Women and men throughout the ages have instinctively turned to plants to nurture, soothe, and heal their skin. Skin care products are increasingly apt to be based upon, or include, herbs, fruits, and essential plant oils. Many of these products also come with a steep price tag. But natural beauty and skin care does not necessarily have to be expensive. The raw ingredients of these products may be growing nearby, or stocked in your kitchen.
A good facial always starts with a steam treatment. You can simulate this at home by pouring hot water over aromatic herbs in a bowl. Mint, rosemary, lavender, thyme, and/or lemon balm could be used, all of which grow well in Southern MD. Throw a towel over your head and breath deeply for several minutes. Besides a great cleansing action on the skin, all of these herbs are rich in essential oils which assist respiration and cleanse the sinuses. This is also a great treatment for those that tend towards colds or sinus problems, as the oils present in the herbs are natural antiseptics.
Wonderfully effective masks can be whipped up in your kitchen using honey or glycerin for mature or dry skin, or clay or powdered herbs for oilier skin. Applying a mask after a facial steam will make it even more effective, as the hot water has stimulated blood flow to the skin surface, making it more receptive to the ingredients that follow. Honey and glycerin are both humectants, which help the skin retain its natural moisture. Honey is also rich in antioxidants and antiseptic. Adding a drop of pure essential oil will enhance the action of either base ingredient. Good, all purpose essential oils for skin care include lavender, geranium, and patchouli. Vitamin rich, pureed fruits and vegetables such as avocado or cooked carrot could also be used as a mask base.
All skin types benefit from a regular moisturizer. Jojoba oil is an excellent oil for the face, as it has collagen and elastin-like properties and is readily absorbed. It is not a true oil, but a liquefied wax with a smooth, silky texture. It is a misconception oily skin doesn’t need a moisturizer. Certain essential oils such as geranium, palmarosa, and lavender, are sebum regulators and help the skin produce a healthy amount of oil. Essential oils, properly diluted in a carrier oil such as jojoba or hazelnut oil, lend their cell regenerating and circulation enhancing properties, and are a natural for skin care.
Due to the fact that they are used immediately and not required to look pretty, homemade skin care has preservatives, fillers, artificial colors, or unnecessary fillers. Of course, if you’re pressed for time, the alternative is to seek out natural products that have only what your skin needs. They should look, well, natural, and smell clean and fresh, rather than overly scented. And the ingredients should all be produced by nature, not in a chemical factory. If simple ingredients are used, the skin will readily absorb them and glow with all their benefits.