Potato face pack
Grated raw potato – 4 tsp
Multani mitti (fuller’s earth) – 2 tsp
Mix grated potato and multani mitti with enough rose water. Spread it on your face and lie down for 10-15 minutes. Then wash off with warm water followed by a splash of cold water.
Jasmine-yoghurt face pack
Handful of Jasmine petals
Yoghurt – 4 tsp
Squeeze jasmine petals in yoghurt and apply the paste all over your face. Keep it on for 10-15 minutes and wash off with cold water.
Cucumber-milk face pack
Method:Mix cucumber juice, milk with egg white and thicken it by adding besan to it. Spread this thick paste on your face. Leave on for 15 minutes. Then wash off with cold water.
In most south Indian homes, a luxurious ‘oil bath’ is mandatory on Diwali day. However, we take this ritual of ‘oil bath’ very causally without realizing its significance on our health, well-being and beauty. Diwali eve coincides with the onset of winter and hence a thorough body massage with coconut oil followed by a long luxurious bath rejuvenates the skin and acts as a barrier against dry, moisture depleting winter air for several weeks.
In some communities, an oil bath for the bride on the eve of the wedding, is not only a part of bridal beauty-care but is ritualistic too. Then there is this ritualistic post-natal bath that a woman is given few days after childbirth for about 1½ months. Before this bath she is subjected to a meticulous body massage with special herbal oils by a trained maid. This hot oil bath helps to alleviate the muscle strain of labor and childbirth, is good for cellulite reduction and works wonders on stretch marks. It is also believed that oil massage helps the uterus to shrink to its original size and encourage the flow of breast milk.
While we are in our teens and the early twenties, sebum, which is secreted by the sebaceous oil glands, lies as a protective film over the skin helping to delay moisture loss. But as the skin ages, the activity of sebaceous glands decreases; they secrete less sebum and aren’t able to prevent the rapid moisture loss from the skin. That’s why as years pass by, the skin gets drier and flakier. Hence, oil bath is an excellent beauty and health routine for the aging body. Coconut oil is the best; it is natural, effective and inexpensive.
Even Sushruta, the ancient physician who lived in 6th century B.C, advocated the use of oil for a bath. His words:
“It is immediately absorbed, subtle, spreading, viscous and fluid. It is conducive to the nutrition of the skin and the softness of the muscles. It is beneficial to the eyes, promotes luster, strength and vitality.”
Modern beauty science also agrees with the fact that a combination of water and oil keeps the skin smooth, soft and health-looking. The application of oil, followed by a bath does have a beneficial effect as it nourishes and protects both the body and hair. A massage, following this oil application, improves circulation of blood, relieves muscle stiffness and tiredness, muscular spasms and tension and encourages sound sleep by relaxing the muscles.
For those who are too busy to enjoy an oil bath, putting a few drops of oil in a mug and splashing it all over the body, after the bath, and then patting dry with a towel, gives almost the same result, for it immediately spreads a thin layer of oil evenly on the whole body. Read Aromatic oils in the bath and also learn how to make a rich bath oil at home.
Beauty and health magazines create such hype over the benefits of ‘steam’ or ‘sauna’ baths offered at expensive spas but hardly stress upon the benefits of an ordinary oil-bath which can be had in the privacy and comforts of one’s home. Water and oils as tools for health and beauty were given great importance by our ancestors and it follows that we too should do the same. The secret behind the smooth dusky complexion and luxurious black tresses of the Keralites lies simply in their love for oils and baths.
Amla (gooseberry), for instance is proven to work wonders in preventing and treating premature graying of hair. Aloe-oil promotes hair growth and prevents split ends. The herb ‘Brahmi(Asiatic pennywort)’ has a cooling effect on the scalp and prevents hair-loss. If you are losing hair excessively, then this herbal remedy with brahmi is for you. Hibiscus (jaswand) flowers for long have been used in hair packs and hair-oils to condition the hair and resolve the problems of premature graying and hair-loss. And in spite of all the care and attention or as a part of the inevitable, natural ageing process, if you do see a few grey strands here and there, then you can use this Home-made henna (mehendi) hair dye to streak them to a beautiful auburn color. So now that you have realized the goodness of herbs, here’s the procedure to prepare hibiscus hair oil at home.
Hibiscus hair oil
This age-old ayurvedic herbal oil using hibiscus flowers works wonders on your hair. Before using it, slightly warm it and massage it gently onto your scalp with your fingers. First, read the correct procedure of oiling your hair and massaging it.
200 gm fresh petals of red colored hibiscus
25 gms curry leaves
25 gms khaskhas (poppy seeds)
Tender coconut water
Pour 600 g coconut oil in a mud pot. Take the hibiscus petals, add milk and grind it into a paste. Likewise, grind separately, curry leaves with a little buttermilk and poppy seeds with tender coconut water. Add all the three pastes into the pot and heat on a low flame till the mixture loses its moisture content. Strain the concentrated oil in a container.
Once in a week, apply this oil and wash off, using either shikakai or gramflour (besan) or some of these dry shampoos. Also if you find it difficult to grab a peaceful shuteye each night, you might consider applying it daily on your scalp and then shampoo off the next morning. It has a soothing effect on your scalp and will ensure that you get sound sleep. This oil is recommended for use only under normal conditions, that is, when you are healthy and not suffering from sinus problems, asthma, cold or fever. It is a highly effective herbal hair oil.
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