True Beauty Is More than Skin Deep—Here’s How to Nourish Yours
You may have heard the phrase “beauty is only skin deep” as a rebuttal to our culture’s obsession with looking a certain way, whether it’s maintaining youthful, dewy plumpness even into our wisdom years or a flat, six-pack tummy even after bearing children. While the intention behind this idea is sincere—beauty on the surface does not directly translate to beauty below the surface, in one’s heart or personality—Ayurveda begs to differ. In fact, an Ayurvedic view of beauty might say just the opposite, and more: beauty is not just skin deep—but penetrates much deeper, through the skin, blood, muscle, fat, bone, marrow, and reproductive tissue. Beauty is indeed a reflection of all seven tissue layers, or dhatus , of our body being balanced and working together—the ultimate reflection of the health of our entire system.
Simple Beauty Rituals for Each Dosha
As you build a beauty cabinet of Ayurvedic practices, keep these rituals in mind to bring your unique constitution into its most radiant state of body, mind, and spirit. If you’re not sure which dosha needs your TLC, consider taking the dosha quiz.
Vata-Balancing Beauty Rituals
- Massage your body in oil. In Sanskrit ”sneha” means oil, as well as love, and the practice of abhyanga gives us a taste of both! Combat dry skin by massaging sesame oil or Vata Massage Oil all over your body to give your skin a glow of health and suppleness.
- Recharge. Prioritize rest and quality sleep. This is when your body can replenish your active senses and mind, encourage healthy cell and muscle repair, and prevent dark circles and wrinkles.
- Hydrate. Keep your tissues moist and supple with warming herbal teas like CCF, Tulsi Fields, Joyful Heart, and chai. Avoid drying and stimulating caffeinated beverages.
Pitta-Balancing Beauty Rituals
- Bathe yourself in flowers. Pitta loves fragrance and all things floral, so use rose water on your skin to cleanse pitta and wear floral scents to soften and cool any excess intensity.
- Soak in soma. Enjoy a “bath” under the full moon, the nourishing light of which is called soma in Sanskrit. As you look up at the soft, brilliant moon, imagine your own face radiating with that same nourishing light. Anyone can benefit from this, and it is especially useful for supporting the menstrual cycle.
- Have fun with hats. Get fancy with hats that will protect fair and sensitive skin from the damaging rays of the sun. At the same time, be sure you’re getting enough vitamin D by exposing your skin to the sun without any covering (including sunscreen) for about 15 minutes a day. This can be especially powerful for those who suffer from the winter blues or who spend a lot of time indoors.
Kapha-Balancing Beauty Rituals
- Get moving! Exercise will help promote warmth and circulation for kahas who tend toward stagnation. A good sweat session will bring color and clarity to your face immediately!
- Sweeten up with honey. Honey is kapha’s best friend: It goes down sweet but has a potent scraping and astringent quality to remove any built-up ama. For a glowing face, use a raw honey and sea salt mask once a week.
- Steam and soften. Like exercise without effort, a dry sauna can be a great way for kapha to flush out toxins through the skin. Internally, ginger and cinnamon tea creates a warming and pungent environment in the gut that will move out any unmetabolized waste.