Holistic, alternate and traditional methods are making a huge comeback in today’s skincare industry, one of the most prevalent being Ayurveda. This 5000 year old Indian system is designed to balance the entire system according to one’s own unique personality type, through lifestyle routine, diet and skincare.
As consumers continue to seek more personalised and tailored beauty solutions, we can see why Ayurveda is gaining more and more popularity. To learn more about this buzzworthy philosophy, we chat with one of the leaders in Ayurvedic skincare – Rebecca Powne from Awe Cosmeceuticals.
Tell us about Ayurveda in a nutshell
Originating in India, Ayurveda (pronounced Eye-your-vay-da), literally translates to ‘the science of life’. It is a comprehensive medical system from India, which is approximately 5,000 years old. Ayurveda holds an elemental view of the universe and believes each person has a unique prakriti (constitution). The elements air, ether, fire, water and earth make up the three doshas, vata, pitta and kapha. By adhering to a constitution specific diet, lifestyle and spiritual advice, balance of the mind and body can be achieved.
How did your Ayurvedic journey begin?
Discovering Ayurveda nearly twenty years ago was a turning point in how I viewed wellbeing and taking control of one’s own health journey. I had always been interested in natural medicine, however I think my love of India fuelled my passion about Ayurveda and led me on a journey to study a degree programme in London. I completed a BA Ayurvedic Studies (Indian medicine) in 2003.
During my studies I had always wanted to create my own skincare range that encompassed my love for Ayurveda, along with my passion for skin, science and ingredients. I continue to explore Ayurvedic ingredients and treatments as inspiration for the AWE Cosmeceuticals range.
How does this traditional system apply to skincare today?
One of the amazing things about Ayurveda is how it has stood the test of time over thousands of years. Ayurveda has a wealth of teachings about skin disorders and rasayana (rejuvenation). There are many home remedies that have been passed down in Ayurveda for skin brightening, beautifying, treating acne and other common skin issues. These are continued to be used today and many ingredients have become widely studied and incorporated into mainstream products.
A good example is Coleus Forskholli Oil which is from the lavender and mint family and has proven to destroy acne causing bacteria as well as some strains of staph on the skin.
Why do you think Ayurveda is currently experiencing so much popularity among western culture?
I believe Ayurveda is gaining popularity due to the wellness trend and lifestyle changes people are making. People are seeking balance in their lives and Ayurveda teaches about this extensively. Ayurveda is not only concerned with diet, but the balance of the mind and the environment. For example mindfulness and gratitude have been taught for thousands of years in Ayurveda and are essential for all aspects of a healthy lifestyle and a purposeful life. Additionally the preventative aspect of Ayurvedic medicine is very appealing, just by knowing your constitution you can take control of your health and avoid disease.
Yoga has also been a big influencer as well, it has become extremely popular, which in turn has helped put a spotlight on Ayurveda. Yoga is considered a ‘sister science’ to Ayurveda and they are therefore inherently linked.
Many today believe gut health and diet hugely influence our skin’s health, does the same apply with Ayurveda?
Absolutely! Ayurvedic medicine believes that all disease is the result of poor digestion. It is interesting how gut health has become so widely spoken about, this is at the core of Ayurvedic philosophy. If food is not digested adequately it produces ama (toxins), in the body. Depending on an individual’s constitution this will lead to some form of disease.
Ayurveda teaches about the digestive fire, ‘agni’, it is this fire which determines the rate of digestion. Many things effect agni, such as the person’s dosha, the time they eat, seasonal influences, mental state and so the list goes on. This is why the teachings of Ayurveda mention daily routines to keep one balanced and agni functioning optimally. Drinking warm water with fresh ginger throughout the day is a good way to stimulate agni prior to eating, which benefits digestion. You can also use water steeped with fennel, coriander and cumin seeds depending on your dosha.
How does Awe incorporate Ayurveda into its products?
Ayurveda will always be the philosophy that AWE Cosmeceuticals is built around and remains a core principle in the products we develop. The beauty of Ayurveda is that it affects the ‘whole’ person, not just the skin! We mostly use herbs that have a long history of use for application on the skin, such as Neem, Indian Gooseberry, Sandalwood, Holy Basil, Gotu Kola, Indian Frankincense, Tumeric and Liquorice.
AWE Cosmeceuticals seeks to teach people about an Ayurvedic lifestyle and provide products which incorporate Ayurvedic ingredients and introduces daily routine items such as tongue scraping, herbal tea blends and our popular kansa wands.