Your Skin-Care Routine

When it comes to skincare, it’s not about using the best and most expensive brand. It’s about the ingredients and what they do to the skin. By following a good skin-care routine, you can really change the surface of the skin. It does take time for certain ingredients to work in the skin, but with enough patience and dedication, you have the ability to repair and improve your skin. If you have no skin concerns, for now, you can start a preventive skin-care routine that will make sure your skin stays looking good for longer. Because the reality is that our skin does age, just like our body. It takes 10+ years for sun damage effects to show up on the surface of our skin—brown spots, fine lines, wrinkles, and broken veins. Check what is already in your cabinet and see which things you need to add to your routine. Start making more time for your skin today!

Cleanser: To cleanse the skin and pores, lift off dirt & makeup, and prepare skin for further product absorption. Gel cleansers are best for normal/oily skin types; milk cleansers for normal/dry skin types. Oil-based cleansers can be used for all skin types, especially when used as the first cleanse in the evening, removing makeup, and prepping the skin for a second cleanse.

Toner: To make sure all remains of cleanser are off the skin and brings the skin back to a natural pH level.

Serum: The most penetrating product due to molecule size, serums are usually where you will find active ingredients such as vitamin A and C, peptides, hyaluronic acid, AHA, and BHA. Choose a serum with ingredients that are best for your skin type.

Eye Care: The eye area is the most delicate part of the skin and needs to be treated with care. Apply a pea-size amount of eye cream or eye gel around the eye bone with ring finger.

Moisturizer/SPF: If your moisturizer doesn’t contain SPF, make sure you use one on top of it or apply makeup containing sun protection. SPF blocks the UV radiation from the sun, which is present all year long.

Night Moisturizer: Specific night moisturizers contain more active ingredients than day creams. As your skin is sleeping, it is regenerating so what you apply before bed does count.

Exfoliator: Once or twice a week its important to slough away dead skin cells that have built up on the surface of the skin. By removing these dead skin cells, the skin becomes brighter and smoother.

Face Masks: Once or twice a week, apply a mask. There are clay masks for oily/acne-prone skins, and cream or gel masks for drier/aging skins. They really plump and refine the skin, leaving the skin glowing. For best skin results do an exfoliation before applying a face mask, and leave the mask on for as long as possible or sleep with it on overnight.

lavender spa products

Herbal Skin Care Recipes for Your Face

Try herbal skin care recipes such as Lemon Lip Balm and Rose Petal Facial Toner to freshen your skin and make your face glow.
Your skin says a lot about you. Treat yourself well and your skin should reflect your spirit’s rosy health—but a little herbal skin care never hurts.

Skin and Body Care

We know that what’s on the inside is what counts, but beauty on the outside is also important. It’s what signals that we are fulfilled, joyful, and happy with life. Glowing skin is not the result of cosmetics (though the toners and moisturizers in this chapter can help rejuvenate tired skin), but it is the culmination of a life well lived, a spirit well fed.

As the skin is our largest organ (and an organ of elimination, at that), it needs constant care and nurturing for its continued health. Your skin says a lot about you (as does the health of your hair): Is it tired, dry, and papery?

Greasy, sallow, and pitted? These conditions indicate an imbalance in your body that can be addressed by any of the remedies outlined in the previous chapters. These conditions (and usually the imbalances that cause them) are reversible and can always be resolved using natural methods that heighten your energy and nourish your life.

The skin, hair, and body treatments that follow can be enjoyed by most teens, men, and women. Let the making of these remedies be fun activities that you do frequently, as these products tend to have short shelf lives. Use them often and enjoy your radiant (and healthy) skin and hair.

Facial Care

Herbs and flower preparations have been used for centuries for both men’s and women’s facial care. Since Maria Prophetissa discovered distillation techniques and created what we call the “bain-marie,” chemists and boutiques have sold flower waters and essential oils for beauty applications.

These lovely waters were favorites with ladies throughout the Middle Ages and have never lost their popularity.

With facial care, we generally consider two applications: drying (toning) and moisturizing. Determine your skin type and use whichever remedy will achieve the effect you need. Scent them as desired (lavender is a traditional and lovely facial scent), and enjoy.

Lavender Facial Wash

Yields approximately 1 cup

This is a simple-to-make facial astringent that soothes, tightens, and tones the skin. Follow it with Red Clover Whipped Lotion (the recipe follows) for a rich moisturizer.

