Being Indian, I’m always intrigued when I see a new Ayurvedic green beauty brand on the market. India has always had a huge natural skincare market, and while some of them contain traditional Ayurvedic ingredients, most of them have dubious ingredient lists. Their ingredient lists for most Indian Ayurvedic skin products contain a plethora of unusual herbs followed by vague statements like ‘in a cream base’ or ‘gel base.’ Often, these cream and gel bases are made of cheap petroleum derivatives that, in my opinion, undo the benefits of their Ayurvedic ingredients. Also, for supposedly natural products, they tend to smell synthetic like something you’d buy from The Body Shop or Lush (which makes you wonder how natural they actually are). In addition to these, the textures are often not fun or pleasant to use (thick creams, heavy oils… the list goes on). In most cases, they are just herbal extracts suspended in a generic ‘cream’ base with some added synthetic fragrance to appeal to a mass audience.
Living in Australia, I’ve come across many Western Ayurveda-inspired skincare lines, but to me they always felt a little too removed from the actual thing. It reminds me of ‘Indian’ curries that my friend Matt makes. He would use authentic ingredients like turmeric and garam masala, and then add something totally un-Indian (is that a word?) like zucchini or broccoli (totally unheard of in India) that would change the flavour profile of the entire dish. Also, Indians are big on tempering the spices and following certain traditional techniques when it comes to cooking spices (to make them easily digestible), and not following the correct method can often can have a detrimental effect on your body’s ability to digest it properly.
The reason I’ve gone on this long winded intro is to illustrate the fact that it’s always been hard to find ‘clean’ Ayurvedic skin brands made using traditional techniques. The only Ayurvedic brands I’ve kind of liked have been Pratima and Forest Essentials. While they did feel authentic, I wasn’t really blown away by the textures of their products (there were exceptions, but overall, they just weren’t on the same level as other modern green beauty brands). Luckily, I stumbled upon three Ayurvedic brands a few months ago that were clean, authentic and luxurious, and I’ll do a brief overview of those brands in this post.
This Melbourne-based Ayurvedic brand was created after 14 years of R&D by Sri Lankan-born facialist Eranthi Bonney. Using only certified organic ingredients (with the exception of water and clay, which are non-organic), the extensive range contains products for different ‘doshas.’ Ayurveda believes in identifying your ‘dosha’ so you can balance it, and Aika products are designed to rebalance your specific dosha to bring your skin back to equilibrium.
I’d always thought I had a ‘kapha’ skin type but after talking to Eranthi, I came to understand that it was actually a combination of pitta and vata with some kapha characteristics.
The Aika facial skincare line is divided into ‘Arise’ and ‘Retreat’ rituals– Arise for when you wake up and Retreat for when you’re going to bed. The Arise ritual contains a face polish, tonic/toner and a balm; and the Retreat ritual contains a deep cleansing balm, Ayuressence (an aromatic infusion to mix with water and dip your washcloth in – almost like a steam/compress) and an elixir (face oil).
I’ve been lucky enough to try a number of their products from the brand, and here are my favourites:
Pitta Deep Cleanser: This extraordinary cleansing balm combines pink clay with emollient oils and extracts to create one of the best non-emulsifying balm cleansers I’ve used. It spreads well, smells calming and deep cleanses without leaving a residue/over-drying the skin. Love it.
Kapha Pure Polish: The word ‘polish’ makes this product sound a lot more abrasive than it is. Essentially, it’s a soft, oatmeal and barley morning cleanser with a refreshing lemon/basil/clove scent. It’s quite unlike any other cleanser I’ve used. It doesn’t leave any film/residue and can be used on its own as a morning cleanser.
Pitta Ayuressence: This seemed like an unnecessary step when I first encountered it, but adding this concentrated essence to my hot compress leaves my skin softer and more hydrated. The Aika Elixirs sink in very well once they are applied after using the Ayuressence.
Tridosha Radiance Elixir: Aika’s most expensive product, this ruby-red face oil contains organic saffron, lotus, sandalwood, rose otto and jasmine in a base of sesame oil and cow’s milk (traditionally, a number of Ayurvedic treatments are cooked in a base of cow’s milk)! This rich oil brightens my complexion overnight and I do notice a reduction in scarring after using this on and off for the last couple of months. This product is the most straight-up Ayurvedic formula from Aika, as it’s an elevated interpretation of ‘kumkumadi thailam,’ considered to be the most transformative Ayurvedic beauty treatment (historically, it was only available to royal families because of its expensive list of ingredients). Despite containing a seemingly-heavy base of sesame oil and cow’s milk, it doesn’t feel heavy and it hasn’t broken me out. Worth trying, if you want to try one of the most revered Ayurvedic formulas for radiant skin.
Headquartered in Hong Kong but made in India, Purearth was created by lawyer-turned-formulator Kavita Khosa. What I love about their products is that while they feel modern and luxurious, they do contain a number of traditional Ayurvedic ingredients (Kavita has a diploma in Ayurveda and is a yoga teacher and Vedanta student). I have only tried a handful of products from this line, and my favourites so far are:
Mitti Clay Face Masque: A honey, clay and chocolate-based mask, this dessert-like formula deep cleanses and hydrates the skin at the same time. Looking at the ingredients, I thought it would be very similar to May Lindstrom’s The Honey Mud, but it smells and feels different. This smells more herbal and leaves less of a sticky finish. Highly recommend it if you are looking for a clay mask that doesn’t dry your skin out.
Detoxifying Wild Nettle Whole Leaf Tisane Infusion: In addition to skincare, Purearth also make teas. This detoxifying tea contains wild nettle harvested from high altitudes of the Himalyas by local women. It has a mild ‘green’ flavour that I’ve grown to like. I mostly tend to drink it at night before bed. Nettle tea is supposedly effective at treating acne, inflammation and other skin problems. I haven’t been drinking it every day to see visible results, but I do find it a great tea to unwind with.
A recent discovery, Ranavat Botanics surpassed all my expectations by creating one of my favourite dry masks of 2017. Created by engineer-turned-formulator Michelle Ranavat, the Ayurveda-inspired line is meant to make you feel like royalty… and it does! I’ve only tried two products from the line, and I love them both.
Eternal Reign Detoxifying Masque: This powdered manuka honey-based mask contains clay, neem, gotu kola, neem, moringa and vitamin C to brighten and deep cleanse the skin. I love its unique texture that rolls off when you rinse it off. It really does improve the texture and brightness of the skin after every use. Highly recommend it for all skin types.
Organic Jasmine Tonique: A simple formula, this toner contains organic steam-distilled jasmine and nothing else. It smells pure, dewy and unadulterated, and it’s a must-have for all jasmine lovers. I’d go to the extent of saying that it’s one of my favourite jasmine-scented products on the market – sheer jasmine heaven!
Have you tried any of these brands? Do you have any other go-to Ayurvedic brands or products? Let me know!
© 2018 JustAskArjun. All opinions/views are my own. I accept press samples for review consideration, however, all products are treated with the same level of scrutiny. This post contains no affiliate links.