Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ayurvedic Skincare: Your Journey Towards Holistic Healing

[As published on Emmagem.com HERE]
Whenever I meet a skincare expert, I always ask them for secrets to perfectly flawless skin. Their answer is usually the same: Good skin is healthy, well-moisturised skin. How you take care of yourself is more important than what you apply on your face. I’m sure many of you who read this will be thinking, ‘pfft – easy to say when they have good skin!’
But as clich├ęd as it may sound, it’s true. When I was in my early twenties, I ate whatever I fancied, stayed up till the wee hours of the morning, and sometimes went to bed with my makeup on. Despite piling my face with lots of products (my highest count was 13 products during my night-time routine), I still got pimples on my cheeks and forehead almost every week.
Now, as I become more health-conscious, I eat less fried food (although I do crave for fried chicked every now and then), and I try to exercise at least twice a week. From monthly facials, I’ve since stopped going for them, and I only use basic skincare items – cleanse, tone, moisturise. My new best friend: facial masks. I still have a few pitted scars on my cheeks, courtesy of my pimple-plagued days, but my body is cleaner than it was 2 years ago. Touch wood, I’ve not had any serious acne problems for months now.
My point is: you don’t have to spend a bomb on products that promise you the world. Of course, it’s a personal choice, but if you take care of yourself properly, it will pay off just the same.
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Recently I’ve been quite fascinated with Ayurvedic skincare. Ayurveda is a holistic science of health, which emphasises the balance of three different aspects within the body, called dosha. Doshas are the energies within each invididual, and each dosha performs different functions:
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Vata dosha: controls bodily functions like blood circulation, breathing and your heartbeat.
A balanced Vata dosha gives you creativity and vitality, whereas an unbalanced one will cause fear and anxiety.
Pitta dosha: energy that controls the body’s metabolic systems like digestion, nutrition and your body’s temperature.
A balanced Pitta dosha gives you contentment and intelligence, whereas an unbalanced one will cause anger and ulcers.
Kapha dosha: energy that controls growth. Supplies water to the body, moisturises the skin and maintains the immune system.
A balanced Kapha dosha lets you express love and forgiveness, whereas an unbalanced one will cause insecurity and envy .
Truth be told, Ayurveda is a whole world of science in itself, so we’re only going to look at it from a beauty perspective. You’ll notice that many spas in Malaysia offer Ayurvedic treatments, which are said to have incredible healing powers. Ayurvedic treatments use a lot of oil, the most famous of which is the Shirodhara, where oil is poured onto the forehead in a continuous stream to restore the balance of the three doshas.
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If you’ve been feeling a little worse for wear lately, why not splurge on these ultra-lavish Ayurvedic retreats and give yourself a treat.
Spa Village Pangkor Laut
Surrounded by lush greenery and located right next to the ocean, a spa getaway doesn’t get any better than this.
Golden Horses Health Sanctuary
Located inside Palace of the Golden Horses, the extensive Ayurvedic menu covers everything from massages to eye therapy.
Ambong Ambong Langkawi
For the full experience, check into Ambong Ambong Langkawi, which offers a 3D/2N retreat where you learn the intricacies of Yoga and Ayurveda.

But of course, you can still relax in the comfort of your own home! Here are two super-affordable Ayurvedic skincare brands to check out:
Just Herbs
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I got to know about Just Herbs when Luxola advertised a 20% discount promotion on the brand’s products. Despite having quite a stash of beauty products at home, I succumbed to temptation and ordered three products, which cost me a total of RM120. Quite reasonable in my opinion, since it contains organic and/or natural products, and is imported all the way from India. What I like about the products is that they’re non-oily and sit very well on the skin, without rubbing off in flakes or making me look like I dipped myself in oil. What I don’t like so much: the extra-strong scent. But efficacy-wise, I’ve noticed a glow in my complexion that wasn’t there three weeks ago.
The good: visible results, formula is suitable for Malaysian climate, affordable.
The not-so-good: strong smell, short expiry date (6 months from opening).
Just Herbs is available in Malaysia from Luxola.com.

Himalaya Herbal Healthcare
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Himalaya has been in Malaysia even since my high-school days, and the brand is still going strong, so I guess they must be doing something right. I remember my first Himalaya purchase: an anti-acne zit cream, which left my face smelling very ‘herbal’, for lack of a better description. Recently I picked up the new body lotion (at a very affordable price of RM10 – it was on sale), because the saleslady told me it was water-based. True enough, it absorbed extremely well without leaving a greasy film, but the smell was also quite strong (the one I got had a powdery floral scent). But if you’re looking for quality products with a wallet-friendly price tag, you’ll find something you like at Himalaya, which even sells slimming supplements and other health-related products too.
The good: very affordable price, wide selection of products, can be found in most shopping malls.
The not-so-good: strong smell, unattractive packaging.
Himalaya Herbal Healthcare is available in Malaysia at Himalaya boutiques and major pharmacies.

Have a happy week ahead!

(Images: delightjourneys.com, medicure.co.in, worldalldetails.com, justherbs.in, brownandcoconut.com, yogauonline.com, ayurvedaacharya.com)

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