Move over, K-beauty – Ayurvedic skincare is the latest trend to hit the market, with traditional Indian ingredients like saffron, turmeric, neem and ashwagandha married to modern formulations

Move over, K-beauty – Ayurvedic skincare is the latest trend to hit the market, with traditional Indian ingredients like saffron, turmeric, neem and ashwagandha married to modern formulations

“Now more than ever, Western audiences are paying attention to prevention. Ayurveda focuses on the root cause and not just treating the symptoms [which is why] we’re seeing the world begin to adopt this powerful practice,” says Michelle Ranavat, founder of skin and hair care line, Ranavat.

Bowls of different colors of clay powder. Mask for renewal and detoxification, cleansing of facial pores. Natural beauty cosmetic concept for face and body care. Photo: Leaflet

“Ayurvedic lines tend to have a more natural focus, and that falls in line with the pursuit of pure beauty,” adds Farida Irani, founder of Subtle Energies, available worldwide in high-end spas at hotels such as Mandarin Oriental.

Traditionally, Ayurvedic treatments are tailored to a specific person depending on their individual body structure or i wanted. As such, many skin care brands develop their formulations around these types, which is not only confusing to the uninitiated, but also alienating to audiences unfamiliar with Ayurvedic principles.

Caudalie co-founder Mathilde Thomas on all things beauty and skincare

These newer brands, however, are giving Ayurvedic care an update by taking tried and tested traditional ingredients and repackaging them in easy-to-use formulations with modern skin care advancements and technology. Contemporary branding and fun social media marketing have made them more engaging and accessible.

“After giving birth to my two sons, I experienced significant postpartum hair loss and dull skin. I went back to my South Asian roots and started using ingredients like saffron on my skin. The results were incredible, but the only place I could buy them was at a grocery store. I personally want to see a luxury version of Ayurveda accessible to everyone,” says Ranavat, whose label started online and is now available at Sephora in the US.

Tulsi, or holy basil, is an ingredient with Ayurvedic applications

“The biggest challenge is to strike a balance between old formulas and modern advances. We always want to do our best to honor tradition, but it’s important to add our formulation expertise and use clinical science to prove their effectiveness,” she adds.

Ranavat’s bestsellers speak to this philosophy and include the Illuminating Saffron Serum, a lighter version of a traditional formula, which contains five grams of saffron per bottle and is produced in copper vats in India over an 18-day period. Also popular is the Fortifying Hair Serum which contains amla, a powerful antioxidant, which is extracted using modern techniques that are heat and chemical free to keep the nutrients intact.

What is azelaic acid, the rising star in skincare – and how do you use it?

Australia-based Subtle Energies also has a new approach to Ayurveda, developed by Irani, who has been an Ayurveda practitioner and clinical aromatherapist for several decades.

“We have modernized [our approach] bringing together principles and philosophies from Ayurveda with aromatherapy – especially flora-pharmacy – which comes from the Vedic pharmacopoeia. Traditional Ayurvedic formulas are effective, but they are not always acceptable to the consumer in terms of smell or feel. We are making it more user-friendly by harnessing the powers of aromatherapy,” she says.

When the line was first launched in 2010, Irani created a series of fragrance oils using essential oils made from Ayurvedic ingredients. These are designed to be massaged into the body using a technique she calls “aromatic dressing,” so that the user benefits not only from the oil’s ingredients, but also from the ritual of applying them.

Michelle Ranavat, founder of Ranavat. Photo: Leaflet

Recently, the brand has made a foray into the space by launching new products that contain traditional tinctures like ashwagandha and brahmi along with skin care ingredients like collagen. These are then combined using technologies such as fermentation to increase their bioavailability and efficacy. For example, the Vegan Collagen Serum – which the company says performs better than marine collagen – contains proteins that mimic human collagen along with vitamin-rich ashwagandha.

While these formulas are pushing Ayurvedic skin care into the limelight, its main allure still lies in its effective ingredients, many of which are staples in Indian homes and pantries.

How does Gwen Stefani look so youthful at 54? The singer’s secrets are revealed

Top performers include saffron, thanks to its powerful antioxidant properties that help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Turmeric is a great option for treating inflammation, dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Neem, known for its antimicrobial and antifungal functions, can help repair the skin, making it suitable for sensitive skin. Next is mogra, or Indian jasmine, which also soothes the skin, helping to renew and hydrate cells. Irani also emphasizes 24k gold, which it says can improve blood circulation, boost cellular energy and stimulate collagen production.

With so many different ingredients to choose from, experts believe that Ayurvedic skin care has the potential to become an independent category in the future.

Purearth Turmeric Sand. Photo: Leaflet

“Green chemistry is an exciting field. I studied Ayurveda in 2001, so my education informed my decision to create a skincare line from rare ingredients that were abundant in the Himalayas,” explains Kavita Kohsa, founder of Purearth.

“Indian senna polysaccharides outperform conventional hyaluronic acid results in clinical studies. Saffron pollen outperformed homosalate – the most commonly used sunscreen chemical blocker in the US. I could go on and on and cite research, but more funding is needed ‘are devoted to Ayurvedic pharmacognosy, then we can unlock its real potential,” she says.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *