What does it mean if a beauty product e.g. soap or face wash describes itself as Ayurvedic? Is this the same as ‘natural’, and is there an official stamp that I should look out for? Thank you
This is a very good question! One that gets to the very heart of what Ayurveda is: is it just an ancient medicine? Or is it a living medicine? It is both! and it asks us to respond to the needs of the people on this earth, as it and we evolve.
We live in an age of consumerism, where products and ideas are made to be sold and Ayurveda in some sense stands at odds with that. It gives us the tools to take care of ourselves, including recipes for products using natural materials etc. Saying that, we are blessed in today’s times with convenience; we don’t all have the time or inclination to be whisking potions and lotions all day long.
The ancient texts gave us recipes and instructions for external and internal treatment, and showed us what qualities suited what constitution and needs. And this leads me to point number one:
- We all have different skin and body needs, what suits you might not suit me. So get to know what you need. Do you have deeply dry skin, or superficially dry skin with a little oiliness underneath, do you need warming oils or cooling ones, does your skin respond well to essential oils etc.
Are there some simple beauty regimes we can carry out ourselves?
- There are some simple things we can all do for ourselves, such as massages with raw organic sesame oil before a bath to calm our vata. As well as salt and essential oil baths. I love doing both these things!
These are the things I think it is important to consider when buying beauty products:
- The word ‘natural’ sadly doesn’t mean very much. Even if a brand uses 1 or 2 ‘natural’ ingredients (or derivatives) amidst a plethora of chemicals, they can label it natural, missing any stamp from a regulatory body that would deem it 100% organic (which does mean something!)
- Each country has different regulatory bodies, I can see that you live in the UK (like I do), so we should look out for a stamp from: The Soil Association, it therefore meets COSMOS standards. These stamps promise that your product will contain no: animal testing, GM, controversial chemicals, parabens and phthalates, synthetic colours, dyes or fragrances, and no nano particles. (I am always surprised by what’s in the: “this does not contain” list, knowing that some products do contain this stuff?) In the USA, there is USDA which is the mark of organic certification, and in France, ECOCERT.
- I am always keen to avoid the above outlined list when buying any beauty products. Our skin is our largest organ that is in contact with the outside world as well our cells and tissues.
- I think it’s important to limit our intake of fluoride, as well as using ethernet rather than WiFi, and wearing anti-blue light glasses to give ourselves a break, see some interesting information here, if you want to dive further into this by Dr Jack Kruse.
- I like to change up the brands of my products. You can become habituated to things, which can leads to dependence and a build up of toxicity. We want to keep everything fresh and vital!
Now is a particularly important time to think about what we’re putting into and onto our body, with the increasing amounts of external forces at play that we have little control over (EMF’s, 5G, GM products, mass-produced foods, fluoride in water etc. see that Jack Kruse link above for more info on this).
But, this is not a thing to fear either, we are here now for a reason, in these exact conditions. My prayer is that people do what they can to support themselves and those around them.
By Selina Van Orden