Matcha Green Tea for Beauty

While its history dates back to 12th century Japan, matcha, the powdered form of green tea {Camellia sinensis}, seems to be enjoying a resurgence today as a very popular hot or iced beverage. The name matcha actually means “powdered tea,” and you will find this vibrant-green ingredient in tea blends, cookies, smoothies, lattes, noodle dishes, ice cream or enjoyed on its own steeped in water. It has also made its way into commercial beauty products, providing a range of benefits that help us look our best.

Matcha Miracle

While matcha comes from the same plant as green tea, it’s grown in a slightly different manner. Growers cover the tea plants with shade cloths before harvesting, which prompts the plants to produce new leaves that have exceptional flavor. These new-growth leaves are then picked, steamed, dried in cold storage, and ultimately ground into the striking, fine green powder we see sold in tea shops, natural food stores, and some grocers.

When you make a traditional cup of green tea, you infuse or steep the leaves in hot water, then strain and drink. Because the leaves are powdered, matcha requires no straining – you drink the entire tea leaf, and this provides a more potent form of green tea bursting with antioxidants called polyphenols that are well known for fighting heart disease and some cancers as well as regulating blood sugar and blood pressure.

In topical body care products such as cleansers and toners, matcha continues to offer health benefits, specifically with its antioxidant, vitamin, and mineral content. Vitamins B2 and E are both essential for healthy skin, and the powder’s anti-inflammatory properties soothe and improve troubled complexions, making it a featured ingredient in many commercial anti-aging products. It’s also a natural cleanser, boosting skin’s appearance to look fresher and healthier. If you suffer from skin conditions such as acne, a solution of strong green tea will help, especially when used at night after washing your face.

When purchasing matcha, make sure to buy a good quality, organic powder from a reputable source. Read the label; it should contain only Camellia sinensis. When you use finely ground matcha, you use the entire green leaf, so it’s worth the extra expense. Here are some recipes for you to enjoy at home.

Matcha Tea Facial Mask

This cleansing mask works for all skin types. It contains matcha and green clay, both useful in deep-cleaning skin to help it retain more moisture.

  • 1 tsp matcha
  • 2 tsp pure water
  • 1 tsp green clay or baking soda
  • 1 tsp honey or agave

Mix together all ingredients in a small bowl until you have a smooth, creamy mixture {add more water if needed}. To use: Spread on clean skin and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with warm then cool water and pat skin dry. You can follow up with some cool green tea as a finishing rinse. Yield: 1 ounce.

Soothing Matcha Lotion Bars

These rich balms target rough skin spots such as hands, feet, knees, and elbows. Melt together the ingredients into stick form for a packaging-free option, or make them in small soap or candy molds and store in little tins. These matcha-infused bars also help with bug bites or small cuts.

  • 1/2 cup cocoa butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil or shea butter
  • 1/4 cup beeswax
  • 1 Tbls matcha

Place all the ingredients in a heat-resistant container or bowl and set inside a water bath. Gently heat the mixture, stirring, until the butter, oil, and wax melt and the mixture is fully mixed. Pour into a small mold or large lip balm tube and let cool completely until solid. To use: Rub or massage into rough skin spots or use after showering om warm skin. Yield: 8 ounces.

Detoxing Matcha Bath Salts

Soaking in natural salts like Epsom helps relieve sore muscles and promotes a good night’s sleep. Green tea serves as a helpful detoxifying, anti-inflammatory ingredient, and the addition of dried lavender buds in this recipe makes the perfect evening soak. If you want to avoid having to clean out the buds from your tub or drain, place the whole mixture inside a muslin tea bag, or tie it up in a piece of cotton fabric.

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 cup Epsom salts
  • 1 Tbls matcha
  • 1 tsp dried lavender buds

Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and stir well to mix. Pour into a clean container with a tight-fitting lid. To use: Pour 1/2 cup into your bath as you fill the tub or place 1/2 cup of the mixture inside a muslin tea bag and toss into the bath to dissolve. Yield: 16 ounces.

Matcha Bath Tablets

Because they contain a concentrated amount of skin and body care ingredients in a convenient form, bath tablets or “bath bombs” have become very popular. You simply pop the tablet in your tub {or a footbath} and it dissolves into a soothing soak. Adding green tea powder to your mixture provides a calming and cleansing effect on your skin, and its powerful antioxidants will help soothe and heal.

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 cup citric acid powder
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 1 Tbls matcha
  • 1/4 cup sea salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • Essential oils {optional}

In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Melt the coconut oil in the microwave or on the stovetop. {You can add a few drops of essential oil to the melted oil for scent.} Slowly add to the dry ingredients and mix well; you will have a mixture that looks like wet sand. Next, pack the mixture into a small mold {measuring cups, muffin tins, and ice cube trays all work well}. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then unmold and set on a cotton dishcloth or ceramic tray. Let dry overnight. To use: Drop in a full tub of warm water and let dissolve. For a footbath or smaller soak, make smaller tablets or break larger ones in half. Yield: 16 ounces.

Green Tea Sugar Scrub

Matcha green tea is perfect for energizing and cleansing the skin, and all skin types will benefit from this soothing scrub full of natural oil and refreshing citrus. A good skin scrub will cleanse the skin of surface debris and dead skin cells, allowing your skin to breathe and retain more moisture.

  • 1 cup of raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup camellia oil or sweet almond oil
  • 1 Tbls matcha
  • 1 tsp fresh orange zest

In a small bowl, place all the ingredients and stir well until mixed. Spoon into a clean container with a tight-fitting lid. To use: Massage a small amount into damp skin and rinse with warm water. This is best done in the tib or shower. You may want to stand on a towel, as the oils can make shower tiles slippery. Yield: 8 ounces.

Green Tea Skin Toner

As simple as creating a great cup of tea, this skin toner provides skin-protecting and beautifying benefits. Natural beauty estheticians will often recommend a green tea rinse for those suffering from acne or a troubled complexion because of its healing and antibacterial properties.

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 tsp matcha

In a small ceramic or glass bowl, place green tea leaves or matcha powder. Pour the boiling water over the tea and let it sit until the mixture completely cools. Strain the liquid and pour into a clean container. To use: Apply to clean skin with a cotton pad or spray bottle. Do not rinse. Yield: 8 ounces.

Camellia Oil

New popular cooking and body care oil is Camellia oil or “tea seed oil,” which is simply green tea oil. It comes from the seed of the Camellia sinensis plant. You may see it listed on commercial beauty products. It is also a popular cooking oil in southern China. Shop for this oil online or at local Asian food markets.

Green Tea and Healthy Skin

Green tea/matcha has become a popular ingredient in many commercial and homemade beauty products, thanks to its many health and beauty benefits. Here are just a few:

  • Studies have shown that drinking and applying green tea to your skin helps fight skin cancer.
  • Due to its high content of a class of polyphenols called catechins, it works as an anti-inflammatory ingredient to reduce skin irritation, redness, and swelling. Try a soothing mask of green tea and cucumber juice to calm a bad sunburn or insect bites.
  • An antibacterial, green tea kills systemic bacterial inflammation. In the evening use a strong infusion of green tea as a toner after cleansing. {do not rinse off}.
  • Vitamins B2 and Vitamin E in green tea help your body maintain collagen, making skin appear younger and firmer.
  • It has caffeine and tannins that reduce puffiness under the eye area to relieve tired skin. To refresh and renew, lie down for 10 to 15 minutes with two cool tea bags or cotton pads soaked in tea.
  • Use green tea to cleanse your scalp as an after-shampoo rinse – it may help promote new hair growth as well.

The Perfect Cup of Matcha

We know that drinking matcha can improve physical health, but it can also provide emotional and spiritual benefits as well. To create the “perfect” cup, it takes almost zen-like attention to detail that can act as a form of meditation. Focusing on the process and ritual of preparing tea can reduce stress and release those “feel good” hormones. A good cup of matcha is made a bit differently than the usual cuppa. Here are some easy-to-follow steps. Make sure to use top-quality tea {that you can reasonably afford}, as some cheaper versions can contain contaminants.

  1. Heat 1/2 cup of water to boiling and set aside.
  2. Add 1/2 cup matcha to a ceramic bowl or cup.
  3. Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of cool water to the tea and mix well until smooth.
  4. Add the hot water to the bowl and stir with a small whisk or fork until you have a nice frothy and creamy mixture.
  5. Add cream or sugar if desired, and take a moment to enjoy the aroma before sipping.

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.

 

 

WHY CHOOSE CALENDULA?

Flower of the Sun

Calendula officinalis has been used for centuries on multiple continents and is one of the most versatile herbs in the plant kingdom. This healing phenom is known as the “flower of the sun.”  Calendula has an amazing history of documented healing. Its most outstanding distinction is its ability to heal the skin. It has no known drug interactions, no toxic effects and no adverse effects for long term use.

Five major steps occur in our skin’s healing process. According to the International Herb Association’s book, “Calendula – 2008 Herb of the Year”, calendula with its potent and complex array of phytonutrients helps facilitate the skin’s restorative cycle:

  • The first thing that must be done with injured tissue is to prevent infection. Calendula inhibits bacterial, viral and fungal microorganisms.
  • Calendula reduces inflammation of the tissue by inhibiting lipoxygenase, an enzyme that damages cell wall structure. It contains high amounts of flavonoids, plant-based antioxidants that protect the body against free radical cell damage. It’s amazingly effective on sunburn.
  • A wound needs to be cleared of its dead cells. Calendula stimulates the appetite of lymphocytes which helps rid the wound from this debris.
  • Calendula goes to work to increase the collagen level in a wound, prevents the formation of scar tissue and assists the healing tissue in remaining supple.
  • Calendula stimulates angiogenic activity –the growth of new blood vessels and nerve cells in the tissue. The sooner high potency calendula is used following skin trauma, the less scarring will occur or even be prevented.

The chemical compounds in calendula’s resin include: many fatty acid esters, carotenoids including Vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, lutein (it’s golden color) and lycopene, flavonoids (antioxidants that protect cells against damage), quercetin (anti-inflammatory), rutin (antioxidant), ubiquinone (CoQ10), iodine and manganese.

Calendula oil is a popular choice for many of today’s skin conditions.

The Fragrant Way to Beauty: Skin Care Oils

Skincare oils are one of the best ways to take care of your skin and can easily be adapted to take into account changes in circumstances, such as stress levels, health, lifestyle, and general well-being. These factors often change from month to month, and by blending your own skin care oils you can accommodate your ever-changing skin care needs, which reflect physical, environmental, and emotional factors.

The first step in deciding which particular skincare regime to choose is to establish which basic skin type you have.

Many people believe their skin is a combination of skin types. Combination skin is a patchwork of normal, oily, and dry skin, with the oil patches usually occurring on the forehead, nose, and chin. This type of skin can develop at any time from changes in health, lifestyle, working conditions, and, of course, stress levels. Treat combination skin as you would normal skin, and if the oily patches become a problem use the face oils for oily skin on those areas. As the skin starts to balance you can adjust the treatment accordingly. Our skins can change quite rapidly, so do take notice of the changes and be ready to switch oils as and when needed.

Spa scene with natural cosmetics

Evenly Balanced – Normal Skin

Really, there’s no such thing as normal skin. Or, more correctly, children have normal skin, and the rest of us aspire to it. The perfect skin of prepuberty is plump, in that the cells are firm and solid, neither dry nor oily, finely textured with no visible pores, spots, or blemishes, soft and velvety to the touch, and unwrinkled. Adults can only yearn for this perfection, and we call skin “normal” if it reaches somewhere near it – about halfway is close enough. The term normal is so inappropriate in this context that I prefer to call this type of skin evenly balanced.

