Ayurveda is one of the best solutions for regular skin care. Instead of opting for chemical-laden facials which provide a temporary glow, Ayurvedic facials help enhance radiance from within. Keep reading to learn how to do an Ayurvedic facial.
An Ayurvedic facial is a relaxing, purifying, nourishing, hydrating and rejuvenating experience. It leaves you with a luminous glow you’ve always dreamed of.
Ayurvedic Skin Types
Normally, skin is categorized by the western world as dry, oily or combination. Most people fall under one of these categories and have additional skin problems which are dealt with accordingly.
Ayurveda differentiates skin in a different way.
Skin types in Ayurveda are made on the basis of the doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The root of skin problems could be due to an aggravated dosha. Just as each dosha has its own characteristics, each dosha skin type has its own characteristics. Most likely, your skin will be similar to your prevalent dosha.
The doshas are a combinations 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)
A person’s Ayurvedic skin type can be Vata, Pitta or Kapha or sometimes a combination of two of these.
Don’t know your Ayurvedic Body Type or Prakriti? Click HERE to take the FREE Quiz.
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 taken into account when choosing a skincare program. If you have questions or doubts, ask for an assessment with an Ayurvedic expert or take a free dosha quiz.
- 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, 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.
- Kapha Skin: Kapha skin types tend to age at a slower rate. They are prone to a dull complexion.
Recommendations For Ayurvedic Combination Skin
Combination skin in Ayurveda can be of three types.
- Vata-Pitta: skin that is both dry and sensitive
- Kapha-Pitta: oily and sensitive skin
- Vata-Kapha: skin that is generally dry with some oily zones.
The Ayurvedic approach to caring for combination skin takes into account environmental and seasonal factors.
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.
Don’t know your Ayurvedic Body Type or Prakriti? Click HERE to take the FREE Quiz.
How To Do An Ayurvedic Facial
This is what you can expect from an Ayurvedic facial. Keep reading for recipes, tips and variations for your skin type (dosha).
- Cleanse + Purify
- Tone + Hydrate
- Nourish + Rejuvenate
Cleanse + Purify
An Ayurvedic facial starts with cleansing the face and neck. Use raw milk mixed with a few drops of lemon juice and honey.
Use raw milk mixed with a few drops of lemon juice and honey.
Dip a ball of cotton into this mixture and dab it onto your facial skin. Massage in a circular motion for 5 minutes, wash off with cold water and pat dry. This should be a daily ritual.
Scrubbing (Ubtan) falls under cleansing and purifying. It should be done once or twice a week. It helps unclog your pores, sloughs off dull and dead skin, balances sebum production and evens out your complexion. Exfoliation keeps the skin healthy, youthful and glowing.
Ayurvedic Facial Oil Massage (Snehan)
As part of your Ayurvedic facial, make a facial oil by mixing 1 ounce of almond oil with 10 drops of essential oil appropriate to your prakriti.
For dry Vata type skin, use sweet orange or geranium; for sensitive Pitta type skin, use jasmine or sandalwood. For oily Kapha skin, use lavender or bergamot. You can also use a classical Ayurvedic facial oil formulation according to your skin type. Manjistha oil, Kanak oil and Kumkumadi oil are three wonderful Ayurvedic facial oils formulated using the ancient Ayurvedic recipes.
Warm your bottle of oil in hot water for a few minutes, and then prepare to give yourself a facial massage (self-massage with oil).
According to the Sushruta Samhita, Ayurvedic massage (abhyanga) pacifies Kapha and Vata dosha, softens the skin, enhances the complexion and the luster of the skin, promotes body tissues (tones muscles), provides cleanliness and strength1 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.
Facial Steam (Swedana)
Facial steaming clears out your pores. When steaming, be careful not to get too close to avoid burning yourself. Steam deep cleanses the skin and removes toxins. This is because the heat that is given by the steam can open up your pores and as a result, dirt and germs can be easily removed. Steam 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. This promotes blood flow throughout your skin, as a result an increase in nutrients and oxygen is supplied to the skin cells which prevents wrinkles. Don’t forget to protect your eyes while you use steam.
