Herbal Beauty Ideas for All Year

DIY Moisturizing Skin Serum

Growing up, I was fed the beauty myth that oily skin is bad. The cosmetics industry pushes the use of harsh, drying soaps and products that strip natural oils to help you get rid of shine. However, those natural oils actually help moisturize your skin. Washing them away can result in overly dry skin, rather than soft and supple skin. Really what you want is skin-loving oils like the serum recipe below paired with a nice, gentle astringent for a balanced regimen.

Using natural plant oils is a wonderful way to help nourish and refresh dry skin. Some of my favorites are organic rosehip seed oil, pomegranate seed oil, and tamanu oil. I love how quickly they absorb into the skin, leaving my face soft, but not greasy. Organic plant oils like these are used in the base of most homemade lotion recipes. Lotions often include butters or waxes to help smooth the skin and seal in the moisture. Using oil neat will allow it to absorb into the skin very quickly, and I prefer using this preparation first for daily facial moisturizing. However, you can use this serum as an oil base in a cream recipe if you like. This serum is wonderful for softening the skin on arms and legs as well.

For high-quality skin oils, you want to make sure that they are certified organic and minimally processed. I like to use cold-pressed or expeller-pressed oils that are unrefined. It’s also important to keep them in a cool, dark place. I store mine in the refrigerator and buy often. Because they are minimally processed, high-quality oils can turn rancid if not properly stored. Keep in mind,  a little oil goes a long way.

Okay, it’s time to feed your skin some luscious serum! I use this recipe first thing after showering in the morning and again before bed. I find it especially helpful for dry or sensitive skin, but feel free to play with other carrier oils and essential oils to craft a serum that is perfect for you.

MOISTURIZING SKIN SERUM RECIPE

Ingredients

Carrier Oil Base

  • 2 oz. organic jojoba oil or organic sunflower oil
  • 1 oz. organic tamanu oil
  • 1 oz. organic rosehip seed oil
  • ½ oz. organic pomegranate seed oil
  • ½ tsp vitamin E oil

Essential Oils

Directions

Pour all carrier oils together into a glass bottle and roll between your palms to mix. Carefully drip each essential oil into the carrier base and roll again to distribute. Use less essential oils if you have skin or fragrance sensitivities. Invert the bottle several times and roll again. Use a coin-sized amount as a facial serum or allover body oil each day.

Make Your Own Green Tea Skin Serum

There is no point in stretching the truth…I am 62 years old and while I have tried to take good care of my skin over the years, my skin-care strategy is evolving as my body ages. As a teenager and young adult, it was all about absorbing extra oil and striving for blemish-free skin. Throughout my thirties and early forties, I used a water-based moisturizing cream with sunscreen daily, and that worked well to help combat the rigors of a busy life.

Recently, I’m finding my skin needs a bit more nourishment and moisture and I’ve been working on creating face and skin treatments that have more of the good oils and concentrated botanicals to meet the requirements of my ever-aging skin. I never would have dreamt of putting oils directly on my face when I was 21, but now my skin seems to soak it all in—leaving my face feeling soft and nourished.

I’ve been reading a great deal lately about the benefits of green tea antioxidants as one of Nature’s many gifts, especially in skincare applications. I thought I might give it a try and use it as a base for a skin serum created specifically for more “seasoned” skin…

GreenTeaSerum01blog-1

 

Green Sencha Skin Serum

This recipe makes approximately 1 cup of skin serum, which is quite a bit! You can use this as a whole body oil or divide it up and share it. The recipe is also easy to half or quarter if you’d like to make a smaller amount.

The first step is to create an infused oil. I used about 1 cup of organic Green Sencha Leaf Tea and covered it completely with organic olive oil in a 1-pint mason-type jar. Allow this to infuse for 4-6 weeks, shaking regularly and making sure the tea stays completely covered with oil. After infusing, strain. Compost the tea.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a glass jar and shake well to combine.
  2. Pour into a dark amber or cobalt blue bottle or jar to protect from light and store in a cool, dark place. This does not need to be refrigerated.
  3. Apply by pouring a small amount in the palm of your hand and gently spread on your face using non-dominant fingers (avoid using your pointer finger or thumb as they put more pressure on your skin.)
  4. You can also use a dropper to collect the oil for application.

