If you’re like me, you’ve had your hands in the dirt and have been working on your farm or in your garden for as many hours as possible during the last couple of months. While you’re nurturing seedlings, watching plants emerge and grow, delighting in beautiful, fragrant blossoms, it’s more than likely you haven’t had much time to indulge yourself in beauty treatments.
Well, now it’s time! In honor of Mother’s Day (but not for mothers only), here are a couple of easy, fun herbal spa treatments. You deserve a break—and best of all, you can find all of the ingredients in your kitchen and yard.
Herbal Facial Steam
In high-end spas, facial steams are often used as a first step in conjunction with other facial treatments. Steaming opens the pores, bringing dirt and pore clogging impurities to the surface of the skin. This makes the impurities easier to cleanse from the skin, as well as allows moisturizers, facial oils and serums to penetrate deeply.
Facial steams often result in your skin having a radiant appearance. There are benefits to facial steams for all skin types:
- Steam hydrates the face.
- Steam softens the outer, dead layer of skin.
- Steam increases circulation, resulting in a warm, rosy glow.
- Steam may help relieve mild acne and blackheads by clear the skin of toxins that clog pores. If you have severe acne, check with your dermatologist before steaming, as it may aggravate a severe acneic condition.
You can enhance your steam by customizing it with specific herbs and essential oils for your skin type:
- Dry or sensitive skin: comfrey, rose petals, chamomile flowers, calendula petals, chickweed, red clover, violets
- Oily/acneic skin: eucalyptus, thyme, rosemary, green tea, nettles, yarrow, lemon balm
- Mature skin: rose petals, calendula petals, chickweed, green tea, elderflowers, red raspberry leaf
- Normal/combination skin: lavender, dandelion flowers, violets, rose, chickweed, calendula petals
Herbal facial steams are recommended for use once a week—too much steaming can result in skin getting too dry—but they’re super simple to put together:
- Begin by washing face as usual.
- Heat a few cups of water until almost boiling. Transfer water to a large bowl and add a handful of fresh or a few tablespoons of dried herbs of choice.
- Cover your head with a towel and lean over bowl for 5 minutes or until steam dissipates.
- Breathe deeply and relax. Gently pat face dry.
- Follow with facial mask or apply moisturizer, if desired.
Herbal Facial Mask
Facial masks are great for drawing out toxins from skin, soothing any inflammation and irritations, and revitalizing dull skin. The oatmeal found most people’s kitchens is one of the gentlest, most healing skin ingredients around and a great base for a facial mask.
Grind the oats into a fine powder and add any of the herbs recommended above for the facial steam. You can also use your imagination and use any number of fresh and/or dry ingredients you have on hand. Mix your dry ingredients—oats and any dried herbs you choose—with wet ingredients like yogurt, fruit and honey. Any blend of wet ingredients is fine, and you can use the amount that results in a consistency you like. It should be wet enough to smooth over your face easily, but not so thin that it will drip.
You can use any number of other fruits or vegetables—and, yes, it is a great way to use up those fruits or veggies that are a bit overripe (though, don’t use any that are starting to get rotten). Some fruits you might include are:
- mashed strawberries: high in antioxidants and contain salicylic acid; good for acne-prone skin
- chopped, mashed peaches: rich in vitamins A, C and E; hydrates and tightens skin
- grated cucumber: hydrates, softens, strengthens connective skin tissue and soothes inflammation
- raw honey: restores moisture and soothes inflamed skin
- goat’s milk: great for sensitive skin and all skin types; goat milk has a pH almost identical to human skin
- yogurt: smoothes, exfoliates and moisturizes skin; contains lactic acid, which may help lighten spots
- mashed watermelon: hydrates, protects and repairs skin; high in vitamins A, B6 and
Recipe: Herbal Facial Scrub or Mask
- 4 T. ground oats
- 1 T. ground herbs of choice (rose petals, lavender buds, calendula petals, chamomile flowers, etc.)
- 1 T. olive, sunflower or coconut oil
- 4 T. honey, plain yogurt and/or fruit/veggies (any combination is fine)
Combine all ingredients to make a thick paste. Gently scrub face using small circular motions. Leave on for about 10 minutes. Rinse with water and follow with facial oil or moisturizer, if desired.