The All Natural Ayurveda Facial You Need In Your Life
I try to keep a general rule whereby I rarely if ever put anything on my skin I wouldn’t readily eat.
In an attempt to balance my hormones about 12 months ago, I radically changed my approach to beauty and skincare. I eliminated products with parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. I had to get rid of a lot of favorite products (I may have cried) but the results have been so worth it. Not only are my menstrual cycles more regular, but I have less period pain and guess what? It’s slowed down the aging process. In fact, I would even argue that I look better at 33 than I did at 28!
But I digress.
Though the definitive decision to switch to low toxin products happened 12 months ago, the truth is that I have been dallying with a more natural skincare and beauty routine for many years, largely due to my interest in Ayurveda.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is an ancient stream of medicine. It is, in fact, one of the oldest branches of medicine in the world, and hails from India. It is based on the idea of unification between mind, body, and consciousness. Though the impact of our subconscious and our spiritual health on disease and wellbeing is seen as a “new age” idea, it has been a foundational principle of Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years.
This beautiful practice truly deserves its own blog post (or series) for an explanation: suffice to say that it is an ancient form of natural medicine which focuses on wholeness in mind-body-spirit. Ayurveda does not just focus on healing a symptom but rather restoring balance to the body. If you love yoga, you may be interested to know that yoga and Ayurveda actually go hand-in-hand.
What I love about it is that it is not just about “medicine” but also self-care in general: including guidelines for exercise, beauty routines, and spiritual practice based on the makeup and needs of the individual. Though it has its own medicinal herbs, many Ayurveda beauty practices can be carried out with simple ingredients you’ve got in your fridge and pantry.
Like this facial, for instance… (#segway)
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to spend your life savings on a truckload of different products or expensive spa treatments to have youthful, firm and glowing skin. And you don’t need to load up your skin full of hormone-altering chemicals either. With just a few inexpensive skincare products and a big helping hand from mother nature, you can DIY a natural, toxin-free Ayurvedic facial at home that will make you feel like a mother-lovin’ earth goddess.
The All Natural Ayurvedic Anti-Aging Facial
CLEANSE | Before anything else, you need to remove the dirt and grime from the day. Rinse your face with water and then apply your cleanser. You have some options:
BUTTERMILK OR PLAIN YOGURT | The lactic acid will kill any bacteria on your face (don’t use if you’re allergic to dairy). As an astringent, it will also tighten and brighten the skin.
OLIVE OIL | My favorite choice. Feels so yummy and if you have olive skin, this will really make it glow. Olive oil is great for drawing deeply ingrained impurities out of the skin. It is super hydrating but for an oil is quite lightweight, so won’t clog the pores.
Massage your chosen cleanser the skin and neck (don’t neglect your neck!), then rinse off thoroughly.
Note: Just as you would any skincare product that you purchase, make sure to test a small amount of the natural ingredients you use on a small patch of skin on your forearm to ensure that it doesn’t cause irritation, itching or a reaction before applying it to your face. Don’t use ingredients on your skin that would cause a reaction if you ate them.
EXFOLIATE | After you’ve got the surface dirt off your face, it’s time to go deeper by sloughing off dead skin cells.
COFFEE GROUNDS | 1 tsp. The caffeine hit will liven up your skin and make it glow.
OAT FLOUR | 1 tsp. Oat is soothing and contains anti-inflammatory compounds to soothe red, blotchy or dry skin.
GREEN TEA POWDER | 1 tsp. The polyphenol compounds in green tea are antioxidants which will soothe oxidative stress.
COCONUT OIL | 1 tsp. Coconut oil will not only absorb the impurities from your skin but will also keep it nourished and moisturized.
Product alternative: Swisse Bamboo Facial Exfoliant
Mix the ingredients together, and very gently massage onto the face and neck using slow upward circular motions, taking care to avoid the eye area. Go gently. No need to aggressively scrub here. Rinse thoroughly and pat the skin dry.
STEAM | This is my FAVOURITE part. Before you can add your Ayurvedic face mask, you first need to open up the pores of your skin so that the mask can get to work. This will also boost circulation to the face, hydrate and oxygenate your skin and give it a heavenly glow. Plus, it feels divine.
I like to get some relaxation music or positive affirmations going while I do this for a full relaxation home-spa experience.
Fill a big stainless steel pot with a couple of inches of water and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and (carefully) carry to a table in front of you (do be careful). You can add some dried herbs, like lavender, fennel or mint to the water, or perhaps a few drops of essential oil.
