Herbs to Bring Out the Natural Beauty in You - Part Two
In last month's blog we discussed a range of herbs that can be used to make your own cosmetic preparations.
This month we are featuring some of those herbs in the recipes below*. So go ahead and have a “spa day” and pamper yourself. You deserve it!
Sweet Violet Cleansing Milk
(For Dry/Combination Skin)
2 Tbsp sweet violet flowers, fresh or dried
Simmer ingredients in top of a double boiler for about 30 minutes. Do not allow milk to boil. Turn off heat and let sit for about 2 hours, strain. Keep refrigerated. Apply with cotton balls to the face.
Variations: Use elderflowers, chamomile, rose petals or linden blossoms in place of sweet violet.
Buttermilk and Fennel Cleansing Milk
(For Oily Skin)
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp crushed fennel seeds
Heat the milk and fennel seeds in top of double boiler for 30 minutes. Turn off heat, let steep for 2 hours. Strain, cool, pour into bottle and refrigerate. Apply with cotton balls to the face. Keeps for 2 weeks.
Floral Facial Steam
1/4 cup rose petals
1/4 cup rosemary leaves
1/4 cup fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. peppermint leaves
Combine all ingredients.
To use: Cleanse face before steaming. Bring about 3 cups of water to a simmer. Add 1/4 cup herbs, turn off heat, cover pan and steep a few minutes. Remove lid and hold your face about six inches over the pan. Drape a towel over your head and the pan to form a tent that will hold in the steam. Steam up to 10 minutes, taking breaks if necessary to cool off. Then moisturize right away, while skin is still damp.
Be sure to include these directions for use if you give this blend as a gift.
Crystallized Honey Scrub, Green Tea Rinse
One use for that crystallized honey which no one will eat!
Beforehand, boil 2 pints or so of water — enough to use for rinsing your face well. Remove from heat, steep a few handfuls of loose green tea for 10 minutes. Strain into a large bowl that will fit in your kitchen or bathroom sink, and cool to WARM. Then, scoop out honey from its container with a clean narrow spatula.
Spread on face with spatula. Massage GENTLY; the crystallized honey “sloughs” or exfoliates beautifully, but it can hurt if you’re rough. Leave on 20 minutes. Put the large bowl of warm green tea in the sink and splash on to rinse well. Tea can stain your “good” pale towels, so pat dry with an “old” or dark one.
French Clay & Herb Mask
1 cup french clay (white, green, or grey)
½ cup mixed herbs, ground
Mix the clay and herbs together in a blender and process to a fine powder.
To use: Add room temperature water to clay (approx. 1 Tbsp water to 4 Tbsp clay mix for a mask). Gently smooth over skin avoiding eyes. Allow to dry for 10 to 15 min. Wash off with warm water, scrubbing gently as you do this. Follow with splashes of cool water.
Chamomile / Mint Toner
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint (or 2 Tbsp dried)
2 tbs. dried chamomile flowers, crushed
4 cups water
Combine ingredients in a small saucepan. Boil for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and steep for 5 minutes. Strain liquid into a jar, cover and refrigerate. Will keep 2 weeks refrigerated. Apply with cotton balls to skin.
Herbal Bubble Bags
Great to use in the shower when there is no time to soak in the tub.
2 parts oatmeal
2 parts dried herbs (any combination – check our previous blog post for the best herbs for your skin type)
1 part grated pure soap
Place ingredients in a cloth bag and use as a washcloth.
2 1/2 cups distilled water
1 tsp fresh mint leaves
1 tsp rosemary leaves
1 tsp anise seeds
Boil the water, add herbs and seeds,
infuse for 20 minutes. Cool, strain and use as a gargle/mouthwash. If you wish to make up a larger quantity, double or triple the recipe then add 1 tsp of tincture of myrrh as a natural preservative.
Honey Herbal Hair Conditioner
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup glycerin
1/4 cup sage
1/2 cup dried chamomile flowers
or 1/2 cup nettle leaves
1/4 cup rosemary leaves
1/2 cup witch hazel
1 tablespoon liquid lecithin
Place all the ingredients in a screw top jar. Shake well and let set for 1 hour. Strain to remove herbs, discard the herbs and pour the liquid back into the jar. Makes about 1/2 cup.
To use: massage into scalp after washing hair. Leave for 10 -15 minutes then rinse hair with lukewarm water.
Old Time Perfume Recipe
The practical housewife of the nineteenth century would turn to “Dr. Chase’s Recipes, or Information for Everybody” published in 1860. It was advertised as “an invaluable collection of about six hundred practical recipes…,” handsomely bound and just one dollar! Here’s the technique Dr. Chase recommended for gathering fragrant oils:
“Collect a quantity of the leaves of any of the flowers that have an agreeable fragrance, or fragrant leaves, as the rose geranium, etc. Card thin layers of cotton, and dip into the finest sweet oil [e.g. almond oil], Sprinkle a small quantity of salt on the flowers [to prevent mold], and lay first a layer of cotton and then a layer of flowers, until an earthenware vessel, or a wide-mouthed glass bottle is full. Tie the top well over with a bladder [plastic wrap], then place the vessel in the heat of the sun; and in 15 days, when uncovered, a fragrant oil may be squeezed away from the whole mass, resembling the leaf used, and for only a trifling expense.”
At Tilia we carry a wide range of dried herbs and supplies. Stop by for all your DIY herb projects.
*Just because your ingredients are natural doesn’t mean you can’t react to them. It is always wise to patch test any new product on a small area of skin first and see how you react