Which Ayurvedic Facial Oil Is Best For You?

In Ayurvedic practices, oily substances are given immense importance. Specially prepared Ayurvedic oil has various nutritional and therapeutic benefits. These benefits depend on the properties of the oil and the medicinal herbs used, as well as the application of the oil, whether internally or externally. Ayurvedic facial oil is no different. Keep reading to learn which Ayurvedic facial oil is best for you.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article.

Where A Healthy Glow Comes From
What’s Your Ayurvedic Skin Type?
Ayurvedic Oils
Ayurvedic Base Oils By Dosha Type
4 Ayurvedic Facial Oils
Which Ayurvedic Facial Oil Is Best For You?
How To Use An Ayurvedic Facial Oil
Supporting Research Studies
3 Research Studies On Ayurvedic Facial Oils

READ MORE: Facial Marma Massage: Herbal Oils + Kansa Wand Sequences, No Makeup Look: Get Gorgeous Naturally With Ancient Indian Wellness (No Makeup Look Products), Ayurvedic Daily Facial Routine: A Daily Facial Care Routine With Scrub, Mask + More

Where A Healthy Glow Comes From

Inner glow comes with a healthy ojas. Ojas is the essence of the nutrition that your body processes. Ojas is healthy when it is nourished physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. A balanced state of mind, body and soul results in the formation of healthy ojas which circulates throughout the body with another fluid, the circulating rasa dhatu. This can affect any system of the body and the skin as you know, is the most visible one. It surfaces the entire body from head to toe.

The skin reflects whatever the body undergoes at various levels, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Many factors like heredity, pollutants and hormones are all affected by these factors and vise versa. It is evident that people are more and more depending on cosmetics which are more hazardous than helpful. So a natural safe and effective herbal formula for enhancing skin health and complexion is necessary. Fall in love with taking care of your skin and always use natural.

READ MORE: 5 Sacred Skincare Rituals For Highly Sensitive People (HSP)

Smiling woman, Ayurvedic facial oil, Ayurvedic facial oils.What’s Your Ayurvedic Skin Type?

Ayurveda believes a healthy body constitution is based on a balanced state of Vata, Pitta and Kapha dosha, the Tridosha, which governs the human body.

No matter what type of doshas your body is composed of, you can always balance your doshas with the help of diet and lifestyle guidelines from Ayurveda. Similarly, according to Ayurveda, the health of your skin is also determined by what you feed your skin to balance the Tridoshic constitution of the skin.

  1. 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
  2. Pitta Skin: When Pitta gets imbalanced, Pitta skin is prone to discoloration, pimples, freckles and moles. This type of skin is sun-sensitive and tends to flare ups with rashes, eruptions or sun patches on prolonged exposure to sun.
  3. Kapha Skin: Kapha type of skin tends to age at a slower rate. They are prone to a dull complexion.

Skin health is specific to balanced Pitta dosha. Impaired Pitta leads to vitiation of the blood tissue causing skin disorders. There are five types of Pitta dosha. Bhrajak Pitta is a subtype of Pitta dosha present on the skin. It controls skin quality and complexion. A balanced Bhrajaka pitta is required to maintain lustrous healthy skin.

READ MORE: Pitta Diet: Everything You Need To Know, 25 Snack Foods For Pitta Dosha

Ayurvedic Oils

Oil is assimilating in nature. Oil imbibes the qualities of the herbs or other unctuous substances giving a nourishing, calming, soothing and healing affect to the body. Depending on the ingredients, they are useful in different conditions.

The revered Ayurvedic text, Charaka Samhita mentions that oil alleviates Vata dosha but does not aggravate Kapha dosha. It promotes bodily strength (Bal vardhanam), is beneficial for the skin (twacha), hot in potency, stabilizes the body and senses, and controls the morbidity of female genital organs.1

The ancient Ayurvedic master Vagbhata mentions that use of oil is best for disorders of Kapha aggravation, fat tissue and Vata aggravation. It is good for those who desire sturdiness of the body and for those with hard bowel movements. It is advocated by Vagbhata as suitable for disease like sinus problems, ulcers and worm infestation.2

In Ayurveda oils have been used in their pure form as well as in preparations that incorporate decoctions and pastes of herbs.

