Make Fragrant Essential Oils: Warrior’s Spirit for Courage

This Warrior’s Spirit blend promotes courage and protection as well as physical and emotional support.

• 12 drops lavender oil
• 6 drops carrot seed oil
• 3 drops black pepper oil
• 3 drops angelica oil
• 3 drops myrrh oil
• 2 drops sage oil

Natural Perfumery

Craft evocative personal scents using natural ingredients, which lend delicate nuances to fragrances and evolve over time.

Thanks to the art and science of aromatherapy, we now appreciate the profound links between aroma and health; scents are processed in the amygdala, the same area of the brain that processes emotions. Because of the integration of scent and emotional processing, making natural perfume can contribute to our well-being. Perfume creation, which involves active olfaction and a total focus on the sense of smell, has been compared to concentrative meditation — it can help eliminate stress and bring about a sense of calm and peace. Not to mention, making perfume gives you the opportunity to develop your sense of smell!

Creating your own fragrances isn’t difficult. Maybe you already know that you prefer a certain type of perfume — an aroma that you identify with and that makes you feel good. Maybe you’d like to make a perfume to comfort, to uplift your spirits, to promote self-confidence, or for meditation. Or maybe you’d like to wear perfumes that reflect the season or evoke a specific mood. The possibilities are endless, and trying new combinations is part of the fun.

Natural Perfume Components

Natural perfumes made with essential oils and absolutes won’t be the same as commercial, alcohol-based perfumes. Essential oils are extracted from aromatic plants by steam distillation, or by physical expression, as in the case of citrus oils. Absolutes are made by solvent extraction; they’re aromatically similar to the plant but are very concentrated and best appreciated when highly diluted. Rose, jasmine, and orange blossom are the most popular absolutes. They’re expensive so you could use an infusion in jojoba oil as a budget-friendly alternative.

In mainstream perfumery, synthetic aroma chemicals dominate. This means that when a modern synthetic fragrance is applied, the effect is often linear — the perfume doesn’t substantially change its character from application until it has faded from our perception. The scent of perfumes made with extracts from aromatic plants, however, will evolve on our skin after application; we’ll first sense the top notes, then the middle notes at the heart of the scent, and finally the lingering base notes. Commercial perfumes are constructed for their initial impact and presence, their persistence, and for sillage — the trail of fragrance left in the air when the wearer walks by. Oil or wax-based natural perfumes are more subtle, and will usually fade more quickly. However, what’s lost in bombastic impact is more than made up for by the gentleness and beauty of naturally derived ingredients, and by the mood benefits of the aroma.

Fragrant Harmonies

Natural perfume isn’t composed randomly. To create a successful perfume, you’ll need to understand the olfactory relationships between essential oils, their volatility (which determines which scents are top, middle, and base notes), their diffusiveness, and their odor intensity.

The scent of every essential oil is made up of many chemical components, each of which has its own olfactory characteristics, and the components’ relative proportions have a major impact on the overall aroma of the oil. For this reason, some essential oils, such as rose or jasmine, are complex enough to make good single-ingredient fragrances, which are instantly recognizable. If you combine three essential oils, you create a new odor sensation, although you’ll still be able to discern the presence of the individual oils. But by combining five or more oils, you’ll create a completely new scent, which we’ll struggle to discern the individual ingredients of because hundreds of chemicals will be constituents contributing to the aroma.

In perfume, the initial impact is given by the “top note,” or the aromatics that evaporate most quickly; the heart of the scent is composed of “middle note” aromatics, defining the theme of the perfume; and less volatile “base note” aromatics anchor or fix the scent, giving it persistence. The oil or wax base of a natural perfume will also decelerate evaporation to an extent, which is why a natural perfume takes a little longer to make its presence known. By contrast, alcohol-based conventional perfumes are highly volatile.

In addition to the broad top, middle, or base category a particular aromatic might belong to, aromatic connections will be running throughout the perfume, because many essential oils share aromatic constituents. These form what we might think of as aromatic bridges, which will bring cohesiveness and harmony to your blend; aromatic contrasts will add drama and excitement.

Choose a Theme

When crafting a personal scent, you might want to create a soliflore, where one floral fragrance dominates; or a more sophisticated bouquet, which might be floral, herbal, or based on fragrant woods, soothing balsams, citrus, or vanilla. Each of these ideas can be fused so you might choose a floral-balsamic composition or an herbal-woody-spicy scent.

You can also create a more abstract scent that reflects seasons, places, or feelings. Evoke a walk in the forest with conifer oils or a tropical garden with sumptuous ylang-ylang. You could even use vanilla and citrus to make a fragrance inspired by the aroma of cakes baking!

Follow Your Nose

Top notes: Citrus is commonly used as a top note, because of its high volatility. Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) has a fresh citrus top note and sweet citrus body, with lemony, floral, peppery, and lavender-like nuances — elements that can bridge with many other scents. Use the furanocoumarin-free (FCF) version to eliminate the risk of phototoxicity, which is a burning reaction from topically applied essential oils that are triggered by exposure to sunlight. Other citrus top notes include yellow grapefruit (C. paradisi) for sharpness, lime (C. aurantifolia) for lightness, mandarin (C. reticulata) for freshness, and yuzu peel (C. junos) if you like a stronger aromatic citrus presence. Many citrus essential oils and aromatics are phototoxic, though the risk is minimized by using steam-distilled essential oils; research the aromatic you plan to use before adding it to a scent.

Herbal top notes give freshness to a blend; try using bergamot mint (Mentha citrata), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), and petitgrain (C. aurantium).

Floral top notes include the green scent of neroli (steam-distilled C. aurantium var. amara) and damask rose (Rosa x damascena), which gives a gentle freshness, lift, and harmony.

Spicy top notes include black pepper (Piper nigrum) for light warmth and lift, and caraway seed (Carum carvi) for sweet warmth and intrigue. Versatile coriander seed (Coriandrum sativum), with sweet, spicy, woody, floral, and citrus notes, can act as a bridge.

Middle notes: Floral heart notes can be as defining or as subtle as you wish. Heady Jasminum grandiflorum absolute should be used sparingly for its intense, diffusive, warm floral fragrance. Like rose and orange blossom absolutes, it makes for a classic floral heart. Arabian jasmine (Jasminum sambac) is intensely sensual, and it makes a good soliflore. Rose absolute (Rosa x centifolia) will make a smooth, rich, sweet soliflore, or can be the dominant floral in a composition. In small amounts, its delicacy can transform fragrances. Orange blossom absolute (solvent-distilled from Citrus aurantium var. amara) is a rich and heavy floral that should be used sparingly. It can make an interesting soliflore with neroli as a top note. A little ylang-ylang extra (Cananga odorata var. genuina) goes a long way; it’s diffusive, sweet, rich, and tropical. In small amounts, it lifts and harmonizes blends.

For an herbal heart, try sweet, fresh lavender absolute; rose geranium (Pelargonium spp.); or sweet, diffusive Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) for its apple notes.

Citrus oils evaporate quickly, making them difficult to use in the heart of a scent. However, litsea (Litsea cubeba) is fresh, sweet, sharp, and lemony, and has reasonable tenacity.

Spicy oils make good partners for flowers and woods and can sit within the heart of a perfume. Clove Bud (Eugenia caryophyllata) is perfect for spicing up rose fragrances. Use it minimally; the scent is powerful, and the oil can irritate the skin. Cinnamon leaf (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) should also be used sparingly.

Woods and resins for heart notes include Italian cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), which imparts woody and smoky notes; Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana), which gives a mild “pencil shavings” aroma; and frankincense (Boswellia carterii), which offers a fresh, resinous effect. Both frankincense and Eastern red cedar reach the top notes while staying in the heart. Frankincense suffers from overharvesting for the essential oil trade, so be sure to seek out sustainably sourced oil if you wish to use it. Conifers usually make their presence felt in top notes, but are tenacious enough to stay in the heart.

Base notes: These oils all act as fixatives as well as fragrance elements. If you’re looking for a balsamic, ambery, rich effect, try the resin of rock rose (Cistus ladanifer) or myrrh (Commiphora myrrha).

Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) is distinctive and complex and will add character to blends with its persistent, earthy, herbaceous notes. Vetiver (Vetivera zizanoides) is a rich, sweet, woody, earthy aroma, with remarkably persistent musky notes.

Sandalwood (Santalum album) is the base of many traditional attars; blend it with rose or jasmine to create a simple, beautiful scent. The scent is sweetly woody and persistent, with balsamic and musky notes. Sandalwood is often overharvested in the wild; seek sustainable sources for this oil.

Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia) is sweet, rich, and warm, with woody and even tobacco notes. The solvent-extracted absolute is quite expensive, so the budget-friendly way to use it is to buy vanilla-infused jojoba oil, to which you can add your other ingredients.

The given recipes are only a few examples of perfumes you can create. Adapt them to suit what you have available — or what you prefer — and don’t be afraid to substitute fragrances or vary the proportions of aromatics. Enjoy; it’s your perfume!

Natural Oil-Based Roll-On Perfume Recipe

This oil-based roll-on perfume recipe is easy to adjust to your personal fragrance preferences, and fragrance-infused carrier oils expand the possibilities.

Yield: 0.35 ounces (10 milliliters) liquid perfume.

 

Pack your preferred personal scent into a roller ball bottle to have on hand throughout the day. Note that the provided measurements will give a concentration of around 5 percent essential oils. You shouldn’t use more than 2 drops of absolute per 0.35 ounces (10 milliliters) of carrier oil.

Ingredients:

  • 10 drops essential oils and absolutes (see “Oil-Based Perfume Variations,” below)
  • 0.35 ounces (10 milliliters) jojoba oil
  • A colored-glass roller-ball bottle

Instructions:

  1. Add your heart notes directly into the bottle, and smell as you go, in case you need to adjust.
  2. Next, add the base notes, and, again, remember to smell after every drop. You can always add more, but you can’t subtract.
  3. Finally, add your top notes.
  4. When you’re happy with the aroma, fill the bottle to the shoulder with jojoba oil, fit on the roller ball and lid, and invert the bottle gently several times to thoroughly distribute the oils in the jojoba.
  5. Give your composition a name, label the bottle, and note the formula.