Creating Skin-Softening Body Butter Bars

Dry skin is universal, and most, if not all of us have suffered with it at one point or another. This shared discomfort is something you can easily solve with your own line of body butter bars.

Creating skin-softening body butter bars is both easy and inexpensive. The basic ingredients are readily available; and, you can create seemingly endless variations by experimenting with different ingredients.

This basic recipe is a great starting point:

The basic bar (small batch)

By starting out with a relatively small batch recipe, you can test a formulation without incurring a great deal of expense. The formulation can be changed by swapping out the oils or butters. You can fragrance your bars with essential or body safe fragrance oils, or leave them unscented.

Ingredients:

2 ounces (57g) Mango or Cocoa Butter
2 ounces (57g) beeswax pastilles (white or yellow is fine)
3 ounces (85g) sweet almond oil
1 1/2 teaspoons body safe fragrance oil

Method:

Combine the butter and beeswax into a microwave-safe glass measuring cup. Heat slowly in the microwave in short segments of 5-10 seconds at a time, stirring in between each segment. Once the mixture is fully melted, remove from microwave and stir in the sweet almond oil, mixing until completely combined.

Allow the mixture to cool for 1 to 2 minutes, then add in the fragrance oil. Stir until completely combined. Immediately pour the mixture into your desired packaging (push up lotion bar tubes or lip balm tubes are recommended options).

These bars are great for personal use or as gifts, but they also make great products and samples in their own right if you decide to make a little money on the side with your creations.

Rose, Cardamom, and Ginger Body Soak

A DIY recipe for making a healing tub soak of your own.

A Warming Winter Body Soak {or any time of the year}:

In the following order, blend together in a mortar and pestle:

  • A small handful of whole green cardamom pods
  • A handful of dried rose petals
  • About 1 cup of your favorite bathing salt (Ashley loves Himalayan pink salt for this)
  • A teaspoon or two of your favorite carrier oil (Ashley suggests apricot kernel, sesame, melted coconut, or jojoba)
  • A few drops of essential oil { Start with just a couple drops and then smell the blend for balance, keeping in mind that the scent of the oils will bloom in the warm water of your bath and gently scent the surrounding air}
  • A small spoonful of dried, powdered ginger { “Very warming for this time of year, and it complements the scent of the rose and the cardamom”}

After the mixture is blended, spoon it into a small fabric/muslin bag. As an alternative to using a mortar and pestle, cardamom pods also can be crushed with a rolling pin and the remaining items blended together in a bowl. But, “There is something so nice about the ritual of blending everything to release the scents with the mortar and pestle.”

Ashley spoons her salt blend into a muslin bag. Rather than sprinkling her tub with the blended ingredients, she places her filled bag underneath the running tap of the bathtub to infuse the water and dissolve the salt. The extra step saves her from having to scrub the tub post-soak.

Herbal Salt Glow for Vibrant Summer Skin

My senses are constantly indulged by the burgeoning world around me, and the simple fact that more of my skin is exposed to the elements makes summer an intimate time of being in the world. My hands are in the dirt, my feet are in the sand, and my nose in every blooming flower that crosses my path. The earth is always near, and my body feels like another one of its fruits. With the sun on my skin and the wind in my hair, life flows and my heart is warm and open. The days just seem a little easier simply from being surrounded by earthly pleasures. Having soft skin is one of those earthy pleasures that I just adore. This is true anytime, but especially in the sun-kissed summer months. Using an exfoliating salt scrub is hands down the best way I know to get silky soft summer skin.

When it comes to making salt scrubs, there are many different approaches. I like including lots of herbs, of course, for their therapeutic and aromatic properties and also because they help with exfoliation. This recipe includes lavender and chamomile flowers–both of which are anti-inflammatory and soothing to the skin as well as cooling and relaxing to the nervous system. The bergamot essential oil is an added aromatic boon, providing a soft citrus note that is at once uplifting and relaxing. The emollient coconut oil and sweet almond oil in the recipe help seal in moisture.