READ MORE: Ayurvedic Massage: Everything You Need To Know About ‘Abhyanga’, Ayurvedic Oil: Everything You Need To Know

Ayurvedic Base Oils By Dosha Type

Oils which are used in pure form are cold pressed, whole and similar in properties to their source, the oil’s seed. Sesame oil, mustard oil, coconut oil, olive oil and sunflower oil are examples of whole, base oils.

Here are some Ayurvedic base oils listed by dosha predominance.

  • Vata types can use sesame oil, or olive oil
  • Pitta types can use coconut oil, or neem oil
  • Kapha types can use sesame oil , jojoba oil, neem oil

Sesame oil is sweet with an accompanying astringent after taste. It is hot in potency which alleviates Vata dosha without increasing Kapha dosha. Sesame oil helps in promoting strength and is good for skin health. It promotes the power of digestion. When mixed with various herbs, it acquires their qualities without losing its own properties. Ayurveda says that the term ‘taila’ specifically means the oil of sesame unless specified otherwise. Such importance was given to sesame oil for its therapeutic and nutritional value.3

Coconut oil has a sweet taste. It is considered nourishing and strengthening. It helps in balancing Pitta and Vata dosha. Coconut oil takes a long time to digest and is supposedly a natural aphrodisiac. It is used in certain treatments for emaciation, skin conditions and for nourishing the body tissues. It is also used in cooking and for centuries has been used for hair health because of its nourishing and strengthening qualities. This oil is used in summer due to it’s coolant property. It is soothing to the body and senses.

Neem oil is bitter in taste and cooling in nature and not very ushna (hot). This coolness helps in balancing Pitta, especially when there is excess heat in rakta dhatu (blood tissue). Neem is cold, light and dry which sometimes tends to aggravate Vata. It is used with other herbs to reduce excess Vata effects in the body. It helps in mitigating microbes, pacifies Kapha and is used in several skin conditions.

Neem oils are traditionally applied to skin with a burning sensation and to irritated skin. It gives a soothing, calming effect and supports healthy skin.

READ MORE: Neem, Ayurveda’s Favorite Remedy For Inflammation, Coconut Oil Is Not The Problem, The Typical American Diet Is, Sesame Seeds Benefits + Power Packed Sesame Balls Recipe

4 Ayurvedic Facial Oils

Oils prepared in base oils with decoctions and, or pastes of herbs are called herbal oils. Herbal preparations of Ayurvedic oil are used for various conditions and their use depends upon the base oil and the herbs they are cured with.

Here are four Ayurvedic facial oils mentioned in the classical Ayurvedic texts.

1. Manjisthadi Oil

The recipe for this oil is based on the classical text Chakradatta. The text mentions that this oil clears the face of dark spots and dark patches. It eases the appearance of wrinkles and if used for seven consecutive nights, it makes the face glow ‘like gold’.

This oil is specifically formulated for patchy, dull and uneven looking skin.4 The main ingredient of this oil is Manjistha, which renders it its beautiful color. Manjistha is reputed as one of the best oils for the skin. It is a celebrated rejuvenative and a complexion enhancer. It helps the skin balance Pitta and Kapha imbalances. Modern research also supports Manjistha’s reputation as a very good skin care herb used to make the complexion even and tone down the appearance of uneven pigmented spots.

Manjistha has similar benefits to wild lemon or matulung in Sanskrit. As a part of a skin care oil, it has great benefits as a Pitta pacifier. It clears clogged up skin and provides a lovely luster.

LEARN MORE: iYura Manjish Glow Elixir: Ayurveda’s Pink Power Potion

2. Kanaka Oil

Kanaka Oil is described in the Ayurvedic classic Bhaishajya Ratnavali. According to this text, this oil is used to improve the appearance of uneven skin tone. It’s the perfect answer for a great complexion.5 It is very rightly called Mukhakantikar which means, that which adds a glow or brings a glow to your face. The herbs used in the oil are Kapha and Pitta pacifying.  

