What is Mukha Lepa?
Mukha Lepa, an age-old Indian beauty ritual of Ayurveda, is the application of a traditional herbal paste to the face. It is suitable for all skin types, and, needless to mention, is very popular among women! Mukha Lepa is commonly known as a deep cleansing and skin refining Ayurvedic facial. The entire facial treatment consists of four stages, namely, cleansing, exfoliating, toning, and hydrating.
A specialized “dosha” (an Ayurvedic term for bio-energy centre) specific herbal “lepa” (mask) is applied to the face to bring out the beauty within. Ayurveda is based on the principles of three doshas, namely, Vata Dosha, Pitta Dosha, and Kapha Dosha. Vata Dosha controls blood circulation, blinking, breathing, and your heartbeat. Pitta Dosha controls digestion, nutrition, and your body’s temperature. Kapha Dosha energy supplies water to all parts of the body, maintains skin moisture, and also the immune system.
Mukha Lepa facial treatment removes impurities, opens blocked pores, and helps reduce acne, pimples, and blemishes. It also helps remove dark circles around the eye. Overall, Mukha Lepa relaxes the facial muscles, improves the facial tone, and prevents skin ageing. Thus Mukha Lepa helps cure imbalances created in any of the Doshas. In order to maintain the rejuvenating effects of Mukha Lepa treatment, meditation and yoga may as well be advised by therapists. Such a combination of an Ayurvedic facial and yogic exercises creates a holistic remedy for bringing mind, body, and soul together productively.
How is Mukha Lepa different from a Modern Facial?
- In Mukha Lepa herbs, medicated plants, oils, ghee, plant juices, and fruits are used, unlike a modern facial in which mostly chemicals are used.
- Due to the nature of its ingredients, a Mukha Lepa can be used regularly, whereas a modern facial cannot be taken on a regular basis.
- Mukha Lepa is different for different persons, depending on the nature of the body, skin and ailments. On the other hand, a modern chemical- based facial is of the same composition for everybody.
- Mukha Lepa facial, if done correctly does not have any side effects on the skin. However, a modern facial can cause side effects such as rashes, skin irritation, etc.
Ingredients of Mukha Lepa:
In order to bring out the desired effect from the Mukha Lepa therapy, the herbs to be used for making the paste for applying on the face are carefully chosen based on the skin type and the specific requirement of the recipient (client). Here is a list of herbs commonly used for this facial treatment, with their botanical names provided in the brackets:
- Usira (Vetiveria zizanioides) – The plant found throughout the plains and lower hills of India, specifically in riverbanks and rich marshy sail. The most useful part of this plant is its roots which are commonly used for the substitutes of fragrant oil.
- Manjishta (Rubia cordifolia) – A perennial climber that works very effectively as a lymph mover and blood purifier.
- Pushkaramoola (Inula racemosa) – A perennial herb, useful in reducing additional water from the body.
- Lodhra (Symplocos racemosa) – An evergreen medium-sized tree which helps in providing a glow to the skin.
- Dhanyaka (Coriandrum sativum) – Typically known as “dhania” in India, the fresh green leaves of this plant are useful in giving a healthy digestive system.
- Vata (Ficus bengalensis) – Commonly known as the banyan tree, this plant improves the skin tone and complexion.
- Masoora (Cicer arietinum) – Masoora seeds contain micronutrients namely flavonoids which are highly beneficial for the skin. Finely powdered Masoora is added to face packs for a cleansing purpose, and it provides smoothness, softness and a fresh glow to the facial skin.
- Vacha(Acorus calamus) – Known as “Sweet Flag” in English, this herb helps maintain fluid balance and lymph flow in the body.
Properties of a good quality Mukha Lepa
- The herbs should be uniformly mixed to form a smooth Mukha Lepa paste without granular particles. Sufficient liquid media should be added to form the paste.
- The face pack should have a pleasant odour.
- When applied to the face, Mukha Lepa paste should dry out quickly to form an adherent coating on the face.
- The coating should be easily removable, either by peeling or by gentle washing, and without causing any discomfort to the facial skin.
- Significant cleansing of the facial skin is the desired outcome of a good quality Mukha Lepa.
Procedure of Mukha Lepa Facial
The procedure of Mukha Lepa facial takes approximately 45 minutes.
The following steps are performed during a Mukha Lepa facial session:
- Mukha Abhyanga (Optional) – First a gentle face massage is done with herbal oil or herbal cream for 10-15 minutes. This type of massage is called Mukha Abhyanga. It is a deeply nourishing massage that helps maintain the elasticity of all skin layers. It also alleviates facial tension and relaxes the mind by gently stimulating marma points (a Marma point is a junction on the body where two or more types of tissue such as muscles, veins or bones meet) on the face.
- Cleansing – The skin pores are cleaned using triphala kwath (an Ayurvedic medicine in water decoction form), and rose water.
- Snehan – At this stage, the skin is oiled using oils like eiladi, kumkumadi, and chandanadi. The process of Snehan moisturises the skin, and when combined with “Swedan” detoxifies the face.
- Swedan – Giving mild steam to the face.
- Scrub – Scrubbing of the facial skin is done to remove the dead cells of the skin using oats and dals.
- Mukhalepam – This is the main stage at which a paste of herbal medicines is applied on the face. The herbal paste is generally made up of manjishtadi lepa, chandanadi lepa, honey, almond oil, glycerine, milk cream, etc.
- Moisturizing – At the end of the session, the skin needs moisturizing, and herbal medicines like aloe vera are applied on the face.
- Mukha Lepa face pack must be washed as soon as it dries, because drying makes the face drier and therefore impairs the complexion, e.g. formation of wrinkles, sagging of skin and enlargement of open pores.
- After removing the face pack, the face must be smeared with oil.
- During the facial session, the recipient should avoid excessive talk, and exposure to fire and sunlight.
- Mukha Lepa facial is not recommended for people suffering from indigestion, anorexia (an emotional disorder leading to lack or loss of appetite) and also not advisable to take immediately after Virechana therapy (one of the Panchakarma therapies using drugs to induce purgation).
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