Ayurveda Journal, Week 4: Skincare (& Mind-care) Routine

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It’s been a full month since I’ve been introduced to the world of Ayurveda. I don’t know that my life has drastically changed just yet, but I’ve made changes — both external and internal — that I can feel have already started to get me moving in the right direction. (An interesting side note: I just accidentally typed “I don’t know that my mind has drastically changed just yet” – instead of “life”… So fitting, as my mind is the apparent cause of my need for healing).

Among those changes are two significant ones. The first is my weekly attendance of Lilavati’s slow flow yoga class, where we feel and breathe… move and listen… feel and breathe… and feel some more. It’s a class filled with infinite wisdom, powerful mantras, intoxicating oils, and a palpable energy. I constantly struggle with the ability to silence my mind – and this issue comes right to class with me — but I have been becoming more and more aware of it as the moments pass, and I make more of an effort to detach myself from the burden of my thoughts with the dawn of every day.

The second significant change I’ve made has been to my skincare routine. As you all may be aware, I’m quite gung-ho about natural beauty products, but I must admit that I’ve been using acne products (like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid) for years. Years. Thirteen years to be exact. I know that these things are not good for me, but every time I tried taking a break from them in the past, it seemed that my skin would get worse and worse – it was as if my skin had become addicted to these chemicals. I knew I needed to stop. I just didn’t know how.

After my first abyhanga, I learned that my skin was incredibly dehydrated – and these acne products were only making it worse! Lilavati put me on a new skincare regimen, which I’ve been on for about a week and a half now. Holy cow, you guys. My skin feels totally new. I still have blemishes – this is something that will be worked out as I make more progress in my internal healing – but my face just feels totally moisturized. It’s such a drastic change that I have to stop myself from touching my face to enjoy the softness of my skin every few minutes. It’s wonderful.

This week, I’d like to give you a glimpse of the products (all homemade by Lilavati in small, beautiful batches) that I’m using on a daily basis.

Lilavati told me not to use any cleansers on my face in the mornings. “You don’t want to over-wash,” she said. This was the hardest part for me to adjust to, mentally. I was so used to washing and washing and washing, trying to keep my skin “clean”. Instead, I’m just to rinse off with water and a small sponge each morning. I can then apply this special light green mixture to my face before heading out into this world. This product is one that Lilavati doesn’t offer on her website. It’s for special cases – and I guess I’m one of those. It smells fresh and light, almost lemony with a hint of spice. I can’t trust my nose to tell me what it’s made of, but I know that my skin loves it.

Hand holding glass

Come nighttime, I massage Varnya cleansing oil onto my face. In Sanskrit, Varnya is the illuminating quality that arouses glow and luminosity. The cleanser is made with aloe and apricot kernel oils, as well as olive leaf, rose hips, rose buds, jasmine, lavender, turmeric, neem, and a bunch of other incredible herbs and oils.

Varnya cleansing oil

After splashing this off my face, I mix a little bit of this clay-like powder with a little bit of the Varnya oil and pat all over my face, forming a type of mask. I’m not sure exactly what it’s made of, but I love this part. I leave this mask on for a few minutes… maybe 3, maybe 15 – however I’m feeling. It gives my skin a slightly cooling sensation, and when I rinse it off, my skin feels incredibly saturated with fresh moisture.

Ayuvedic skincare

After my nightly face wash comes what may be the most important part of my day – mentally, at least. My daily abyhanga – a full-body massage that I give to myself using oil. Since Lilavati has identified me as mostly Pitta, I use a calming and cooling oil that has been created specifically to relieve obstructed heat within the body. It’s made with sesame, coconut, and sunflower oils; as well as brahmi, jatamansi, manjista, rose, sandalwood, fennel, lavender, calendula, and chrysanthemum herbs; and then tagetes, fennel, and lavender essential oils. As I massage this into my skin, I try to relax as best as I can. I focus on every breath in and out, as well as the feeling of the oil touching my skin. This physical and mental practice helps to get everything flowing in the body. This flow allows trapped energy to be released from the body, healing the being both inside and out.

Pitta dosha oil

So there you have it: a look at the new products that I have happily welcomed into my life, and a snapshot of my daily routine. I’d love to hear about your ayurvedic regimens, too. Please feel free to share!