1/2 cup fresh lavender flowers
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup distilled witch hazel
1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin
2 to 3 drops lavender essential oil

Combine the dry ingredients and the witch hazel in a 1-pint glass jar; steep overnight or up to two weeks. Strain and reserve the liquid; add the glycerin and essential oil. Using a cotton ball, dab the facial wash over your face using upward motions. (After straining the liquid out, try gently scrubbing your face with the flowers and oats instead of throwing them out; they will remove dirt and grime from the crevasses of your skin and exfoliate. Follow with the facial wash. Delightful!)

Red Clover Whipped Lotion

Yields 2 to 3 cups

Make a tiny batch of this lotion at a time, perhaps for special occasions when you want your face to glow. It’s extremely rich and, depending on how much water you add, can be dense or light as a cloud.

1 cup fresh red clover blossoms
1 cup of cocoa butter
1 to 2 cups distilled water or rose water
1 to 2 teaspoons jojoba or sweet almond oil (optional)

Place the herbs and cocoa butter in a bowl. Without heating, use a spoon to mix the blossoms into the cocoa butter. Cover and store in a dark cabinet or pantry. Steep for two weeks.

In the top of a double boiler, gently heat the cocoa butter just until you can strain out the blossoms. Discard them and pour the melted cocoa butter into a deep soup pot (this is to reduce splattering). Using a wire whisk or an electric hand mixer, slowly add the distilled water by the tablespoonful, whisking constantly, until you have the desired consistency. Add the oil if desired, and whisk together. Scrape the lotion into a small container. This lotion lasts several weeks when refrigerated.

Rose Petal Facial Toner

Yields 2 cups

This is a simple and delightful astringent for the face.

1 cup packed fresh rose petals
1 cup distilled witch hazel
1 cup distilled water
Rose water or vegetable glycerin (optional)

Combine all the ingredients in a 1-pint glass jar. Steep overnight or up to two weeks. Strain and reserve the liquid. If desired, dilute it with additional distilled water or rose water, or whisk in a few drops of vegetable glycerin. Apply this toner with a cotton ball, using upward strokes.

Dandelion–Elder Flower Blemish Lightener

Yields 2 cups

Adapted from old wives’ recipes, this classic blemish lightener uses buttermilk. Many old recipes call for tansy flowers, but I find elderflower to be just as lovely.

1 cup fresh elderflowers
1 cup fresh dandelion flowers
2 cups fresh buttermilk

Combine all the ingredients in a glass jar. Steep overnight in the refrigerator (refrigeration is important!). Strain and reserve the liquid. Using a cotton ball, apply the lotion to your face in upward movements. Once your face is covered, lie down and rest for 10 minutes. Rinse with cool water.

Store this lotion in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Lemon Lip Balm

Yields 1 cup

Lemon is a luscious, summery fragrance, and many of our beloved herbs offer that scent: lemon balm, lemon verbena, lemongrass, and wood sorrel (Oxalis) leaves and seedpods. Pick your favorites to infuse in the oil for this lip balm.

1 cup fresh lemon balm (or herb of your choice), chopped
1 cup vegetable oil (such as canola)
1/4 cup beeswax
2 to 5 drops lemon essential oil or high-quality culinary lemon extract

Follow the instructions in chapter 4: Medicine-Making Methods for making an herbal salve. Once the wax has melted, pour the mixture into small lip balm tubes or into 1/4-ounce tins. Because these small containers absorb heat easily, do not keep them in pants pockets or in a hot car.

 

 

Healing with Frankincense Essential Oil

Make the most of brain-health-boosting and cell-building frankincense essential oil.

If I was stranded on a deserted island and could choose only one essential oil to have with me, I would select frankincense, an oil that is both versatile and potent. Perhaps that’s why it has been in use for thousands of years and considered a precious gift according to Christian beliefs — the perfect present from three wise men.

Healing with Frankincense Essential Oil

While frankincense can be used for a host of health concerns, here are a few of its many amazing healing properties:

Skin, Nail and Scalp Antimicrobial: An exciting study in the journal Letters in Applied Microbiology found that not only was frankincense effective against several organisms linked to skin, nail and scalp infections, it also helped break down the biofilms that often underlie these difficult problems. Biofilms are thin, potentially health-damaging layers of microorganisms that secrete substances to help ensure their survival in or on the body. The presence of biofilms is usually a factor in infections that are difficult to eradicate. Earlier research in the same journal also found frankincense helpful against Candida Albicans and Staphylococcus aureus biofilms. Frankincense essential oil is one that may be safe to apply directly to skin, nail and scalp infections; however, some experts recommend never using essential oils undiluted. If you want to try it, use caution and test the oil on a sensitive patch of skin, then wait 48 hours. Otherwise, use the oil diluted in a carrier oil — three to four drops of essential oil in a teaspoon of carrier oil.

