The Cellulite-Fighting Secrets of Ayurvedic Beauty



Ready for some new tools in the fight against cellulite? Betcha haven't tried calamus oil, or punarnava yet—have you? How about shankpushpi? I didn't think so.

But wait, I'm getting waaay ahead of myself. These odd-sounding ingredients are traditional Ayurvedic botanicals to detoxify, firm and tone (and if you don't yet know what Ayurveda means, I'm about to share!).

Ayurveda is an  ancient system of medicine that's fascinating to explore, especially if you want in-depth information about your skin type that goes beyond the general dry-oily-combination labels. By figuring out your Ayurvedic type, or dosha, you unlock all sorts of wisdom about foods, moods, temperatures and habits that suit your particular body. That same wisdom can be applied to your beauty, as in the must-read book Absolute Beauty by Ayurvedic physician, chemist and botanist Dr. Pratima Raichur.

I'm a devotee of Absolute Beauty and love using Dr. Raichur's own beauty line, called Pratima Skincare. You can choose Pratima products according to your dosha, if you know it (or have time to take this quiz!), by category, or by your skin concern. Many of the products in Pratima's line, like the ones I tried this month, are tri-doshic, meaning they suit any dosha or skin type.

Here's where I get to the cellulite-fighting secrets! Pratima just introduced its Summer Prep Set, a pair of high-powered Ayurvedic products designed to 'Redefine, Resculpt, and Rejuvenate.' In other words, this set (an herbal body cleanser/mask + a toning body oil) will exfoliate, firm and tone, to create a more flawless, cellulite-free body. You guessed it— this is where the punarnava comes in.

The Organic Herbal Body Cleanser/Mask is a little tricky to use, but it feels great on your cellulite-prone areas. To use the powdered mask as a cleanser, add a little water, scrub it on areas that need toning, and have it take the place of your soap or bodywash. To use it as a mask, you really have to get in the shower with the powder, mix it into a paste, then turn off the water and apply it to the areas that need cellulite reduction (we're talking body, not face—butt, thighs, stomach, wherever you need it!). I left it on my thighs for about 10 minutes while I washed my face and brushed my teeth, but it was a little tedious as I waited for it to dry. While it worked, the powdered milk softened my skin while the punarnava detoxified and tightened, the shankpushpi boosted by skin tone and the sandalwood oil hydrated. After you're rinsed and scrubbed clean, apply the Kali Rai Toning Body Oil for major cellulite breakdown. The combination of oils here are prime cellulite-reducers. You've got calamus and mustard oils for increasing circulation, cypress and juniper for dissolving cellulite, and sesame for deeply nourishing the skin. The only part of this oil that I could do without is the strong-smelling patchouli, a stimulator of new cell growth. For a sweeter-smelling body oil (in case cellulite isn't at the top of your list of beauty concerns), I love the Vata Rejuvenating Body Oil, with sweet orange, almond and cardamom.

After this one-two intensive (I also dry brushed in between steps), my skin looked smooth and plump, and felt incredibly pampered. This set gives you the kind of treatment you'd pay big bucks for in a spa- but it's only $45. The catch is that you have to do it yourself, and spend a little extra time in the shower. But the beach-ready results are worth it.