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.

Rose and Chamomile Clay Face Mask

Our skin is designed to do its job naturally. Eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated and using whole, simple products all support the idea that our skin can breathe and do its job naturally. The less we put on our skin and the less we switch up our routines with new products, the more your skin can do its own work. Our skin is the communication between our environment and the inner workings of our bodies! Through our skin, we see the diverse energetic system inside us and any imbalances we may be experiencing. Studies have found that our skin absorbs at least 60-70% of what we put on it. So what goes ON your body, ultimately goes IN the body. There are some nasty products out there full of unnatural ingredients, like parabens. These widely-used preservatives are estimated to be in 60-90 of all makeup and skincare products, so stick to products that are natural, free of toxic chemicals, and products that you could essentially eat.

Rosewater for skin hydration: A spritz after cleansing and again during the day does wonders for the skin’s freshness and moisture, plus you get the added aromatherapy effect from the roses leaving you relaxed, refreshed and feeling pampered. Other herbal hydrosols can be used in replace of rosewater, and you can pair according to your own constitution.

Cleanse and moisturize with oil. It’s simple, and it keeps you away from all the other toxic ingredients out there. Not only can you cleanse, remove makeup, oil pull and moisturize, but oils like coconut are also rich in healthy fats, making it another great thing to eat! Before a hot shower, try massaging oil into your skin. Then wipe off the oil with a warm wet washcloth in the shower. It leaves your skin feeling clean and smooth.

Clay-mask-before-after

Rose and Chamomile Clay Face Mask: Herbal masks with clay help to pull out toxins and gently exfoliate your skin. Adding honey or coconut oil helps to not to dry out the skin too much. Apply to a damp face and work in circular motions. Allow it to dry (5-10 minutes) and wash off gently with a warm washcloth. Follow with a bit of coconut oil and a spritz of rosewater! Ingredients: powdered rose petals, rose kaolin clay, honey, coconut oil, and a drop of chamomile essential oil.

Dry skin brushing helps support your lymphatic system, which is responsible for ridding the body of stagnation, resulting in the healthy and resilient skin! Skin brushing also supports the immune and digestive systems, both of which are involved in detox.

Sweat: Although it is a major eliminative organ, most people’s skin is very inactive. Sweat is a primary elimination route for toxins. Making a habit of getting a good workout at least once a week, or if you can, a hot sauna or bath works magic for the skin and assists its ability to breath, stay hydrated and glow.

Rose Water Hydrosol

Winter in Utah/Oregon means a lot of time indoors and, we hope, a lot of time for projects. I have a penchant for all things floral, so it’s only natural that one of my projects would be to bottle a favorite scent.

For an easy-to-make winter refresher, I turn to rose hydrosol, also known as rose water. Rose is known to be very good for your skin–both moisturizing and full of antioxidants–and a rose hydrosol makes a delightful facial spray.

I use essential oils as a way to relax and decompress. Sometimes this means using a few drops in the shower (pretending I have an aromatherapy steam shower) or sometimes it means lighting a candle. Many doctors working with integrative medicine view aromatherapy as complementary to other alternative healing methods, and I subscribe to the theory. I know this: a drop of essential oil can help me relax and feel refreshed.

For full step-by-step instructions for making your own rose hydrosol, see below.

flower-water-health-7-sophia-moreno-bunge-gardenistaAbove: Rose is good for cleansing and hydrating and is useful for headaches and tired eyes.

You can make your own floral hydrosol with any scented flower or herb of your choice. Lavender, jasmine, orange blossom are a few of my other favorites.

flower-water-health-2-sophia-moreno-bunge-gardenistaAbove: Fresh rose petals and ice cubes for making a hydrosol.

A hydrosol is designed to be sprayed on your skin; use flowers from your garden or those purchased from a local organic farmer that you know have not been sprayed with chemicals. The best floral hydrosols are made with flowers that are in season when they are most fragrant. Fear not: you can also make floral hydrosols from dried flowers using this same process.

What you’ll need:

  • Rose petals from about six very fragrant roses (or roughly five or six handfuls of petals).  If you are using dried flowers, you’ll need three handfuls.
  • Large cooking pot and a lid that fits snugly.
  • 2 small, heat-safe glass or ceramic bowls.
  • Plenty of ice.
  • Ziploc bags for ice (so it can be easily replaced after it melts).
  • 6 cups of distilled water.
  • A small spray bottle.

 

Step 1: Place a heat-safe bowl upside down in a pot. Next, drop your rose petals around the bowl, but not on top of the bowl. If you want an extra-fragrant rose water, use more plant material. You also can mix in herbs of your choice.

Step 2: Pour distilled water carefully over the petals until the water level reaches a height of about 1 inch below the lip of the bowl.  Place your second heat-safe bowl in the pot so that it rests on top of the overturned bowl.

Step 3: Place the pot lid on the pot (upside down, so the lid creates a concave space where you will place your ice cubes). When the steam from the water containing the plant material hits the bottom of the icy cold lid, it will create condensation and drip back into the empty bowl. This is your flower water.