Multipurpose Antibacterial: Frankincense is effective against many other types of bacteria, in addition to those of the skin, nail, and scalp. In one study, researchers found that the essential oil showed significant antibacterial action against the three types of bacteria tested, which included E. coliBacillus subtilis, and S. aureus. These antibiotic-resistant bacteria are linked with food poisoning and other serious health-damaging infections. In addition to directly killing the bacteria, the oil prevented the bacteria from proliferating. The oil also demonstrated antioxidant capabilities, which means it can destroy harmful free radicals linked to cellular and tissue damage.

Oral Health: Because of its antibacterial and antimicrobial qualities, frankincense is a good supporter of oral health. To use it, look for a toothpaste that incorporates frankincense, or make a homemade mouthwash using high-quality essential oil.

Anti-Pain Power: Researchers set out to determine the validity of frankincense as a traditional remedy for arthritis, muscle and stomach pain. They validated its natural analgesic effects and effectiveness, and for these types of pain frankincense may be applied directly to affected areas (use caution, or dilute in a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil for sensitive skin). Some health experts recommend using internally, but always consult a medical professional before doing so.

Mood Booster: In a study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, a natural compound in frankincense was found to have antidepressant qualities. The compound, known as incensole acetate (IA), can regulate hormones secreted by the hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands. The hypothalamus and pituitary glands are located in the brain and are involved in mood regulation, while the adrenal glands sit atop the kidneys and help address stress in the body. The researchers concluded that IA has potential as a novel treatment for depression.

Wrinkle Reducer: Numerous small-scale studies found that daily use of frankincense essential oil diluted in a carrier oil such as coconut or sunflower reduced the appearance of wrinkles and sun damage. It may also be useful to reduce stretch marks and eczema.

Using Frankincense Essential Oil

There are many frankincense essential oil products on the market, but they’re not all of equal quality. When choosing an essential oil, look for one that has been reviewed by independent third-party laboratory testing.

High-quality frankincense essential oil is one oil I sometimes recommend be used neat (undiluted); however, some experts recommend always diluting essential oils. As previously mentioned, always conduct a 48-hour skin test of frankincense essential oil diluted in the carrier oil of your choice prior to more extensive use. If you have sensitive skin, dilute three to five drops of frankincense essential oil in one teaspoon of carrier oil such as sweet almond or fractionated coconut oil (a liquid version of coconut oil).

To benefit from its ability to disinfect and freshen the air, diffuse five drops of frankincense in an essential oil diffuser (preferably not an oil burner, as heating the oil can destroy its therapeutic properties). Diffuse for up to an hour.

Frankincense is classified as a base note, meaning that when added to essential oil blends it tends to last longer than many other oils. Usually, base notes should comprise between 5 and 20 percent of a blend. Frankincense adds a rich, warm, incense-like quality to essential oil blends.

 

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Frankincense Antiwrinkle Cream

Skin-soothing and moisturizing, this fresh face cream helps reduce the appearance of blemishes and wrinkles.
Because this luxurious cream does not contain preservatives, use it within a month or store it in the fridge for up to three months.

This luxurious moisturizer helps soothe skin, reduce blemishes and minimize the appearance of wrinkles. Unlike most of the anti-aging creams on the market, this one does not contain petrochemical-based products or chemical preservatives, making it a real treat for your skin. Keep in mind that because it is free of preservatives, it doesn’t last as long as chemical-laced commercial products, so you’ll want to use it within a month or keep it for up to three months in the refrigerator. You may want to use an old blender for this recipe, as the beeswax can leave a film that is difficult to completely remove.

• 3/4 cup sweet almond, apricot kernel or fractionated coconut oil
• 2 tablespoons shaved beeswax
• 30 drops frankincense essential oil
• 1 cup of filtered water

1. In a small saucepan over low heat, stir almond, apricot or coconut oil and beeswax together just until beeswax dissolves. Do not allow the oil to become hot. Immediately remove the saucepan from heat and add frankincense essential oil.

2. Pour water into blender, cover and begin blending it on high speed. With blender running, slowly pour the beeswax-oil mixture through hole in blender lid. The mixture will begin to thicken after about three-quarters of the beeswax has been incorporated.

3. Once all the beeswax has been blended, immediately pour cream into a 16-ounce glass jar or two 8-ounce glass jars. Use a spatula to remove any remaining cream from the blender. Makes about 1- 3/4 cups.