Oil-Based Perfume Variations

Essential oils are extremely concentrated and must be sufficiently diluted in a carrier oil to be used safely on your skin. Don’t adjust the proportion of aromatics to carrier oil in these recipes. All the following quantities are calculated for 0.35 ounces (10 milliliters) of liquid perfume.


Tropical Flowers

Top: 2 drops lime

Heart: 3 drops ylang-ylang

Base: 5 drops sandalwood

Variation: Use vanilla-infused jojoba as the carrier for a creamy effect.


Herbal Bouquet

Top: 3 drops bergamot mint, 2 drops rose, and 2 drops lavender

Heart: 1 drop rose geranium, 1 drop Roman chamomile, and (optional) 1 drop lavender absolute

Base: 1 drop patchouli or vetiver


Meditation

Top: 2 drops Bergamot and 2 drops neroli

Heart: 2 drops frankincense

Base: 2 drops Myrrh and 2 drops sandalwood

Secrets to Healthy Hair, Skin, and Nails

Frustrated with lackluster hair, dry skin, and brittle nails? You are not alone. There is a multi-billion dollar cosmetics industry built on your hopes and dreams of shiny hair, strong nails, and supple, hydrated skin. But do the potions and tonics you apply to your tresses leave them dull and lifeless? Are your nails prone to splitting and cracking? Are your knees ashy an hour after applying lotion? There’s a reason why.
The products you use every day might be doing more harm than good. Cosmetic products are often loaded with harmful chemicals and toxins that detract from your health and appearance. Fortunately, the secret to beautiful hair, skin, and nails is simpler than you might think. Like so many other aspects of your health, your diet and lifestyle are major determinants of your appearance. Keep reading to find out how to improve and maintain strength and shine for a lifetime.

Watch What You Eat

Don’t underestimate the role a healthy diet plays in how you look. Vitamin C is crucial to maintaining your skin’s collagen and elasticity. Nutrition is vital to maintaining healthy-looking hair, skin, and nails. In fact, some of the first symptoms of nutritional deficiencies like B-12 are thinning, dry hair and thin, brittle nails. Too little zinc, biotin, or iodine might affect the appearance and integrity of your hair and nails. Make sure you eat a diverse range of healthy, colorful foods every day to get these essential nutrients.
If you consume alcohol often, keep in mind that alcohol also prematurely ages the skin and leads to wrinkles, hives, spider veins, cherry angiomas, psoriasis, and skin discoloration.

Sweat It Out

Diet is far from the only influence on your appearance. Exercise is another way to help you maintain a radiant complexion. In addition to helping keep your telomeres long, researchers have found that regular exercise encourages younger looking skin. You can also benefit from detoxing your skin by hitting the dry sauna or taking in a hot yoga class. Just make sure to rinse off afterward.

Reassess Your Beauty Routine

Your styling habits are a major influence on your appearance, and that includes the cosmetics you use. You might already know this if you’ve mistakenly over-processed your nails, leaving them brittle and prone to cracking and breaking. Your styling habits are a major influence on your appearance, and that includes the cosmetics you use. Harsh chemicals and procedures dry, damage, and otherwise compromise the appearance and integrity of hair, skin, and nails. To keep your outermost layers hydrated, supple, and vibrant, you need to treat your body right. If you’re looking to improve a certain area, natural products can help you address gaps in your routine. Make sure you choose natural, organic, non-toxic products.
Harmful compounds and additives in beauty products can compromise your long-term health. The preservatives and plasticizers in your nail polish may affect your DNA and hormones. Avoid anything labeled “fragrance,” this term is unregulated and could mean almost any chemical. Look out for carcinogenic preservatives like formaldehyde, BHA, BHT, and coal tar in your beauty products as well as synthetic endocrine disruptors like parabens, perfluorinated chemicals, and triclosan.
Consider how your cosmetics contribute to your appearance, not just immediately but over time. Are your cleansers nourishing or are they stripping the natural oils from your skin and hair? The heat and chemical processing you put your hair and nails through takes a toll on their strength. Over time they become brittle, dry and prone to breakage. Even worse, some hair dyes are known carcinogens.

Don’t Skimp on the Beauty Sleep

Prioritize sleep. Your overloaded schedule probably eats into the only “spare” time you have: your beauty sleep. And those dark under-eye circles are the least of your worries. You can see the proof looking back at you in the mirror after a rough night’s sleep. Missing out on a few hours of sleep sets off a cascade of hormonal changes that negatively affect how your cells function and how you feel throughout the day.
Give yourself a realistic bedtime. Put your tablet down, charge your phone, close your laptop, and turn off the television a couple of hours before your bedtime to get your mind ready for sleep.

Protect Your Skin From Environmental Damage

Overexposure to the sun, smoke, airborne toxins, and the chlorine in water can lead to a loss of luster and elasticity that ages your appearance. Freezing cold weather tends to be dry, leading to cracked, even bleeding, hands, lips, and cuticles.
Smoking is one of the surest ways to age your skin. Exposure to tobacco smoke decreases your production of collagen and damages your skin’s elasticity.

Natural Self Care

If you want to take better care of yourself, start exploring natural ways to keep your routine. I know beauty products are expensive. You don’t have to throw out your entire makeup bag today-start small. Swap in new, natural products whenever you run low on your normal cosmetics. Work your way through your hair, skin, and nail care products and rituals.
Consider dry brushing before your next shower. Dry brushing will help loosen dead skin and push your lymph fluid back into circulation. When you bathe, limit your exposure to excessively hot water in the shower. The next time you bathe, ask yourself if you’re washing your hair and skin out of habit, or if you genuinely need to wash, rinse, and repeat. You might just need a thorough rinse rather than a good scrubbing. For healthy nails, try to limit your showers to 15 minutes to keep your nails strong. Excessively long showers temporarily oversaturate nails and make them more prone to bending and tearing. Immediately after bathing, make sure you moisturize with organic products to seal in moisture. Don’t forget your hands, feet, and elbows.

Organic Beauty

Proper nutrition should be your first thought when you want to grow healthy hair, skin, and nails. B-complex vitamins are not only essential for overall health, but they’re also vital for nail and hair strength.
For truly remarkable hair, skin, and nails you should take an inside-out approach to beauty. Eat foods rich in beauty-boosting vitamins and take supplements to fill in the gaps. My favorite plant-based approach is taking our biotin supplement.

biotin for hair

Want Healthier Hair, Skin, And Nails?

Want more ways to get healthier hair, better skin, and stronger nails? Try these healthy, plant-based foods that are rich in biotin.

Biotin is a water-soluble, B-complex vitamin. It’s found in all living cells and is essential for cellular metabolism. Biotin is also known as vitamin H, coenzyme R, and vitamin B7. Confusingly, it is also sometimes called vitamin B8, but this is unofficial and relatively uncommon (B8 more often refers to inositol). Biotin is used by all living creatures—plants, animals, and even single-celled organisms.

In animals, biotin is essential for metabolizing proteins and converting sugar into usable energy. It’s necessary for hormone production and helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Biotin promotes healthy hair, skin, and nails. Mammals, including humans, cannot synthesize biotin and must obtain it from dietary sources.

Biotin deficiency is rare but dangerous. The vitamin is crucial for normal fetal development and a deficiency during pregnancy can result in birth defects. Symptoms of biotin deficiency include brittle nails, hair loss, muscle pain, nausea, fatigue, anemia, and dry skin.

Not All Sources of Biotin Are Equal

There are two forms of biotin found in living cells: free and protein-bound. The latter is just what it sounds like—biotin bound to protein. It’s mostly found in bacteria and animal cells. Free biotin, which is not bound to a protein, is more common in plants.

The human body can use both forms of biotin, but free biotin is more immediately bioavailable. With protein-bound biotin, your body must break the bond to convert biotin into a form it can use. Free-biotin doesn’t require this step—it’s easily absorbed and utilized in the body. Due to their high free biotin content, plant-based foods are generally better dietary sources of the vitamin than animal-based foods.

Protein-Bound Biotin Sources

Many foods contain some biotin, but the concentration in most is negligible from a nutritional standpoint. Other foods have very high biotin content. Organ meats, like kidneys and liver, are the most concentrated dietary source. Milk, dairy products, and seafood are other rich, animal-derived sources. Although egg yolks have a high concentration of biotin, they also contain a chemical that interferes with biotin absorption. A diet high in egg whites can actually lead to biotin deficiency.

If you must consume animal products, at least opt for organic whenever possible. This can mitigate, though not eliminate, some of the many health risks associated with the consumption of meat and dairy.

Plant-Based Biotin Foods

Although many types of animal-sourced food contain biotin, it’s protein-bound biotin. Plants contain free biotin, which is more bioavailable. This means that getting enough biotin from a vegan diet is achievable. Considering the multitude of other health benefits associated with a plant-based diet, it’s also the healthiest choice.

As we’ve only recently begun to understand the importance of biotin, nutritional experts are still refining accurate methods for measuring biotin concentration in food. As such, estimates of biotin content vary greatly for some foods and are completely lacking for many others. After exhaustive research, we’ve compiled this list of the best biotin foods.

1. Nuts

Although biotin concentration varies by the type of nut, nuts, in general, are one of the best dietary sources of free biotin. One hundred grams of pecans contains about 28 micrograms (mcg) of biotin; the same amount of peanuts or walnuts contains almost 37 mcg. Nuts are also a great source of energy, omega fatty acids, and other heart-healthy nutrients.

2. Sunflower Seeds

Heart-healthy, high in magnesium, and rich in antioxidants, a handful of sunflower seeds makes a great snack. They’re also an excellent source of biotin. One hundred grams of sunflower seeds contains 66 mcg of the vitamin.

3. Legumes

Legumes are another excellent source of biotin, especially green peas. Peas have 40 mcg of biotin per 100 grams when fresh and 70 mcg when dried; lentils offer 40 mcg of biotin. Even better, legumes are high in folic acid and enhance digestion.

4. Cauliflower

As a cruciferous vegetable, cauliflower is great for detoxing the liver and it’s loaded with healthy nutrients, one of which is biotin. A single serving of cauliflower offers 5% of your daily biotin requirement. Cauliflower is also high in vitamin C and many other health-promoting compounds. Not only is it great as a raw snack, but there are also many cauliflower recipes you can enjoy.

