Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Indian Beauty

This book has kept its prominent place on my coffee table, because the colours are gorgeous and uplifting; it has become part of the decoration. And the inside lives up to the cover, with lots of great natural recipes for cosmetics and advice on different life stages. Some of the ingredients may be difficult to find, but a lot of the basics -coconut oil, rosewater, almonds, oatmeal- are readily available. I much prefer making my own cosmetics to putting something with a 100+ ingredient list full of nasties on my skin. The preparation is part of the enjoyment. I love the coconut oil hair masks, though I rarely leave the oil in overnight -too messy. I often use coconut oil with a few drops of eucalyptus, which boosts blood circulation.

The book takes an holistic approach to health and wellbeing (which I strongly believe in), emphasising the mind-body connection:

"The skin is a mirror for what we are feeling... According to the Yog-Sutra of Patanjali, probably written around AD 200, steadfastness of mind and detachment from pain help us rise above the daily grind of the world: 'By meditation upon light and upon radiance, knowledge of the spirit can be reached and therefore peace can be achieved.' Here 'light and radiance' refer to good thoughts and the positive energy that is found in everyone and everywhere. All Hindu scriptures speak of keeping the mind steady so that emotions cannot toss you about like a ship in troubled waters. It pays to follow this advice, not least for the sake of your looks. Anger and tension not only upset your equilibrium but also activate your sebaceous glands to produce excess oil, which in turn leads to rashes, spots and blotches." (Bharadwaj, Monisha: India's Beauty Secrets. Kyle Cathie Limited, London 2008, p.32)

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