Balanced Normal Skin: Carrier Oils

Almond, sweet {Prunus Amygdalus var. dulcis}

Apricot kernel {Prunus armeniaca}

Hazelnut {Corylus avellana}

Jojoba {Simmondsia chinensis}

Argan {Argania spinosa}

Camellia seed {Camellia japonica}

Specialist Plant Oil Additions for Balanced Normal Skin

Evening primrose seed {Oenothera biennis}

Rosehip seed {Rosa rubiginosa}

Borage seed {Borago officinalis}

Carrot, macerated {Daucus carota}

Cucumber seed {Cucumis sativus}

Pomegranate seed {Punica granatum}

Sea buckthorn {Hippophae rhamnoides}

Passionflower seed {Passifloria incarnata}

Kiwi seed {Actinidia chinensis}

Essential Oils for Balanced Normal Skin

Chamomile German {Matricaria recutita}

Lemon {Citrus limon}

Palmarosa {Cymbopogon martinii}

Neroli {Citrus aurantium}

Geranium {Pelargonium graveolens}

Jasmine {Jasminum grandiflorum/officinale}

Lavender {Lavandula angustifolia}

Rose otto {Rosa damascena}

Frankincense {Boswellia carterii}

Chamomile Roman {Anthemis nobilis}

Day Care Oil for Balanced Normal Skin

Rose Otto – 14 drops

Geranium – 3 drops

Chamomile Roman – 2 drops

Lavender – 3 drops

Lemon – 3 drops

Optional additions to 1 fl. oz. {30 mL} of carrier oil:

Rosehip seed oil – 20 drops

Carrot macerated oil – 10 drops

First, blend the essential oils together, then dilute 2 – 3 drops in each teaspoon {5 mL} of hazelnut or sweet almond carrier oil. Apply a small amount to damp skin, massage into the face and neck, avoiding the eye area, and then dab the face with a tissue to remove excess oil.

Night Care Oil for Balanced Normal Skin

Geranium – 9 drops

Palmarosa – 5 drops

Rosewood – 5 drops

Orange, sweet – 3 drops

Lavender – 5 drops

Optional additions to 1 fl. oz. {30 mL} of carrier oil:

Rosehip seed oil – 20 drops

Sea buckthorn – 10 drops

First, blend the essential oils together, then dilute 2 -3 drops in each teaspoon {5 mL} of camellia seed oil to which you’ve added 5 drops of evening primrose seed oil. Apply a small amount to damp skin, massage into the face and neck, avoiding the eye area, and then dab the face with a tissue to remove excess oil.

skin care solutions

Normal to Dry Skin

The cells on the outer surface of the skin are essentially at the last stage of the shedding process, known as desquamation, and are held together by the hydrolipidic film. This consists of amino acids and lactic acid from sweat, fatty acids from sebum, and moisturizing by-products of keratinization – which is the process by which skin cells are shed from the top layer and replaced by those underneath. When the hydrolipidic layer is disturbed for some reason, the skin feels dry. This may be because the normal pH balance is disturbed, not enough sebum is being produced, the skin is being dried out by central heating, there are hormonal changes, medications have upset the normal balance of the skin protection system, or for many other reasons.

When the skin becomes dry it’s less supple and more prone to wrinkles, and it can even become flaky. In time it can become sensitive, prone to inflammation, and easily dehydrated by wind and sun. This type of skin is prone to peeling and itching during periods of stress. It generally feels taut after washing. Sometimes dry skin is caused by hormonal changes and menopause.