5. Bananas

Generally speaking, most types of fruit are not a very good source of biotin. Bananas are an exception. One, average-sized, peeled banana (about 100 grams) contains 1.18 mcg of biotin. Bananas are also a good source of dietary fiber, potassium, manganese, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, C, and B6.

6. Cereals

Many cereal grains are a good source of biotin. Rice bran has a particularly high concentration, 66 mcg per 100 grams. Barley and oatmeal offer 31 and 24 mcg, respectively.

7. Avocados

Avocados are more popular now than ever before and for good cause. In addition to their many positive qualities, avocados are also a decent source of biotin. One whole avocado contains 2-6 micrograms of the vitamin, so don’t be afraid to have a little more organic guacamole.

8. Other Good Sources of Biotin

There are many other good sources of biotin. Carrots, leafy green vegetables, tomatoes, raspberries, and mushrooms can all contribute significantly to your daily biotin intake. Yeast also has an incredibly high biotin content, as do yeast-derived products like whole-grain bread.

Top Biotin Foods

Vegan Food Sources of Biotin
Food Biotin Content (mcg/100 grams)
Sunflower seeds 66
Rice Bran 66
Green peas, fresh 40
Green peas, dried 70
Lentils, fresh 40
Peanuts 37
Walnuts 37
Barley 31
Oatmeal 24
Pecans 28
Carrots 25
Cauliflower 17
Mushrooms 16
Avocados 4-12

How Much Biotin Do You Need?

Compared to other vitamins, much is still unknown about biotin. There is currently no official daily recommended intake of biotin and hypotheses of what it should vary drastically. The U.S. National Library of Medicine recommends a daily allowance of as little as 30 micrograms. At the other end of the spectrum, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends a daily allowance ten times higher—300 micrograms for adults.

Based on my experience, I tend to believe that our biotin requirements are at the high end of that scale. As a water-soluble vitamin, biotin doesn’t accumulate in your body like a fat-soluble vitamin. That means you need to replenish your supply regularly. If you take in more than you need, your body will simply excrete the excess biotin through urine. Individual requirements vary, but I recommend using the following chart as a general frame of reference for your daily biotin intake:

Life Stage Adequate Intake (AI) for Biotin, Daily
Infants 50 mcg
Children under 4 150 mcg
Adults and Children Over 4 300 mcg

Generally speaking, adults need more biotin than children, and pregnant or breastfeeding women may need more than other adults. Many health conditions or deficiencies influence the amount of biotin you need. It’s best to consult your trusted healthcare professional for guidance with your personal biotin needs.

Incorporating Biotin into Your Diet

Biotin is present in a wide variety of food. With a little planning and reliance on the whole, real food, obtaining enough biotin through diet is achievable for most people. Biotin is also produced by the microflora in the gut, but it’s not known how much that contributes to meeting biotin requirements. Ultimately, the biotin produced by the beneficial microorganisms in the gut is added to the biotin obtained from food.

Because of its role in strengthening hair and nails, many types of shampoo and lotion boast about containing biotin. Be aware that this is just a marketing ploy. Biotin isn’t easily absorbed by hair or skin, so if there’s any biotin in these products you won’t receive its full effects. Ingestion is the most effective way to get biotin into your system.

Your Guide to Vegan Skin Care

Today it’s easier than ever to choose a lifestyle that aligns with your health goals and ethical choices. If you’re a vegetarian, you avoid meat and fish and opt instead for plant-based foods, dairy, and eggs. A vegan diet takes things a step further, eschewing all products associated with animals, including animal-derived ingredients like milk, eggs, and honey.

For homemade natural beauty recipes, which often use dairy as a base for creams and lotions, finding a non-animal option may seem tricky But we actually have quite a few plant-derived substances from which to choose, whether it’s agave, natural plant oils like olive or grape seed, or nut milk. These types of ingredients can help you maintain beautiful skin and healthy, shiny hair – without having to compromise your values. Here are a few all-natural, all- vegan recipes to get you started.

Sheabutter_captionimage_

Shea Butter Body Lotion

From the African shea tree {Vitellaria paradoxa, formerly Butyrospermum parkii}, shea butter is an ivory-colored natural fat used much like cocoa butter, with a mild, almost musty fragrance. In cosmetics, it acts as a moisturizer and emollient and also contains anti-inflammatory properties. It can treat all types of skin conditions, from scars to chapped lips, and it’s helpful in treating acne because it’s easily absorbed by the skin and leaves no sticky residue. It also provides mild UV protection from the sun {but should never serve as a replacement for your sunscreen}. You can find it in natural food stores in the skincare section.

1/2 cup distilled water

1/8 tsp borax powder

1/4 cup shea butter

1/2 cup almond oil

Bring water to a boil. Place borax powder in a clean, heat-proof bowl, and pour in the boiling water, stirring well. Set aside. In a microwave-safe bowl or saucepan, combine oil and shea butter and gently heat the mixture until melted, stirring to mix. Transfer this mixture into a blender or food processor and blend on low, slowly adding the hot water solution in a slow, steady stream. Then blend on high until well-mixed. You should have a milky-white lotion. Pour the mixture into a clean container to cool.

To Use Massage into skin. Yields: 6 ounces.

Plant-Based Lip Balm

Several plant oils and waxes work great as substitutes for beeswax or lanolin to soothe dry, cracked lips. The shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, and castor oil in this recipe provides lips with natural shine and protection against the element.

1/2 tsp castor oil

1 tsp coconut oil

1 tsp shea butter

1/2 tsp cocoa butter

1-2 drops peppermint essential oil for flavor {optional}

In a heat-resistant bowl or small saucepan, combine all ingredients and gently heat until melted. {This may be done in the microwave, but be careful not to boil the mixture.} Stir well and pour into a small container. Let cool completely.

To Use Spread on your lips with a clean fingertip. Yield: .75 ounce.

Coconut Oil Body Polish

This scrub is perfect for skin that needs some exfoliation, but also a bit of TLC. The raw sugar exfoliates the skin while the coconut oil helps deeply condition it. After using this treatment, your skin should feel softer and smoother.

1 cup of raw sugar

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 tsp vitamin E oil

2-3 drops essential oil {lavender, rosemary, peppermint} optional

In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients and stir well. Spoon into a clean container.

To Use: Standing in the tub or shower, massage the mixture into your skin. {Be careful: the oil can make the tub slippery.} Rinse with warm water and pat your skin dry. Yield: 8 ounces.

Easy Dry Shampoo

Dry shampoos have become a popular alternative to regular “wet” shampoos, proving especially helpful after a workout during the day or when traveling. But spray-on dry shampoos can contain a wealth of questionable ingredients, when, in fact, all you really need is one tablespoon of either baking soda, cornstarch, or rice powder. That’s it…

To Use: Simply massage the powder directly onto your scalp and through your hair. You may want to lean over a sink as you apply the powder. Leave it on for at least 10 minutes, and then, using a clean, dry brush, vigorously brush your hair, using long strokes, to remove all of the powder.

Reading the Labels

Our skin is our largest organ, and what you use on it does affect your overall health. One advantage of making your own cosmetic products and treatments is that it puts you in control of the ingredients you use and apply to your skin. Of course, you don’t always have time to make all of your skincare products from scratch. So, knowing how to accurately read the labels of store-bought products becomes important.

To start, the term “natural” on the label is meaningless – there’s no authority that monitors this claim. Therefore, you really need to take an eagle eye to the back of the product. Ingredients are listed in order of percentage: if the first ingredient is water, that means water is the most prominent ingredient. You may see a product that boasts a desirable ingredient on the front label, only to find that it’s the last ingredient listed.

Some ingredients such as “sodium chloride” may sound scary {at least to those who’ve long forgotten their chemistry lessons}, but are, in fact, completely natural {sodium chloride is table salt}. Manufacturers often use scientific or Latin names for basic ingredients, but a quick search online can reveal the common name and whether it’s an ingredient you want to put on your skin.

Vegans may not realize that some of their favorite products actually contain ingredients they wish to avoid. Here’s a quick list of animal-derived substances.

  • Aspic: an industry alternative to gelatin; made from clarified meat or fish
  • Casein: a protein derived from milk
  • Cod liver oil: found in lubricating creams and lotions
  • Collagen: taken from the bones and connective tissues of animals; used in cosmetics to help skin retain water and keep it supple
  • Elastin: similar use as collagen; derived from the neck ligaments and aorta of cows
  • Gelatin/Gelatine: for smooth skin and to add gloss to hair; obtained by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones from cows and pigs
  • Keratin: used for hair and as an anti-aging skin care ingredient; obtained from sheep wool or from the skin, hooves, and horns of animals
  • Lactose: a sugar derived from milk
  • Propolis: used for its antiviral and antimicrobial properties to treat breakouts and protect skin; created by bees in the construction of their hives
  • Royal Jelly: an anti-aging ingredient; comes from secretions of the throat gland of the honeybee
  • Shellac: found in hair lacquer; obtained from the bodies of the female scale insect, Tachardia lacca
  • Vitamin D3: found in creams, lotions, and other cosmetics; made from fish-liver oil
  • Whey: a byproduct of cheese making
  • Cochineal dye or carminic acid: adds red color; comes from the cochineal insect
  • Ambergris: adds scent and/or color; derived from whales

Garden Fresh Vegan Cologne

This fragrance uses fresh vegetable and herb leaves to create a light, summer-garden scent. Try it as an after-bath or after-shave splash – or anytime you need an aromatic boost.

4 Tbls fresh tomato leaves, chopped

1 Tbls fresh lemon zest

1 tsp fresh basil leaves

1 tsp fresh mint leaves

1 cup witch hazel

Place all of the fresh leaves and lemon zest inside a clean jar or bottle. Pour the witch hazel over; shake gently. Cover the bottle top and let it sit in a cool, dark spot for two weeks. Strain the liquid and discard any solids. Pour the liquid through a fine strainer or coffee filter into a clean bottle.

