It’s kapha season in the northern hemisphere, which means it’s cool, damp, and the energy surrounding us is heavy. The kapha dosha in Ayurveda is made up of the elements earth and water, and is associated with thicker skin. It is usually more resistant to changes in the environment, such as increased wind or sun, and generally tends to feel cool and damp to the touch. Kapha skin also tends to feel more oily, or simply moist and soft. Try Dermveda’s free skin type tool to find out if you have a kapha skin type.
For kapha skin types, utilizing the natural earth and water elements of a clay mask for may seem pointless. However, the drawing properties of clay are very beneficial for creating movement, thereby decreasing stagnation in the skin. As stagnation is a kapha issue, clay masks can be a great fit!
For kapha skin types, using a clay mask mixed with water works well, but adding extra ingredients can improve the effects of these masks. If you cannot buy your herbs powdered, putting them in a coffee grinder will usually produce pieces fine enough to use in your mask. Herbs that benefit the kapha type are antimicrobial and cleansing (to break up oils) or warming (to improve circulation).
Here are a few herbs that are great for kapha skin types:
- Citrus Peel: Powdered citrus peels, such as those from orange and lemon, are warming, cleansing, and helpful for breaking up oils on your skin, leaving an extra-fresh feeling.
- Nutmeg: Nutmeg is warming to the skin and increases circulation. It can help break up oils and has the added benefit of lightening blemishes and age spots.
- Turmeric: Turmeric is wonderful for the Kapha skin type. It’s warming, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory. It also stimulates circulation and draws out impurities. However, turmeric can sometimes stain your skin yellow, so start by using a small amount in your mask mixture.
Adding essential oils* to the mask is both aromatically pleasing and can be beneficial for kapha skin types. Add only 1-3 drops of essential oil to your individual mask application.
Some essential oils that you may want to consider are:
- Frankincense: Frankincense has been used in beauty products for thousands of years. It’s anti-inflammatory and has traditionally been used for healing wounds and damaged skin.
- Neroli: Neroli is a warming oil made from orange flowers. It is an excellent tonic for the skin and is considered to be rejuvenating and all-around balancing for the skin.
- Clary Sage: Clary Sage is a floral oil that is uplifting for your spirits. It’s purifying to the skin and useful for those who suffer from symptoms of hormone imbalance.
As stated above, water is the perfect liquid to mix into the kapha mask due to its lightness and purifying effects, but you can also experiment with honey as a water alternative. Honey is antimicrobial and draws out impurities. In Ayurveda, honey is seen as purifying and is often used for balancing kapha.
To make your own clay facial mask:
- Combine any of the ingredients above, using two parts clay to one part herbs.
- Mix in enough liquid to make a thin paste.
- Once you have thoroughly mixed the powder with the liquid, add 1-3 drops of essential oil (optional).
- Apply the paste to your face and allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes.
- Remove the mask with a clean washcloth moistened with warm water.
- Dry your skin and finished by applying toner and moisturizer.
If concocting your own mask seems intimidating, try the recipe below, and then try it again by substituting some of the ingredients listed above!
DIY Kapha Clay Mask
- Clay: 1 tbsp
- Water: 2-3 tsp (or enough to create a paste)
- Turmeric: ½ tsp
- Nutmeg: ½ tsp
*Please Note: It is highly recommended that you use only high-quality essential oils. Cheaper oils may be adulterated with chemical fragrances, which can cause a reaction on the skin.