Exfoliation softens and smooths your skin by removing dull, dead skin cells and making way for the regeneration of new cells. The new skin cells, along with the circulatory stimulation of exfoliation, also leave your skin brighter and more vibrant. Using an herbal salt scrub is a simple, enjoyable self-care ritual that leaves me feeling soft, radiant, and oh-so-summery.

Ingredients

1 C fine sea salt

½ C Epsom salt

½ C Dried chamomile flowers

⅓  C Dried lavender flowers

3 Tbsps coconut oil (if it’s not already liquified at room temperature, melt it)

½ C sweet almond oil (you may substitute apricot kernel or sunflower oil)

40 Drop’s bergamot essential oil*

20 Drops Lavender essential oil*

Directions

Separately mix all of the dry ingredients and all of the oils (including essential oil). Combine the dry and wet ingredients, mixing well. Scoop into jars.

Use in the shower once a week, replacing the use of your soap. Scoop into your hand and scrub lovingly onto legs, butt, and arms in a circular motion. Feel free to scrub somewhat vigorously. Start by your hands and feet, moving your way toward the heart as you scrub for maximum circulatory benefit. I like to let it soak in for a few minutes before rinsing.

*I keep the essential oil scenting minimal in this recipe to give more of a chance for the herbal ingredients to shine. If you are looking for a more strongly scented salt glow, feel free to double the essential oils.

rose petal honey

Rose Petal Infused Honey

We make gallons and gallons of rose and lavender-infused honey to use as face masks. We use raw honey from our local beekeeper. You can use this honey for your own face masks, or add it to a bath, a little in a cup of tea, or for assistance with wound healing. The rose and honey will nourish your skin and leave it feeling petal-soft.

Gather rose petals from rose bushes that you are certain have not been sprayed. Flowers should be dust-free and as clean as possible and most importantly completely dry. Harvest when the sun has been shining on them long enough to ensure there is not any dew or moisture on the petals. Rose petals are very delicate and break down quickly and can easily mold.

Wilt your rose petals in a thin layer in the bottom of baskets or use an old window screen. Keep them out of direct light and the wind. Depending on the temperature, you can wilt them for several hours or overnight. You don’t want them to become so dry that they look like potpourri.

Meanwhile, let some honey warm up either in a window sill or double boiler. Do not let the honey boil or it will destroy the enzymes and nutrients.

Fill a jar with your rose petals, packing the jar but not too tightly. Pour warm honey over the rose petals making sure to completely cover the plant material. Use a chopstick to get rid of any air bubbles and let it infuse in a warm place for 2 weeks. You can use a windowsill if you make sure to wipe the condensation off the inside of the lid every day. I like a spot that is near a window, but not in direct light or I put it in a warm place outside and move it in at night.

Once done, you can heat your jar up in a double boiler over very low heat until it is thin enough to pour. Pour honey through cheesecloth into a clean jar. Use the spent rose petals in an old sock for the most amazing bath ever or feed it to the chickens. They will thank you for it! Store honey in a cool dry place with lids on tight. It will last for years.

Invigorating Red Cedarwood and Rosemary Scalp Massage and Hair Dressing

Invigorating Red Cedarwood and Rosemary Scalp Massage and Hair Dressing

Nurturing red cedarwood and invigorating rosemary essential oils provide an indulgent massage for scalp and dressing to brush into your luxurious locks.

Ingredients
  • 2 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • 1 drop rosemary essential oil
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
Directions
  1.  Place 1 teaspoon olive oil in the palm of the hand. Add essential oils and rub palms together.
  2. Gently massage this mixture into the scalp.
  3. Brush into hair until evenly distributed.
Benefits
Balancing