To Use: Apply as you would any cologne product. It’s especially refreshing on a hot summer day if kept in the refrigerator. Yield: 8 ounces.

Avocado Facial Mask

Fresh avocados are a classic facial mask ingredient full of natural fats and protein to help stimulate your skin’s own natural production of oil, helping to smooth out rough, dry skin. All skin types can benefit from an avocado facial. Make sure to save the pit; you can grind it up and use it in body scrub recipes, and if you live somewhere warm, you can plant it to have your own little avocado tree.

1/2 fresh avocado, mashed

1 Tbls fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and stir well until you have a smooth, creamy mixture.

To Use: Spread the mask on a clean face and neck and let sit for 15 minutes. {Take this moment to relax!} Rinse with warm water and gently pat your skin dry. Yield: 3 ounces, enough for one treatment.

Vegan Substitutions

Need to find a substitute for an ingredient in one of your beauty recipes? Several plant substances serve as effective replacements for some common ingredients derived from animals.

  • Beeswax: Heavy plant waxes, such as candelilla and carnauba, and oils like coconut can stand in for beeswax, which is used to thicken creams, lotions, and lip balms and help protect your skin. Cocoa and shea butters also work well.
  • Dairy: Today, you can find a wide variety of plant and nut milks to replace animal dairy called for in beauty recipes.
  • Egg white: This part of the egg provides astringent and cleansing qualities for oily skin types, but cucumber, chamomile tea, and aloe vera gel will work similarly.
  • Egg yolks: Full of lecithin, egg yolks help with dry skin conditions, but you can replace them with soy lecithin or use a rich oil such as coconut and olive instead.
  • Honey: In place of honey to cleanse and moisturize your skin look to molasses, maple syrup, or agave syrup.
  • Lanolin: Found in sheep’s wool, lanolin can be replaced with rich plant oils such as soy, almond, and avocado.

 

The Basics: Herbal Oils

Herbal oils are simply oils infused with herbs, much as you would steep rosemary in olive oil for culinary purposes. Healing herbal oils can be taken internally for a variety of ailments, can be used externally for therapeutic or daily beauty routines, and can be incorporated into herbal salve recipes. Dried herbs are preferred since fresh herbs will sometimes ferment.

Basic Herbal Oil:

1 cup finely ground dried herbs {flowers, leaves, roots, barks, and/or seeds}

1 1/4 cups almond, jojoba, or olive oil

In a blender or food processor, combine the herbs and oil. Blend or process until puree for greater extractability. Pour the mixture into a clean glass jar with a lid, making sure the plant material is completely submerged in the oil. If it’s not, add more oil until the herbs are covered by about 1 inch of liquid. Cover the jar and store it in a dark place, shaking it daily, for 2 to 3 weeks. Filter it carefully through cheesecloth, a muslin bag, or a square of linen, gathering up the edges and squeezing out the oil. Compost the herbs. Pour the oil into amber bottles, and label the bottles with the contents and date. Store it in a dark place.

Quick Infused Oil:

Use this recipe when you need an herbal oil fast.

2 cups dried herbs {flowers, leaves, roots, barks, and/or seeds

2 to 2 1/2 cups almond, jojoba, or olive oil

In a blender or food processor, combine the herbs and oil. Blend or process until pureed. Place the mixture in a slow cooker turned to the low setting {about 100 degrees F} and keep it covered. To prevent spoilage, keep the herb submerged in oil at all times; add more oil if necessary. Stir daily for about 3 days. Let the oil cool. Using a fine-mesh strainer or cloth, filter the herb out of the oil, pressing as much oil out as possible. Pour the oil into amber bottles, and label the bottles with the contents and date. Store it in a dark place.

Calendula Infused Oil:

Apply this beautiful golden-colored oil directly to your skin to soothe rashes, sunburns, and skin irritations, or use it as part of a healing herbal salve or cream recipe. Store for up to 2 years if kept out of light and in a cool place.

1 cup wilted fresh or 1/2 cup dried calendula flowers

1 1/4 cups almond, jojoba, or olive oil

In a blender or food processor, combine the flowers and oil. Blend or process until pureed. Pour the mixture into a clean, clear glass jar, cover, and place in a warm spot out of direct sunlight. Make sure the herb is submerged in the oil at all times; if necessary, add more oil. Shake the jar vigorously every day for 2 to 3 weeks. Using a fine-mesh strainer or cloth, filter the herb out of the oil, pressing as much oil out as possible, and compost the herb. Bottle and label the oil and store it away from heat and light.

St. John’s Wort-Infused Oil:

St. John’s wort infused oil helps heal damaged nerves as well as other tissues. Conscientious, regular massage of an injured area with this oil can bring astonishing healing, even to old injuries. Taken internally, it helps heal stomach ulcers.

1 cup fresh St. John’s Wort flowering tops

1 1/4 cups almond, jojoba, or olive oil

In a blender or food processor, combine the herb and oil. Blend or process until smooth. Pour the mixture into a clean, clear glass jar and cover. Make sure the herb is submerged in the oil at all times; if necessary, add more oil. This oil should become bright red as it develops; if it does not, place the jar on a sunny windowsill where sunlight can warm it. Shake the jar vigorously every day for 2 to 3 weeks. Using a fine-mesh strainer or cloth, filter the herb out of the oil, pressing as much oil out as possible. Compost the herb, bottle and label the oil, and store it away from heat and light.

Earache Oil:

This classic formula is a must for every family medicine chest and a first-aid kit. It combines the properties of mullein flowers and garlic to reduce bacterial growth and prevent and ease earaches, wax buildup, and irritation. Remember, though, that ear infections, whether in children or adults, should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare practitioner before you treat them at home.

2 or 3 fresh garlic cloves

2 tablespoons fresh or dried mullein flower

1/2 cup almond, jojoba, or olive oil

Crush the garlic well and break up the mullein flower. In a blender or food processor, combine the garlic, flower, and oil. Blend or process until pureed. Pour the mixture into a clean, clear, glass pint jar and store it away from heat and light. Make sure the herb is submerged in the oil at all times; if necessary, add more oil. Shake the jar daily for about 2 weeks. Strain and compost the herb. Bottle and label the oil and store it away from heat and light.

To use, pour some oil into an amber bottle with a dropper, let it warm to room temperature, and put 2 or 3 drops of the oil into the ear that needs treatment. Tilt your head so that the oil flows easily down your ear canal. Massage the back of your ear several times to help disperse the oil throughout the ear canal. Repeat two or three times daily.

The Basics: Creams, Lotions, and Salves

Dry, itchy skin? Cuts, scrapes, infected wounds, or rashes? They can all be soothed and renewed with the healing nourishment of herbs applied in a moisturizing base – the realm of creams, lotions, and salves. Of course, your skin is your largest eliminative organ. It’s often exposed to the elements, and it’s somewhat delicate {no fur or scales to protect it!}. This means that it can take a beating from the weather and can be prone to wrinkling and drying. Because your skin breathes and eliminates toxins and other substances from your body, you may experience conditions such as rashes, acne, or boils as your skin releases these substances.

Creams, lotions, and salves are all marvelous ways to apply healing herbs to the thirsty, damaged or troubled skin, but they’re each formulated slightly differently.

Cream. A cream is a mixture of oil and water, with a little wax added for body and texture. It’s a bit like mayonnaise because it’s an oil combined with a watery or non-oily substance whipped together so they don’t separate {a process called emulsification}. With mayonnaise, oil and eggs are mixed, while with cream, oil and tea concentrates are combined. Many commercial creams include an emulsifier such as borax, which prevents the oil and water from separating, or they include substances that add texture, such as lanolin, cocoa butter, or acetyl alcohol. My recipes also contain vitamin C powder, which acts as a mild preservative, but you can substitute an equal amount of ascorbic acid, which is available over the counter at pharmacies or in the canning area of the grocery store. Or you can add 2 or 3 drops of vitamin E or rosemary oil to the oil phase as a preservative. A cream moisturizes and soothes your skin.

Lotion. A lotion is similar to a cream, but it is lighter and contains more liquid. You can pour a lotion and spread it easily, which can really make a difference when you have inflamed, needy skin. By varying the ingredients, you can create lotions that are astringent, moisturizing, antifungal, antibacterial, or regenerative. My lotions also contain vitamin C powder, as a preservative, and you can substitute vitamin E or rosemary oil just as you might in a cream.

Salves. A salve is a wonderful way to use your infused oils. Salves are made of oils and wax and are typically somewhat solid, so they’re more convenient to use than oils. Although not as moisturizing as creams and lotions, salves last longer and provide a protective barrier that keeps bacteria out and moisture in. { Studies show that moist wounds heal faster than dry ones.} Salves keep the healing power of the herbs close to skin injuries, reducing inflammation and soreness and reducing cracked skin on feet and lips. Lip balms are a form of a salve. Salves can be made with a single infused oil or with a combination of several; customizing a salve for individual use is part of the challenge and fun of making it.

You’ll find a basic recipe for a cream, a lotion, and a salve, and then some sample recipes for you to try, using herbs from your garden. Be extra careful to wash all utensils, surfaces, containers, and your hands before beginning to make any of these recipes because this combination of ingredients is susceptible to spoilage. Keep everything as hygienic as possible will yield long-lasting remedies.

If you make creams, please be aware that they spoil easily, so store them in your refrigerator if you’re going to keep them for more than a few days. Don’t introduce bacteria by dipping your fingers into the cream; instead, use a little craft stick or a small spoon to scoop it out of the jar.

Basic Cream:

Creams are composed mainly of oil and water, and each oil and water mixture is referred to as a “phase.” The two phases are prepared and heated separately and then mixed together in a blender. You’ll heat the two phases so they are close as possible to the same temperature {160 degrees to 175 degrees F} before you combine them.

An emulsifier is required to hold the phases together in a creamy state. I use ordinary household borax as an emulsifier because it’s a natural, gentle substance that does the job.

