What exactly is ayurveda?
It’s an ancient, Indian health and well-being system. It has been around for over 5,000 years and carries a profound body of knowledge for understanding ourselves within the laws of nature. According to ayurveda, each individual (and in fact, all of nature) falls into one of five fundamental elements: space, air, fire, water and earth. These elements uniquely design each one of us, creating a distinct blueprint known as ‘dosha’.
How does skincare fit into all of this?
Knowing your dosha will help you to determine certain lifestyle choices that will benefit you best – and this includes nutrition and skincare products. There are three main doshas – vata, pitta and kapha. The first step is to analyse your dosha and then start using a suitable skincare range to suit it.
How can someone find out what their dosha is?
There is a questionnaire on our website www.urbanveda.co.uk to fill in. You’ll be asked questions about your skin type, your emotions and your general constitution (body shape, digestion, and taste preferences, for example), which will reveal your dosha – or, most likely, your combination of doshas. We will then recommend the perfect combination of skincare products for you.
How does it really work?
We believe that ayurveda fits seamlessly into a modern 21st century lifestyle. But unlike so many things in the modern world, it’s not a quick fix. Naturally formulated using ayurvedic herbs, flowers and fruits, combined with multivitamins and clinically proven actives, Urban Veda helps to maintain the skin’s natural balance by infusing it with omega-rich oils, free radical-fighting antioxidants and vitality-boosting essential fatty acids.
We try out Urban Veda ayurvedic Skincare
With a Western upbringing and understanding of medicine and skincare, we are pretty sceptical about trying a range based on ayurveda. In fact, we can barely pronounce it, let alone get to grips with the science behind it. Still, with skin that is severely lacking in radiance after months in the desert, we are prepared to give anything a go. We fill out the form online and find ourselves ticking most of the boxes in the middle catergory – pitta. But the occasional question is answered in the left column for vata. After three pages of questions, we are told we are a pitta-vata combination and are prescribed a range of products.
We’re still sceptical, so decide to invest only in the moisturiser – Tumeric + Botanics Radiance Day Cream – and when we get home, we’re not sure about the perfumed scent or thick texture. Still, we give it a go – but as it melts instantly into our skin and leaves it feeling supple and hydrated, without being at all heavy and sticky, we start to feel a bit more convinced.
A few days in, we catch sight of our complexion in the mirror. Something miraculous is happening. The tone is more balanced, open pores have disappeared and there is a natural glow. Over the days that follow, the results continue to impress and we are now considering investing in the whole range. We still don’t really know how to pronounce ayurveda, but we are starting to believe in its powers for our skin.
Urban Veda products from Dhs75.Available exclusively at Holland & Barrett, various locations including The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (04 388 2401). Find your dosha at www.urbanveda.co.uk.
Ayurvedic spa sessions to try in Dubai
Prefer to have someone else put in the legwork for you? Check out pampering sessions that promise to help alleviate ailments at these local spas and clinics.
Breath & Health
This quiet, understated villa spa specialses in holistic treatments, including those following ayurvedic principles. Try therapies such as abhyangam (a full-body massage to relieve fatigue, aches and pains), kizhi (a massage using herbal bags) and siro dhara (medicated oil drizzled over the forehead to ease stress and tension).
Al Wasl Road, www.breathandhealth.net (04 348 9940).
Dubai Herbal & Treatment Centre
Well-known for its alternative therapies, DHTC offers treatments including abyangam, pzhichil (a massage using warm, aromatic oils) and ayurvedic facials.
Oud Metha Road, Zabeel, www.dubaihtc.com (04 335 1200).
Panchakarma Ayurveda & Yoga Centre
Expect a range of authentic treatments here, from the more alarming, such as vamana emesis therapy (‘therapeutic vomiting’) to the less scary sweating therapy swedana (to remove toxins) and abhyangam massage.
Bank Street, Bur Dubai, www.panchakarmadubai.com (04 397 0790).