If you have ever experienced a painful or embarrassing skin problem, you probably tried various products and remedies to fix it. Some may have worked wonders for others, but not so for you. If this situation describes you, maybe it's time you tried something different- herbs.
They're excellent at maintaining optimal skin health both when taken internally and applied topically. And they don't leave a dent in your pockets! Whether you use essential oils, whole plant extracts, fixed (carrier) oils, dried or fresh herbs, they will give you excellent results in any form.
You could either make herbal infusions (teas), eat them raw, or cook them.
Although cooking with herbs is great, it's very easy to overcook them, thus diminishing their health benefits. We recommend adding fresh or powdered herbs like mint, ginger, turmeric, or cinnamon to green smoothies.
Some herbs carry the most benefits while raw, while others are best when heated to a specific temperature for some time. Some great herbs to use topically are flowers: hibiscus, rosehips, rose, chamomile, lavender, and calendula.
Others help the body naturally detoxify internally, such as burdock root, licorice root, stinging nettles, and dandelion. To use these, steep 1 teaspoon of herbs per 8 ounces of very hot (not boiling) water for around 10-15 minutes, then drink the tea.
Flower and herbal tinctures, hydrosols, infusions, and distillates are fantastic in toners, and as a replacement for water in facial gel and emulsion serums, cleansers, and moisturizers.
To make a toner, mix equal parts of herbal tea or hydrosol with witch hazel then pour into a glass spray bottle. Keep it fresh by storing it in the refrigerator or add a little vodka or brandy (not more than 15-20% of the total liquid measure) as a natural preservative.
Steam is a favorite in facial treatments because it softens the skin and aids in extraction, exfoliation, and product absorption. To enjoy this treatment at home, steam your skin over a pot of boiling water infused with fresh or dried flowers and herbs. The steam releases and carries the water-soluble and volatile nutrients of the plants to the skin.
For additional benefits, follow through with applying a mask. Start by cleansing, toning, then drape a towel over your head and steam your skin for 5 minutes. Note: stay at least 18″ away from the pot. Also, don't use steam if you have broken skin, rosacea, or any other inflammatory skin problem.
This method takes more time and effort, but it's worth it. Infuse the properties of dried herbs or flowers in a carrier oil rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids, such as jojoba, rosehip seed, or sesame.
Allow the herbs to infuse for 3 to 6 weeks, after which the oils will take on the nourishing properties of the plants without losing their benefits. Use the resultant oil for cleansing your skin.
To make a poultice, wrap fresh or dried herbs using cheesecloth, gauze, or muslin then dampen with warm water. Apply this wrap directly to the skin for 10-15 minutes at a time (depending on the herb).
You can make a compress at home by soaking strips or squares of fabric in a hot herbal tea. Apply to the skin for 10-20 minutes.
NOTE: Use caution around the eyes (depending on the herbs you use). Also, leave the nostrils and mouth uncovered for easy breathing.
Seeing how easy it is to use herbs, why don't you embrace them for an added enhancement for your skincare?
The Sole Toscana Beauty Team