I'm definitely not an expert in ayurveda, but lately I've been gravitating towards body products that incorporate elements of ayurvedic medicine in their ingredients and their usage. Anjolie Ayurveda is one line that I've been using with enthusiasm this summer, and Bhaktiveda is another. Bhaktiveda's products are manufactured in India, using Himalayan-grown herbs and other natural ingredients, and they're intended for all skin types.
Bhaktiveda Tulsi Body Lotion highlights tulsi — also known as Holy Basil — as a key ingredient with nourishing and purifying benefits; the lotion's neem oil also promises anti-bacterial properties. On its own, neem can have an unpleasant sulfurous smell, but in this blend, it's camouflaged by essential oils of anise and lavender. I happen to love the herbal-sweet fragrance of anise (COPA Soaps' anise-scented Basil soap is still one of my favorite soaps, ever!), so I've been enjoying this lotion as part of my morning routine. It also feels wonderfully thick and creamy for a product that's contained in a pump dispenser; luxury and convenience, all in one.
Speaking of packaging, I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I love body oils packaged in spray bottles. Bhaktiveda Nourishing Massage Oil is my current end-of-day choice, best used after an evening shower. Its base is a mix of sesame oil and rice bran oil, and its lengthy list of herbal ingredients runs from the familiar (black pepper, cedarwood) to the unexpected (Bengal quince leaves, nutgrass, sarsaparilla). When I apply it and inhale its aroma, I notice a rich dose of ylang ylang with some bergamot, against a background of vetiver and patchouli and all those above-mentioned peppery-woody notes. It's a soothing smell for people whose taste in comfort scents tends towards something more unusual than vanilla, and it feels deeply moisturizing on rough skin. (One small complaint: the bottle's label tends to get stained by any oil that makes contact with it, but this has nothing to do with the actual product.)
Both the Tulsi Body Lotion and the Nourishing Massage Oil could be enjoyed by men and women alike, although the Massage Oil's ylang ylang makes it a touch more feminine. And, although a true devotee of ayurveda might more fully understand the products' combinations of herbs and their benefits, anyone with a liking for natural fragrance can appreciate Bhaktiveda's sensory appeal.
Bhaktiveda Tulsi Body Lotion sells for $22 (7.7 oz.) and its Nourishing Massage Oil sells for $22 (4.2 oz) at the Bhaktiveda website. The line is also available at some natural-food markets, such as Lifethyme in New York.