The herbs help you maintain a well-nourished skin with an even skin tone.

In the classical texts, this oil is called ‘Kanaka’ which refers to the herb Mesua Ferrea, the Nagakesara, which is a vital ingredient in this oil and literally means ‘gold’.

Another herb of significance in this oil is Manjistha (Indian Madder). As already mentioned, Manjistha is fantastic for the skin. According to Ayurveda, it balances Pitta and Kapha dosha and removes blockages. These properties make it the perfect herb to cleanse the skin.

The Ayurvedic texts enumerate its qualities.

  • It is complexion enhancing (Varṇya).
  • It is blood purifying (rakta śodhaka).

According to the Ayurvedic classics, another herb which imparts a radiant glow to your skin is Vetiver or UshirIt is cold in potency, bitter in taste and Kapha and Pitta pacifying. Due to its coolant property, it is called Dahaapaham. It helps in reducing burning sensations, relieves thirst and helps in healing ulcers

Charaka mentioned it as Varnya (good for the complexion). Sushruta called it Pittasamana or, the one which pacifies Pitta dosha. It is used in skin diseases since most of the skin conditions occur due to a Pitta imbalance.

LEARN MORE: iYura Kansa Oil, An Ultra-Light, Gold Traditional Kanaka Oil

3. Kumkumadi Oil

Kumkumadi oil is first mentioned in the Ashtanga Hridaya. After that many revered Ayurvedic texts like Chakradutta by Chakrapani Datta and Bhaishajya Ratnavali mention Kumkumadi oil for enhancing the complexion and glow. The classical text Bhaishajya Ratnavali says, face massage with this oil for seven nights will make your face ‘glow like gold’.6 The oil is immersed with the goodness of red-gold saffron, revered as Kesar in India and kumkuma in Ayurveda.

According to the classical Ayurvedic text Bhavprakash, saffron helps with complexion enhancement. It evens the skin tone and mitigates all three doshas.7  This oil also contains rose, the queen of flowers. Traditional Ayurvedic texts describe the benefits of rose as a coolant, balancing Pitta and when applied locally, enhancing the complexion. Kumkumadi oil also contains turmeric, another herb hailed, admired and used by the world from time immemorial for its innumerable benefits.

Kumkumadi oil brings you the blessings of these three precious herbs along with sixteen other herbs, from Ayurveda’s medicine chest to your skin.

LEARN MORE: iYura Kesaradi Oil: A Saffron, Rose, Turmeric Oil Based On The Classical Formulation Of Kesaradi

4. Dvayeharidradi Oil

This oil is mentioned in Chakra Datta and Bhaishajya Ratnavali. It is blended with the goodness of turmeric, Indian barberry, sandalwood, licorice, manjistha and more, rendering it with skin beautifying and complexion enhancing properties. Using this incredible combination of skin-enhancing herbs, it adds a beautiful glow to facial skin.8

Which Ayurvedic Facial Oil Is Best For You?

Interestingly, all these Ayurvedic facial oils are formulated with sesame oil as the base oil and herbs belonging to the Varnya Mahakashaya group of herbs, described by the ancient Ayurvedic scholar Charaka.

As the base oil, sesame oil absorbs the potent energy of these herbs. It has a property known as ‘Sara’ or a flowing nature, which means it spreads evenly throughout the face and neck. It imparts the goodness of the herbs to the face, cleansing and nourishing the facial skin and providing luster to the face.

Sesame oil is highly stable and is one of the oils with the longest shelf life. It is unctuous in nature and so it is Vata pacifying and helps to get rid of the skin conditions which occur due to Vata imbalance (dry, rough and flaky). Being light, it gives a feeling of relaxation.

Sesame oil is the ultimate moisturizing, protective, regenerative and warming oil. It balances dry and rough skin by virtue of its Vata pacifying nature. Blended with Kapha and Pitta pacifying herbs, these Ayurvedic facial oils are perfect for all types of facial skin.

