The idea of using bath salts actually came from the mineral springs or hot springs, which people frequent due to their health benefits. Ancient civilizations also used bath salts for their healing and even beauty benefits. Now, of course, they are packaged and available as bath additives, i.e. they are added to bath water. Apart from salts, today’s bath salts also contain many other ingredients, like fragrances and oils, to make the bath experience more luxurious and enjoyable. Bath salts are of real benefit if you can soak in a tub bath. But one can also use them as pre-bath treatments if you cannot have a tub bath. Tie bath salts ingredients in a piece of clean cloth, and rub the bundle on the body. Or, mix the ingredients and rub them gently on the body. Wash off while bathing.
The benefit of bath salts is that they can ease muscular tension and remove fatigue. They also help to induce relaxation of both body and mind. Apart from imparting a clean and refreshing feeling, they also help to remove toxins and promote a general feeling of well-being. This may be due to the presence of certain essential oils in the bath salts preparations. Some ingredients added to bath salts may also have medicinal benefits, like reducing inflammation or pain, relieving nagging aches, or curing other ailments.
As far as beauty benefits are concerned, they can help to nourish and soften the skin. Some ingredients also help to exfoliate the skin and stimulate the renewal of skin cells. This has a rejuvenating effect on the skin, which also becomes softer, smoother, cleaner and brighter. In fact, it helps to protect the youthful qualities of the skin.
You may be able to buy bath salts, which contain both colour and fragrance. It is better to go for lighter fragrances that are not too overpowering. Lemony or flowery scents are good, especially during the hot and humid season.
The salts that are generally used are crystals of the normal salt that we use (sodium chloride), Epsom salts, bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), borax, etc. For good results, it is recommended that one should add the bath salt preparation to the bath water in your tub and then soak in it for about 20 minutes. Then the body should be washed with clean, warm water.
In order to make your own bath salts at home very simply, just add two tablespoons of salt crystals to the bath water, along with essential oils. Among the oils that may be used are cinnamon oil, lavender oil, rose oil, geranium, neroli or eucalyptus oil, etc. You can add 5 drops of an essential oil to pure olive oil and then add it to the water along with the salts. Cinnamon oil relieves fatigue and muscular tension, while lavender induces relaxation. Rose oil is said to have a calming effect on the mind. It also improves blood circulation to the skin surface. Eucalyptus oil reduces inflammation. Olive oil, of course, is ideal for nourishing the body and softening the skin.
Here are a few bath salt recipes which you can make at home:
Mix with hot water and add to the tub of water for a soak.
Tie first three ingredients in a bundle and add to water. Add aloeswood oil directly to water.
Tie in a bundle and put in the tub of water. Or it may be added directly to the water.
Nurjehan’s rose petal bath (Empress Nur Jehan is credited with the discovery of rose oil)
Add to water in tub bath.
Waxing is the most popular method of removing hair from parts of the body, like the arms, underarms and legs. By waxing, large areas of unwanted hair can be removed in one session. Waxing removes the hair by the roots. Although initially slightly painful, the results are generally satisfying. The skin also feels soft and smooth. Over a period of time, the hair becomes softer in texture. It is said that waxing gradually lessens hair growth and the interval between wax sessions keeps increasing.
Wax can be either hot or cold
Hot wax uses wax made from sugar and lemon, or honey and lemon. This melts at high temperatures and hardens on the skin, as it cools. The hot wax is applied on the skin in the direction of hair growth. Strips of cotton cloth are placed on the wax, pressed down and then pulled off against the direction of growth. Waxing with hot wax is said to be more effective.
Cold wax is made from a variety of ingredients, like paraffin wax and resin. Ready made cold wax or waxing strips may be available. Cold wax is said to be more effective if large areas of the body are waxed. Sometimes, there may be a residue of the wax on the skin, which has to be removed.
Sugar and Lemon Waxing
A wax made from sugar and lemon is the most common waxing method used by beauty salons. It is better to have it done at a salon, as the beautician is trained in hair removal. Make sure that the wax is not too hot, as it can cause burns on the skin. Test it on your finger when the mixture is slightly cool.
The advantages are that hair takes a longer time to grow back after waxing, because the hair is removed from the root. It takes around 4-6 weeks to grow back, and sometimes even longer. Waxing slowly reduces the growth of hair, so the more often you wax, the slower the hair grow.
The wax is made from natural ingredients like sugar, lemon and water, which are beneficial to the skin and also help to remove tan over a period of time.
