Sure, radiant and glowing skin comes from the inside out. But most of us want to give our complexions a little help from the outside as well.
The trouble is – it works both ways. Your skin is your body’s biggest receptor organ and those lotions and potions that you rub, dab and slather onto your cheeks make their way directly into your bloodstream.
That’s why when you go the all-natural route with your skin care regime, you’re not just doing your skin a favor, your overall wellness benefits too.
If you’ve been following this skin care series, you might have already whipped up some natural facial cleanser. You’ve read my tips on teas and tinctures to create that healthy glow from the inside out, and you’ve got some recipes for steams and masks to create a pampered spa-like facial in the comfort of your home.
Keeping It Simple
Lots of recipes involve food for your face. Facial nutrition if you will. But when making facial masks and tonics with foods, you need to mix up your concoction of choice each time you do a treatment. That’s great for weekends, or when you have time on your hands – but what about when you’re racing through your busy week?
And then there’s those great natural facial recipes that require refrigeration and/or only last a few days or a week. But what about when you’re traveling or on the go?
Case in point: My daughter Rosie was so excited about this awesome herbal recipe we found for a facial cleansing gel for oily skin. We mixed up the herbs, but we never got to make it up because we realized it would only last for seven days and needed to be kept in the fridge. We were leaving the next day for a camping trip. Then we forgot. Then she was leaving for college. I sent the herb mix with her. Maybe she’ll make it up for herself while she’s there.
So, for this post, I scoured my book collection and the web, and came up with seven recipes that you can throw together in just a few minutes. You won’t need a blender or a refrigerator. Just a bowl and a jar, and some small containers for storing the final product.
All of these make excellent travel companions for some facial refreshment while on the go.
At first I planned to stick with formulas that required no infusing or straining. But I found a couple that were just too good to leave out, and the work is still minimal. So you’ll need a hand-held strainer and a piece of cheesecloth for the astringent and the pimple juice.
1) The Easiest Facial Toner
Using a toner or astringent after cleansing your face, can tighten your pores and make your skin more receptive to a moisturizer. Toners tend to be less drying than astringents.
If you like to use a toner, but would prefer not the shell out the cash for one that doesn’t have a list of unpronounceable ingredients, try making a simple blend of distilled water and essential oil.
20 drops essential oil
2 oz. distilled water
Shake the essential oil, drop by drop, into the water. Place into a small bottle or jar and shake to disperse. Always shake well before using. Apply toner with a clean cotton ball. Or, you can keep it in a mister bottle and spritz your face after cleansing. Use your fingers to gently tap the misted toner into your face.
You can order such bottles (or just the mister tops) here.
What’s that you’re asking? What essential oil should you use?
Well, lavender is always a great choice and benefits all skin types. You could also try Roman chamomile (great for sensitive skin), grapefruit or other citrus oil (for oily skin), or go with rosemary or tea tree oil if you are prone to blemish outbreaks.
2) Double Duty: Cleanse & Tone with Rosewater and Glycerin
Rosewater is so yummy and fragrant, it feels good to just spritz some on your face for a refreshing pick-me-up. And combined with vegetable glycerin (a natural humectant) it makes a simple, easy-to-store natural cleanser or toner. The proportions will vary though – depending on whether you are cleansing or toning. Choose your blend – or make both and come out smelling like a rose!
½ cup rosewater (use a good quality rosewater, a hydrosol is ideal)
½ cup vegetable glycerin
Combine these two ingredients in a small pot and heat to just under a boil. Cool, then store in a tightly capped bottle. Use by squirting a little on a washcloth or cotton pad and wiping face thoroughly.
6 oz rosewater or rose hydrosol
1 tablespoon vegetable glycerin
Optional (for oily skin): 2 oz witch hazel
Combine ingredients and shake well. Again this can be misted on or applied with cotton ball. But here’s a little secret. I got lazy about the cotton balls and didn’t have a mister cap handy. So I just stored my toner in a squeeze top bottle (like for shampoo). I squeeze a small amount in the palm of my hand (about the size of a dime or less.) Then I rub my hands together and press the toner onto my face, neck and chest. The pressing is key – never rub or pull on your facial skin!
3) Astringent for All Skin Types
As one of the infused recipes, this takes a little longer to make than the simple toner above, but it’s worth it. It’s quite soothing and a good choice for people who are prone to inflamed facial skin.
1 handful of mixed dried herbs – choose from chamomile, calendula, elder flowers, powdered comfrey root, nettle leaf, raspberry leaves.
16 oz. water
8 oz. vodka
2 teaspoons vegetable glycerin (optional – but it is a great addition if you have some on hand)
Boil the water, add the herbs and let steep for about four hours. Strain the herbs through a cheesecloth and pour the resulting herbal infusion into a clean jar, add vodka and glycerin. You will probably want to store this in a bathroom-friendly bottle, either with a mister tip or without.
