‘If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin’: ayurvedic beauty and wellness rituals to add to your self-care regime

Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest healing systems which originated in India and dates back thousands of years.

Its ancient principles and rituals guide people on how to live well and span everything from sleep to digestion and mental wellbeing, and they have stood the test of time for good reason.

Ayurvedic beauty brands focus on natural ingredients and potent plant-based actives, and the aim of the game is to take a “nourish from the inside out” approach to wellness.

With a number of new brands having recently launched in the UK, Ayurveda is fast becoming somewhat of a buzzword in the beauty industry.

Below, we asked the female founders of some of our favourite ayurvedic-inspired brands for their top wellness rituals.

Deepika Patel, founder of ilody

ilody, which means ‘garden of the gods’ in Sanskrit, has launched with just two products. The seres boosted collagen serum (£70) contains bakuchiol (from the Indian babchi seed), which is a natural alternative to retinol that’s also gentler on the skin, blended with Gotu Kola (centella asiatica) to boost collagen synthesis. The luxmi hydrating radiance serum (£72), meanwhile, contains a natural form of arbutin and liquorice which is anti-inflammatory to brighten and even skin tone.

The wellness rituals I swear by are…

“I like to use spices not only in cooking but in tonics. Cumin and ajwain are both great for digestion and the latter for easing a congested sinus. Increasing our use of spices throughout our diet can be beneficial for health and immunity. Black pepper with turmeric can help the active ingredient curcumin absorb more efficiently. I like to sprinkle turmeric and black pepper into a freshly squeezed orange juice at breakfast.”

My top Ayurvedic beauty tip is…

“A DIY exfoliating toner of rice water and gram flour works both to naturally exfoliate and soothe. While we’ve all become more aware of dry brushing which is part of the ancient ritual of ‘garshana’, this can also be used by exfoliating with raw silk cloths, perfect for a more gentle approach to exfoliation.

“Massage your face daily, incorporate an oil or serum, or an oil cleanser using your hands to sculpt and drain the lymphatic system of toxins as well creating a calming daily ritual.”

Nikita Mehta, co-founder of Fable & Mane

Fable & Mane is a new hair wellness brand launched by sibling founders Akash Mehta and Nikita Mehta and inspired by their Indian heritage.

The debut HoliRoots Ritual collection launched in May and comprises four plant-based and silicone-free products – the HoliRoots Shampoo (£22), Conditioner (£22), Mask (£24) and best-selling Hair Oil (£25), which contains dashmool and ashwagandha to strengthen roots. The idea stems from Nikita’s memories of her grandmother massaging potent oils into her scalp while telling fables when she was a child. The ritual of hair oiling, or “sneha” as it is known, is supposed to promote hair growth through increased circulation and nourished roots.

The wellness rituals I swear by are…

“Oil pulling. This is the practice of swirling oil around your mouth and then spitting it out. It usually involves coconut oil, rinsing should be continued for perhaps five to 20 minutes, so that the edible oil is pulled through the teeth and mouth for healthy teeth and gums. In Ayurveda we believe oil cures all – from the nose to the eyes to the belly button and of course your hair roots.”

My top Ayurvedic beauty tip is…

“Self-massage the body and hair with oil before washing out and drinking cumin water from a copper glass for healthy digestion. Let food be thy medicine.”

Radheika Choudhary, founder of SkinYoga

SkinYoga was created by three sisters Radhika, Jagriti and Deepika Choudhary, who grew up on a farm in India before moving around the world.

The brand specialises in natural and multi-tasking products with minimal ingredients.

The wellness rituals I swear by are…

“Ubtan, a blend of sundried and hand pounded herbs, is one of oldest ayurvedic beauty rituals. Queens and royal ladies used the paste as an essential part of their beauty regime. Ubtan is 100 per cent natural cleansers that have been used for clear beautiful skin for centuries in India. It’s a gentle exfoliating treatment that gently removes dead skin without striping the natural moisture and helps stimulate the renewal of new skin cells.

“We have tried to bottle the exact formula in our Almond Orange Face Scrub that has been passed down to us for generations. It contains only four highly active ingredients, almond, (orange) peel powder, chickpea flour, and turmeric. I mix it with rose water or milk and use it as a cleanser and mild moisturiser while I’m travelling.”

My top Ayurvedic beauty tip is…

“Neem is Ayurveda’s best kept secret! It’s still not very well known in the western mainstream beauty market yet but it’s more relevant (and necessary) today than ever before. Neem is known to be a powerful natural anti-bacterial and immuno-stimulant. It works wonders on infections, burns and any kind of skin problem and encourages rapid healing and we use it in our Green Tea Face Mask (£42).