Good Night Beauty Regime

A good night’s sleep is an essential part of your beauty regimen and does more for your good looks than the best balm or treatment. While you sleep, blood continuously replenishes your skin, giving it a rosy glow. A well-rested complexion is also less prone to breakouts. Of course, night time is also the right time to treat your body to some extra conditioning and moisture.
Here are a few recipes to try that you can use right before you get in bed.
Night Time Lotion
This rich lotion is packed with oils and vitamins. Massage it into your body and face before going to bed at night and you’ll wake up with soft, smooth skin that looks and feels amazing. Make sure to remove any jewelry and wash your skin before applying it.
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup distilled water
1 tablespoon vitamin E oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 teaspoon wheat germ oil
1 tablespoon grated beeswax
In a glass container, dissolve baking soda in the water and set aside.
In a small saucepan or microwave-safe dish, mix the oils and wax together and heat gently {use the stove-top or microwave} until the wax is melted. Heat the soda-water mixture but do not boil and then pour it into a blender. Blend on slow speed, slowly adding the oil-wax mixture in a steady stream. Mix well and transfer to a heat-resistant container. Allow the mixture to cool. {The lotion will thicken as it cools.} Yield: 6 ounces
Lullaby Massage Oil
With lavender and chamomile in the mix, this massage oil is the perfect cure for a bad case of insomnia. The almond oil conditions skin.
1 tablespoon dried chamomile flowers
1/2 cup sweet almond oil
5 drops essential oil of Lavender
Place chamomile flowers in a small saucepan and pour the almond oil over them. Gently warm the oil for a few minutes, but do not boil. Allow the oil to cool; then strain out the flowers. Add the lavender essential oil and pour into a clean bottle. To use: Slowly massage a small amount onto dry skin or tired muscles. Yield: 4 ounces
Relaxing Lavender Bath
This is the perfect herbal bath to ease your mind and body after a full day. Along with lavender, it contains oatmeal and baking soda to soothe dry, sensitive skin. Substitute dried chamomile for the lavender in this recipe if you prefer.
1 cup dried lavender flowers
2 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup baking soda
In a blender or food processor combine all ingredients and process until you have a smooth, fine powder. To use: Pour 1/2 cup into your bath as you fill the tub. Yield: 28 ounces
Eye Rest Pillows
These pretty silk pillows are simple to make and offer an effective way to ease eye strain and relax at the end of the day. You can find flax seeds at most grocery and natural food stores. If you can’t find silk fabric, try using old scarves.
2 rectangle pieces of silky material, 5″ x 9″
1 cup flaxseeds
1 tablespoon dried lavender
Stitch the material together to form a small sack, and fill it with flax seeds and lavender. Stitch the remaining end closed. To use: Lie down with the pillow over your eyes. To calm inflamed skin, cool the pillow by placing it in the refrigerator.
Evening Nail Oil
Massage this rich combination of natural oils onto your nails before going to bed to strengthen and condition them. Do this regularly and you’ll see improvements in a few short weeks even with dry, cracked nails. Find liquid lecithin at your local natural food store.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons liquid lecithin
1/4 teaspoon vitamin E oil
Combine all ingredients and mix well. To use: Dab a small amount on your fingers and rub thoroughly into your nails. Yield: 1/2 ounce
Tips for a Good Night’s Rest
 
* Stick to a sleep schedule to keep your biological clock in sync.
* Avoid late dinners.
* Exercise at least four times a week, but avoid workouts close to bedtime.
* Use your bedroom only for sleep, not for surfing the web or work.
* Practice a sleep ritual like a warm bath, reading, or listening to music before going to bed.

Tinted Lip Balm {DIY}

THIS PROJECT IS SIMPLE—so very delightfully, splendidly, simple. In the beginning stages of my personal transition to living a more sustainable, healthy life, skincare, and cosmetics were among the first of my products to change. What you place on your body absorbs through your skin within 30 seconds, and personally, the thought of my bloodstream accumulating the hundreds of chemicals we use on our body was downright scary (keep watch for a post on greening your cosmetics in the near future). As of late, I have been taking things a step further and focusing my efforts on living zero-waste, which means trying to reduce the packaging I bring into my home, even if it is recyclable. I’ve also been exploring how to live sustainably on an even more stringent budget than ever before, and all things point to making things myself (turns out it’s almost always simpler and easier than I thought).

This particular recipe is one I’ve been making for years. It goes on smooth and coats your lips without getting too thick or waxy. The mineral pigment I use is actually my mineral blush, produced by a company I know well and trust completely. In fact, just in case, this is something you would like to make for yourself. You can, of course, leave out the pigment completely, but I truly love it as it elevates the look of plain lip balm ever so slightly, giving your lips a lightly berry-stained look that’s perfect for fall. Feel free to play with the quantity of pigment, what I’ve used here is just enough for a sheer hint of color.

