Aug 29, 2023

Ayurvedic Facial 101: What is it, and what should you expect?

Here's what you can expect from an Ayurvedic Facial

Formulate user Amari wrote in with some fabulous thoughts about Ayurvedic facials:

Hope you're all doing great!  I've been hearing a lot about Ayurvedic facials lately and I'm super intrigued. I've always been into skincare, and the idea of combining natural ingredients and ancient practices sounds so so amazing. It'd be super cool if you could do an overview of them and talk about how they're different from normal facials and what happens in this kind of facial and what kind of issues they're good for! Thanks!!!

Thanks for writing, Amari!

To help answer your questions, we spoke with Licensed Esthetician Rebecca Lansky. Rebecca specializes in Ayurvedic facials, and she was kind enough to walk us through some of the work that she does with her clients. We hope you find our conversation with her helpful - we definitely did! 

But before we get started, here's a bit of background on Ayurveda, and the origination of Ayurvedic facials. Ayurvedic medicine was developed in India thousands of years ago, and it continues to be practiced there today. Ayurvedic interventions include some approaches that you're likely familiar with, including yoga and pressure point massage. 

While there's limited high-quality research on Ayurveda as a form of medicine, a few studies indicate that certain Ayurvedic preparations may be helpful in reducing pain related to rheumatoid arthritis and knee osteoarthritis. Ayurevda also may have a positive impact on quality of life for breast cancer survivors. That being said, research has shown that some Ayurvedic medicinal preparations contain unsafe quantities of metals, including lead and mercury. If you're interested in Ayurvedic products, take care to research which products contain no metals.

Now, on to speaking with our expert!

Can you provide an overview of Ayurvedic facials and how they differ from conventional facials?

Rebecca: Ayurvedic facials are a combination of a classical facial integrated with the principles of Ayurveda. I use oils and techniques to balance the physiology of the client through their skin. 

In Ayurveda each person has a predominant dosha, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. This also applies to the skin. Vata skin is dry and thin, Pitta is sensitive and rosey, rosacea tendencies. Kapha skin is smooth, oily and acne-prone. When these doshas are balanced the skin glows, when they are out of balance, skin problems arise. 

My job as an Ayurvedic esthetician is to help balance the doshas through the skin. Ayurvedic facials use a more gentle and nourishing approach in its facial. Conventional facials use a more abrasive hand in terms of peeling, puncturing or using acids to strip the skin. I like to work with the skin and nourish it while also balancing. 

How do Ayurvedic facials address both physical and spiritual well-being?  An Ayurvedic facial is a spiritual experience. It incorporates all of the 5 senses. I do a scalp massage, arm and hand massage and a facial massage, often referred to as facial yoga. Facial massage is an amazing holistic tool to manipulate and tighten the skin, a natural botox alternative. 

By balancing and relaxing the body one is more connected to themselves and their surroundings. I urge my clients to think of their skin routine as a wellness ritual. I try to sway them away from the cosmetic aspect. Taking care of your skin is a health practice. The skin is the largest organ and reflects any health problems we experience inside. 

What specific skin issues or concerns can Ayurvedic facials help alleviate or improve?

Rebecca: Ayurvedic facials can target any skin issue. The key is to find the source of what problem the skin is displaying and learning how to balance it. In my facial I use Ayurvedic ingredients such as herbal oils, clay and herbal-infused powders to target these issues as well. Oils are an essential component of my facials for all skin types. I use holistic ingredients to balance and refine the skin of each client. 

Could you walk us through the typical steps involved in an Ayurvedic facial treatment?

Rebecca: I begin my facials with a double cleanse. This ensures all of the bacteria and dirt is removed. For most clients, I use an Ayurvedic cleansing milk that is plant-based and has zero chemicals that could strip the skin.

 I then steam warm towels infused with organic rosewater to remove the cleanser or makeup. Then I begin a 5-10 minute facial massage. This helps get the blood circulating and gets rid of the dead and dry skin on the surface. The facial massage also helps alleviate migraines and jaw pain. 

Then exfoliation, with a gentle powder (nothing too abrasive), a white clay mask, and scalp massage using Ayurvedic eucalyptus oil. During the mask I will use an Ayurvedic oil to massage the neck, arms, hands, and feet. 

Then I apply serum, cream, and facial oil. I end the facial with cooling facial globes. 

Are there specific Ayurvedic herbs, ingredients, or formulations commonly used in facial treatments? 

The products I use are Mapi Ayurvedic products. All plant-based. Many of these ingredients are lotus, ashwaganda, rose, licorice, sandalwood and many other incredible botanicals that balance and soothe the skin. 

How do these ingredients benefit the skin? 

Rebecca: Each product targets different skin problems. White clay helps dry out oil and nourish the skin, rose water helps combat redness and excess heat, and herb infused oils help calm and balance the whole body. The key is finding the right product for the right skin type. That is my job and what I love to do. 

What kind of assessment or consultation is conducted before administering an Ayurvedic facial? 

Rebecca: I like to get a good idea about my client through email or phone. However I can tell a lot about a client by seeing their skin instantly. Lifestyle is a huge part of someone's skin health. I want to know what they eat, alcohol consumption, water intake and how much sleep they get each night. The products they use come second to all of these questions. 

Can you share any success stories or testimonials from clients who have experienced positive results from Ayurvedic facials?

Rebecca: One of my favorite success stories is from a young man! He had cystic acne on his face and chest. He came to me to treat the blemishes. During our first facial I asked him questions about his lifestyle. He was an athlete and was in the gym a lot. I asked him if he consumed protein powders. He did in fact take whey protein daily. I told him to cut it out for a month and come back and see how his skin was looking. By his next appointment his acne was about 85% gone! After 3 facials his skin was not only acne free but he was glowing! Ayurvedic facials are about looking at the entire body and how the skin is affected.

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