Step 4: After your pot has finished simmering, turn off the heat and let it cool (with the lid still on so you don’t lose any hydrosol from evaporation). After it cools, remove the bowl with your hydrosol and pour it into a bottle or jar to store. I decided to make my hydrosol extra aromatic and therapeutic by adding a couple of drops of rose essential oil.

Your hydrosol should last for about six months and should be kept in a cool, dark place (a refrigerator works best).

If you’re interested in trying your hand at making another kind of hydrosol (or stocking up on a few new essential oils), I did some research into ailments and their corresponding aromatherapy treatments, and this is what I found:

  • Muscle soreness (for the gardeners!): bay, caraway, chamomile, eucalyptus, frankincense, ginger, geranium, juniper, lemongrass, lemon verbena, rosemary, sandalwood, patchouli, and myrtle.
  • Fatigue: basil, angelica, cedarwood, clove, eucalyptus, jasmine, frankincense, lemon, neroli, marjoram, peppermint, patchouli, and vanilla.
  • Anxiety: lavender, melissa, myrrh, bergamot, cardamom, chamomile, cypress, frankincense, rose, pine, vanilla, marjoram, neroli, nutmeg, patchouli, and orange/lime.
  • Headaches: basil, chamomile, cinnamon, ginger, eucalyptus, lavender, lemongrass, melissa, marjoram, peppermint, thyme, ylang-ylang, and clary sage.

Rose Essential Oil: Embodying the Sacred Feminine

THE ROSE BEARS RICH MYTHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATIONS WITH THE DIVINE FEMININE, SO IT IS NO COINCIDENCE THAT ROSE ESSENTIAL OIL IS ASSOCIATED WITH FEMININE ENERGETICS.

  • Chinese Medicine names rose a powerful Yin tonic.
  • Rose essential oil is known for regulating menstruation and helping women through menopause. Many aromatherapists believe rose essential oil to exert a tonic effect on the uterus and to aid in conception.
  • The emotional effects of rose essential oil may be even more important than its physical ones. Rose is said to promote feelings of self-worth and confidence, specifically in women, and is considered especially helpful in cases of postpartum “blues.”
  • Rose essential oil can lift a heavy mood and inspire feelings of beauty and self-confidence in those times when we just feel inadequate or less attractive.
  • Rose essential oil’s ability to comfort is well-known and has been described as feeling like a mother’s warm embrace. For this reason, it is a wonderful essential oil to use for anyone who has had a loss or trauma, who is facing death, or who needs to experience the deeply nurturing aspect of the Sacred Feminine for any reason.
  • Beautifully fragrant and subtle rose essential oil is a wonderful way to honor the Sacred Feminine and to bring the Goddesses’ gifts of rejuvenation and healing into your home and into your life.

Rose absolute is one of the most coveted and expensive absolutes on the face of the Earth. It possesses an aphrodisiac olfactory quality that is unmistakable and sublime. Rose petals are harvested by hand prior to sunrise to capture its purest essence. It takes between 5,000 and 10,000 pounds of rose petals to produce 1 pound of rose essential oil. Its water is a symbol of love and purity used in meditation and prayer. In ancient medicine rose was used for strengthening the heart, treating menstrual bleeding, digestive problems, and in the reduction of inflammation.

Recent studies have demonstrated rose has anti-HIV properties, antioxidant capability, antitussive (cough suppressant), and is used for relaxation and to calm spasms. It has been reported that rose possesses sedative and hypnotic effects  With its mild antiviral and antibacterial properties, rose essential oil assists with nausea, headaches, broken capillaries, irregular menstruation, aging mature skin, is balancing and rejuvenating to the skin, eczema, palpitations, and mouth infections. It is very effective as an antidepressant, helps with impotence, nervous tension, and is a powerful aphrodisiac.

Rose absolute is antidepressant, antiphlogistic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, astringent, emmenagogue, hemostatic, sedative, tonic, antiviral

Rose absolute is an exotic and sensual addition to cosmetic applications, personal care formulations, soaps, perfumery, incense, and candles.

Rose Petal Infused Honey.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Luxurious Lavender and Rose Mineral Foot Bath.

Luxurious Lavender and Rose Mineral Foot Bath

The sensitive skin and tissues of the feet contain many nerves and blood vessels that readily absorb the healing effects of essential oils and carry them throughout the body. A foot massage can be easily performed on oneself and is a perfect stress-reducing activity.

Ingredients

 2 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoon Epsom salts
1 tablespoon sodium bicarbonate or 1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon French white clay powder
8 drops lavender oil
4 drops rose oil
4 drops cedarwood oil
2 drops patchouli oil
2  gallons of hot water
1 tablespoon rose petals
1 tablespoon lavender flowers

Directions

Combine dry ingredients. Add the essential oils and mix evenly.

Dissolve the mixture in a large basin containing two gallons of hot water. Sprinkle flowers into the basin and soak feet for as long as desired.

Benefits
Balancing