July 11, 2012

Ayurvedic Beauty Secrets: DIY Facial Cleanser & Mask

We all want younger, healthier, more radiant looking skin.

In the past, I have written extensively on how to restore the function of the inner skin, by which I mean the epithelium that lines the heart, gut, lungs and arteries.

Today I want to discuss how to care for the outer skin, the skin that covers our bodies. Aside from affecting how we look, the outer skin also functions as a major detoxifying organ.

The outer skin is drained by an active and detoxifying lymph system, much like the inner skin. In the same way we pay attention to the health of the inner skin, we must also pay attention to the function of the outer skin, as it is a major detoxification organ. When the outer skin becomes congested, the body becomes toxic and the skin prematurely ages, sags and wrinkles.

Join me for Part 1 of this series on Ayurvedic beauty secrets as I share some home Ayurvedic skin care recipes to cleanse and tone your skin. In addition, find out your Ayurvedic Skin Type and adjust your skin care formula accordingly.

Next week, in Part 2 of this series, I will discuss natural moisturizing techniques and home recipes to help further restore the natural function and beauty of the skin.

Your Skin—Your Largest Detox Organ

In 1996, I started working with Ben Fuchs, a brilliant natural pharmacist, to co-create an Ayurvedic skin care line that would actually restore the function of the skin rather than just affect the skin’s surface appeal.

I was finding that the skin of many of my patients had ceased to function optimally and was unable to detoxify adequately. Many of the Ayurvedic treatments we employ at LifeSpa during our detox retreats, called “Panchakarma,” depend on the skin as a detox channel and exit ramp for stored toxins. Many fat soluble toxic chemicals, including preservatives, pesticides, environmental pollutants and heavy metals, store in the fatty layers just beneath the skin.

These toxins can congest the lymphatic drainage of the skin and slow down skin function. Literally, the skin’s transit—the time it takes for the skin to slough off old cells and present new cells—become much longer. This not only makes the surface layers of the skin look old, dry, and lackluster, it also compromises the skin’s ability to function as a much-needed detoxification organ.

Medicines for the Skin

In 1998, we launched the LifeSpa preservative-free, chemical-free skin care line that I like to call, Medicines for the Skin (now made with organic herbs).

Based on the Ayurvedic principles behind LifeSpa’s skincare line, I want to share some traditional home recipes for cleansing, toning and repairing the skin.

Each recipe can be modified to your individual Ayurvedic skin type. I invite you to take our free Ayurvedic Skin Type Questionnaire now and determine your skin type. Once you know your skin type, just follow the corresponding recipe for your skin type, below, for both the cleanser-toner and mask.

Ayurvedic Beauty Secrets

The basics of a good daily cleanser are to first soften and gently moisturize, and then to exfoliate the skin. This insures that the skin will not be irritated in any way. To achieve this result, we use chickpea flour, also known as gram or besan flour, as a base, which is naturally both exfoliating and moisturizing.

From there, we need to treat the skin much like we treat the villi of the gut. My favorite herb for this is Triphala, which contains three Ayurvedic fruits that are commonly used to heal, detoxify and tone the skin of the gut.

The three fruits found in Triphala powder are:


This is loaded with Vitamin C that supports the collagen and elasticity of the skin. It supports repair for damaged skin and is shown to support the skin’s natural immune and inflammation response, making it great for the damaged and puffy skin under the eyes. It is especially good for Pitta skin.


This is known as a natural detoxifying agent that increases micro-circulation into the deeper layers of the skin. It supports a natural inflammation response, is astringent and flushes sweat glands and detoxifies the skin. Again, this is very good for swollen or puffy skin. It is especially useful for Kapha skin.


This is a natural toner that pulls toxins out of the deeper layers of the skin. It is also known as a great rejuvenator for the skin. It is best for Vata skin, as it calms the nervous system and relieves hypersensitive or stressed skin.

The recipe below for the Ayurvedic mask has similar properties to the cleanser-toner, but with ingredients that pull toxins and repair the skin at a deeper level. Because the mask is left on the skin longer, it must also be soothing and gentle on the skin.

Home Recipes

Ayurvedic Cleanser-Toner

•    1 Tablespoon chickpea flour
•    1/4 teaspoon Triphala powder

Mix into a paste with rose water and apply with circular strokes or a rotating brush as a cleanser-toner.

Vata Skin Types:

Add 1 tsp of raw honey

Pitta Skin Types:

Add 1/4 tsp of dried Neem or Mint leaves (if using fresh leaves, use 1/2 tablespoon of mashed leaves and mix into your paste)

Kapha Skin Types:

Add 1 tsp of raw honey with 1/2 tsp lemon juice

Ayurvedic Mask

•    2 Tablespoons chickpea flour
•    1/4 teaspoon Triphala powder
•    1/8 teaspoon Turmeric
•    1/4 teaspoon of dried Neem or Mint leaves (if using fresh leaves – use 1/2

Tablespoon of mashed leaves and mix into your paste

Mix the above ingredients into a paste and apply to the skin one to two times per week for 5-10 minutes, and rinse.

Vata Skin Types:

Mash 1-2 Tablespoons of ripe avocado and mix into your base mask paste

Pitta Skin Types:

Mash 1-2 Tablespoons of cucumber and mix into your base mask paste

Kapha Skin Types:

Mash 1-2 Tablespoons of ripe papaya and mix into your base mask paste

Use 1 Tablespoon for regular skin and 2 Tablespoons for sensitive skin


Editor: Brianna Bemel

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