Some of my favorites include geranium essential oil (astringent properties to tighten the skin for an instant facelift), eucalyptus oil (soothes acne), and chamomile (to soothe irritated skin). Always remember to be careful with essential oils if you are pregnant or have other medical conditions to make sure they are not dangerous.
Pop your hair in a ponytail and lean over the pot of water, keeping yourself about a foot away. Drape a towel over your head to form a tent to hold in the steam.
This should feel very warming, and you will start to break a sweat, but it should not burn, hurt or be uncomfortable. In fact, it should feel very soothing. If it feels like it is too hot, move a couple of inches back.
Steam for 5 minutes then dab dry with a clean face washer. Make sure you wait for it to cool before you apply your mask, or it will just slide right off! D’oh!
MASK | It’s time for the star of the show! The mask!!!
You will need:
TURMERIC | 25 – 0.5 tsp. Turmeric is a staple in Ayurvedic medicine for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties. It can also lighten hyper-pigmentation on the face and brighten the skin. It is an all-round anti-aging miracle. As it is anti-inflammatory, it can also help to heal stubborn acne. Plus, it can also be used to assist with the removal of unwanted hair.
ALMOND FLOUR | 1 tsp. This will help to reduce the staining from the turmeric.
PEPPERMINT LEAF | 2 organic leaves. If you have it – and make sure it’s organic. The soothing nature of peppermint helps to reduce inflammation. It balances the pH of the skin, which in turn helps to balance the skin’s oil production. A rich source of vitamin A and C, it helps to reverse sun damage and promote youthful skin.
ROSE PETALS | 2 petals. Rose is an extremely calming plant, which can soothe both the senses and irritated skin. Its aphrodisiac properties will have you feeling like a sensual goddess. Plus, roses have astringent qualities and are high in vitamin C, stimulating collagen production which helps with anti-aging. Rose will also protect the skin from external pollutants, making it less susceptible to aging.
NUTMEG | 1 tsp. Another Ayurvedic favorite. The natural astringent in nutmeg not only heals acne but also helps to tighten and firm the skin. Nutmeg can be used to reduce clogged pores, control oil, reduce sun spots and treat fine lines.
RAW HONEY | 1 tbsp. The anti-microbial properties in honey tame blemishes, whilst the natural sugar increases the water content in your skin, reducing dryness which can lead to fine lines.
Mash the peppermint leaves and rose petals (you may need a mortar and pestle). Add the turmeric, almond flour, and nutmeg and mix together. Add the raw honey slowly until it forms a thick paste. The mixture ought to be thick and not too runny, otherwise, it will slide right off, so add the honey gradually until you’re happy with the consistency.
Slather the mask over your face and neck. Make sure to avoid your eyebrows and hairline – turmeric is known as a natural hair remover. Great for those stubborn hairs on your upper lip. Not so fantastic for your left eyebrow.
Rinse off the mask thoroughly just before it starts to dry, in about 10 to 15 minutes.
BONUS | For the ultimate spa experience, add put some cold cucumber slices, or cold wet chamomile tea bags over your eyes whilst you wait for the mask to do its thang.
SERUM | If you have naturally dry skin or wish to guard against aging, apply a few drops of rosehip oil (my favorite), or almond oil to your face and neck and massage slowly and gently with small, upward circular motions.
Product alternative: Argan oil is the magical elixir of life. Just make sure not to buy any old oil from the supermarket, though, as many contain toxic additives. This Acure certified organic argan oil is great.
EYE CREAM | This is where a product really does come in handy. I am really in love with Sukin Purely Ageless Reviving Eye Cream. It’s relatively inexpensive and my eye area feels noticeably tighter, smoother and firmer after use. When applying eye cream, it’s important to touch the eye area very gently. Don’t rub or tug the skin. Use your ring fingers to gently dab the cream around the top, bottom and side of your eyes.
MOISTURISER | This step is up to you, depending on how oily your skin is. If it is already feeling hydrated, feel free to skip out this step. If you feel like you need a bit of extra moisture, you could finish off by massaging your face with a small amount of a heavier oil, like olive oil or coconut oil.
Product alternative: I absolutely love my Sukin Rosehip Enriching Night Cream to hydrate and firm up my skin overnight.
By the end of this facial, you should feel like a glowing goddess. The turmeric in the face mask may stain your face a little bit yellow temporarily, but don’t worry, it will fade! For this reason, I recommend doing this facial before bed. Once you wake up in the morning, the yellow will have faded and you will be left with glowing, youthful and bright skin… naturally.