Chocolate Waxing has caught on in a big way. In the high-end spas and salons, chocolate waxing has become premium treatments. It is done with a specially formulated wax, which contains cocoa beans or dark chocolate. Research has revealed that dark chocolate benefits the skin due to its cocoa content. It is said to be very high in antioxidants, which has anti-ageing benefits.
As far as using chocolate wax is concerned, it offers all the benefits of applying chocolate on the skin. For example, chocolate helps to soften and smoothen the skin. It also boosts the skin’s cell renewal process due to its antioxidant properties. Cocoa beans are also anti-inflammatory. In this respect, chocolate waxing reduces inflammation and there is less redness and pain. It is said that chocolate waxing causes less discomfort. The effects are also longer lasting. As we all know, chocolate has a delicious aroma and is said to actually induce relaxation, because it has mood altering properties. It calms the mind and provides a “feel-good” mental state. Therefore, it has aromatherapy benefits, because the delicious aroma of chocolate is most appealing and helps to induce relaxation. This helps the entire waxing process.
Aloe Vera wax, Strawberry wax
Ready made waxes are available, that contain natural ingredients like aloe vera or strawberry.
Aloe vera helps to moisturise, soothe and heal the skin. It is said to have anti-inflammatory benefits. It is said to be convenient for short hairs and is worked at low temperatures.
Strawberry wax is said to melt easily and spread easily. It is a ready made wax sold by some companies. It is a hot wax. It helps to soften the skin.
Points to be borne in mind:
As a working woman, you need to look your best, because this imparts self-confidence, an attribute all working women need. Yet, you have to go easy on the powder and paint. As for hairstyles, they should look professional and classy.
If you have a clear skin, do not use the foundation. After cleansing, apply a sunscreen with a built-in moisturiser. Then apply powder. Translucent powder, like baby powder, provides a light coverage with sheen. Pressed powder or powder compact is also useful. Whatever you use, avoid applying too much and pay more attention to the oily areas of the face. Press the powder all over the face and neck, with a slightly damp sponge. This helps it to set and last longer.
If you wish to apply foundation, use a water-based one. Add one or two drops of water for a lighter coverage. The foundation should be as close to your skin colour as possible. For eye make-up, use only eye pencils, or line your eyelids with brown or gray eye shadow, for a softer effect. Then, apply mascara. This helps the eyes to look brighter, but prevents the “heavily made-up” look. Mascara should be applied in two light coats, rather than one heavy one. Apply one coat. Allow it to dry. Comb out the lashes with an eyelash comb or brush. Then apply the second coat and repeat the procedure.
For lipstick, avoid very dark colours, especially those with bluish tones, like dark maroon. Colours look darker in fluorescent lights. Go for pinks, copper, bronze, burgundy or wine colour. Or, you can use light pastel colours like mauve or pink, provided it complements your skin colour. The colours should not be too intense. If you like, wear only lip gloss. Lastly, apply a light cologne or perfume. The scents you wear to work should not be too heavy and overpowering.
Make-up for the working woman has to last throughout the day. If you are working in an air-conditioned office, your make-up will stay fresh longer than if you are travelling, or are exposed to heat; whence you will need to “touch up” your make-up. In other words, you have to renew your make-up in a very short time.
To refresh yourself and touch-up your make-up, you need to carry a few items in your handbag. During summer, a small jar of fragrant wet tissues can be most refreshing. Use them to cleanse the skin and remove grease and sweat. A powder compact of pressed powder is really handy. It also helps to get rid of that oily look. First wipe with the tissues and then dab powder. You also need a lipstick to touch-up after lunch. Apply powder on the lips and then apply lipstick. Remember to carry a small bottle of cologne, or your favourite deodorant. In case, you need to go out of the office during the day, keep a sunscreen in your handbag and remember to protect your skin before stepping out.
Although long hair is in fashion, avoid keeping it loose, while you are at work. Long hair can spread untidily over the back. Also, you will tend to keep fussing with your hair, which is not convenient in a work environment. If you have long hair, put it up in a roll or pin it up. It can also be tied back in a pony tail. In fact, you can match the ribbon with the colour of your outfit. Or, use a hair accessory. Many kinds of clips and other attractive hair accessories are available. But they should not be too decorative while you are at work. You can even curl the ends of the hair with curlers and then tie them in a pony tail, or pin then up with a clip.
Braids (plaits) may also look nice for work, although it may take time. Braids for work hairstyle can be done on long and medium length hair. Divide your hair into three parts and intertwine it like a rope. Towards the end of the braid, use elastic band or a ribbon to tie it up. Braids look neat on young working women.