Normal to Dry Skin: Carrier Oils

Almond, sweet {Prunus Amygdalus var. dulcis}

Avocado {Persea americana}

Apricot kernel {Prunus armeniaca}

Argan {Argaania spinosa}

Hemp seed {Cannabis sativa}

Meadowfoam {Limnanthes alba}

Rice bran {Oryza sativa}

Macadamia {Macadamia ternifolia}

Camellia seed {Camellia japonica}

Specialist Plant Oil Additions for Normal to Dry Skin

Evening primrose seed {Oenothera biennis}

Borage seed {Borago officinalis}

Red raspberry seed {Rubus idaeus}

Acai berry {Euterpe oleracea}

Olive squalane {Olea europaea}

Rosehip seed {Rosa rubiginosa}

Sea buckthorn {Hippophae rhamnoides}

Cranberry seed {Vaccinium macrocarpon}

Carrot, macerated {Daucus carota}

Essential Oils for Normal to Dry Skin

Chamomile German {Matricaria recutita}

Chamomile Roman {Anthemis nobilis}

Lavender {Lavandula angustifolia}

Sandalwood {Santalum album}

Geranium {Pelargonium graveolens}

Rose Otto {Rosa damascena}

Palmarosa {Cymbopogon martinii}

Carrot seed {Daucus carota}

Ho wood {Cinnamomum camphora ct. linalool}

Neroli {Citrus aurantium}

Clary sage {Salvia sclarea}

Frankincense {Boswellia carterii}

Day Care Oil for Normal to Dry Skin

Chamomile German – 3 drops

Sandalwood – 15 drops

Mandarin – 3 drops

Ho wood – 4 drops

Optional additions to 1 fl. oz. {30 mL} of carrier oil:

Olive squalane oil – 20 drops

Raspberry seed oil – 10 drops

First, blend the essential oils together, then dilute 2 – 3 drops in each teaspoon {5 mL} of camellia seed oil, to which you’ve added 2 drops of evening primrose seed oil. Apply a small amount to damp skin, massage into face and neck, avoiding the eye area, and then dab the face with a tissue to remove excess oil.

Night Care Oil for Normal to Dry Skin

Carrot seed – 5drops

Sandalwood – 8 drops

Lavender – 3 drops

Clary sage – 3 drops

Palmarosa – 4 drops

Optional additions to 1 fl. oz. {30 mL} of apricot kernel or sweet almond carrier oil:

Olive squalane oil – 20 drops

Rosehip seed oil – 30 drops

skin care oils3

Normal to Oily Skin

Oily skin is caused by overactive sebaceous glands. These are subject to hormonal changes, which is why oily skin can be a problem during puberty. Overactive sebaceous glands can lead to seborrhea, but more often the problem presents as oily patches that leave the skin shiny. Ironically, an oily skin can result from over cleanliness – from scrubbing the face with harsh cleansers and soaps or using astringents that contain alcohol. Many commercial lotions designed to degrease the skin actually stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum. Thankfully, essential oils have the capacity to balance the skin without prompting the glands to produce more sebum and can provide the perfect solution to this seemingly intractable problem.

Normal to Oily Skin: Carrier Oils

Hazelnut {Corylus avellana}

Grapeseed {Vitis vinifera}

Safflower {Carthamus tinctorius}

Hemp seed {Cannabis sativa}

Sunflower {Helianthus annuus}

Jojoba {Simmondsia chinensis}

Argan {Argania spinosa}

Specialist Plant Oil Additions for Normal to Oily Skin

Borage seed {Borago officinalis}

Carrot, macerated {Daucus carota}

Rosehip seed {Rosa rubiginosa}

Kiwi seed {Actinidia chinensis}

Sea buckthorn {Hippophae rhamnoides}

Blueberry seed {Vaccinium corymbosum}

Echium seed {Echium plantaginoum}

Strawberry seed {Fragaria ananassa}

Essential Oils for Normal to Oily Skin

Chamomile German {Matricaria recutita}

Lavender {Lavandula angustifolia}

Geranium {Pelargonium graveolens}

Frankincense {Boswellia carterii}

Juniper berry {Juniperus communis}

Cypress {Cupressus sempervirens}

Palmarosa {Cymbopogon martinii}

Petitgrain {Citrus aurantium}

Bergamot {Citrus bergamia}

Patchouli {Pogostemon cablin}

Niaouli {Melaleuca quinquenervia}

Orange, sweet {Citrus sinensis}

Lemon {Citrus limon}

Marjoram, sweet {Origanum majorana}

Lime {Citrus aurantifolia}

Rosemary {Rosmarinus officinalis}

Jasmine {Jasminum grandiflorum/officinale}

Ylang ylang {Cananga odorata}

Day Care Oil for Normal to Oily Skin

Juniper berry – 8 drops

Geranium – 10 drops

Petitgrain – 10 drops

Rosemary – 2 drops

Optional additions to 1 fl. oz. {30 mL} of carrier oil:

Kiwi seed oil – 10 drops

Borage seed oil – 10 drops

First, blend the essential oils together, then dilute 2 -3 drops in each teaspoon {5 mL} of jojoba or sunflower oil, to which you’ve added 10 drops of carrot macerated oil. Apply a small amount to damp skin, massage into the face and neck, avoiding the eye area, and then dab the face with a tissue to remove excess oil.