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. It eliminates sweat, foul smell, abnormality of complexion and fatigue.2
How to do an Ayurvedic facial? Start with a mask. 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 and wash it off after 15 minutes. This helps you achieve a clear and a radiant complexion. There are different face masks for different skin types. We’ll go over a few below.
All types of skin benefit from a periodic deep-down exfoliating and nourishing mask treatment. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells, embedded dirt and toxins, and stimulates the skin, making it receptive to the nutrient-rich facial mask that should follow in your Ayurvedic facial.
Base Ayurvedic Facial Mask Recipe
- 2 tablespoons chickpea flour
- 1/4 teaspoon Triphala powder
- 1/8 teaspoon Turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon of dried neem or mint leaves (if using fresh leaves – use 1/2 tablespoon of mashed leaves and mix into your paste)
Variations For Vata Type Skin
Vata type skin can mix in 1-2 tablespoon of mashed ripe avocado into the base face mask.
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. Take orange extracts like juice or juicy skin and mix it with papaya juice and yogurt to make a thick paste. Add a few drops of almond oil, coconut oil or olive oil and even a few drops of glycerin. This is a good moisturizer for Vata skin (dry skin) Apply this natural face mask on dry skin and increase skin glow whilst preventing the formation of wrinkles.
Variations For Pitta Type Skin
Pitta skin can use mashed cucumber (1-2 tablespoons) with the base face mask.
Pitta skin is prone to pimples, tanning and acne due to excessive secretion of sebum by the oil glands. Mix Fuller’s earth and sandalwood powder or paste with rose water. Add some tulsi leaves and apply it to the face. This homemade natural face mask normalizes oil secretion, removes dead skin, cleanses clogged pores and tightens the skin.
Variations For Kapha Type Skin
Kapha type skin can mix 1-2 tablespoon of ripe papaya into the base face mask. Use 1 tablespoon for normal skin and 2 tablespoons for sensitive skin.
Kapha skin is neither too dry nor too oily so it looks vibrant and moist. Skin care can be cleansing, toning and moisturizing. Herbs like lemon and tulsi rejuvenate the skin and protect it from the sun and allergies. Peach and oatmeal can make a nice herbal face mask. Cook a peach until it is soft and 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 and keep it on for 15 minutes. Rinse with cold water and enjoy the experience of clear skin.
Facial masks treat your particular skin type or condition. If you’re dry or dehydrated, the facial mask should hydrate your skin. If your skin is red or inflamed, the mask should calm and soothe. If your skin is oily and congested, the facial mask can help draw out impurities from the skin.
Depending on their ingredients, masks can tighten and tone, hydrate, nourish, draw out impurities, help blemishes heal, calm and soothe, and rejuvenate the skin.
Rice Water: Toning The Skin
Toning enhances skin tone by making it lighter and brighter. In Ayurveda we use rice water to cleanse and tone facial skin. Rice water is rich in beauty nutrients that make it fantastic for both skin and hair. It is a wonderful way to hydrate, whiten, brighten and tone your skin. Rice water contains lots of benefits for your skin. It can be used as a mild cleanser as well as a toner to cleanse the skin and tighten pores.3
Benefits Of Rice Water
Rice water contains vitamins such as B1, C, E as well as minerals.
- shrinks pores
- tightens skin
- reduces fine lines
- brightens and softens skin
What You’ll Need
- 1/2 cup of rice
- 1 1/2 cups of water
- 1 medium bowl
Add a cup of organic rice to a bowl and 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 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, face mist or a face mask to reduce excess oils and brighten the face.
Other Toners: Rose, Neem, Mint, Basil
Rose water is the most widely used toner for its soothing, calming and cooling effect on the skin.
You can also boil neem, mint and basil leaves in one cup of filtered water. Once cool, strain the liquid and use it as a toner. Refrigerate it and make a fresh batch every week.
Last but not the least a moisturizer is essential. 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.
This is how to do an Ayurvedic facial! Natural ingredients tailored to your skin type, make this simple routine especially beneficial for you.
1. P.V. Sharma, Sushruta Samhita, Vol 2, Chikitsa Sthana, Chaukhamba Vishvabharati (2013), verse-30, pg 494.
2. P.V. Sharma, Sushruta Samhita, Vol 2, Chikitsa Sthana, Chaukhamba Vishvabharati (2013), verse-63, pg-499.
3. 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.