Oil Phase;

1/2 ounce {2-3 teaspoons} beeswax

1 tablespoon coconut oil

4 tablespoons infused herbal oil

10-20 drops essential oil or combination of essential oils of your choice {optional, for fragrance or additional healing properties}

Water Phase:

4 tablespoons tea concentrate {as you’d make for a dried tea} or strong tea infusion*

2 tablespoons aloe gel

1/2 – 1 teaspoon borax

1 teaspoon vitamin C powder

Heat the beeswax, coconut oil, and infused herbal oil in a saucepan over medium heat until warm to the touch, but not hot. Add the optional essential oil. In another pan, heat the tea, aloe gel, borax, and vitamin C powder over medium heat until warm to the touch, but not hot. {Both phases should be heated to 160 to 175 degrees F.}

Place the water phase ingredients in a blender and set it on high. Through the opening in the blender jar cap, dribble in the oil phase ingredients. When the cream is thoroughly mixed, pour it into jars. Let it cool, cap the jars, label, and refrigerate.

  • To make a strong tea infusion, combine 1 cup ground dried herbs and 1 cup freshly boiled water, and steep for 30 minutes, covered.

Skin Protection Cream:

This cream prevents drying and chapping. It’s formulated with glycerin, which is moisturizing and texturizing, making it lighter and extra creamy.

Oil Phase:

1 ounce {about 1 1/2 tablespoons} beeswax

2 tablespoons coconut oil

4 ounces almond oil

10-20 drops essential oil of your choice {for fragrance}*

Water Phase:

2 ounces lemon balm, rosemary, or lavender strong tea infusion

2 ounces glycerin

1 teaspoon borax

1 teaspoon vitamin C powder

Heat the beeswax, coconut oil, and almond oil in a saucepan over medium heat until warm to the touch, but not hot. Add the essential oil. In another pan, heat the tea, glycerin, borax, and vitamin C powder over medium heat until warm to the touch, but not hot. {Both phases should be heated to 160 to 175 degrees F.}

Place the water phase ingredients in a blender and set it on high. Through the opening in the blender jar cap, dribble in the oil phase ingredients. When the cream is thoroughly mixed, pour into jars. Let it cool, cap the jars, label, and refrigerate.

  • For a sweet-smelling cream, try adding equal amounts of orange, grapefruit, lemon, and lavender essential oils to the basic cream. For an antiseptic cream to heal cuts and infections, stir in thyme, oregano, or tea tree essential oils. For a skin-protecting and age-defying cream, add rosemary essential oil and/or vitamin E oil {and use Gotu kola tea for the water phase}.

Anti-fungal Cream:

Use this handy cream for athlete’s foot, ringworm, and other common fungal infections. Prevention is the best medicine here. Don’t let an athlete’s foot fungus migrate into your nails, where it can be very difficult or impossible to treat.

Oil Phase:

1/2 ounce {about 2-3 teaspoons} beeswax

1/2 ounce {1 tablespoon} coconut oil

4 tablespoons calendula infused oil

10-20 drops oregano or thyme essential oil

Water Phase:

4 tablespoons strong thyme tea infusion*

2 tablespoons aloe gel

1/2 – 1 teaspoon borax

1 teaspoon vitamin C powder

Heat the beeswax, coconut oil, and calendula infused oil in a saucepan over medium heat until warm to the touch, but not hot. Add the essential oil. In another pan, heat the tea, aloe gel, borax, and vitamin C powder over medium heat until warm to the touch, but not hot. {Both phases should be heated to 160 to 175 degrees F.}

Place the water phase ingredients in a blender and set it on high. Through the opening in the blender jar cap, dribble in the oil phase ingredients. When the cream is thoroughly mixed, pour into jars. Let it cool, cap the jars, label, and refrigerate.

  • To make a strong tea infusion, combine 1 cup ground dried herb and 1 cup freshly boiled water, and steep for 30 minutes, covered.

Ginger-Cayenne Heat-Treatment Cream:

Here’s help for muscle aches and pains. You can make the infused oil yourself, using the recipe below,* with 1/2 cup ground or powdered dried ginger and 1/2 cup ground or powdered dried cayenne.

Oil Phase:

1/2 ounce {2-3 teaspoons} beeswax

1 tablespoon coconut oil

4 tablespoons cayenne and ginger-infused oil

10-15 drops wintergreen essential oil {optional, for fragrance and pain-relieving compounds}

Water Phase:

4 tablespoons ginger tea concentrate {as you’d make for a dried tea}

2 tablespoons aloe gel

1/2 -1 teaspoon borax

1 teaspoon vitamin C powder

Heat the beeswax, coconut oil, and cayenne and ginger-infused oil in a saucepan over medium heat until warm to the touch, but not hot. Add the optional wintergreen essential oil. In another pan, heat the tea concentrate, aloe gel, borax, and vitamin C over medium heat until warm to the touch, but not hot. {Both phases should be 160 to 175 degrees F.}

Place the water phase ingredients in a blender and set it on high. Through the opening in the blender jar cap, dribble in the oil phase ingredients. When the cream is thoroughly mixed, pour it into jars. Let it cool, cap the jars, label, and refrigerate.

* Basic Herbal Oil:

1 cup finely ground dried herbs {flowers, leaves, roots, barks, and/or seeds}

1 1/4 cups almond, jojoba, or olive oil

In a blender or food processor, combine the herbs and oil. Blend or process until pureed for greater extractability. Pour the mixture into a clean glass jar with a lid, making sure the plant material is completely submerged in the oil. If it’s not, add more oil until the herbs are covered by about 1 inch of liquid. Cover the jar and store it in a dark place, shaking it daily, for 2 to 3 weeks. Filter it carefully through cheesecloth, a muslin bag, or a square of linen, gathering up the edges and squeezing out the oil. Compost the herbs. Pour the oil into amber bottles, and label the bottles with the contents and date. Store it in a dark place.

Oils

Herbal oils are simply oils infused with herbs, much as you’d steep rosemary in olive oil for culinary purposes. Healing herbal oils can be taken internally for a variety of ailments, can be used externally for therapeutic or daily beauty routines, and can be incorporated into herbal salve recipes. Dried herbs are preferred since fresh herbs will sometimes ferment.

Basic Lotion:

Good choices for the strong tea infusions are calendula, chamomile, comfrey, ginger, lavender, Oregon grape, peppermint, plantain, and rosemary.

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup strong tea infusion*

Cosmetic clay

1/2 teaspoon vitamin C powder

25 drops essential oil or combination of oils of your choice {for fragrance}

In a small bowl, dissolve the salt in the tea. Stir in the cosmetic clay and vitamin C powder until the mixture is creamy. Add the essential oil and blend thoroughly. Bottle, label and refrigerate.

  • To make the infusion, combine 1 cup ground dried herbs and 1 cup freshly boiled water, and steep for 30 minutes, covered.

Poison Ivy or Poison Oak Lotion:

This lotion works quickly and thoroughly for anyone suffering the misery of poison ivy or oak, any rash or burn, and even for acne.

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup combination of plantain and/or calendula strong tea infusion* and/or aloe vera gel

Cosmetic clay

25 drops peppermint essential oil

1/2 teaspoon vitamin C powder

In a small bowl, dissolve the salt in the tea or aloe gel. Stir in the cosmetic clay and vitamin C powder until the mixture is creamy. Add the essential oil and blend thoroughly. Pour into bottles and cap, label, and refrigerate. Apply as needed to the affected area, avoiding your eyes and mucous membranes.

  • To make the infusion, combine 1/2 cup dried herb and 1/2 cup freshly boiled water, and steep for 30 minutes, covered.

Basic Salve:

Good choices for the infused oil in this recipe include calendula, cayenne, ginger, peppermint, rosemary, St. John’s wort and turmeric {turmeric can stain}.

1-ounce beeswax

1 cup infused oil

5-10 drops essential oil or combination of oils of your choice {for fragrance or additional healing properties}

Grate the beeswax into a small bowl. In a saucepan or double boiler, heat the infused oil gently to about 100 degrees F. Add the grated beeswax slowly, stirring as it melts. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for a few minutes before you add the essential oils. Stir to thoroughly combine. Pour your salve into jars and let it cool. Cap and label jars. Apply the salve as needed to the affected area. You can store a salve indefinitely.

Tips for Salves.

If you prefer a salve that’s harder or softer than this recipe, just add more or less beeswax or oil. You can test the consistency of the salve before it hardens by scooping out a spoonful and dipping the back of the spoon into a little bowl of ice water to harden the salve. If it’s too soft for your taste, heat the ingredients again and add more beeswax. If it’s too hard, heat the ingredients again and add a bit more oil. Test after each addition to get the consistency you prefer. Sometimes, after the salve is poured into a jar and when it’s nearly set, a small crater will appear in the middle of the surface. You can add a small amount of hot salve to the crater to create an even surface.

Healing Salve:

Use to reduce inflammation and lessen the possibility of infection from a skin injury.

1-ounce beeswax

1 cup infused oil, using equal parts calendula, yarrow, and St. John’s wort – infused oils

5-10 drops essential oils of your choice, such as lavender, orange, mint, or thyme {for fragrance}

Grate the beeswax into a small bowl. In a saucepan or double boiler, heat the infused oil gently to about 100 degrees F. Add the grated beeswax slowly, stirring as it melts. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for a few minutes before you add the essential oils. Stir thoroughly to combine. Pour your salve into jars and let it cool. Cap and label the jars. Apply the salve as needed to the affected area. You can store a salve indefinitely.

One of my favorite recipes is Healing Lip Balm:

A lip balm is no different than a salve in its formulation, except that you may wish to make it a little firmer. This one works wonders for chapped, dry lips.

1-ounce beeswax

1 cup infused oil {calendula, ginger, peppermint or spearmint, rosemary, and St. John’s wort are good choices}

5-10 drops essential oils of your choice {for fragrance}

Grate the beeswax into a small bowl. In a saucepan or double boiler, heat the infused oil gently to about 100 degrees F. Add the grated beeswax slowly, stirring as it melts. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for a few minutes before you add the essential oils. Stir to thoroughly combine. Pour your mixture into lip balm tubes and let it cool. Cap and label the tubes.

The Basics: Skin Ailments

Skin ailments, such as rashes, acne, boils, styes, psoriasis, and eczema are difficult to diagnose and can occur on any part of your body. Keeping your body’s channels of elimination open allows your liver to excrete bile and your gut to dispose of urine and waste efficiently, which is essential to beautiful, clear skin.