See more of our ayurveda posts here, and please check out Lilavati’s healing center Temple of the Lotus, as well as her website and skincare line Aromabliss. She is such a shining light in my life!

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Comments

Arielle -November 18, 2013, 9:11AM

I can relate to your frustration with acne chemicals and over a decade of less than satisfying results. I lived in Philadelphia last year and discovered a group of estheticians who changed my life and skin in the most surprisingly wonderful way. I urge you to visit Affordable Skincare Salon in fishtown on Frankford ave. they have a treatment called acne stop, it is the most effective treatment I have ever encountered. I went regularly for a year and today I have not been for months but my skin continues to heal and the surface continues to smooth and clear the decade of scarring. I hope this helps you on your journey to beautiful skin!

fp brigette -November 18, 2013, 10:09AM

Thank you so much for the info Arielle! I’m so glad it worked for you :)

Annejelina -November 18, 2013, 10:33AM

I’ve just recently started the oil cleansing method and it has done wonders to my skin. Thank you for sharing <3 xoxo Annejelina

Visit my shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/CrownofCreationShop

Adi -November 18, 2013, 11:19AM

I had a really good skin, but due to hectic activities and constantly being out in the sun it’s all tanned and suffering from acne. While, these two are manageable, the size my pores have become is not at all a pretty sight. On some suggestions, I am planning to start doing some suryanamaskars before my lectures. :)

colie -November 18, 2013, 1:32PM

I love reading these Ayurveda posts; its really important for us to get back to what nature can do for us, not just as women but as a whole human race. Your descriptions are great I just wish there were some modified recipes so that I could attempt them myself!
All my Love
-Nicole

Juliette Laura -November 18, 2013, 3:08PM

This is so incredible!! I seriously am going to check out her site, because this sounds like a dream.

xo, Juliette Laura
http://juliettelaura.blogspot.com

Mackenzie -November 18, 2013, 5:32PM

I would also recommend another ayurvedic technique called skin brushing- it’s totally amazing. It detoxifies your skin, improves circulation and makes your skin look gorgeous. Definitely recommend!

Cassie -November 18, 2013, 10:51PM

What do you use to remove your makeup at night? Does the nighttime routine remove makeup as well as cleanse? I usually use Neutrogena face wipes but I don’t want to be putting those chemicals on my skin anymore.

fp brigette -November 19, 2013, 9:36AM

Cassie – the cleanser removes my face makeup, but I don’t use it for my mascara (although maybe I could!)… jojoba oil is great for removing eye makeup :)

Alison -November 20, 2013, 1:57PM

I love this. Going all-natural is definitely difficult – it is something that I try to do in my life, but I’m still working on it. Thank you for sharing your journey with us :) blessings.

Kristin -December 10, 2013, 10:23PM

I’m really enjoying these posts! I can’t help but relate completely! I teach yoga and have been studying Ayurveda for several months now. I got Pratima Raichur’s book Absolute Beauty and have been trying out her recipes in hopes of healing my acne I’ve had for about 7 years. I’m pitta kapha and have had sensitive skin my whole life, always being told to put harsh, drying chemicals or creams on it to cure the acne! Anyway, I feel the same! Though my acne is still not great my skin feels so nourished now, I must be headed in the right direction I figure. Here’s to patience and knowing you’re on the right path (: You’re very lucky to have Lilavati to guide you!!

Meg -January 6, 2014, 7:16AM

So glad you covered this aspect of Ayurveda! What a wonder it can be to stop using chemicals on your face. I took the plunge on that 6 years ago and have been so happy with how my skin has changed. I was glad you pointed out too that the internal health is an important factor in skin health and it’s not just about what we do on the outside that counts! I, too, got turned onto this by Pratima’s book and after reading your blog, I think I’ll be going to visit Lilavati and try her products!

If I had a dollar for everytime someone expressed major fear at using oil on their skin (“will I become oily?!?”), I’d have a lot of dollars. It’s time for us to realize that juicy, soft, glowing skin is a result of a balanced amount of oil, and if you find the right kind that will work for you, you’ll never go back:) Thanks for sharing this ancient wisdom in a modern light!!

Meg T
http://www.reallivingyoga.com

consumer reports on derm exclusive -July 18, 2014, 4:41PM

Aρpreciate this post. Will try it out.

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