“The skin is your largest organ and it’s important to be mindful about what you put on it, our main philosophy is ‘If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin.’ That’s why we don’t even use any essential oils like geranium, patchouli, jasmine or even natural fragrances in our products, which can causes skin damage and irritation.”

Farida Irani, founder of Subtle Energies

Subtle Energies is an Australia-born brand specialising in ayurvedic aromatherapy that has just launched in the UK. The products contain ayurvedic herbs in their steam distilled form as essential oils, making them significantly more potent.

Subtle Energies’ hero product is the Facial Blend (£178) – a floral treatment oil that contains natural actives, such as adaptogenic ashwaghanda and mogra that penetrate deep into the dermal layers of the skin to stimulate cell turnover.

The wellness rituals I swear by are…

“In Ayurveda, we discuss the importance of oiling the 10 gates (orifices) which helps to keep the body healthy and balanced. This includes oil pulling in the mouth as well as nasal oil treatments, or “mini-nasya,” to calm the nervous system help promote sleep, clear the sinuses and eyes. Oiling the nostrils also activates the facial nerves and muscles.”

My top Ayurvedic beauty tip is…

“Most people concentrate purely on the face, however focusing just as much on your body, working from the inside out, known as Aromatic Dressing, automatically you see an improvement in your facial skin as you minimise your stress, even decreasing your worry lines. It is a beautiful and simple ritual of self-massaging oils on your body post-shower. essential oils in rich base oils rather than herbal oil I choose my oil blend like I choose a dress I want to wear that day. Try doing it with an upbeat song post your shower to fully enjoy the ritual.”

Anita Kaushal, founder of Mauli Rituals

London-based ayurvedic brand Mauli Rituals makes es all of its own oils right here in the capital (it takes a three-month process). Hero Mauli products include the Grow Strong Hair Oil (£32), which contains 15 potent Ayurvedic elixirs nourish the scalp and add thickness and shine to lack-lustre hair, and the Radiance Mask & Exfoliant (£36), which is inspired by pre-wedding rituals during which the bride and groom are smeared with a mask made of chickpea paste, saffron and sandalwood.

The wellness rituals I swear by are…

“A truly liberating and simple self-healing method is to massage the marma points. There are 107 key points in the body and the skin is the 108th. Located over the lymph nodes, joints and chakra, marma sites can hold toxins, stress and negative emotions, which manifest further as pain, blockages, swelling and inflammation.

“Another easy and effective ayurvedic wellness ritual is putting a few drops of oil into the nostrils. I do this daily as it helps to clear the sinuses, while bringing clarity of speech and mind. I also do the same thing to my ears as it keeps wax from building up and is far kinder to the ears and environment than ear buds. It may seem odd to use oil in the ears but that’s how brain washed we’ve become, we think sticking a piece mass-produced plastic in our ears is more natural.”

My top Ayurvedic beauty tip is…

“Breathe. It’s free and easy and does wonders for the mind and body.”

Kuldeep Knox, founder of Chāmpo

British ayurvedic haircare brand Chāmpo, which means “cleansing, soothing and massaging of the head and hair” in Sanskrit, has a haircare range for each of the three Doshas (ayurvedic elements) : Vata (air), Pitta (fire) and Kapha (earth) – you can take a short quiz to find out which one you are. Pitta, a shampoo and conditioner designed for women with fine or thinning hair which contains the natural antioxidant haritaki fruit, is a best-seller. The brand has also just launched its first styling product, the Weightless Hair Oil, to tame frizz and smoothes hair.

The wellness rituals I swear by are…

“One of the best tips came from my Ayurvedic doctor, who advised I avoid drinking cool beverages and switch to room temperature water and warm drinks such as fresh ginger tea throughout the day. Doing so really stimulates the digestive system and helps prevent toxins building up. Since I switched, I have felt much more energised and my skin is more radiant!”

My top Ayurvedic beauty tip is…

“I absolutely advocate a short seasonal Ayurvedic detoxes. Unlike conventional detoxes, they aren’t restrictive and focus on nourishment to restore system balance and help the skin and body adjust to weather change. I tailor each detox to the season but find them especially beneficial in winter. Each day begins with lemon and ginger tea, followed by a ginger, celery, cucumber, apple and coriander smoothie, alongside turmeric and triphala supplements. Not only is my skin clearer, but I feel healthier and much more energetic.”

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