Blended with Kapha and Pitta pacifying herbs, these Ayurvedic facial oils are perfect for all types of facial skin.


How To Use An Ayurvedic Facial Oil


Cleanse your face as usual, either in the morning before your bath or at night before bed.

  1. You should be devoid of natural urges. Visit the toilet and be comfortable before starting a massage.
  2. The room should be warm, calm and devoid of any draft.


Take 3-7 drops of your oil onto your palm and rub both palms together so the oil gets a little warm before application. Apply the oil onto your face, neck and décolleté. Massage for 5 minutes with outward and upward strokes until the oil is completely absorbed into the skin.


Relax at least 30 minutes after oiling for better and deeper absorption into the tissues. You can remove the oil with a warm damp towel.

During Ayurvedic facial massage, it is though that when the oil is applied, it is absorbed and digested by Bhrajaka Pitta. New metabolites form and pacification of the doshas begin, breaking down the pathogenesis.9

READ MORE: Ayurvedic Daily Facial Routine: A Daily Facial Routine With Scrub, Mask + More, Facial Marma Massage: Herbal Oils + Kansa Wand Sequences, 5 Ayurvedic Massage Tools You Need To Know

Supporting Research Studies

1. Sesame Oil

This study targeted 24 adult women in their 40’s and 50’s who were confirmed to have dry skin. To examine a change in skin condition, the group carried out self-application of sesame oil everyday and facial massage using sesame seed oil once a week for 8 weeks.

For the experiment, subjects were divided into three groups, applying sesame oil group, sesame-mineral oil group, and mineral oil group. Researchers measured the skin condition, the sebum variance, moisture variance, change in keratin and pigmentation level, before and after the experiment.

The results of this study are as follows. Antioxidant ability in sesame seed oil was higher than mineral oil or jojoba oil, which is in common use for skin care. Skin condition improved in mixed oil group and sesame oil group than mineral oil group. In the research subjects’ satisfaction after clinic, a statistically significant difference was indicated in all items. In all items, the satisfaction of the group with mixed oil and the group with sesame seed oil was higher (p<0.05) compared to the group with mineral oil.10

2. Antioxidant Properties

The important antioxidants sesaminol, sesamolinol, sesamolin and sesamin maintain fats including Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) which cause arteriosclerosis and are believed to promote the integrity of body tissues. These antioxidant lignans have shown hypocholesterolemic and immunomodulatory effects. Vitamin E, a fat soluble antioxidant, protects the body from harmful oxidizing compounds. Sesame seed oil contains gamma tocopherols along with sesaminol and sesamin which possess vitamin E like activity.11

5. Dermatological Use

Extra virgin Corylus avellana (hazelnut) oil has good levels of tocopherols, as do Helianthus annuus(sunflower) and Sesamum indicum (sesame) oils. Cucurbita pepo (pumpkin) seed oil deserves greater recognition. With a lipid profile containing high levels of linoleic acid (43–53 %), it contains two classes of antioxidant compounds: tocopherols and phenolics, which account for 59 % of the antioxidant effects. Due to the strong, rich aroma, it is only used in small proportions in topical formulations. It (l-ascorbic acid) is the body’s most important intracellular and extracellular aqueous-phase antioxidant. Vitamin C provides many benefits to the skin most significantly, increased synthesis of collagen and photo-protection [12]

6. Manjistha (Rubia Cordifolia)

The role of Manjistha in supporting skin health is evidenced by traditional and reported activities, which show that it acts as a potent blood purifier, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-stress and antimicrobial which can play an important role to cure acne and improve skin health.13

READ MORE: Manjistha: Lymph Purifier, Ayurvedic Blood + Toxin Cleanser, Manjistha For Skin, Uses, Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects

3. Kanaka (Nagkesar, Mesua Ferrea)

Scientific screening has confirmed the antioxidant activity of Kanaka along with its potential use in cosmetics. A study revealed that its potent antioxidant activity is comparable to that of standard ascorbic acid (vitamin C).14

4. Turmeric

Turmeric has anti UV skin damage activity.

