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DIY skin care, including herbal facials, is a gentle and wonderful way to cleanse, exfoliate, and enhance blood circulation to your facial skin. It also helps protect you from thousands of harmful chemicals lurking in personal care products—even many “natural” ones.
Using safe and effective herbs and other skin care ingredients is important because your skin is your body’s largest organ—3,000-square inches that acts like a living sponge. Whether the makeup, shampoo, and lotions ingredients you use are safe or toxic, your skin quickly absorbs them and feeds them into your bloodstream where they’re immediately circulated throughout your body. It’s time to get serious about DIY skin care!
FACIAL CLEANSERS + SCRUBS
Routinely removing accumulated oil, pollutants, and bacteria from your face is essential for obtaining clear skin that glows with good health. Gently cleanse your face once or twice daily.
Use a scrub less often—about once a week—to slough off dead skin cells and stimulate circulation. The mild exfoliating action of an herbal scrub will leave your face looking radiant and feeling baby soft. Be careful, though: Scrubbing too vigorously can leave unsightly blotches, although these will fade with time. If you have sensitive skin, be extra gentle.
Mild Herbal Skin Cleanser
1 cup water
1 teaspoon dried herb or a handful of fresh herbs*
1 tablespoon powdered milk
*Recommended herbs: Peppermint or rosemary for oily skin; fennel for dry skin; rose for normal, dry, and sensitive skin.
- Make an infusion with the herb and 1 cup of water. To create the infusion, pour boiling water over dried or fresh leaves or flowers, and cover the container tightly to prevent the escape of volatile oils. Steep 10 to 15 minutes, then strain.
- Allow it to cool to a comfortable temperature, then mix infused water into the powdered milk. Apply the liquid to your face with a cotton ball or cloth, then rinse with cool water.
- Immediately refrigerate any unused portion; discard after 48 hours.
Herbal Facial Scrub
1 cup rolled oats
⅓ cup cornmeal
⅓ cup dried herbs (such as calendula, lavender, peppermint, rose petals, or a mixture of herbs)
Almonds, clay, or sugar (optional; use alone or in combination to total 1 tablespoon)
- In a clean coffee grinder, combine the oatmeal, cornmeal, herbs, and almonds, clay, or sugar, if using.Grind the mixture to a fine powder. (You could also use a mortar and pestle.)
- To use, place some of the mixture in the palm of your hand. Add enough water to make a paste. Apply the mixture evenly over your face, avoiding your eyes. Massage the scrub gently into your skin, using circular motions. Rinse thoroughly.
- Store the scrub in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry location for up to 3 months.
Depending on your skin type, a botanical mask can be designed to be a hydrating, emollient, deep-moisturizing treatment, or an astringent, skin-tightening treatment.
You’ll find most of the ingredients you’ll need in your refrigerator or kitchen pantry.
Many fruits and milk products are rich in skin-softening alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), which make them an excellent addition to facial masks. Other good ingredients for facial masks are aloe vera gel, eggs, pumpkin pulp, and unsweetened cocoa powder.
If your skin is dry, choose ingredients with moisturizing benefits, such as avocado, coconut oil, cream, egg yolks, honey, oats, olive oil, powdered milk, or plain yogurt. If your skin is oily, choose ingredients with astringent or toning effects, such as apple cider vinegar, banana, citrus or cranberry juice, egg whites, green clay (also called bentonite, available in natural food stores), strawberries, or witch hazel. Once mixed, the mask ingredients won’t keep well, so discard any leftovers.
Simple Mask For Dry Skin
2 tablespoons plain thick yogurt
1 egg yolk or 1 tablespoon liquid honey
Few drops coconut or olive oil
In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, egg yolk or honey, and oil. Use a cotton ball to apply the mask to your face, avoiding the eye area. Leave the mask on for 10 to 15 minutes. Cleanse thoroughly with warm water, then splash your face with cool water.
Simple Mask For Oily Skin
1 ripe banana
1 egg white
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or citrus juice
In a blender, combine the banana, egg white, and vinegar or juice. Blend to form a smooth paste. Use a cotton ball to apply the mask to your face, avoiding the eye area. Leave the mask on for 10 to 15 minutes. Cleanse thoroughly with warm water, then splash your face with cool water.