Besides being our largest organ, our skin is our best protection against the ravaging effects of the external elements. Therefore we want to do everything we can both internally and externally to keep our skin functioning optimally. Long before there were hundreds of different lotions to choose from at the local market, the people of ancient India consulted the wisdom of Ayurveda to care for their skin. Traditional methods using plenty of oil are still the perfect way to keep your skin, and your whole body, hydrated and healthy.
Ayurvedic Herbs and Clay
Women in rural India today can still be seen fetching mineral clays from the riverbeds to use as skin cleansers. Many natural foods stores in the West now sell purified clay in the beauty aisle. When combined with Ayurvedic herbs such as neem, turmeric, and sandalwood, you have an ideal cleanser and exfoliant that gently removes toxins from the skin.
I remember the day I got my first grey hair. Fortunately Dr. Lad was close by, and I appealed to him with frantic worry. He reminded me that traditionally in India, women condition their hair with bhringraj oil to keep their beautiful, long hair lustrous, dark, and shiny. Twenty years later, I can attest that the benefits of bhringaraj oil are so great, you'll want oily hair on a weekly basis.
Bhringaraj is an Ayurvedic herb that promotes hair growth, adds shine and luster, inhibits greying, and deeply conditions dry hair. Bhringaraj oil is made with sesame oil, and contains only these two ingredients. The best way to benefit from it is to apply it before bed and then sleep with a towel on your pillow. In the morning, you simply shampoo as usual to remove the oil. Sometimes it may require two shampooings to full remove the oil, but it's ok to leave some in for extra conditioning. For maximum effect, if you're not planning on going anywhere important, you can leave the bhringaraj oil on your hair for the whole weekend.
Mud is making a big comeback in the world of natural skin care. The benefits of clay as a natural skin purifier and as an exfoliant are becoming more widely known. Pure mineral clay from India, combined with several Ayurvedic herbs famous for their anti-inflammatory properties, form the basis of the Tarika Ayurvedic natural skin care line.
With the wonderful onslaught of luxury natural skin care products hitting the shelves daily, how do you choose? I'm predisposed to Ayurvedic ingredients, so when I found Duchess Marden products based on Damask rose from India, I was hooked.
The entire line is free of parabens, chemical preservatives, and petrochemicals. The natural fragrances throughout are pure and low-key. If I had to pick a favorite from the line, I'd have to choose Duchess Marden's Damascena Creme Cleanser. It is so rich and creamy, it is moisturizing at the same time as cleansing, and it even removes makeup. The formulation is effective at smoothing wrinkles and lightening sun spots. The cooling properties that Ayurveda attributes to rose make it ideal for rosacea and other inflammatory skin conditions.