Rashes and eczema can be a visible outer response to an allergic reaction. Allergies to foods such as soy, wheat, dairy, and eggs are common. We also react to chemicals in the environment, and many of the – pesticides, herbicides, and ingredients in body-care and cleaning products, for example – are invisible to the eye. Because they are completely foreign to your immune system, it tries to rid your body of them, which can create a strong inflammatory response that shows up on your skin.

Acne and boils, which are infections occurring inside your skin or gut imbalances and impaired elimination.

What Helps:

Buying and growing organic foods and using natural body-care products, laundry soap, and dish-washing detergents are extremely important for maintaining good skin health. And remember to use caution when choosing a body soap. Soap can wash away natural fatty acids that help keep your skin’s eco-system in balance. Believe it or not, many bacteria live inside your skin, not on the surface so the use of a probiotic supplement can help. An imbalance in your skin’s microflora is closely associated with a strong imbalance in your gut’s microflora. Following a healthy, simple diet that includes lots of fresh fruits and vegetables is a key step to good skin health. A daily intake of “prebiotics,” which are foods high in soluble fiber, such as beans or whole oats, can encourage good overall skin health. I recommend keeping a fiber “report card” for yourself. Your body’s short-term and long-term health depends on a high intake of fiber every day.

Herbs to Grow and Use:

Good digestion is essential for avoiding skin ailments and maintaining a high level of skin health. Many of the herbs mentioned are recommended by herbalists for relieving and avoiding rashes, acne, boils, and other inflammatory skin conditions. The following herbs can be taken as teas {infusions or decoctions}, tinctures, or in capsule form unless otherwise noted below.

Herbs to activate the bile and promote detoxification include aloe, artichoke, burdock, Oregon grape, red clover, and turmeric. Digestive stimulants help increase enzyme production, which brings vitality to the digestive processes and enhances assimilation. These include angelica, artichoke, cayenne {and other spicy peppers}, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and wormwood. Carminatives help relieve gas and regulate digestion to keep things moving smoothly. This includes anise hyssop, basil, catnip, fennel, love-in-a-mist, oregano, peppermint, sage, and thyme. They can be consumed as a warm tea right after a meal.

Rose Hips and Rose Hip Tea

The rose hips or fruits of different species of the rose plant have always had a significant place in natural medicine, as they are very rich in vitamin C content. The color of these rose hips varies from dark red to bright scarlet and their shapes differ too. While some of the rose hips may be ovoid in appearance, there are others that are pear-shaped. Basically, the rose hips are collected from the variety of the rose plant called the dog rose or Rosa canina. However, herbalists prefer the larger rose hips of the Japanese rose called R. rugosa. Even other varieties of the rose plant, including R. acicularis as well as R. cinnamon, are also valued greatly. Incidentally, all these different varieties of rose plants belong to the Rosaceae family.
As mentioned earlier, the rose hips or the fruits of the different varieties of the rose plants enclose the high quantity of vitamin C and hence are of great value to the practitioners of herbal medicine. In fact, the rose hips are used to prepare teas, purees, extracts, marmalades, and even soups and all these are consumed as nourishment’s as they contain lots of vitamin C. Extracts from the rose hips are generally included in several natural vitamin mixtures like tablets, capsules, syrups and many other similar things. Interestingly, manufacturers of most such vitamin amalgams are always careful about never mentioning the proportion of vitamin obtained from rose hips and from artificial ascorbic acid. The rose hips are known to possess properties that help in preventing as well as healing scurvy (a disease caused by vitamin deficiency). In addition, the rose hips also have gentle laxative and diuretic effects which help in the movement of bowels and increasing the urine outflow from the body respectively.
Chemical analysis of the rose hips has shown that they contain 0.5 to 1.7 percent vitamin C. However, the real content of vitamin C in the commercially available dried rose fruits varies depending on the accurate botanical source of the plant from which the rose hips have been acquired. For instance, the quantity of vitamin C present in these commercially available dried rose hips is influenced by factors like the place where the rose plant was grown, the time of harvesting the rose hips, the manner in which the fruits were dried, where and how the dehydrated rose hips were stored and other things like these. It has been often found that many commercial varieties of the rose plant material contain little or no traces of vitamin C at all. Even though we may take it for granted that the commercial varieties of the rose hips available in the market possess approximately one percent of vitamin C on an average and the entire vitamin is available in the end product, at least, one proposal does not seem to be convincing. As the present cost of vitamin C acquired from the rose hips is at least 25 times more than the artificial product, it is not feasible for the manufacturers to add enough of the natural substance in their products.
In addition to substantial proportions of vitamin C, the rose hips possess several other chemical amalgams which comprise 11 percent of pectin and three percent of a blend of malic and citric acids. Researchers are of the view that the presence of malic acid and citric acid contributes to the rose hips’ laxative and diuretic effects. As a consequence, physicians frequently recommend the use of rose hips or preparations with it to treat constipation and urinary problems.
Over the centuries, gardeners across the globe have admired and loved the rose flowers that are undoubtedly elegant as well as aromatic. At the same time, the gardeners have also held the hips or the fruits of the rose plant in high esteem for its numerous medicinal benefits. The rose hips vary from oval to round to pear-shaped in appearance and they appear either in the latter part of summer or during the fall. Interestingly, in reality, the rose hips are not fruits, but receptacles or containers that enclose the actual fruits of the rose plant. The actual rose fruit is known as ‘seeds’ or ‘achenes’.
Long ago, people thought the rose hips to be sacred. This is corroborated by the fact that during the Middle Ages, the rosary of the Catholics was made from rose hips and hence they were called rosary. These rosaries were used to count the prayers as they were also being said. Even today, the beads of the rosary used by the Catholics resemble the rose hips and as the fruits of different species of the rose plant, these modern-day beads are also smooth and elongated in appearance.
Here is an important point to note. Compared to the hybrids, it is generally easier to take care of the different original species of the rose plant. In addition, the original species of the rose also generate more tender and fleshy hips that are best for consumption. If you intend to use the rose for culinary as well as decorative purposes, you should go for the original species of the rose and cultivate them in your garden. On the other hand, if you fancy the climbing variety of the rose and also want them to fruit generously, never ever trim or prune the plants soon after their blossoming season in summer.
It may be mentioned here that if not harvested, the rose hips generally remain on the plant all through the early part of the winter or till the birds, rabbits, and field rodents have either eaten them up or stored them somewhere for future use. Owing to the high intensity of ascorbic acid present in them, the rose hips stimulating tart taste that is very much fruit-like. In fact, fresh rose hips enclose as much as 60 times the quantity of vitamin C contained in the oranges and the rugosa roses. The rugosa rose bears comparatively large round shaped fruits and are known to contain rich proportions of vitamin C.
In addition to being a beautiful and aromatic flower, the rose is also beneficial as remedies for several disorders. The leaves, as well as the petals of the rose plant, provide a comforting effect and if ingested as a tea, can diminish body temperature during high fevers. The tea prepared with rose petals and leaves is also effective in cleansing toxins and heat from the body, particularly when they give rise to rashes on the skin and inflammatory (swelling and irritation) problems. Several researched have shown that the rose also possesses properties that increase the body’s immunity and helps to restrict all kinds of infections from becoming larger problems. This is possible owing to the rose’s cleansing or purification properties.
An infusion prepared with rose petals may be used to alleviate cold and flu symptoms. At the same time, the infusion is effective in treating sore throats, runny nose as well as congested bronchial tracts. On the other hand, infusion or syrup prepared with rose hips is beneficial in reinforcing the lungs to combat all kinds of infections and is especially useful for those who suffer from chest problems. At the same time, roses are also effective in combating infections in the digestive system and restoring the normal and essential bacteria in the intestines. The petals and seeds of the rose have a diuretic effect and are beneficial in relieving excessive fluids from the urinary bladder. This way, they also help in getting rid of the waste and toxic substances in the body through the kidneys. Hence, the rose is also considered to be an effective cleanser and purifier.
Like the rose hips, the petals of the rose flowers also have numerous remedial uses. For instance, the rose petals are effective in relieving congestion in the female reproductive system. In addition, the rose petals may also be used to treat the excessive accumulation of fluid in the urinary tract and thereby alleviate pains and, in women, heavy periods. Physicians also recommend the use of rose petals to treat erratic menstrual periods, infertility as well as to perk up sexual desire in individuals.
An infusion prepared from the rose petals acts as a useful astringent and is effective for treating diarrhea, enteritis, and dysentery. It may be noted here that tea prepared from rose petals may be used as a laxative to clear bowel movement. At the same time, the rose petal tea is also an effective medication for the liver and enhances the flow of bile, invigorates as well as purifies the liver and the gallbladder. It also helps in alleviating problems related to lethargic liver like headaches and constipation.
Rose hips, as well as the petals of the rose flowers, possess inspiring as well as reconditioning effects on the nervous system. They are also capable of alleviating the problems of insomnia, do away with depression, drive out fatigue and also offer comfort in conditions such as tetchiness.
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Applications

