With the opening up of Indian economy, companies like L’Oreal and Revlon have inked impressive profits by flooding the Indian market with Western-developed anti-wrinkle creams and shampoos that previously were only to be found in the black market. Now, predictably perhaps, traditional Indian beauty treatments based on the ancient principles of Ayurveda are winning converts in the West. Around for more than 5,000 years, these ancient Indian beauty secrets are enough to inspire women, who were once content to describe their skin as dry or oily, to discover whether their Dosha or spiritual energy, is best classified as Kapha (earth), Vata (air) or Pitta (fire).
Ayurveda, Sanskrit for wisdom of life, is believed to be the oldest holistic approach to health and well-being to have bowled the West over. So much so, The Body Shop has introduced a new line of Ayurvedic-inspired products, while model Christy Turlington has begun a skincare brand based on Ayurvedic concepts, with both lines using essential oils and herbs cultivated predominantly in India. Taking ideas that are thousands of years old, they have used modern technology for maximising their efficaciousness.
The beauty secrets of Indian women has fascinated the West for ages. And, in an age where beauty has many followers, there is boundless curiosity about Indian beauty aids, the secrets behind those glowing complexions, beautiful, sparkling eyes, and lustrous manes. Timeless beauty secrets from Ayurveda that slow ageing and keep the skin soft, smooth, supple and radiant.
With no chemical chemical ingredients in these treatments, one is not wrong when one says that all the requisite components are to be found in one’s kitchen. Ancient India advocates the use of Amla, Shikakai and Henna to nourish, strengthen and condition the hair, instead of using shampoos and hair care products that are completely chemical based. Henna is also used as a natural hair colourant as it imparts a healthy sheen and a reddish tint to the hair. But, one ancient Indian beauty tip that all Indian women swear by is a coconut oil massage before shampooing the hair. Coconut oil not only softens and conditions dry, limp hair, it also promotes hair growth and combats dandruff.
To add a glow to the skin, the ancient Indians grated raw coconut and squeezed out its milk, which they applied to the face and lips. They made a facial moisturizer from one tablespoon orange juice, one tablespoon lemon juice and one tablespoon yogurt which was mixed into a past and applied as a face mask for 15-minutes, and then wiped off with a damp cloth or wet tissue. As well, one tablespoon of honey, two tablespoons of cream applied to the face and washed off after 3-5 minutes made for a better moisturizer than all of L’Oreal and Revlon’s beauty arsenal put together.
Ancient Indians transferred well kept beauty secrets to their future generations, and out of the Indian beauty aids, sandalwood has a unique place. It has been used as a cream, medicine, as well as, makeup in India. It cleanses and moisturizes the skin, while protecting it from the harmful rays of the sun. Useful for treating acne, combine two teaspoons of sandalwood with enough rosewater and spread evenly on the face. Leave on for 20 – 30 minutes. Or, for soft, glowing skin make a Sandalwood Masque from Sandalwood powder, Tumeric Powder, and Milk, apply to your face and wash off after 3-5 minutes. In India, two varieties of sandalwood are used for skin treatment, white sandal for make-up and skin care, while the red sandal has been widely acclaimed for its medicinal values and skin care abilities.
As one can see, Ancient India knew Beauty was not just skin-deep, but went far deeper reflecting the soul. Knowing that first impressions counted, they have used this knowledge to their best advantage since thousands of years, almost instinctively. Cosmetics were made out of natural ingredients, easily available in their kitchens and gardens. They bathed in milk and rose petal baths for soft, supple skin, made fragrances from flowers growing in their gardens, just to enhance their beauty and add to their allure. Kohl and opulent attire, flowers essences to fragrance their hair and bodies, colour for the lips, their beauty secrets were intended to keep one beautiful and young forever.