Skin-Care Solutions: Herbal Beauty Aids Feature An Anti-Aging Bonus

As we age, free radicals and inflammation can contribute to the loss of youthful tone in the face and skin. The good news is that many herbs contain antioxidants and other beneficial compounds that help combat these aging factors.
Women have been using herbal treatments to achieve silky skin since the time of Queen Nefertiti in ancient Egypt. Today’s modern herbal skin-care products offer a variety of applications, from basic cleansing and maintenance to enhancing natural beauty by targeting specific problems. Some herbs contain protective chemicals, like tannins, that can reverse the harsh effects of sunlight, pollution, and stress, while others have moisturizing qualities.
The skin-protecting herbs include basil, ginkgo, green and black tea, rosemary, milk thistle, nettle, patchouli, and sage. Skin soothing anti-inflammatory herbs include calendula, witch hazel, and rose, while herbs for dry or mature skin include fennel, jasmine, licorice, and rose. For oily skin, try rosemary, sage, thyme, yarrow, and lavender.

Customize Your Skin Care

While there are plenty of herbal skin-care choices in health food stores, why not try creating your own? Once you have mastered a few basic recipes, you can customize your own lotions by substituting other herbs based on their scents or beneficial qualities.

Homemade Herbal Lotions and Scrubs

These easy-to-follow recipes from herbalist Diana Jones are intended to produce multiple jars – perfect for giving to friends and family.

Patchouli Aphrodisiac Cream

This healing face and body cream offer the sensual essence of patchouli flowers and essential oil.
Yields eight 1/2-ounce jars

Place fresh or dried patchouli flowers in an air-tight jar, add grape-seed oil, seal, and let stand for at least two weeks. Strain oil into a 2-cup glass measuring cup, and place in a small saucepan of water making sure the water will not slosh into the cup. On low heat, add hemp seed oil, beeswax, and honey. Let beeswax melt slowly while mixing occasionally with a chopstick. Pour mixture into 1/2-ounce jars. Add five drops of patchouli essential oil to each jar before mixture hardens. Seal jars, and let sit for 24 hours.

Lavender-Rose Salt Scrub

Perfect for exfoliating and softening the arms and legs, especially during the drying, cold-weather months.
Yields four 4-ounce jars

  • 1 cup Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 cup cheltic sea salt
  • 1/2 cup organic grape-seed oil
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut oil
  • 10 sprigs freshly dried lavender
  • 5 dried roses
  • 9 teaspoons organic raw honey
  • 10 drops organic water-distilled lavender essential oil

Mix salt in a large bowl. Crush lavender into a powder with a mortar and pestle. Using a fine strainer, add the lavender to the salt, and then add oils. The mixture should be moist, not oily. Add honey, and mix well with a wooden spoon. Scoop mixture into 4-ounce jars. Add ten drops lavender essential oil to the top; do not mix. Place rose petals and a lavender flower on top, seal jars, and let sit for 24 hours.

Honeybee Body Butter

Use on both face and body as a moisturizer and anti-inflammatory agent.
Yields eight 1-ounce jars.

  • 1/2 cup fresh or dried St. John’s wort flowers
  • 1 cup organic sunflower oil
  • 1/2 cup dried nettle leaf and flower
  • 5 teaspoons organic raw honey
  • 1/2 cup beeswax
  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 10 drops camphor essential oil
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil

Place St. John’s wort flowers in a lidded jar. Pour in sunflower oil, and seal the jar. Store for six-weeks or until the oil turns red. Strain into a 4-cup glass measuring cup. Powder the nettle with a mortar and pestle, and add to oil using a strainer. Submerge measuring cup in a saucepan of water that is well below the edge of the cup. Simmer slowly, making sure not to boil, and then add beeswax, coconut oil, and honey. Let the beeswax melt slowly – approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Mix with a chopstick, then pour into 1-ounce jars. Add the camphor and peppermint essential oils to each jar before mixture hardens. Seal jar, and let sit for 24 hours.