Different parts of the rose plant are useful for different purposes and hence they have different applications. The rose hips or fruits of the rose plant, flowers, and even the petals are beneficial in some way or the other and used by people as a tincture, syrup, essential oil, cream, lotion, rosewater, massage oil, gargle, and decoction.
Rose hips – R. canina:
 The rose hips (R.canina) or the fruits of the plant are used as tincture as well as syrup to treat different ailments.
TINCTURE: The tincture prepared from rose hips (R. canina) are ingested as an astringent (a medicine the draws affected tissues closer) to treat diarrhea, alleviate colic or stomach pains and is also blended with cough medicines.
SYRUP: The syrup prepared from the rose hips (R. canina) is used to provide flavor to other medicines, mostly the bitter and bland ones. The syrup is also blended in cough mixtures or may be ingested as a rich source of vitamin C.
Rose hips – R. laevigata:
 Medications prepared with rose hips (R. laevigata) are normally ingested to treat stomach disorders. They may be applied as a decoction.
DECOCTION: A decoction prepared with rose hips (R. laevigata) may be blended with other herbs like dang shen, bai zhu and shan Yao and ingested to treat insistent diarrhea that is accompanied with stomach flaw.
Essential oil – R. centifolia / R. Damascena:
 The essential oil (R. centifolia / R. damascene) extracted from the rose hips or the fruits of the rose plant are basically beneficial to treat skin and stomach conditions. This oil is normally used externally and applied as a cream, lotion, oil and massage oil.
CREAM: A few drops of the oil extracted from rose hips may be added to creams to heal parched or irritating skin.
LOTION: One ml of the tincture prepared with another herb lady’s mantle may be blended with 10 ml of rosewater to treat itching in the vagina. Use the same blend to prepare a cream by following a standard base. Blend the rosewater with the equivalent proportion of purified witch hazel and use it as a comforting and moisturizing lotion to treat skin that is inclined to be affected by pimples or acne.
OIL: Bathe with water containing two drops of the oil extracted from the rose hips to get relief from depression or melancholy, grief, and/ or insomnia.
MASSAGE OIL: To avail relief from anxiety and fatigue add approximately two ml of rose oil to 20 ml of almond or wheat germ oil and massage the same on the forehead and other parts of the body. The same blend may be used to alleviate lethargic digestion.
 Flowers – R. rugosa:
 The rose flowers (R. rugosa) is helpful for treating menstrual and liver disorders and may be ingested as a decoction.
DECOCTION: A decoction prepared with rose flowers (R. rugosa) may be blended with another herb motherwort and ingested for treating heavy menstruation. On the other hand, when the decoction is blended with herbs like Bai Shao Yao and Xiang fu, it provides an effective medication for liver dysfunction.
 Petals – R. gallica:
 The petals of the rose flower (R. gallica) are beneficial in treating menstruation and stomach disorders. A tincture prepared with them may be used as a gargle for throat infections.
TINCTURE: Ingesting approximately three ml of a tincture prepared with rose petals thrice daily is helpful in treating diarrhea as well as sluggish absorption of food. When the same tincture is blended with other herbs like the lady’s mantle, white dead-nettle or shepherd’s purse, the medication is effectual for treating erratic or intense menstruation.
GARGLE: When the tincture prepared with rose petals is diluted with warm water, it may be used as a gargle to heal aching throats. The tincture may also be blended with another herb sage for a similar application.

Rose bowl

  • 4 cups bone-dry rose petals
  • 2 cups dried rose leaves
  • 2 Tbs. ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups dried lavender buds
  • 1/3 cup orrisroot powder
  • 2 Tbs. ground allspice
  • 1/4 cup ground cloves
  • 2 ground tonka beans
  • 6 drops oil of roses
  • 3 drops oil of lavender
Combine all the dry ingredients, mix well, and add the oils, a drop at a time, mixing as you work. Seal into a jar, and cure for 6 weeks in a dry, dark, warm place that is well ventilated. Shake the jar daily. When cured, turn the potpourri into a decorative container with a tightly stoppered lid. Open only when the potpourri is in use.
rose hip tea

Rose Hip Tea

It’s amazing what I find on my walks around my neighborhood. I’m lucky enough to live in a place where blackberry bushes are literally everywhere and fruit trees grow on almost every street. We’re talking figs, various varieties of plums, apples, and pears. Gorgeous curbside gardens overflowing with kale, chard, and tomatoes are the norm. Artichokes are growing on street corners. Seriously, people, I live in a city that’s full of incredible food! And the best part is that gardeners are willing to share it! It’s pretty freaking awesome if you ask me. Just the other day, I came home with at least eight pounds worth of fruit just picked from some neighbors’ trees. I’m a lucky girl.

On one of my walks yesterday, I came across a gorgeous wild rose bush that was bursting with these gorgeous ruby orbs. They’re called rose hips, and while they may not be the first to come to mind when you think of edible fruits, they certainly are a fruit that’s worth looking for. Rose hips are the fruits that develop from the rose blossoms after their petals have fallen off. Cool, right? Heck, I’d take a bouquet of rose hips over their flowered counterpart any day!

So why should we be eating rose hips? Well, upon doing a little research, I discovered that these little red fruits are incredibly nutritious. Apparently, just a single teaspoon of rose hip pulp provides more Vitamin C than an orange, making it an excellent immune system booster. Rose hips are also incredibly high in beta carotene (thanks to their incredible reddish-orange color). Beta carotene is essential for maintaining gorgeous skin and healthy cells. It’s astonishing how high the antioxidant content of rose hips is! I even read that rose hips are clinically proven to improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Those are some powerful fruits, I tell ya.

Rose hips can be eaten fresh (after the seeds have been scooped out) or they can be dried and stored for later use. I’ve seen recipes for rose hip jams, syrups, and tinctures. In fact, there is even a traditional Swedish rose hip soup that is quite popular during the cold winter months to help fend off colds and flu. Here, I chose to make a simple rose hip tea to really enjoy their health benefits. Depending on the variety of rose, the hips will vary slightly in appearance and flavor. The rose hips I found were from a rugosa rose bush, which is known for having the biggest, most vibrantly colored rose hips. Overall, they have a mildly tart taste and remind me a bit of the flavor of cherry tomatoes.

There are a few ways to make rose hip tea. I chose to steep the rose hips in a teapot of boiling water for about 20-30 minutes, but you can also simmer them on the stove in water for the same amount of time until they break up and form a pulp. Either way works, just strain the pulp before drinking the tea. And of course, you can eat the pulp, as well!

Fresh Rose Hip Tea (makes 2 cups)

10-12 fresh rose hips, seeds removed
2 cups boiling water
1. Put the rose hips in a teapot or French press. Pour boiling water over them, cover, and let steep for your desired amount of time. (See note above).
2. Strain through a fine mesh strainer or push the plunger of the French press.  I pressed on the rose hips to release more of their goodness. Sweeten the tea with honey, if desired. And eat the rose hips, if you’d like an extra boost of Vitamin C!

Rosewood Oil: “Bois-de-Rose” Benefits

Prized as a decorative tree and used to make furniture, chopsticks, and show pieces, rosewood is a versatile and durable tree that grows abundantly in Brazil. But rosewood is more than just a raw material used in manufacturing. The popular fragrant oil of the same name is extracted from its wood. Keep on reading to learn more about rosewood oil.

What Is Rosewood Oil?

rosewood oilRosewood oil is extracted from Aniba rosaeodora, an evergreen tree that’s indigenous to Peru and Brazil. Rosewood, also called “bois-de-rose,” is a member of the Laurel (Lauraceae) plant family along with camphor, cinnamon, bay, and cassia. This aromatic tree can grow up to 40 meters high and is distinguishable by its reddish bark and yellow flowers. Many rosewood rain forests have been cut down to accommodate the high demand for this sturdy lumber, although legislation now requires planting a new rosewood in place of every tree that’s been cut down.

Rosewood oil has a characteristic aroma that’s warm, spicy, woody, fruity, floral, and enlivening. This characteristic aroma makes it an established ingredient in high-class perfumery and soap-making, especially during the early 1900’s, which caused deforestation of the tree.

Due to rosewood oil’s high price, however, manufacturers turned to cheaper alternatives, such as Chinese Ho oils from Cinnamomum camphora, as well as synthetic linalool. This allowed rosewood forests to thrive once again.

Uses of Rosewood Oil

Rosewood oil’s alluring fragrance has been widely lauded in the perfume industry, but its therapeutic properties are less well known. Aromatherapists use it to help treat depression, as it is said to impart feelings of happiness and strength. Rosewood oil also calms the mind and prompts hormone secretion. It also works as an aphrodisiac as it stimulates your body and libido allowing you to relax and let go of stress and mental clutter.

Another popular use of rosewood oil is for skin care. It has tissue-regenerating properties that help prevent wrinkles and premature aging, and also works well for preventing a variety of skin conditions. You can use it to reduce the onset of pimples, acne, and blackheads while controlling the amount of sebum secreted by your oil glands. Rosewood oil also has wound-healing actions, making it an ideal first-aid remedy for cuts and insect bites.

To get rosewood oil’s therapeutic effects, you can:

  • Diffuse it using a vaporizer.
  • Dilute it in a carrier oil, and then place a drop or two on your skin or the affected areas that need healing. Note: DO NOT use it on facial skin without diluting it in a mild carrier oil first. You can also use it as a massage oil.
  • Add it to your bathwater. Use it while showering: after soaking for at least 3 minutes in steamy shower, turn the water off, put five to seven drops of the oil in the palm of your hand, and distribute it all over your wet body. The oil will penetrate very quickly and you can rinse it off if you prefer.
  • Mix it your favorite lotion or cream. Add a drop or two to your favorite moisturizer to reap its anti-aging benefits.

Rosewood oil also works as an effective insect repellent that repels mosquitoes, bugs, and ants. It can also work as a room freshener. Simply add 15 drops per 2 ounces of distilled water, and then spray as desired.

The Composition of Rosewood Oil

Rosewood oil’s high linalool content (86 percent) makes it highly useful for industrial applications. Linalool is modified into many derivatives that are essential to the food flavoring and fragrance industries.

Meanwhile, other components of rosewood oil like a-pinene, a-terpineol, camphene, neral, myrcene, geranial, 1,8-cineole, benzaldehyde, linalool oxides, and limonene  are responsible for its health-promoting effects. This oil works as a stimulant, antidepressant, analgesic, antibacterial, and antiseptic.

Benefits of Rosewood Oil

rosewood oil benefitsI believe that rosewood oil is a wonderful herbal oil to have at home, as its sweet and pleasant aroma can greatly delight your senses. However, there’s a lot more to this oil than its enticing aroma. Here are some of the benefits of rosewood oil:

  • Relieves pain. Rosewood oil is a mild analgesic (not as strong as other herbal oils) that can help alleviate headaches, toothaches, and muscle and joint pain.
  • Heals wounds. This oil’s antiseptic properties help prevent wounds and cuts from getting infected, as well as stimulate faster healing.
  • Helps treat colds, coughs, and sinusitis. It has the ability to regulate smooth muscle contractions, helping control bronchial disorders such as asthma.
  • Works as an aphrodisiac and stress reliever. It can help treat impotence or frigidity, arousing sexual desire and improving sexual performance. Rosewood oil’s fragrance also has a calming and relaxing effect on your mind and body.

