These days, Ayurveda is a buzzworthy topic in the beauty world. Which is a little ironic, considering that the science itself has been around for over 5,000 years. A system of natural healing that originated in India, Ayurveda is designed to balance the body through the right diet, routine, and skin-care system—all customized to your own personal wellness blueprint, also known as your dosha. (Don’t know your dosha? Find out here whether you’re vata, pitta, or kapha—or a combination of more than one.)
Ayurvedic products are “the beauty world’s best-kept secret to date,” says Lisa Mattam, a former pharmaceutical executive who, after an a-ha moment, went on to launch the organic skincare line Sahajan. “Amla [or Indian gooseberry], for example, which is in our face and hair products, has 20 times the the amount of vitamin C as an orange, so it’s a powerful antioxidant that can brighten and protect the skin.”
Part of what makes Ayurvedic beauty products so powerful is that all of the ingredients have to actually be edible. “It’s really an inside-out view to health and beauty. I view my products as little elixirs of life—the bottles are literally alive, and thriving with cosmic energy,” says Kiera Nachman, founder of Sundara Holistic.
They also tend to be broken down by skin type, which often results in remarkably impactful (for the better) regimens. Look for labeling that refers to your dosha, or pick up products that are “tridoshic”—which means they work for all three doshas, and therefore all skin types.
But most exciting for product junkies might be how many luxe-minded Ayurvedic beauty brands there now are to choose from (think bottles so beautiful, you actually won’t feel the need to quickly hide them in your bathroom cabinet when there’s company). Why the recent boom? “The philosophy aligns with the beliefs of many people,” explains Mattam. “Ayurveda is a sister practice to yoga and it’s really about keeping your body in balance, so why not nurture your skin with a philosophy that nurtures your wellness?”
Read to get started on your Ayurvedic beauty journey (or enhance your current routine)? These 6 natural brands will have you memorizing your dosha faster than you can say, “Turmeric!”
Every product in Pratima’s line is handmade by founder Pratima Raichur (an Ayurvedic doctor with expertise in chemistry and botany), accompanied by ancient healing mantras to promote health and wellness. Two favorites include the Rejuvenating Essential Oil, a post-cleansing must-have for anyone with very dry skin, and the Liposomes Vitamin C Serum, which helps to minimize fine lines and wrinkles. Can’t get enough of Raichur’s oils and powders? Pratima also has a spa in New York City, for Ayurvedic (and super indulgent) treatments.
After traditional beauty products wrecked her skin, Sonia Lloyd founded this Australian-based Ayurvedic beauty brand (needless to say, her epidural woes have since subsided). Not only will you find products for skin and hair, but also a line for babies—perfect to get your kids started at a young age. The Pitta Hydrating Mist cools things down for the more fiery among us with rose water and jasmine essential oil, while the Kapha Cleansing Bar clears out congestion for those with a more sluggish constitution, using neem, lavender, and green clay in a powerful anti-bacterial formula that fights blackheads.
Jiva Apoha was created by Brooklynite Angela Shore, self-described “soul-searcher rolling stone” and all-around #girlboss. Consisting solely of oils, the line comes in a variety of blends for both face and body—including a personalized version (based on your answers to a questionnaire). If you don’t know where to begin, Shore recommends Sundara (Beauty) Face Oil, which is balancing and replenishing, as well as Sukhin (Happy) Body Oil, which promises to refresh and empower.
Kiera Nachman founded Sundara to heal and nurture the body and mind—and she makes all of her products by hand, while chanting ancient Vedic mantras. (Now that’s an interesting production process!) Right now, her favorite product is the Brahmi Hair Oil, which features brahmi, an Ayurvedic herb that’s said to promote brain health, nervous system health, and hair growth. “It’s revitalizing for the nerves, the brain cells, and memory. In nature, the brahmi leaf even resembles the brain—it is amazing how nature gives us these clues,” Nachman notes. (Pro tip: It doubles as a beard oil.) Nachman also recommends the Eczema • Psoriasis Body Oil, which she says has calmed her clients’ flare-ups in just a few days.
The team at Arya Essentials works with doctors in India to formulate its line of oils and creams (right now, the brand has six distinct products). That’s because creator Shadoh Punnapuzha is passionate about every single element that goes into each bottle. “According to Ayurveda, nourishing your skin with pure, high-quality ingredients from nature is the way to attain beautiful, glowing skin,” she says. For example, Arya Essentials’ Intensive Eye Balm uses powerful superherbs like ashwagandha and manjistha to reduce under eye circles and puffiness, while brahmi minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. But their best seller is the Botanical Cleanser, an oil cleanser that uses turmeric as a complexion-clearer.
Lisa Mattam was motivated to create her own line of Ayurvedic-inspired skin care after coming home one day to find her two-year-old daughter with face cream slathered all over her body. She wondered what the chemicals could do to her daughter’s young skin, and then realized—what had they been doing to her own? After working with leading doctors in Kerala, India, she created Sahajan using organic plant-based ingredients. (Best sellers include the Protective Face Serum and Ritual Body Oil.)
Looking to expand your Ayurvedic arsenal? Meet kitchari, Ayurveda’s super-soothing chicken soup equivalent.