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This 6,000 Year-Old Eastern Practice Can Help Give You Perfect Skin

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By all appearances, beauty entrepreneur Mally Steves Chakola was born with perfect skin. But she’s the first to admit that her smooth, glowing complexion takes work. “Because my pitta dosha can be overly dominant, I have to constantly combat inflammation,” she explains. “I use antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and botanical ingredients in my diet and beauty routine to help create my personal balance.”

Dosha? Pitta? Personal balance? With these terms, Chakola is referencing the 6,000-year-old healing practice known as Ayurveda, which she first got acquainted with as a child. Chakola’s India-born grandmother taught her how to mix botanical remedies ranging from custom oil blends for the face and body to shampoos made from naturally foaming tree bark. Now Chakola is harnessing this ancient wisdom in her skin care line M. Steves. The range includes five products—a cleanser, exfoliator, anti-aging serum, moisturizer, and dry face oil—all of which draw on Ayurvedic principles (as well as the powerful ingredient rose hip seed oil) to help you achieve a healthy glow.  

Ayurveda is based upon the idea that the five elements—air, fire, water, earth, and ether (gas)—express themselves in humans as three “doshas,” or energies, called vata, kapha, and pitta. Ayurveda seeks to bring all three into balance through dosha-specific diets, skin care regimens, and relaxation techniques. Most of us have two dominant doshas and one recessive one; this imbalance leads to health and skin issues that can run the gamut, from allergies to acne to early signs of aging (we’ll go into more detail about each dosha below).  

Ayurvedic recommendations are before their time—advocating healthy lifestyle choices like drinking lots of water, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep to keep skin looking youthful. And of course, the practice advocates for a healthy diet. Chakola suggests incorporating enzyme- and antioxidant-rich foods like papaya, live-culture yogurts, and turmeric to aid in digestion and fight premature aging. But, according to Chakola, lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough to counteract an imbalance. So she showed us how to identify your dominant doshas and shared the best Ayurveda-inspired beauty treatments for each.

What’s your dosha?

Note, you may not fall squarely into one category, and my notice traits of two or more.

Vata

personality traits: excitable and capricious
body type: slender
struggles with: insomnia and gaining weight
primary skin concern: tired, sallow complexion
recommended treatment: microwave a few drops of facial oil like Chakola’s own M. Steves Ultra-Nourishing Boost (we also like Indie Lee’s Squalane Facial Oil) for 3 to 5 seconds and rub into the face, neck, shoulders, and hands to drain lymphatic fluids and calm the mind

Kapha

personality traits: easy going and relaxed
body type: stocky
struggles with: depression and losing weight
primary skin concern: dull complexion
recommended treatment: before showering, use a body brush on dry skin using gentle, sweeping strokes toward your heart to exfoliate the skin, drain lymphatic tissue, and boost circulation

Pitta

personality traits: sharp, confident, and focused
body type: athletic
struggles with: impatience and irritability
primary skin concern: acne, skin inflammation, and hyperpigmentation
recommended treatments: Natural facial masks; see DIY recipes below

Balancing DIY facial masks

DIY Mask #1

Mix orange and pomegranate peel powder with cold-pressed coconut oil like rms beauty raw coconut cream, massage into skin, and rinse off after 10 to 15 minutes. You can find the peel powders in most health stores, or make your own by drying peels in the sun and pulsing them in a spice blender.

What it does: The citrus combo is excellent for a skin-brightening dose of vitamin C

DIY Mask #2

Mix honey, lemon juice, turmeric, and manjishtha powder (in most health stores), slather on skin, and rinse off after 10 to 15 minutes.

What it does: Honey soothes skin, lemon juice and turmeric powder combat inflammation, and manjishtha powder helps lighten dark spots.

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