The study entitled ‘Effects of turmeric extract (Curcuma longa) on chronic ultraviolet B irradiation-induced skin damage in melanin-possessing hairless mice’ aimed to clarify whether turmeric prevented chronic ultraviolet B (UVB)-irradiated skin damage.

Researchers examined the effects of turmeric extract on skin damage including changes in skin thickness and elasticity, pigmentation and wrinkling caused by long-term, low-dose ultraviolet B irradiation in melanin-possessing hairless mice. The extract (at 300 or 1000 mg/kg, twice daily) prevented an increase in skin thickness and a reduction in skin elasticity induced by chronic UVB exposure.

It also prevented the formation of wrinkles and melanin (at 1000 mg/kg, twice daily) as well as increases in the diameter and length of skin blood vessels and in the expression of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2). Prevention of UVB-induced skin aging by turmeric may be due to the inhibition of increases in MMP-2 expression caused by chronic irradiation.15

READ MORE: Turmeric Benefits (Curcumin), Dosage, Side Effects + More, Golden Milk For Arthritis Recipe (Turmeric Milk For Arthritis)

Turmeric has anti sebum production activity, useful for acne control.

The study ‘Effect of Turmeric (Curcuma longa Zingiberaceae) Extract Cream on Human Skin Sebum Secretion’ showed a significant increase (p ˂ 0.05) in the sebum values from the 6th week onwards after control cream application. The study demonstrated that the extract obtained from the rhizome of turmeric can be used in skin preparations to regulate excessive sebum secretion in those suffering from acne and related disorders.16

5. Indian Barberry (Daruharidra)

Indian Barberry has an anti-acne effect. Researchers evaluated the anti-acne activity alcoholic extract of the root of B. aristata, a commonly used traditional medicinal plant from India. The extract displayed a potent antibacterial activity in the dose-dependent manner. MIC of extract indicated that these plants could be a good source for anti-acne medicine. Further studies are necessary for these potent plant extracts to evaluate the other parameters of anti-acne efficacy (e.g. in vivo efficacy and toxicity).17

3 Research Studies On Ayurvedic Facial Oils

There are a few research studies on Ayurvedic facial oils.

1. Kumkumadi Oil

A study was conducted using three different types of Kumkumadi oils in three different groups. Kumkumadi cream no. 1 was made into a vanishing cream form using a decoction of the main ingredients. Kumkumadi cream no. 2 was also made into a vanishing cream form using Soxhlet apparatus for extraction of main ingredients. Kumkumadi cream no. 3 was also made into a vanishing cream form using Kumkumadi Tailam (oil) as the main ingredient. Kumkumadi cream no. 2 (made up with the extract) contains more medicinal value than that of Kumkumadi cream no. 1 (made up of decoction) and works better. While Kumkumadi cream no. 3, which contains Kumkumadi oil proved as good as Kumkumadi cream no 2.18

LEARN MORE: iYura Kesaradi Oil: A Saffron, Rose, Turmeric Oil Based On The Classical Formulation Of Kesaradi

2. Kanaka Taila

A study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of varnya mahakashaya, ten herbs which enhance the complexion, and Kanaka Taila in Vyanga roga WSR to Melasma. All the parameters showed a highly significant result before treatment to after treatment and before treatment to follow up treatment.9

LEARN MORE: iYura Kansa Oil, An Ultra-Light, Gold Traditional Kanaka Oil

3. Manjishtadi Oil

Another study showed that local application of Manjishtadi ghrita provided good results by reduction of wound size and promotion of healing. It proved to be cosmetically effective with least scar formation also. Pigmentation similar to that of skin was found as another updating effect which was not seen in povidone iodine group. No untoward effects were observed during the course of treatment.19

