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Ayurveda, a system of holistic medical practices that originated in India, has increased in popularity over the last decade. This increased interest has led individuals to seek alternative therapies and holistic treatments to address a variety of health and beauty needs. As a result, ayurvedic cosmetics are popular products in the organic beauty industry. Ayurvedic cosmetics are made from natural sources which can include herbs and herbal extracts.
The word "ayurveda" means “the science of life,” and cosmetics labeled as ayurvedic should adhere to the system's ancient principles of natural beauty, long life, and positive health. The yogis who first advocated ayurveda believed that health should be maintained through the balance of three primary energies. These energies are vata, pitta and kapha. Vata is the force and direction of energy, pitta is the transformation of energy, and kapha is the form of matter.
The increase of ayurvedic and natural beauty products on the market is the cosmetic industry’s response to consumers' interests in chemical-free and natural alternatives to traditional chemical-laden beauty products. Although holistic and natural beauty products are becoming increasingly popular, the concept of using wholly natural ingredients for beautification is not new. Before the advent of modern manufacturing, many cultures used naturally derived substances to condition, ornament, and perfume the skin. Historically, saffron, turmeric and indigo have all been used to aid in the beautification process. These ingredients are still used in ayurvedic cosmetics today.
Ayurveda supports a holistic philosophy. In addition to products that address the natural treatment of skin, hair, and body, ayurvedic cosmetics focuses on the importance of a healthy well-balanced lifestyle. It is believed the use of natural beauty products combined with healthy eating results in beauty from the inside out.
In order to be classified as ayurvedic, products should contain no fragrance, color, or preservatives. Ayurvedic cosmetics are also free of mineral oils, pesticides, and animal ingredients. Distributors of ayurvedic cosmetics use environmentally friendly packaging, and product developers do not test on animals.
Although the goal of holistic cosmetics is to promote spiritual, physical, and emotional well being, the labeling some cosmetic manufacturers use can be misleading. There is no official international body that certifies products labeled as ayurvedic. This can result in confusion if a product is not labeled or promoted accurately. Just because a product is advertised as being organic or natural does not mean it is ayurvedic. Consumers have to be diligent and pay particular attention to the ingredients listed on products or packaging to confirm that all the ingredients are 100% natural.
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