As far as the new trends are concerned, the more natural look in hair is making its way in, with a look of ease. Keep the hair away from the face. If you have short hair, wear it softly and naturally layered. Even in hair colour, natural colours like browns are the trend. You can have subtle colours with natural highlights.
The bob is back in fashion and will be the trend for short hairstyles in the coming seasons. For short hair, you can also go for the slightly tousled look if you wish to be in. Not, harsh or obviously structured, but rather a careless and casual look.
If you have shoulder length hair and wish to leave it open, condition it after shampoo, so that it is soft, smooth and manageable.
The therapeutic aim of the herbal healing system of ayurveda is to bring about the required balance among the three doshas of vata, pitta and kapha.
The period during the monsoons is said to be ideal for traditional ayurvedic treatments, like Panchkarma, Dhara and Kerala massage, as it helps to get rid of the toxins and wastes that have accumulated in the body during the preceding periods and seasons. This helps in the prevention of diseases. In fact, the body is more prone to disease and dosha imbalance during the monsoons. According to ayurvedic texts, the body is more receptive to treatments during the monsoons as humidity is high and the pores of the body are open. The oil treatments are said to be suitable for the months of July and August as it helps to achieve better dosha balance. The removal of toxins also helps to activate the natural healing powers of both body and mind.
Panchkarma is one of the major healing techniques of Ayurveda, offering a systematic programme of revitalization. Panchkarma literally means ‘five actions’. Therefore, it involves a complex series of therapeutic steps, which help to flush out and eliminate toxins from every cell. Panchkarma helps in achieving better balance of the doshas (vata, pitta, kapha). These treatments are carried out under the supervision of an ayurvedic physician.
The art of Kerala massage has been nurtured and perfected by the Kairali system, which is world renowned for its therapeutic values. It is not only used in the treatment of many ailments, but also for revitalising and rejuvenating the body and mind. The herbalised oils used in the massage have potent curative properties. These treatments relieve mental stress, induce relaxation and also revitalise the metabolic processes. They improve blood circulation, tone the muscles and actually improve sense perceptions, mental processes and performance levels.
Dhara means ‘flow’ and here it specially signifies ‘downward flow’. It is a pre-Panchkarma therapy and helps to open the channels of body and mind, in order to facilitate the treatment of disease. In Dhara, liquid medicaments, like herbalised oils, milk or ghee are placed in a bowl, hanging at an appropriate height above the body of the patient. The oils are chosen according to the dosha imbalance. The bowl is made of clay and has a hole in the centre of the base. The oil is then allowed to drip on to the forehead of the patient. This is known as Shirodhara. This treatment directly affects the central nervous system and is profoundly relaxing on the mind. The combination of Dhara and Kerala Massage helps to loosen the excess doshas, or toxins, and directs their flow towards the organs of elimination.
Ayurvedic treatments and dietary advice are all aimed at achieving balance.
Ayurveda advocates a diet that contains whole grains and enough fibre, so that it provides enough bulk to keep the digestive tract cleansed of toxins and wastes. Constipation and accumulation of toxins and wastes reflects on the skin, in terms of congestion, dull skin, blackheads and eruptions.
The diet should also be low in fat, to prevent clogging up of the arteries and veins. Proper blood circulation is imperative for good health and also for beauty. A low fat diet also helps to control weight gain.
According to Ayurveda, the daily diet should not contain refined sugars, which may give the body an energy boost, but it has a devitalising effect in the long run.
The diet should be high in minerals, which provide energy and vitality. Minerals also help the skin and hair.
Ayurveda says that we should keep to a diet that is low in animal protein, but high in vegetable protein. In fact, proteins are extremely important for the strength of the body. Excessive amounts of animal protein can increase toxins in the body and also slows down the digestive process. Vegetable proteins, on the other hands, not only nourish the body, but help the efficient elimination of wastes. Spices such as garlic, ginger, cumin seeds, pepper, aid the digestion of animal proteins.
Keep to a low salt diet. Excess salt leads to retention of fluid in the body and slows down circulation. Sometimes, it can make the face and area around eyes look puffy. For congested skin, a low salt diet is advocated.
Fresh, organic foods are recommended by Ayurveda, so that the body is supplied with nutrients. They not only contribute to good health, but give the skin a radiant glow.
During the monsoons, especially if there is excessive perspiration, Ayurveda gives some dietary suggestions:
Sip “nimbu paani.” Sip ginger tea before and after your meals. Chop fresh ginger root finely and mix with a pinch of salt. Chew a little of this before your meal. Sipping warm water with your meal may also help. Light diet and less spices are advised. Eat smaller meals.
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