Ingredients

  • 3 tsp. organic olive oil
  • 1 tsp. shaved pure beeswax
  • 1/4 tsp. natural mineral pigment
  • vitamin E

Method

If you have a solid block of beeswax (as I did), either use a box grater or a knife to carefully shave off flakes of wax.

In a very small pan or heat-proof dish over low heat, gently heat the oil, being careful not to overheat and destroy some of the healing properties of the oil. Add in the wax. Once it has melted, stir in the mineral pigment and a drop of Vitamin E (as a preservative).

Pour the mixture immediately into two 1/4 oz. tins and place in the fridge to solidify (only takes a few minutes). Use at will!

TIP: clean the vessel you used to make the balm immediately, while still warm. Use a paper towel, tissue or soft rag to wipe it clean, then clean with soap and water. DO NOT wait until the mixture has cooled, you will have a real mess!

lip balm tinted

Beet Root Lip and Cheek Stain

One of the biggest challenges going natural is finding clean, plant-based, and ethical beauty care products that work! Your lips and skin might be feeling dry and chapped this season, but there are some DIY options that can give you back your glow. This beetroot lip and cheek stain recipe can be created right on your stovetop, similar to an herbal salve. The only difference is that we’ve added in a bit of color.

In this recipe, we use alkanet root and beetroot powder to give the stain that sheer ruby red hue. The almond oil and cocoa butter in the stain give your cheeks and lips a dewy look, while deeply nourishing your dry skin. With a touch of peppermint essential oil, this stain tastes and smells delicious! It would be great as a stocking stuffer or in your purse year-round.

Beet Root Lip and Cheek Stain

This beetroot lip and cheek stain recipe can be created right on your stove top.

Servings: About 15 (.5oz tins)

Time: 45 minutes

Materials: 

Double boiler
Wooden spoon
Fifteen ½ ounce tins
Liquid measuring cup
Box grater
Measuring spoons
Labels
Small mesh strainer

Ingredients: 

¼ ounce of cocoa butter (about 3 wafers)
½ ounce of beeswax (1/2 of a stick)
3 tablespoons of alkanet root
2 teaspoons of beetroot powder
1 cup of sweet almond oil
10-12 drops of peppermint essential oil

Instructions:

1. Fill the bottom of your double boiler with water, to the line mark. Add 3 tablespoons of alkanet root in 1 cup of sweet almond oil in the top section, apart from the section with water. Bring the double boiler to a low simmer, stir the mixture and keep on low for 15 minutes. The oil will soon turn a deep red.

2. Strain out the alkanet root, using your mesh strainer and liquid measuring cup, and then add the deep red oil back to the top pot.

3. Shave the beeswax, and then add it in with the cocoa butter and beetroot powder.

4. Once melted and mixed in, turn off the heat and add your peppermint essential oil.

5. Pour into your lip balm containers.

6. Allow the stain to dry and enjoy!

Be sure to add labels to your stain so your friends and family know what ingredients were used. If you’d like the color to be darker, you can try infusing more alkanet root or adding in more beetroot powder. The stain can become somewhat darker when multiple layers are applied.

Now that you’ve got this stain recipe down you can try infusing other essential oils into the mix, to create your own custom scent profile.

We hope this recipe encourages you to try more natural beauty care products, steeped in the power of plants.

Shave – Cut Lotion for Men and Women

Apply a drop of this simple, inexpensive, and effective lotion to stop bleeding and prevent infection in the event of a razor nick.

4 teaspoons witch hazel lotion

13 drops lavender essential oil

7 drops geranium essential oil

Put all the ingredients in a sterilized 1-ounce glass bottle with a tight-fitting lid.

Shake well to combine.

Keep in a cool, dark place.

Shake before using it.

Aloe Aftershave Gel

This alcohol-free gel is suitable for men and women because it refreshes and is safe for sensitive skin. See if you don’t love it as much as anything you can buy.

Aloe vera gel is available in health food stores or you can scoop it out of the leaves of a plant.

1/2 cup aloe vera gel

1 1/2 tablespoons distilled water

1 tablespoon witch hazel

10 drops essential or fragrance oils of your choice

1. Combine all the ingredients in the container you’ll store the gel in. Stir until well mixed. Cover container with a tight-fitting lid.

