If you’ve ever done breath work in a yoga class, meditated, used a hair oil, brushed your teeth with activated charcoal toothpaste, or slathered on a skincare product with turmeric, then you’ve experienced Ayurvedic Medicine (Ayurveda for short).
Originating in India thousands of years ago, Ayurveda is a medical system that uses diet, herbal remedies, meditation, exercise, physical therapy, and breathing to bring balance to the body, mind, and spirit. And it’s coming in hot in the beauty industry.
What’s old is new again, as the saying goes, and while it’s definitely not fresh, the demand for natural and organic products is. That’s caused an Ayurvedic surge in the personal care realm, bringing these time-honored rituals and ingredients to the forefront. In fact, the global Ayurvedic market value is projected to reach $14.9 billion by 2026 (more than triple what it was in 2017), according to Industry Research.
Ahead, a look at why it’s such a buzzy topic, and the benefits of incorporating
it into your life if it’s not already a part, along with the products and steps to do so. Get ready for a more balanced routine.
The Origins Of Ayurvedic Beauty, Explained
Though the practice is trending now, it’s critical to understand what it all entails. “Ayurveda takes a comprehensive perspective not only on the human body and how it operates within itself, but on the connection with the universe around it,” says Shrankhla Holecek, founder and CEO of Uma Oils, whose ancestors handcrafted essential oil and herb blends for Indian royalty and passed down their secret recipes through generations.
It emphasizes herbs and plant-based ingredients and uses them in a 360-degree approach to nourish the skin and hair, inside and out. For example, when someone sees an Ayurvedic doctor about acne or eczema, they won’t just have their skin examined; they’ll also be asked about diet, menstrual cycle, and state of mind.
If Ayurveda had a mantra, it would be “Everything is connected.” (A small way you can tap into this is by taking a step back to consider the larger picture when any kind of health issue arises.)
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How Ayurvedic Beauty Recently Exploded
With all the stresses of the modern world (thank ya, pandemic), it’s no wonder that more people are looking for simpler answers. That was the case for Divya Viswanathan when Western science failed to help her find lasting fixes to her lifestyle-induced health concerns.
“I had issues with skin and sleep and couldn’t find a solution,” she says.“I grew up in India with Ayurveda and went back to my roots. Honestly, I didn’t realize what an impact it had on my life.” That’s what led her to cofound Taza, an Ayurvedic wellness brand, with a friend from biz school, Amy Engel.
Another reason people are turning to Ayurvedic beauty is because they’re more aware of what they’re putting on their skin. Instead of opting for unrecognizable ingredients, they can turn to trusted ones that have worked for thousands of years. “Why not use cinnamon and turmeric in my face mask instead of alpha butyl?” Holecek says. “The ingredient focus is paving a very natural way into that.”
There’s a comfort factor too: Consumers are leaning toward ingredients and solutions that seem to be tried and true. But it’s not only about the ingredients or products you use, it’s also in how you use them….
Ayurvedic Beauty Focuses On Rituals
This tumultuous era has ramped up a new appreciation for slowing down. “There’s no shortage of beauty and wellness rituals in India,”says Pritika Swarup, a model and the founder and CEO of Prakti Beauty, as well as a global ambassador for Operation Smile. “They’re sensorial, connecting the mind, body, and soul in one experience.”
But they don’t have to be a big production. It’s simply about embracing and indulging in the process. Rather than just patting on an oil, take the time to massage it in and even meditate or repeat a mantra as you do so. “The ritualistic aspect forces people to get in touch with themselves,” says Holecek. Another point for self-care.
Daily Ayurvedic Habits To Add To Your Routine
Adding a few rituals grounded in Ayurveda can elevate your routine. Give these a try.
- Hair Oiling: Good for all hair types, this practice strengthens roots, promotes new growth, and softens and conditions hair. Massage in warm oil using small, circular motions. Leave it on overnight (lay a towel over your pillow) and wash hair in the morning. A quickie version: Apply it half an hour before you shower.
- Tongue Scraping: In Ayurveda, the tongue is thought to be connected to other vital organs. So keeping it clean via a tongue scraper does the body good.
- Dry Brushing: “This can boost blood and lymph circulation,” Holecek says. It also exfoliates. Starting from the bottom of the feet, do small, gentle, upward flicks, moving toward the heart.
Ayurvedic Oils For Skin And Hair
In Sanskrit, the word for oil is also the word for love—sneha—so show yourself some <3 with these picks.
After formulas were passed down in Holecek’s family for generations, the brand now has an emphasis on education. For example, the Absolute AntiAging Face Oil covers all of the skin’s needs with actives and emollients while encouraging people to engage in a deeper journey with themselves through facial massage.
Sister-and-brother team Nikita and Akash Mehta learned about hair oiling from their grandmother. They bottled up that ritual in their haircare line. Designed to be massaged into dry hair and roots before shampooing, the HoliRoots Hair Oil strengthens strands with ashwagandha and dashmool, a plant-remedy scalp tonic.
Ayurvedic Beauty Brands Worth Supporting
These companies with Ayurvedic roots deserve all the props.
- Prakti Beauty: Swarup considers her brand a new category in the beauty space, which she dubs “Ameri-Vedic beauty.” It’s a hybrid of mixed cultures, heritages, and experiences, just like her.
- Pratima Skincare: The founder of this eponymous line began studying Ayurveda in India at 13. Now, at 83, she’s still crafting her “nature-intelligent formulas” herself in her New York City lab.
- Ranavat: Driven to share her culture, Michelle Ranavat launched her botanical skin-care collection, which was inspired by the kings and queens of Rajasthan. Saffron—beloved by royals for its antioxidant and brightening perks—is the hero ingredient in this mask.
- Soma Ayurvedic: This gel contains herbs sourced from the forests of Kerala (the birthplace of Ayurveda). For each purchase, school supplies are donated to an orphan, and a feminine hygiene kit to a woman who doesn’t have access to the products.
- Sahajan: Founder Lisa Mattam, a former pharma exec, went back to her beginnings to launch the Toronto-based brand. She works with Ayurvedic doctors in Kerala to formulate authentic products.
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