How to Make Rosewood Oil

Rosewood oil is extracted from the wood chippings or shavings of the rosewood trunk. This oil is produced via steam distillation, which works by vaporizing the oil and the active ingredients in it so they can be extracted and condensed. This extraction method helps assure that you are getting a pure and high-quality rosewood oil.

I advise you to be very stringent when buying rosewood oil, as some brands may be adulterated or have been infused with other carrier oils, which will lower the potency. Choosing a  rosewood oil that’s produced by a reputable manufacturer is crucial

How Does Rosewood Oil Work?

Rosewood oil’s high alpha-pinene content is responsible for its impressive antibacterial properties, while the chemical components geraniol, nerol, 8-cineole, linalool, and limonene are useful for tissue regeneration. Studies have also shown that the topical use of rosewood oil can help destroy pre-cancerous and cancerous cells without adversely affecting healthy skin cells.

To take full advantage of its therapeutic benefits, Rosewood oil can be applied topically, inhaled, or vaporized. It is rarely taken orally. As with other herbal oils, I do not recommend ingesting or applying this oil without the supervision of a qualified health practitioner.

Is Rosewood Oil Safe?

side effects of rosewood oilRosewood Oil is may be highly beneficial, as long as it’s used in moderation and properly diluted. It blends well with citrus oils like orange, neroli, bergamot, lime, lemon, and grapefruit, as well as floral oils like lavender, jasmine, and rose.

Rosewood oil is non-toxic, non-irritant, and non-sensitizing. However, I still advise doing a skin patch test before using this herbal oil.

Side Effects of Rosewood Oil

Rosewood oil has no known side effects. But despite its safe profile, children, pregnant women or nursing moms should not use this oil without the advice of their physician. Rosewood oil, especially at full strength, is not recommended for very young children as well.

People with sensitive skin should also be careful when using rosewood oil. If you see any signs of irritation after using this oil, stop using it immediately and contact your health care provider.

Rose Skin Care Recipes

Rose Water-Glycerin Lotion

It is possible that this herbal skin conditioner will be much loved by your grandmother. In effect, this traditionally prepared herbal mix is not only a very effectual essential moisturizer, but it is also a preferred hand lotion. Although one variety of this herbal skin care product is available with the drugstores, if you wish to prepare one personally, you are able to change the ratio of the ingredients with a view to going well with your skin as well as the changing condition of your skin depending on the seasonal changes.

The basic ingredients of this preparation are very common, such as:

  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) of rose water
  • 1/4 cup of glycerin

To prepare this herbal skin care product, you are free to use ready rose water or make it personally be adding one teaspoon of rose oil to half a cup of distilled water. Mix the rose water and glycerin till it turns into a soft and cream-like blend. Finally, pour the creamy mixture into a spotless bottle and seal it tightly.

A thinner rose water-glycerin cream is recommended for people with oily skin. To prepare this thinner lotion, blend the two-third cup of rose water with two tablespoonfuls of glycerin. Conversely, a more dense lotion is apt for people having dry skin. To prepare this thick rose water-glycerin lotion to blend 1/3 cup of rose water with one-third or extra glycerin.

Rose water-glycerin gel: To prepare a gel using rose water and glycerin, you need to liquefy one teaspoon of ordinary gelatin in half a cup (125 ml) of hot water. Next, mix one teaspoon of rose oil and three tablespoons of glycerin thoroughly.

Glycerin and Rose Water Cleansing Cream

Glycerin and rosewater cleansing cream is effective for both dry and normal skin conditions. The ingredients needed to prepare this herbal product include:

  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of rose water
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of glycerin
  • 4 tablespoons (60 ml) of lanolin
  • 6 drops of essential oil of rose
  • 2 oz (50 ml) of almond oil

First, liquefy the lanolin in an open saucepan and heat the almond oil and glycerin in another pan over the same heat. Blend the two and keep stirring them gently constantly. Next, gradually add rose water to the blend and allow it to cool. When the mixture has cooled down, stir the essential oil of rose into it.

Rose Water-Glycerin Lotion

It is possible that this herbal skin conditioner will be much loved by your grandmother. In effect, this traditionally prepared herbal mix is not only a very effectual essential moisturizer, but it is also a preferred hand lotion. Although one variety of this herbal skin care product is available with the drugstores, if you wish to prepare one personally, you are able to change the ratio of the ingredients with a view to going well with your skin as well as the changing condition of your skin depending on the seasonal changes.

The basic ingredients of this preparation are very common, such as:

  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) of rose water
  • 1/4 cup of glycerin

To prepare this herbal skin care product, you are free to use ready rose water or make it personally be adding one teaspoon of rose oil to half a cup of distilled water. Mix the rose water and glycerin till it turns into a soft and cream-like blend. Finally, pour the creamy mixture into a spotless bottle and seal it tightly.

A thinner rose water-glycerin cream is recommended for people with oily skin. To prepare this thinner lotion, blend the two-third cup of rose water with two tablespoonfuls of glycerin. Conversely, a more dense lotion is apt for people having dry skin. To prepare this thick rose water-glycerin lotion to blend 1/3 cup of rose water with one-third or extra glycerin.

Rose water-glycerin gel: To prepare a gel using rose water and glycerin, you need to liquefy one teaspoon of ordinary gelatin in half a cup (125 ml) of hot water. Next, mix one teaspoon of rose oil and three tablespoons of glycerin thoroughly.

Rose Water and Witch Hazel Toning Lotion

To prepare a toning lotion with rose water and witch hazel, you require the following ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoonfuls (60 ml) of rose water
  • 4 tablespoonfuls (60 ml) of witch hazel infusion
  • 4 tablespoonfuls (60 ml) of lemon juice
  • 3 drops of the essential oil of lavender

Blend all the ingredients mentioned above together and bottle up the mixture. Prior to using this toner, shake the bottle well every time. This toner will facilitate in reinstating the acid skin layer, tauten as well as refresh the skin and also close the unnecessary pores.

Warm infusions of many herbs may be employed in the form of skin fresheners. Some of these herbs include chamomile, mint, fennel, yarrow, lady’s mantle, sage, and elderflower. You may include a couple of drops of the tincture of benzoin in every cup of the infusion with a view to preserving the liniment for a longer period.

Rose and Honey Lotion

Witch hazel and rose lotion is a moisturizer suitable for every skin type and can be prepared using the following ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoonfuls (7.5 ml) of witch hazel infusion
  • 1 teaspoonful (5 ml) of almond oil
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of honey
  • 1 teaspoonful (5 ml) of rose water

First, warm all the ingredients and blend them in a glass jar. Seal the lid of the jar tightly and shake the jar thoroughly prior to use.

About Essence by Ashley November

I believe there is only one way to beautiful, nature’s way. I have believed this for years and still do. Constantly seeking out wonderful natural ingredients from all four corners of the globe, and bring you products bursting with effectiveness to enhance your natural beauty and express your unique personality. And while I’m doing this, I always strive to protect this beautiful planet and the people who depend on it. I don’t do it this way because it’s fashionable. I do it because, to me, it’s the only way.

Floral-Bath-Salts-Tutorial

Just like the skin cells on your face, the cells on your body regularly shed to reveal new, healthier skin underneath. That turnover process slows as we get older; to give it a nudge, reach for a body scrub.

A scrub works in a few ways: As you massage it over your body, the exfoliating granules help to slough off dead skin, and the rubbing action itself boosts circulation and helps drain your lymph nodes, by increasing blood flow to the skin’s surface. Plus, after all, that deep cleansing work in the shower, your post-wash moisturizer will be better able to soothe and hydrate your skin.

But another important benefit of using a scrub is how good it can feel at the moment. Being mindful of the refreshing texture against your skin and captivating scent that fills the shower allows you to enjoy the treatment as it’s happening—an experience that can lift your mood and affect your outlook as you continue your day or evening.

Types of Body Scrubs

Typically, a body scrub has larger exfoliating particles than a facial scrub as the skin on your body isn’t as delicate. Common ingredients in store-bought scrubs are salt, sugar, and crushed nut shells, and some include chemically exfoliates, like alpha hydroxy and glycolic acids, which can help smooth and firm skin, and salicylic acid, which can help improve the appearance of blemishes or redness. You can make your own buffing scrub with ingredients like olive oil, honey, raw sugar, ground cloves, oatmeal, and even ground coffee. Adding your favorite essential oils to the mixture transforms your shower into an aromatherapy session.

Try this homemade scrub:

¼ cup olive oil
½ cup white or brown sugar
½ cup ground oatmeal (or coffee grounds for a more invigorating scrub)
1-3 drops essential oil (try lavender, almond, citrus or peppermint oils)

Whisk together all ingredients and pour into a mason jar or other airtight container. Use just a quarter-sized amount at a time, storing the scrub in a dry place for up to three weeks.

If you’d rather stick with a smooth shower gel, using a loofah or exfoliating cloth can provide the cleansing scrub your skin needs. Experiment with various products and tools to find a scrub and technique that feels the best on your skin.

How to Use a Body Scrub

If your skin is healthy and firm, you can use a shower scrub up to three times a week. But if you have sensitive or thin skin, limit a good buffing to once a week.

Hold off on running the water in the shower and spend a few minutes using your hands or scrubbing tool to rub your scrub in circular motions onto dry skin for full and longer-lasting coverage. Turn on the water and rinse, using your hands to help remove any remaining granules. If you’re short on time, massage the scrub all over your body and rinse during your normal shower routine.

Be careful not to over scrub. Though your body skin is heartier than the skin on your face, it is susceptible to irritation. Always moisturize after you’ve dried off for smooth, nourished skin.

Do you use a self-tanner? Try a non-oily body scrub before applying any tanning lotion to guarantee an even application. By removing the dead skin cells, you’ll avoid splotches and dark spots, especially around your knees and elbows. Body scrubs are also great for removing self-tanner from your body.

When Not to Use a Body Scrub

If you have a sunburn or are experiencing a rash or other skin condition, give the body scrub a rest. Some of the ingredients—and the actual rubbing—could further irritate your skin. You’ll also want to skip it after shaving if your scrub contains salt or any chemical ingredients.