Night Care Oil for Normal to Oily Skin

Juniper berry – 10 drops

Petitgrain – 15 drops

Frankincense – 5 drops

Marjoram, sweet – 5 drops

Orange, sweet – 10 drops

Optional additions to 1 fl. oz. {30 mL} of carrier oil:

Rosehip seed oil – 10 drops

Blueberry seed oil – 10 drops

Evening primrose seed oil – 5 drops

First, blend the essential oils together, then dilute 2 – 3 drops in each teaspoon {5 mL} of hazelnut oil. Apply a small amount to damp skin, massage into the face and neck, avoiding the eye area, and then dab the face with a tissue to remove excess oil.

Moisturizing cosmetic oil on the flowers and water background

Sensitive Skin

Anyone’s skin can become sensitive at any time. Even skin previously considered normal can become prone to sensitivity after contracting a virus, eating certain foods, coming in contact with synthetic perfumes or synthetic cosmetic ingredients, including preservatives, and so on. Some skins become sensitive only during extremes of weather – when it’s too cold, hot, or windy. Sometimes skin changes can be linked to an emotional situation, such as the loss of a loved one, moving or changing jobs, stress, or even just a change in lifestyle. It could be too that the skin can no longer deal with environmental pressures such as overheating at the workplace, too much electrosmog, or pollution. Sensitive skin can also be inherited. Allergies can develop suddenly, and for clues, as to what’s causing the trouble it may be useful to have patch testing carried out.

If you’ve become sensitive to skin care products in general, it could be that you’ll be sensitive to certain plant oils or essential oils too. This is why it’s important for you to carry out a skin test before using anything on the face. Apply a small amount of oil, or diluted essential oil, in the crook of an elbow or behind the ear, and leave it for 24 hours. If there’s no reaction such as itchiness, redness, soreness, or swelling, then that oil might suit you.

The best choices for highly sensitive skins are water-based products such as hydrolats, hydrosols, plant distillates, floral waters, and the like. Only use essential oils in very low dosages, increasing the amount used as you become confident there’s no skin reaction, and use carrier oils that are known to be gentle on the skin. As this is such an individual situation – everyone is different in terms of their sensitivities and reactions – not all the suggestions below might be appropriate for you. Always choose organic products.

Hydrolats for Sensitive Skin

Chamomile Roman {Anthemis nobilis}

Chamomile German {Matricaria recutita}

Lavender {Lavandula angustifolia}

Rose {Rosa damascena/centifolia}

Essential Oils for Sensitive Skin

Lavender {Lavandula angustifolia}

Chamomile German {Matricaria recutita}

Chamomile Roman {Anthemis nobilis}

Geranium {Pelargonium graveolens}

Sandalwood {Santalum album}

Neroli {Citrus aurantium}

Carrier Oils for Sesitive Skin

Almond, sweet {Prunus amygdalus var. dulcis}

Rice bran {Oryza sativa}

Jojoba {Simmondsia chinensis}

Calendula, macerated {Calendula officinalis}

Grapeseed {Vitis vinifera}

Camellia seed {Camellia japonica}

 

The Fragrant Way to Beauty; Facial Sprays and Tonics

Gentle facial sprays can have many purposes; for example, they can cool, calm, and give the skin an all-around boost. Some are tonic, some astringent – all are refreshing. They can help refine open pores and smooth unevenly textured skin. Facial sprays are generally applied after cleansing to ensure the complete removal of any residue left from creams and lotions, and they can also be used during the day or evening to refresh the skin. For a facial spray, use a single hydrolat or a combination of hydrolats, or combine a hydrolat and a floral water, or aloe vera liquid, with a quality non-tap water.

