I found this book in one of the South India's bookstores. It got my attention because of the cover - an ancient drawing depicted the woman's beauty from the times long gone.
When I read a few of the pages whilst deciding to buy the book or not, I was surprised by the straightforwardness and usefulness of the information about beauty, so I bought the book. And I wasn't disappointed for doing so.
The book is a bit thick - my edition has 281 pages. However it's very easy to read, you may not even notice how you will get to the very end of it.
This book may be slightly more suitable for women, but it would also suit those men who want to look after their skin, hair and health in general, in a natural way.
Ayurvedic Beauty Care book focuses a lot on the skin and hair betterment, but it also mentions quite extensively how to fully cleanse your internal body and nourish it naturally.
What dosha type are you?
The first part of the book deals with three doshas. A dosha, as the author explains, is a life-giving force. There are three doshas in total, each one having different quality. For examle, Kapha can be described as wet; Vata - as wind or breath; Pitta - as heat or energy.
Each person has one particular dosha dominating, but sometimes it happens that all three doshas are of completely equal amount in one person.
In this section there is a comprehensive test to assess which is your dominant dosha, and then the author gives advice about the best natural ingredients to use for various beauty regimes for each of the three doshas.
Bringing these three doshas in balance within a person, as well as other elements such as agni (transformative power responsible for digestion and similar processes), is the fundamental principle of Ayurveda, as the author herself points out.
Daily routines for enhancing beauty
After listing some initial information necessary to understand in order to grasp what Ayurveda is about, the author goes on to teach some daily routines to enhance the beauty.
In Ayurveda the perfect functioning of the body consists of good digestion and assimilation of the food together with a regular and efficient waste evacuation. If these processes work well, then the beauty and radiance comes naturally. Therefore ayurvedic cleansing processes focus a great deal on perfecting these workings of the body.
Ayurvedic Beauty Care book mentions some good advice about how to help digestion as well as how to select your food wisely. It also has a section about how to eat according to your dosha and even suggests a sample menu for a day.
How to balance your agni
The concept of agni is unique to ayurveda. The author describes agni as simply being the digestive fire. And that not only applies to the process of food digestion, but also the digestion of your thoughts, emotions, feelings and information.
Agni cleans our toxins and keeps the digestive tract clean. This brings radiance to the outer body. When agni is not balanced, it may be too active or too slow. The signs that your agni is slow are these:
* Slow digestion
* Tired mind
* Difficulty walking
* Scanty or no perspiration
* Dull complexion
The author in this section provides many effective tips about how to balance both low and too active agni.
Vitamins and minerals
In this section of the Ayurvedic Beauty Care book Melanie Sachs lists vitamins and minerals, the signs of their deficiency and in which foods particular vitamins and minerals can be found. Straight after this chapter she also discusses fasting - when it's good to fast and when it's not recommended.
Beauty and work
All aspects of your life contribute to your beauty or the lack of it. And because employment is a significant part of most people's lives, it's important to choose your job wisely. Here the author suggests how to select the work that suits your inner self. She notes that for each type of person there exists work that is natural and satisfying.
Each dosha has a certain inclination towards a particular career. However it's also possible to choose work which is not your type, but then re-balance your energy by doing an additional activity which agrees with your dosha.
Everyone needs to receive massage regularly, especially the Vata-type people. Massage nourishes and relaxes the body. Different types of people (Pitta, Vata and Kapha types) need to get massages in different ways to get most benefits. Also different massage oils should be used for different dosha types. The author in this book lists the practices and the oils that should be used for each type of dosha.
Some advice on bath, meditation and sleep is also given in the Ayurvedic Beauty Care book. An especially good chapter is on herbal baths; for example, an author gives a good herbal bath recipe for sound sleep.
Colors, aromas, gems and sounds
Melanie Sachs acknowledges that everything in this world is energy, and that colors, aromas, gems and sounds have certain energetic qualities that could better or harm us. Thus we can use certain qualities of these mentioned objects to increase our health and enhance our beauty.
She goes on to explain how essential oils, colors and sounds can significantly improve our bodies and minds. Melanie especially focuses on essential oils, noting how many great benefits a person could get from using them.
She lists the oils for each dosha type and she even provides an essential oil chart. I found this chart extremely useful, because it has checkmarks on the qualities of each essential oil.
For example if I look at the essential lemon oil row, I see these qualities checked:
"Oily, mature, acne, inflamed, itchy, wrinkles, congested, tired/flabby, varicose/thread veins (skin conditions), antiseptic, astringent, antibiotic, relaxing, dandruff, nail care (oil uses and qualities)."
So such chart is of great use to me. When I find out about a particular essential oil, I find it in the chart and check if it would suit my skin.
Special care of the regions of the body
In this chapter the author lists specific beauty treatments for nails, feet, hair, hands and so on. I found the hair treatment section a very useful one. The author here suggests completely natural shampoo recipes (dry and wet shampoo recipes) as well as the causes for common hair problems and their effective treatments.
Ayurvedic skin care
Skin has different qualities and experiences different problems under the influence of each dosha. Therefore each dosha type should look after their skin in a different way. However no matter which dosha you represent, the full ayurvedic facial treatment consists of eight steps:
2. Oleation massage
3. Herbal steam or compress
4. Gentle scrub
5. Cleansing or nutrifying mask or facial pack
Each of these steps are thoroughly described in the Ayurvedic Beauty Care book, together with natural recipes for each treatment. For example, for initial cleansing, the author suggests a few herbal cleansing powder recipes for different types of skin (normal, dry, oily or blemished and mature).
Further on the author mentions a specific massage technique for the face, together with specific oils you should select according to your skin condition. She also mentions various natural scrubs, face packs, toners, moisturizers and mists to improve the quality of your skin.
As for make up, the author doesn't give much attention to it. She claims that if you follow the advice she gave in the Ayurvedic Beauty Care book, your natural beauty will increase to the extent that you will use little to no make up. The most important thing is to improve your natural beauty, so that you would need less "cover ups".
Purva karma and pancha karma are very important ayurvedic cleansing treatments. The goal of these treatments is to remove all the impurities of the body, so that the body would be gotten rid of the illnesses it had or were about to manifest. Also, when the body is completely clean inside and outside, it can get the full benefit from nourishing.
The nourishing treatments are also described in detail. Different types of oils and herbal supplements are listed in this chapter.
Another massage section
The Ayurvedic Beauty Care book offers various massage techniques for different parts of the body, together with the relevant oils. There are pictures and clear drawings provided to make it easy for you to do your own massage, or massage someone else in an effective way.
In the final chapter of the Ayurvedic Beauty Care book some unusual treatments are described. They are unusual in the West, but these treatments are widely known in the East.
For example in Netra Basti treatment, a warmed butter is poured over an open eye. This is claimed to improve the eyesight and the general condition of the eyes (e.g. it makes the eyes brighter).
Another interesting treatment is called "Shiro Dhara", which is running a stream of warm sesame oil onto the third eye area. This is supposed to affect certain brain centers to give you a feeling of pleasure and relaxation. It removes pain and stress particularly in the neck and head areas.
There are other interesting treatments described in this last section.
My opinion about the Ayurvedic Beauty Care book
I should admit that I loved the book. Rarely do I keep the books for reference, but this book is still with me because of the essential oils chart, great natural shampoo recipes as well as the tips for facial care.
I recommend the Ayurvedic Beauty Care book for anyone who wants to improve their inner and outer beauty. It's written in an easy to understand manner and many tips in the book are extremely effective.