water From A Copper Cup


According to Ayurveda, drinking water that has been stored in a copper container has many health benefits. One way to take advantage of these health benefits is to put water in a pure copper cup, leave it on the counter overnight, and then drink it first thing in the morning, at room temperature.  In Ayurveda this copper water is called “Tamara Jal”.  Overnight, the water has the opportunity to absorb a tiny bit of the copper.

In India, water is stored long-term in copper vessels to cleanse and purify the water.

Energetic Benefits

Ayurveda says that drinking water from a copper cup balances the three doshas; Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.  To do this, it works on an energetic level. It also purifies the energy body.

Physiological Benefits

One of the most dramatic health benefits is for the digestive system.  Copper stimulates peristalsis, Read more: Water From A Copper Cup

What Happens in an Ayurvedic Appointment?


What Happens in an Ayurvedic Appointment?

The Allopathic Model

Most people have been to a doctor, and for many that means a traditional, “Western”, allopathic experience.   Typically, after checking in at the desk, the patient waits to meet with a nurse, who takes blood pressure, temperature, and gathers basic facts.  Then the patient waits again (do you suppose they call them patients because they are asked to wait and wait so patiently?).  Eventually the doctor arrives to check the nurse’s chart notes and see the patient.  The doctor may perform exams and ask about the specific concern that brought the patient in.  In allopathic settings, time with the doctor averages 15-20 minutes.  Then the patient checks out, often with a prescription the doctor has written.  Sometimes there is a follow-up appointment; often the patient is told to return only if symptoms don’t improve (symptoms being the focus).

The Merriam-Webster definition of “allopathic” is, “…a system of medicine that aims to combat disease by using remedies (such as drugs or surgery) which produce effects that are different from or incompatible with those of the disease being treated”.

The Ayurvedic Model

What happens in an Ayurvedic appointment?  Ayurveda is about rebalancing the whole individual in such a way that the underlying cause of the ailment is addressedRead more: What Happens in an Ayurvedic Appointment?

Emotional Cleansing


Emotional Cleansing

Ayurveda encourages seasonal cleansing, called Panchakarma.  Because the body and mind are so closely linked, emotional cleansing is also helpful during the physical process of Panchakarma.  This is often done through journaling.

This mind-body connection occurs both ways; cleansing and healing the body can heal the mind and emotions, and emotional healing can promote physical healing.

Just as the fires of digestion (agni) are ignited during Panchakarma, the fires of emotional transformation are ignited during an emotional cleanse.  I am referring here to a process that parallels physical Panchakarma; like Panchakarma, it is comprehensive and somewhat rigorous.

7 Steps To Emotional Healing

These ideas are based on the work of Dr. David Simon.Read more: Emotional Cleansing