For a facial tonic, use a hydrolat combined with essential oil. Combine the hydrolats, glycerin or aloe vera, and essential oil together in a bottle, shake really well, and leave to stand for at least 24 hours. Shake the bottle again, filter through an unbleached paper coffee filter to remove any essential oil globules, and store in the fridge.

Hydrosol/Hydrolat and Other Waters* for Face Tonics

Normal Skin

*Waters: hydrolats, hydrosols, essential oil waters, or floral distillates

Lavender {Lavandula angustifolia}

Geranium {Pelargonium graveolens}

Immortelle {Helichrysum italicum}

Spearmint {Mentha spicata}

Lemon {Citrus limon}

Cornflower {Centaurea cyanus}

Orange flower {Citrus aurantium}

Rose {Rosa damascena/centifolia}

Face Tonic for Normal Skin

Geranium water – 3 fl. oz. {90 mL}

Lavender water – 1 fl. oz. {30 mL}

Vegetable glycerin – 1 teaspoon {5 mL}

Geranium essential oil – 2 drops

Spearmint essential oil – 1 drop

Lavender essential oil – 1 drop

To create a fusion, combine the hydrolats, glycerin, and essential oils together in a bottle, shake really well, and leave to stand for at least 24 hours. Shake the bottle again, filter through an unbleached paper coffee filter to remove any essential oil globules, and store in the fridge.

Normal to Dry Skin

*Waters: hydrolats, hydrosols, essential oil waters, or floral distillates

Rose {Rosa damascena/centifolia}

Lavender {Lavandula angustifolia}

Chamomile Roman  {Anthemis nobilis}

Chamomile German {Matricaria recutita}

Cornflower {Centaurea cyanus}

Geranium {Pelargonium graveolens}

Face Tonic for Normal to Dry Skin

Rose water – 2 fl. oz. {60 mL}

Chamomile water – 2 fl. oz. {60 mL}

Vegetable glycerin – 1 teaspoon {5 mL}

Sandalwood essential oil – 4 drops

Ho wood essential oil – 2 drops

To create a fusion, combine the hydrolats, glycerin, and essential oils together in a bottle, shake really well, and leave to stand for at least 24 hours. Shake the bottle again, filter through an unbleached paper coffee filter to remove any essential oil globules, and store in the fridge.

Normal to Sensitive Skin

*Waters, hydrolats, hydrosols, essential oil waters, or floral distillates

Chamomile Roman {Anthemis nobilis}

Lavender {Lavandula augustifolia}

Chamomile German {Matricaria recutita}

Cornflower {Centaurea cyanus}

Clary sage {Salvia sclarea}

Yarrow {Achillea millefolium}

Marigold {Calendula officinalis}

Face Tonic for Normal to Sensitive Skin

Chamomile Roman water – 2 fl. oz. {60 mL}

Lavender water – 2 fl. oz. {60 mL}

Aloe vera liquid – 1 teaspoon {5 mL}

Chamomile German essential oil – 1 drop

Lavender essential oil – 2 drops

To create a fusion, combine the hydrolats, aloe vera, and essential oils together in a bottle, shake really well, and leave to stand for at least 24 hours. Shake the bottle again, filter through an unbleached paper coffee filter to remove any essential oil globules, and store in the fridge.

Normal to Blemished or Acned Skin

*Waters: hydrolats, hydrosols, essential oil waters, or floral distillates

Pine {Pinus sylvestris}

Rosemary {Rosmarinus officinalis}

Thyme {Thymus vulgaris}

Manuka {Leptospermum scopartium}

Tea tree {Melaleuca alternifolia}

Bay laurel {Laurus nobilis}

Lavender {Lavandula angustifolia}

Sage {Salvia officinalis}

Melissa {Melissa officinalis}

Face Tonic for Normal to Blemished or Acned Skin

Rosemary water – 3 fl. oz. {90 mL}

Lavender water – 1 fl. oz. {30 mL}

Aloe vera liquid – 1 teaspoon {5 mL}

Juniper berry essential oil – 2 drops

Geranium essential oil – 2 drops

To create a fusion, combine the hydrolats, aloe vera, and essential oils together in a bottle, shake really well, and leave to stand for at least 24 hours. Shake the bottle again, filter through an unbleached paper coffee filter to remove any essential oil globules, and store in the fridge.