2. Keep in a cool, dark location. Should keep indefinitely.

Muscle Rub

This salve really does wonders for hard-working muscles.

Massage into stressed, stiff, and aching shoulders, neck, back, or feet.

{This is not recommended for pregnant women.}

1 teaspoon lanolin

1 1/2 ounces extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 ounce beeswax, shaved or grated

2-3 drops arnica essential oil

6 drops ginger essential oil

3-4 drops lemon essential oil

1. In an ovenproof glass measuring cup with a pour spout, combine the lanolin, olive oil, and beeswax. Place the cup in a hot-water bath until the wax is nearly melted. At this point, remove the cup from the water bath and stir the mixture with a clean utensil to evenly mix the ingredients.

2. Let the mixture cool. When the mixture begins to harden around the edges of the cup, add the essential oils and stir to incorporate them.

3. Pour into a sterile wide-mouthed jar and allow to cool before capping. Store in a cool, dark place for several months.

Burn Relief

Oil Rub for Burned Skin:
 
This mixture gives relief. And you can safely use it several times a day.
1 drop tea tree essential oil
1/4 cup organic olive oil
1. In a small dish, dilute the essential oil with the olive oil.
2. Gently massage the mixture over the burned area.
Soothing Oil for Burns:
 
If the burn area is large, you may need to double the ingredients for this soothing oil.
2 capsules vitamin E, 400 IU
5 drops lavender essential oil
1. Pierce each vitamin E capsule with a needle and squeeze the contents into a small dish. Stir in the lavender essential oil.
2. Gently massage into the skin.
Burn Spray:
 
Applying a spray doesn’t hurt the burn the way massaging in an oil might. This cool mixture offers relief and healing at very little cost.
1 ounce of ice water
1-ounce aloe vera gel
25 drops total lavender, chamomile, spearmint, and yarrow essential oils
1 capsule vitamin E, 400 IU
1. In a small spray bottle, mix the ice water, aloe vera, and essential oils. Pierce the vitamin E capsule with a needle, squeeze its contents into the mixture and chill.
2. Shake before use and spray over the burned area. Keeps in the refrigerator for several days.
Antiseptic Lotion for Burns:
 
Nobody wants a burn to become infected. Here’s a quick remedy that costs only pennies.
1 handful of dried plantain leaves
1/2 cup hot water
10 drops tea tree essential oil
1. In a blender, add a handful of dried plantain leaves to about 1/2 cup hot water. Begin blending, slowly adding water or plantain leaves as necessary until the mixture becomes thick, like oatmeal. Mix in the tea tree oil.
2. Spread mixture over the affected area. You can refrigerate the remainder for several days.
Sunburn Cooler:
 
Brew a pot of regular tea {Lipton, Salada, or a store brand will do fine}. The tannins in the tea help soothe the burning feeling.
3 tea bags or 3 tablespoons loose tea
Boiling water
1. In a teapot, place the tea. Pour in boiling water, cover, and steep 5 minutes. Cool
2. Use a cloth or cotton ball to dab the sunburn with cooling tea.

Two Quick Treatments for Burns.

Aloe Vera Gel is a traditional and effective salve for burns. And it costs you nothing if you have aloe vera as a houseplant. Pull a leaf off the plant and with a small spoon, scoop out the clear gel. Apply directly to the burn.
Lavender Essential Oil provides relief from minor burns, including sunburn.

how-to-catch-a-fairy

Editor’s Notes:

Ashley is my daughter who is contemplating {again} a website for beauty and makeup tutorials. Our lives changed in many ways after and during this Coronavirus outbreak. Living on a military base has presented unique situations for her family to which I will not explain. Going back to natural products, becoming an accomplished seamstress, and canning her own food has become prevalent in her lifestyle now. And, of course, her daughter Vivian {my beautiful Granddaughter} has become quite the little helper with many tasks at home including helping with makeup tutorials. I can not stress the absolute charm of a 3 1/2 yr. old’s version of how makeup should be applied. I have never been so charmed and to say the least, cracked up by her undaunting cleverness and perseverance at this unique time of their lives and ours.

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