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.

 

 

A Herbal Ritual: Bath Therapy

When building your herbal apothecary, many people do not consider adding classic beauty products like floral toners, infused oils, bath salts, or luxurious lotions–but beauty care is an integral part of healing. Just as tinctures and teas can promote healthy digestion and relaxation,* herbal self-care rituals encourage whole body wellness and nourish the spirit. For example, golden calendula flowers infused in oils can promote a radiant complexion and the simple addition of lavender essential oil to baths can relax the spirit. And while these spa-like practices and products may seem more indulgent than necessary on the surface, we believe in the wisdom of age-old rituals when it comes to wellness.

Bathing is actually an ancient therapeutic practice called balneotherapy. Romans recognized the importance of water therapy and even provided public bathhouses for citizens. Ayurvedic healers use steams, baths, and cold water plunges to maintain health based on your constitution–also known as doshas—and promote circulation.* Almost all ancient cultures prescribe therapeutic bathing rituals to promote overall wellness and calm the skin, our body’s largest organ.

Herbs and oils have long been combined with bath therapy to relax the mind, soothe sore muscles, and promote supple skin.* These days, many bath products and cosmetics include harmful ingredients, like heavy metals and toxic carcinogens. Even worse, some commonly used products are also tested on animals. Verifying with The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Guide to Cosmetics is a great way to ensure the quality of your favorite products, and we highly recommend checking labels to make sure they are made cruelty-free. While more and more companies are selling ethically made or sourced natural products, it’s often more satisfying to make products yourself. We’ve crafted two herbal bath recipes that are simple and soothing: our Spring Tea Bath Blend and our Flower-Powered Sea Salts.

Flower-Powered Sea Salts

A relaxing blend to calm your nerves and soothe sore muscles.

Time: 5-10 minutes

Servings: 5 jars

Materials:

  • 5 six-ounce jars
  • Labels
  • Big mixing bowl
  • Spoon for mixing

Ingredients

  • ½ cup baking soda
  • ½ cup sweet almond oil (or healthy oil of choice, like jojoba or sesame oil)
  • ½ cup dried calendula petals
  • 1 cup dried rose petals
  • 1 cup coarsely ground, Kosher sea salt
  • 1 cup Epsom salt
  • 4-6 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 1 drop of Moroccan blue chamomile oil

Instructions:

  1. Start by blending the dry ingredients together in the large bowl, then slowly pour in the almond and essential oils while stirring.
  2. Add the mixture to the jars, and label them with their ingredients and the date crafted.
  3. Add a couple of tablespoons to each bath to enjoy a deep state of calm.

Spring Tea Bath

An aromatic herbal blend to support your lymphatic system and nourish your skin.

Time: 5-10 minutes

Servings: Enough for five baths

Materials:

  • Five 5” x 7” sized muslin bags or cheesecloth
  • Big mixing bowl
  • Spoon for mixing
  • Cooking twine or cotton string (if using cheesecloth)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried lavender flowers
  • 1 cup dried rose petals
  • 1 cup dried chamomile flowers
  • 1 cup dried calendula petals
  • 1 cup dried red clover blossoms

Instructions:

  1. Pour flowers into a mixing bowl and blend them together.
  2. Fill each muslin bag with the flower mixture or use cheesecloth and twine to create a small pouch.
  3. Tie shut and use one bag per bath. The bag can be tied to the water spout for the hot water to run through, or simply placed in the tub to float like a tea bag in an infusion.

Whether you are drawing a bath infused with medicinal herbs or lathering on a natural and nourishing lotion, these healthy habits are fundamental to whole body wellness. In this busy era, it can often be hard to fully show up for ourselves and commit to these simple acts of self-love. When we weave herbs into wellness, these practices become even more enticing, like a sweet treat we want to indulge in again and again.

Keep in mind that healthy skin and healthy bodies are also fueled by whole foods, proper hydration, and regular sleep. For more natural beauty care tips, check out Stephanie Tourles’s Organic Body Care Recipes or Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbs for Natural Beauty.