Normal to Oily Skin

*Waters: hydrolats, hydrosols, essential oil waters, or floral distillates

Cypress {Cupressus sempervirens}

Spearmint {Mentha spicata}

Clary Sage {Salvia sclarea}

Lemon {Citrus limon}

Rosemary {Rosmarinus officinalis}

Pine {Pinus sylvestris}

Myrtle {Myrtus communis}

Rose {Rosa damascena/centifolia}

Orange flower {Citrus aurantium}

Petitgrain {Citrus aurantium}

Face Tonic for Normal to Oily Skin

Orange flower water – 3 fl. oz. {90 mL}

Rose water – 1 fl. oz. {30 mL}

Aloe vera liquid – 1 teaspoon {5 mL}

Petitgrain essential oil – 4 drops

Orange, sweet, essential oil – 2 drops

To create a fusion, combine the hydrolats, aloe vera, and essential oils together in a bottle, shake really well, and leave to stand for at least 24 hours. Shake the bottle again, filter through an unbleached paper coffee filter to remove any essential oil globules, and store in the fridge.

Mature to Aged Skin

*Waters: hydrolats, hydrosols, essential oil waters, or floral distillates

Cistus {Cistus ladaniferus}

Geranium {Pelargonium graveolens}

Rose {Rosa damascena/centifolia}

Mastic {Pistacia lentiscus}

Frankincense {Boswellia carterii}

Melissa {Melissa officinalis}

Face Tonic for Mature to Aged Skin

Rose water – 2 fl. oz. {60 mL}

Melissa water – 1 fl. oz. {30 mL}

Frankincense water – 1 fl. oz. {30 mL}

Vegetable glycerin – 1 teaspoon {5 mL}

Aloe vera liquid – 1 teaspoon {5 mL}

Frankincense essential oil – 1 drop

Palmarosa essential oil – 1 drop

to create a fusion, combine the hydrolats, glycerin, aloe vera, and essential oils together in a bottle, shake really well, and leave to stand for at least 24 hours. Shake the bottle again, filter through an unbleached paper coffee filter to remove any essential oil globules, and store in the fridge.

Suggestion: 

Cotton-wool pads can be soaked in a tonic or aloe vera liquid and then divided into thinner sections before being put in a tightly sealed box with an extra couple of teaspoons of tonic passed over them – and, hey presto, you have your own brand of natural, instant, freshen-up facial pads.

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Astringents

Sometimes a stronger facial tonic is required, one with more astringent values. These incorporate vinegars and can be used on skins that are normal, oily, blemished, or acned. Combine the liquid ingredients, then add the essential oils, shake well, leave for 24 hours, shake again, pass through an unbleached paper coffee filter to remove any essential oil globules, and keep the fusion in the fridge.

General Astringent Tonic

Witch hazel – 1 fl. oz. {30 mL}

Orange flower water – 3 fl. oz. {90 mL}

Cider vinegar, organic {optional} – 1/2 teaspoon {2 1/2 mL}

Juniper berry essential oil – 3 drops

Lemon essential oil – 1 drop

Grapefruit essential oil – 1 drop

Stimulating Astringent Tonic

Witch hazel – 1 fl. oz. {30 mL}

Rose water – 3 fl. oz. {90 mL}

Cider vinegar, organic {optional} – 1/2 teaspoon {2 1/2 mL}

Rosemary essential oil – 2 drops

Spearmint essential oil – 1 drop

Bergamot FCF essential oil – 1 drop

Skin Vinegar for Blemished, Oily, and Open-Pored Skin

Spring water – 3 1/2 tablespoons {50 mL}

Orange flower water – 5 teaspoons {25 mL}

White wine vinegar, organic – 3 teaspoons {15 mL}

Palmarosa essential oil – 2 drops

Spearmint esential oil – 1 drop