At a time when beauty is often equated with a certain kind of complexion or a size-zero figure or certain shapes of the nose, eyes, lips etc, it is interesting to look back to a time when beauty was defined in more holistic terms. Ayurveda, the 6,000-year-old healing system, has a unique perspective on beauty. Beauty in Ayurveda is the balance between inner beauty or contentment, and outer beauty or physical perfection.
Ayurvedic science defines three faces of beauty: Vata, Pita and Kapha, which are the three doshas or bioenergies in our body. These doshas can be understood as the inherent intelligence of the body that decides physical as well as emotional characteristics of the individuals and it also connects with what type of skin you have and its particular requirements.
Your skin type, hair quality, metabolism, gut health, physical appearance, reaction to different situations and many other characteristics that make up every distinctive individual is usually decided by the unique blend of these bioenergies in the body.
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Let’s understand the three faces of Ayurvedic beauty in more detail:
Ayurveda links ‘vata’ to the air: The qualities of air make the vata skin type – i.e the skin type of those who have a higher predominance of the vata dosha in their bodies – dry, uneven toned, prone to fine lines and wrinkles. A vata skin is likely to have a thin texture with fine pores, and may show early signs of ageing as the skin tends to get dry, dehydrated, and flaky when the dosha is imbalanced. It tends to lose plumpness prematurely unless nourished on a regular basis.
As this skin type needs to be nourished and hydrated regularly, the skincare products used by those with a vata dominance should be very nurturing and should include cold-pressed oils, pure cow’s ghee, milk and Ayurvedic herbs that can nourish and rehydrate the skin.
The ‘pitta’ beauty type is generally linked to the fire element in Ayurveda: The heating attributes of pitta make this skin type extremely prone to getting tanned, as it is sensitive, soft, warm, and of medium thickness. Their body is less tolerant to hot and spicy foods. When out of balance, this skin type can flare up with sunburn, acne, pigmentation, and sunspots.
Pitta skin type needs sun protection and frequent hydration to stay balanced. Cooling and healing herbs like aloe vera, licorice, rose, and jasmine help soothe and nurture this skin type. A healing and balancing skincare regime helps the combination and sensitive skin to soothe.
Ayurveda describes ‘kapha’ beauty as the Earth’s intense embrace: In this ancient science, kapha skin is described as oily, dull, thick, has a tendency to develop enlarged pores, and is prone to cystic acne. Being an oily skin type, it attracts more impurities from the environment.
People with this skin type should deeply cleanse their face, at least two times a day. Kapha skin needs both internal and external detoxification on a regular basis. Purifying and clarifying ingredients such as neem, turmeric, nagkesar, etc. are good for kapha skin.
In addition to the aforementioned guidelines, to simply decode the Ayurvedic beauty for different doshas, one should use only fresh, pure, and seasonal ingredients in their food as well as on the skin, along with a serene and compassionate nature.
Dr. Taruna Yadav is Senior Ayurveda Expert at Forest Essentials.