Forget those lotions and potions on drugstore shelves—real beauty starts with feeling good. "Giving yourself a massage every day may be the best beauty secret we have," says Reenita Malhotra in Inner Beauty, a luscious guide to traditional Ayurvedic approaches to beauty and well-being. Malhotra recommends a 5- to 10-minute abhyanga full-body self-massage before your morning shower, working from the center of the body outward, using warm massage oil.
During windy, chilly vata season, oiling your body can help you feel grounded—and it soothes dry skin like nothing else. Ayurvedic spas offer dosha-specific massage oils tailored to your individual constitution. But it's fun to make your own, and the very act of preparing the oil can be a rewarding way to slow down.
Vata Abhyanga Oil
- 1 cup ghee (a type of clarified butter) or sesame oil
- 1/2 cup mixed turmeric, fresh ginger, lotus root, fresh basil, cloves, and fresh orange peel, in any combination
- Essential oils (optional): jasmine, basil, orange, rose
- In a small saucepan, heat the ghee or sesame oil gently until it's starting to boil but not smoking.
- Stir in the mixed herbs and remove from heat.
- Cover and let steep for 1 day. Strain the oil through a coffee filter or a double layer of cheesecloth into an airtight container.
- Add 5 to 8 drops of essential oil, if desired.
Excerpted with permission from Inner Beauty, by Reenita Malhotra.