LEARN MORE: iYura Manjish Glow Elixir: Ayurveda’s Pink Power Potion

1. R.K Sharma, Bhagwan Dash, English translation on charak samhita, Chowkhamba sanskrit series office, Varanasi, series 2016, vol I, pg. No. 248.
2. K.R. Srikantha Murthy, English translation, Astanga Hridaya, Chowkhamba Krishnadas Academy, Varanasi, series 2016, vol I pg. no. 210.
3. P.V.Sharma, English translation on Sushruta Samhita, Chaukhamba Visva Bharati, Varanasi, series 2013, vol 1, pg.no., 440.
4. Kaviraj Govind Das sen Bhaisajya Ratnavali(with hindi translations), Chaukhamba Surbharati Prakashan, Varanasi (2016), verse-119-121, pg-944.
5. Kaviraj Govind Das sen Bhaisajya Ratnavali (with Hindi translations), Chaukhamba Surbharati Prakashan, Varanasi (2016), verse-122,123, pg-944.
6. Kaviraj Govind Das sen Bhaisajya Ratnavali (with Hindi translations), Chaukhamba Surbharati Prakashan, Varanasi (2016), pp 942, 943.
7. K.R. Srikantha Murthy, Bhavaprakash of Bhavamishra, Vol 1, Chowkhamba Krishnadas Academy, Varanasi (2016), pp 218.
8. Kaviraj Govind Das sen Bhaisajya Ratnavali (with Hindi translations), Chaukhamba Surbharati Prakashan, Varanasi (2016), pp 944.
9. Abineet Raina Et Al: Efficacy Of Varnyadi Mahakashaya & Kanak Tail In Vyanga Roga W.S.R. To Melasma International Ayurvedic medical Journal {online} 2017 {cited January, 2017} Available from: http://www.iamj.in/posts/images/upload/38_43.pdf.
10. Influence in application of sesame seed oil to the skin on a change in the aging and dry skin condition Kor J Aesthet Cosmetol. 2011;9 (4).
A Review on Nutritional and Nutraceutical Properties of Sesame Nagendra Prasad MN*, Sanjay KR, Deepika S. Prasad#, Neha Vijay#, Ruchika Kothari# and Nanjunda Swamy  https://www.omicsonline.org/a-review-on-nutritional-and-nutraceutical-properties-of-sesame

12.Dayan N. Skin aging handbook: an integrated approach to biochemistry and product development. New York: William Andrew Inc; 2008.

13. Chaudhary, Anand. “Manjistha(Rubia Cordifolia)- A Helping Herb in Cure of Acne.”ResearchGate.net, ResearchGate 2018, June 2015, www.researchgate.net/publication/302902410_ManjisthaRubia_Cordifolia-_A_helping_herb_in_cure_of_acne+.
Jayanthi G, Kamalraj S, Karthikeyan K, Muthumary J. Antimicrobial and antioxidant activity of the endophytic fungus Phomopsis sp. ( that is present as a natural component of the fruits of Nagkesar without harming it) GJJM07 isolated from Mesua ferrea. Int J Curr Sci 2011;1:85-90.
Maho Sumiyoshi a Yoshiyuki Kimura b, Phytomedicine, Volume 16, Issue 12, December 2009, Pages 1137-1143.
Shahiq uz Zaman* and Naveed Akhtar Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy and Alternative Medicine, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, 63100 Pakistan Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, October 2013; 12(5): 665-669 http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/tjpr.v12i5.1.
Shyam Babu Prasad*, Darshpreet Kaur, International Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemical Research 2017; 9(2); 190-19.
18. Int. J. Ayur. Pharma Research, 2017;5(8):43-48.
19. Baria, Jyoti, et al. “Clinical Study of Manjishthadi Ghrita in Vrana Ropana.” Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3215426/.

Ditimoni Goswami, BAMS is an Ayurvedic Practitioner since 2001. She served as Medical Officer (Ayur) for the government of the state of Assam, India from 2005 to 2012. She is certified in Panchakarma Therapy under Guru Shishya Parampara. Her specialization (D.Pch.) is in Panchabhautik Chikitsha. Additionally she is a Pranic healing practitioner, presently working as Ayurvedic Consultant for Transformative Learning Solutions, New Delhi India and TheAyurvedaExperience.com.


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