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Written by: Dr. Shweta Netke, Senior Ayurvedic Doctor at Forest Essentials.
The term Ayurveda is derived from the Sanskrit word, āyurvedah – ‘ayuh’ that means life and ‘veda’ that means knowledge. Ayurveda is a way of living – striking a cohesive balance and empowering your external and internal environment in utmost harmony.

The secrets to flawless skin and ageless beauty have been known to Indian physicians for over six thousand years, preserved in one of the world’s oldest systems of health care and healing, known as ‘Ayurveda’ or ‘Knowledge of Life’. In India, Ayurveda has always been a way of life. In ancient Ayurvedic Indian scriptures, skincare formulations, ingredients, food habits and lifestyle were subtly interwoven with seasons, which were practiced in every Indian household, and this knowledge was passed over generations. From the food we eat, to the seasonal changes in lifestyle, to what we use for health and beauty, it was all based on the foundation of this ancient science of Ayurveda. The use of cosmetics and Ayurvedic rituals for self- beautification by both men and women is believed to have originated in India, with their earliest records dating back to the Indus valley civilization.

Growing up in an Indian household, in a country steeped in culture and heritage, one starts their beauty journey with traditional skincare—secrets our mothers and grandmothers have sworn by for generations. We have grown up with our mother’s and grandmother’s nuskas (recipes), tips and tricks they’d learned from their mothers, passed on from an older generation. Every few days, they would whip up a nourishing face mask or moisturizing cream with ingredients in our kitchen—besan (chickpea flour), kesar (saffron), ghee (clarified butter), and almonds; ingredients to which Indian women have contributed their bright, shining eyes, lustrous hair, and supple skin for centuries. They would even make their own kajal, using the soot from diyas (oil lamps made from clay or mud with cotton wicks dipped in oil), we lit at home, the ash emphasizing their eyes and also cooling and brightening them with regular use, not dissimilar from how the Egyptians first used and manufactured kohl. Every evening, we would wake up to our mothers scenting the house with camphor and her soothing blends of resins from our prayer rooms. Their everyday practices cemented our beauty ethos. We have seen, firsthand, the benefits of natural ingredients and ancient practices; it never occurred to us that skincare could be another way.

Every morning, they would sit to do their shringaar, their beauty routine. They would add colour to their cheeks, line their eyes, moisturize and lightly tinge their mouths with hue. Their betel nut-tinted lips and beetroot-washed cheeks gave a natural colour to their cheeks. They weren’t alone in their practices—Indian history is ripe with instances of household ingredients being used for their colour to create makeup, dating back to the Vedas.

Over the years, as our lives became progressively busier, it has become easy to resort to chemical cosmetics and rely on them for enhancement. However, in recent years, people have become more conscious of what they apply to their skin, wanting ingredients to not only be natural but also be sustainable and ethical in their manufacturing. We have come full circle—back to our roots with a focus on clean beauty, a distinct lack of chemicals and preservatives in makeup and skincare.

Ayurveda presents a collaborative approach to organic beauty that works on 3 levels – outer perfection, inner beauty and ‘Ojas’ or the charisma of absolute beauty, reflected in inner vitality, lustrous hair, glowing skin, clear shining eyes, and an ‘inner fire’. When outer perfection is balanced with inner contentment and vitality, it cannot be diminished by age or time. This is known as ‘Ojas’ or Eternal Beauty. In Ayurveda, the entire universe consists of five basic elements: Vayu (Air), Jal (Water), Aakash (Space), Prithvi (Earth), and Teja (Fire). These five elements — referred to as the Panchmahabhutas — are believed to serve the diagnosis for all treatments and illnesses of the human body and mind successfully.

The Ayurvedic approach to health and skincare embraces all aspects of a person’s lifestyle. When it comes to skincare, the resilience and glow of a person’s skin is considered a reflection of their health. Additionally, the quality of skin is determined by a person’s Dosha, or each of the three energies believed to circulate in the body and govern physiological activity. The three Ayurvedic Doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The truth about Ayurveda is that it suggests various tools and recommendations to optimize our mental health, purify and properly nourish our bodies internally as well as externally with natural, fresh and pure ingredients suited to your specific ‘Dosha’. Very simplistically, Vata is dry, Pitta is generally combination and Kapha is oily. Skincare regimes, diet and lifestyle changes, according to your active ‘Dosha’ when in balance bring out that desirable glow or as Ayurveda describes flawless skin – lustrous, smooth, evenly colored, firm, elastic and with a golden sheen. Hence, in Ayurveda, it is key to choose a skincare regime that matches the kind of skin and Dosha a person has.

At Forest Essentials, we help our consumers not only look beautiful but feel beautiful. Our products come from a place of love, artisanal skill and endearing passion, each made by hand wherever possible, blended in specific proportions prescribed by the Vedas (Ayurvedic physicians), and with the most intricate attention to detail. In 2017, we continued to revolutionize the beauty landscape by introducing highly trained and certified Ayurveda practitioners. This took our retail experience both online and offline to the next level. Professionally qualified to understand Skin Care according to Ayurveda, our Ayurveda consultants not only contribute to enhancing one’s knowledge of Forest Essentials’ products but also help customers understand benefits of an Ayurvedic lifestyle.

Given its popular synonymity with terms like ‘purity’, ‘healing’ & ‘natural treatment’, Ayurveda, now more than ever, is being looked at as a more trusting and effective means of beauty globally. The world is envisaging a future that is more committed to health and overall wellbeing. Perception is everything and over the years, Forest Essentials has been able to change the perception of Ayurveda from being non-pleasurable and medicinal, by pioneering the combination of exceptionally efficacious principles and authentic recipes of Ayurveda with modern formulations. We have redefined and revolutionized Ayurveda as Luxurious Ayurveda by introducing products with extraordinary purity, pleasurable scents, and above all the highest possible efficacy and quality to create a completely new segment in the market that did not exist earlier.