4) Easy Eye “Cream”
I’m not going to get into the more complicated cream recipes here, but guess what? You don’t necessarily need a fancy, expensive eye cream to prevent and minimize fine lines and keep your peepers looking pretty. Jojoba oil is a rich skin moisturizer and has the added benefit of not going rancid.
Easiest: Just pat plain jojoba oil around the eye area before bed, after your cleansing regime.
If you want a more hydrating and pampering effect, add 5 drops of essential oil to one oz. jojoba oil. Try sandalwood or blue chamomile – both work wonders to prevent puffiness. Or you could use carrot seed oil – a well-known wrinkle preventative.
But be aware – these essential oils are in the pricier tier. A little goes a long way so they’re well worth it if you can afford it. But if budget is a consideration, stick with plain jojoba oil.
Unfortunately, my favorite supplier (and affiliate) Mountain Rose Herbs is out of jojoba oil at the moment. But – if you don’t have access to an herb shop or health food store in your town – you can get high quality organic jojoba oil from Aubrey Organics.
5) Double Duty: Toning Moisturizer
This one is billed as a moisturizer but works as a toner as well. It’s a great way to remoisturize your face on a hot and sticky day – or perhaps after you’ve gone for a swim – especially when you don’t want to use a heavy oil-based moisturizer. It’s also wonderful anytime your skin has that dehydrated feeling. Perfect for those with oily or acne-prone skin.
½ cup distilled water
3 teaspoons glycerine
5 drops essential oil of lemon
Simply mix all ingredients together into a small bottle and shake well. Ideally you’ll want to put this in a bottle with a mister top so you can spritz your face as needed. But it’s also fine to use a cotton ball to apply this light moisturizer.
7) Pimple Juice
In an earlier skincare post I wrote about how I was constantly admonishing my teenaged daughter about squeezing those zits. (I firmly reject the notion that it’s an old wives’ tale that squeezing pimples will cause scarring.) I recommended lots of alternatives, such as hot compresses at the time – but I wish I’d pulled out some of my herb books.
While researching for this series I came across another awesome Rosemary Gladstar recipe: Pimple Juice. This one’s not instant, but it’s still so easy. And such a great alternative to squeezing.
If you’re dealing with unsightly blemishes (or maybe your teenager or someone you love is waging the hormonal battle), make this up today . It’ll be ready in a couple of weeks and will last a long while. I’ve halved the recipe here, but you could make a bigger batch too.
1/4 ounce powdered goldenseal
1/4 ounce powdered echinacea root
1/4 ounce powdered black walnut hull
1/4 ounce myrrh powder
1 cup rubbing alcohol
Combine the herbs well and put into a wide-mouthed jar. Pour the alcohol over it all and twist on a tight-fitting lid. Let the mixture infuse in a warm cupboard, but remember to shake it once a day to let the herbs move around and do their magic. (Sometimes I need to write a little reminder note to myself about the shaking).
It’s actually a good idea to stop shaking the jar a couple of days before straining. That way the herbs will settle at the bottom and the whole straining process will be easier.
After two or three weeks, strain the herbs out using a cheesecloth draped over a hand-held strainer. If you have some around, add a drop or two of tea tree oil to the strained mixture. This will boost its effectiveness, but it’s not totally necessary.
Use cotton balls to apply the juice several times a day to pimples that are begging to be squeezed.
Bonus tip: For a night time pimple treatment, mix some of the pimple juice with green clay.
You could mix up a small jar of the clay treatment and store it in a small jar with a very tight-fitting lid. If it dries out, just add a few drops of water or more pimple juice.
Dab on the blemish-blasting clay after washing your face in the evening. Leave it on overnight for best results, but at least wait till it completely dries before washing it off.
The above recipes are so quick and easy you probably could make them all up in one session.
But remember my warning at the beginning of this series. If you try making too many things at once you stand a good chance of flinging away your mixing bowl in frustration. And the mess resulting from too many concoctions could turn you away from DIY facial care forever.
That’s why I’m saving the most challenging recipe for last – you want to devote your full attention to this one. Check back in the next week or two to get the skinny on making luscious face creams and lotions.
This is the fourth in a “Simple Skin Care” series. If you missed the previous posts, here’s how to find them:
Simple Skin Care: How To Make A Natural Face Scrub
Want Radiant Skin? Get It From The Inside Out
Ten Easy Recipes For Home Facial Treatments (Or Feed & Steam Your Way To A Radiant Complexion)
How To Make Fabulous Face Cream Or Lotion
This post was shared on Wildcrafting Wednesday at Mind Body and Sole
Have you ever tried making your own skin care creations? What works for you?
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