Why You Should Make This Holy Herb Part Of Your Beauty Routine

The world’s five major religions are, for all intents and purposes, defined by their geography, the latitude and longitude by which they were first developed. To the west, there’s Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; to the east, you’ll find Hinduism and Buddhism. It has been this way for thousands of years.

But aside from their positioning on a map, there’s one essential difference between the two “types” of religion: Western religions share an overarching theme of monotheism, the faith or belief in one god, your Christ or your Allah or Yeshua, subscribing to a holy book and unquestionable religious authorities. Eastern religions, on the other hand, are characterized more so by a kind of philosophical openness, a deep-rooted sense of spirituality and time-worn tradition without hard-and-fast rules. Gurus, deities, mythology, rituals, yajna (or sacrifice), meditation, and rebirth — even the worship of plants or herbs is fair game.

And in Hinduism, which is considered a Dharma or “way of life” rather than what we think of as organized religion, that’s where tulsi comes in. Also known as holy basil, tulsi is a sacred Indian herb; you’ll find it growing in temples, in homes, in the courtyards of families who wish to display it as a form of worship. “One of the oldest surviving things in the main Jaipur fort,” the seat of Indian royalty, “is a 700-year-old tulsi plant that the queens would pay daily homage to,” says Ayurveda expert and Uma Oils founder Shrankhla Holecek. The herb’s topical and internal medicinal value is highly celebrated, both in traditional holistic preparations and the kind you can now buy at Sephora or Whole Foods.

“Tulsi is used quite broadly for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties,” Holecek explains. “It most benefits skin that is prone to inflammation and blemishes.” Those benefits are also responsible for why we’re seeing it used more and more in formulas that aim to combine Ayurvedic tradition with newer skin-care science. Recent research shows that the herb even has adaptogenic properties, meaning it actually helps strengthen the body’s natural ability to resist stress — and who doesn’t need that?

Ahead, the best tulsi-based beauty products that will bring some balance to your life and complexion… even if your only religion is skin care.

Far from your standard-issue face mist, this 100% organic tulsi hydrosol is a blessing for blemished skin — and its warm, spicy, almost clove-like scent helps to clear the mind as the anti-inflammatory properties detoxify clogged pores.

Evan Healy Tulsi (Holy Basil) Facial Tonic HydroSoul, $29.95, available at Evan Healy.
This highly-concentrated formula has a luxe "dry oil" texture that sinks into skin instantly and leaves a smooth, velvety finish behind, without even a trace of greasiness. Skin feels soft and nourished, not slippery, and the soothing aromatherapeutic scent is just a bonus.

Skin Regimen 10.0 Tulsi Booster, $115, available at Skin Regimen starting March 1.
Dry, irritated, sensitive, oily, acne-prone — this rich, indulgent blend offers benefits for every skin type in the book, thanks to a combination of oils that span from the familiar hydrating standbys (jojoba, argan, sweet almond) to the time-honored Ayurvedic components of tulsi, brahmi, amla, and neem.

Arya Essentials Face Oil, $95, available at Arya Essentials.
Potent antioxidants from cranberries and green-tea extract and USDA-certified organic botanical oils from rosemary, tulsi, cedarwood, and lemongrass are what give this powerful serum its skin-firming properties.

Oille Firming Intelligence Cranberry + Green Tea Facial Serum, $138, available at Oille.
This classic redness-reducing face cleanser, which is perfect for even the most reactive skin types, boasts a proprietary blend of nutritious medicinal mushrooms, ginger, turmeric, and tulsi to restore and sooth the skin's natural moisture barrier while washing away makeup, dirt, and pore-clogging impurities.

Origins Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Face Cleanser, $31, available at Sephora.
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!
Show More Comments...