As beauty retailers and established day spas seek to enhance their product offerings and treatment options, innovative skin care and body care are becoming increasingly attractive. Consumer demand for natural and organic formulas makes Ayurveda uniquely appealing because of its wellness focus and reliance upon herbs. Its use of ancient medicinal wisdom and its sensorial qualities also resonate with wellness-seeking beauty consumers. Sales for natural and organic beauty products are projected to nearly double in revenue from $750 million in 2016 to $1.65 billion by 2025, with the largest growth segments being organic face creams and skin care. Although it is currently a niche market, products based on Ayurvedic principles are expected to grow more than 16 percent by 2022. Those willing to invest in Ayurvedic products and services could experience a surge in interest and profits, too. Here, we explore Ayurveda beauty basics.
Dating back 5,000 years, Ayurveda or Ayurvedic medicine is a holistic healing system traditionally practiced in India. A combination of two Sanskrit words, “ayuh” meaning life and “veda” meaning science or sacred knowledge, Ayurveda literally translates to “the sacred knowledge of life.” In essence, this healing tradition addresses both the mind and the body, giving each of us a path to wellness by understanding our strengths and how to redirect our detriments to maintain balance. Physiological symptoms can be traced to specific foods, stressors, habits, environments and even the weather or time of day. The result is a deeply personal system that nurtures and soothes as it corrects and restores the mind and body to a balanced state.
What is most relevant to beauty retail customers and spa clients is the three doshas: vata, pitta and kapha. These are the energies that comprise every individual. They are the fundamental forces of nature that create our unique blueprint. While all three are present in differing and, sometimes, fluctuating ratios, everyone has a dominant dosha. Each dosha represents a specific skin type, which requires customized skincare products and lifestyle practices.
When our doshas are balanced, our health, constitution and mental state function at an optimum level. When aggravation occurs to the body, mind or our environment, it affects our well-being and can lead to serious illness. Identifying your dosha and recognizing its symptoms is the first step to maintaining stability between these energies. Of course, a beauty routine can be crafted according to one's dosha.
WHAT’S YOUR TYPE?
Once we know our dosha, are we doomed to our designated dosha forever? Or, is it flexible? The answer lies somewhere in between. Nancy Lonsdorf M.D., an Ayurveda physician, believes that a dosha can change over one’s lifecycle. “Kapha types typically have oily skin. But after 50 or 60 years of age, everyone’s skin gets drier. Yet, a kapha will still likely be less dry than a vata type who always had dry skin.”
While Lonsdorf contends that skin and body type can be different, they are typically related. But because dosha types can vary from one part of the face to another (such as an oily kapha chin and inflamed pitta cheeks), one has to treat them accordingly, and your customers may need to modify a product or their skincare routines for a favorable outcome.
Lisa Mattam, the founder of Ayurveda skincare line Sahajan, compares doshas to the Myers-Briggs personality test. “The belief is that you have one strong dosha and then you might have a secondary dosha.” This means you could be a pitta-vata or a vata-kapha. In addition, stress, food and even sleep patterns can have an impact on how one’s dosha presents itself. While traditional Ayurveda would dictate that skin be treated according to its present condition, Mattam believes that things move in flow, and she intentionally developed her line as tridoshic (when all three doshas are strong forces in one’s constitution). “I wanted people to be able to self-select what they needed based on their understanding of their skin,” she explains.
AYURVEDA’S BEAUTY BENEFITS
As wellness has become such a force in beauty, it’s no wonder Ayurvedic spa treatments and beauty products are resonating with consumers. Mattam notes that, consumers are not only concerned with what goes in their body, but what goes on it. She says, “It’s an ancient science that marries beauty and wellness. People want a great beauty result, but from a very holistic point of view.”
So what exactly is in Ayurvedic products that render them viable and appealing alternatives to the plethora of conventional skincare products? The answer is Mother Nature’s bounty of hundreds of herbal combinations that have been perfected over centuries of use. Dr. Vida Karamooz, CEO of Blue Beautifly, spent years studying Ayurveda medicine and herbalism. “Gotu kola or brahmi [herbs] have been proven to deliver antiaging, anti-wrinkle and firming properties, and they also reduce the appearance of scars and help with brightening of the skin.”
Karamooz believes that merely knowing about Ayurvedic herbs is not enough. It takes immense experience and skill to properly formulate effective products. “Just using Ayurveda herbs doesn’t mean you have a good product,” she says. “Good products have scientists behind them. They have to have the knowledge and creativity of cosmetic chemistry.”
Mattan sought Ayurvedic doctors and chemists in India to formulate products of high efficacy, as she wanted people to experience the benefits of a tradition she has known since childhood. One of her favorite ingredients, triphala, is a natural antioxidant. With 20 percent more vitamin C than an orange, Mattam boasts, “This is the vitamin C serum you are not going to get anywhere else.”
PUTTING AYURVEDA TO WORK
Because Ayurveda is a holistic approach to wellness, complementary products, such as dietary supplements, are a great way to augment your Ayurveda-based beauty brands and increase sales in your store. Shivani Gupta, the owner of supplement brand Fusionary Formulations, believes Ayurvedic products will continue to gain momentum as organic and nature-based beauty grows. With many startup brands placing an Ayurveda label on products that are not truly Ayurvedic, beauty store owners need to familiarize themselves with each brand’s ingredients and manufacturing processes to truly determine if a brand is authentic.
Stores also need to offer the appropriate training. “Ayurveda is an ancient tradition that has its own ritual and process of doing things,” Gupta explains. Sahajan, for instance, has brand ambassadors available in major markets that can train staff on-site about products, in addition to offering in-store special events like mini-facials or demonstrations.
Gina Perziosa, VP of sales and marketing at Shankara, details her company’s extensive training program–which not only includes Ayurveda history, ingredient knowledge and how to determine a client’s dosha, but culminates in a special Heal the Healer workshop. The workshop teaches breathwork to staff and practitioners, with the goal of being more present and calm in everyday life.
Given the popularity of organic facials offered at many day spas, an Ayurveda facial can expand a spa or beauty store’s service menu. Ayurveda massage therapy techniques are far more complex however, and require advanced training. But, those that are willing and able to learn will have the ability to offer some of the most healing and stimulating therapies available anywhere. These massages are not only relaxing and opulent but comprise specific strokes, movements and product combinations for health benefits. From wellness to skin care, there are many ways that your customers can incorporate Ayurvedic practices into their daily beauty regimens. As this lifestyle continues to gain popularity, your store can take advantage of the many benefits Ayurveda has to offer.