What a Treat! I just read a wonderful review of my Clarifying Serum on a product review site called Hot Ink. The reviewer has been using the serum for a year, and though she started with skin that was dryish in places, but also prone to oiliness, acne, and sensitivity, all of these issues have been resolved from using this serum as her primary moisturizer. I made a fresh batch just a week ago and can attest to how chock-full of goodness it is. I now infuse the oils with organic thyme (antiseptic), chamomile (anti-inflammatory), and calendula (healing) to further bolster the power of the oils. Yay! I love to hear success stories with what I believe to be a great product, and I really wanted to share this with all of you, my dear readers. (I know you likely thought I had dropped off the edge of the planet, but fear not, I haven’t, and trust me: I am getting back on board with devotion to my blog. Lots of news to update you on! And I will! Soon.) For now, read this awesome review. :-)
I think most people know about the traditional use of soaked tea bags on the eyes for beauty-care. Why? Because of the astringency of tea, it makes a perfect mild toner for the skin and is especially good for keeping the complexion clean, smooth, and bright. That same astringency also reduces eye puffiness. Tea contains high amounts of polyphenols, which research suggests has protective effects against free radicals and toxins. Applied externally, tea, probably by way of these same compounds, also helps prevent against sun damage by squashing free radicals and reducing inflammation (not by blocking UV rays!). These properties also help prevent signs of aging by reducing the inflammation that can lead to wrinkles. Using green tea, and other tea (Camellia Sinensis) preparations with freshly brewed concoctions, taken internally or used externally, is the best way to receive the benefits from this wonderful plant!
1/4 cup boiling water
2 tea bags — (green, white, oolong, or black)
1/4 witch hazel distillate
Pour boiling water over tea bags.
Steep at 30 min – 1 hr or longer for a strong infusion.
Combine cooled tea with witch hazel. (the distillate is better to use than commercially prepared witch hazel preparations found in drug stores)
Large muslin bag or extra-large tea-ball
1/4 cup dried herbs (optional)
1/4 cup dried tea (green, white, oolong or black)
1/4 cup sea salts (optional)
The same properties that make tea so lovely for the face, also make it great for a full-body bathing ritual. Some herbs you can add to the tea blend include rosemary (stimulating), chamomile (relaxing), lavender (relaxing), raspberry leaves (invigorating), mint (stimulating), sage (cleansing, thyme (cleansing), lemon verbena (stimulating, cleansing), and rose (relaxing, comforting).
Sweet Feet Tea
Astringency at its best! Keep your feet smelling fragrant and clean. Soaking feet in black tea helps reduce foot odor and perspiration. How? The tannins in tea actually change the skin’s pH!
2 black tea bags
2 cups boiling water
2 quarts cool water
Make a very strong infusion: steep tea bags in boiling water for 30 min – 1 hour
Fill a large bowl or plastic pan (rectangular plastic dishwashing tubs work great for this) with cool water and mix in tea infusion.
Soak feet for 20-30 min. Repeat treatment daily for a week to achieve a decrease in foot odor.
If you have some favorite tea beauty rituals, share them with me!
If you are a tea lover, you might also like a post I wrote a little while ago on various blends of Indian Chai Tea
Do you dream about that fabulous facial you had…oh, once upon a time? Most of us can’t afford a facial these days, especially at $50-$150 for an hour long treatment. The good news is that anyone can do an incredibly luxurious, spa quality facial in one’s own home! A facial is just what we need this time of year ~~ it will quickly revitalize skin, give you a lovely glow, tighten pores and smooth the texture of your skin. There are so many great ways to accomplish a beautiful facial and scads of recipes out there to follow. In this post I am going to give you the outline of the “perfect” facial, including Herbal Steam, Clay & Herb mask, & Simple Home Spa Toner.
Take the time and effort to do an herbal facial steam. You can check out my facial steams for drier or oiler skin types in my etsy shop, and that will give you more specifics about what different herbs will do for your skin, but I would also encourage you to put together an herbal steam from herbs you might have handy or would be able to obtain fairly easily. Try this recipe below for STEP ONE of your facial in order to open your pores, deeeeply cleanse your skin in the most gentle manner available, and allow the herbs to do their good work on your facial tissue. It’s a quiet, meditative practice and really necessitates you taking some time out just for yourself!
STEP ONE: Herbal Facial Steam.
Gather together small amounts of herbs rich in volitile oils that smell heavenly and will also greatly benefit your skin. Some examples are mints (spearmint, lemon balm), scented geraniums, chamomile, lavender, lemongrass, orange peel, or even thyme or rosemary. Citrus-smelling herbs are often useful for oily or acne prone skin, and indespensible herbs like thyme and rosemary have some antiseptic properties and so can be additionally helpful for troubled skin. In addition, you will want to use an emollient (skin soothing) herb and a healing herb in order to balance any skin issues that may exist. Comfrey root is both emollient and healing, so this beneficial root shows up in most of my steams. You can always try a bit of licorice root (emollient) along with calendula blossoms (healing) if they are on hand.
Beauty Blossom Herbal Steam:
1. 1 tsp rose petals (aromatic, astringent)
2. 1 tsp chamomile flowers (anti-inflammatory, calming)
3. 1 tsp hybiscus (emollient)
4. 1 tsp calendula blossoms (healing)
Directions: combine herbs and place in a non-metal pot, fill with 2 cups of filtered water and bring to a simmer on the stove. Cover tightly and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and find a comfortable spot to sit. Put your face over the steam and drape a towel over your head to trap the steam. Move your face from side to side and steam it for 10 minutes. When the water begins to cool, blow into the steam to direct it back into your face, where you can attempt to target more troubled areas. You can bring the water back to a simmer and do it again if you’d like!
A facial steam is the ideal preparation for a home spa clay & herb facial mask, which should always be applied to a very clean face. Part II of my home spa facial series will explain how to make your own facial mask at home! Stay tuned…
The oil derived from Carrot seed (daucus carota sativa) is a premier skin healing, rejuvinating oil. It is this wonderful oil’s high carotol content that gives it it’s reknowned skin-regenerative properties, which is why it is a key ingredient to skin special products such as my Rejenerative Skin Serum and eye creams like my Chamomile and Green Tea Eye Potion. (visit http://www.lilithsapothecary.etsy.com)
Carrot Seed Oil is a thin, yellow oil distilled from ground seeds is rich in Beta-Carotene. Not only beneficial for mature skin, sundamaged skin, or skin that is exposed to harsh weather conditions, it is also valued for its soothing, relaxing properties. Part of its strength is that it not only helps sun spots or other signs of age or damage fade over time, but it also helps to prevent wrinkles from forming in the first place! Look for this ingredient in top class facial care products aimed for skin regeneration or repair.
Try this on for size!
DIY Rejenerative Treatment Oil
* This can be used as a facial treatment moisturizer, make-up remover, or oil cleanser.
15 drops Carrot Seed Essential Oil
10 drops Rosewood Essential Oil
5 drops Geranium Essential Oil
2 Tablespoons Carrot Seed Oil (different from the E.O. ~ an infused or mascerated oil made from the pulp)
4 Tablespoons Jojoba oil or sweet almond Oil
Shake well, store in a dark, glass bottle or jar.
A popular new ingredient in many quality facial care products, sea buckthorn berry is all the rage but what does it actually do? Seabuckthorn Berry (Hippophae rhamnoides) has been a highly prized natural resource in both China and Russia and is was even considered a “holy fruit” by Chinese emperors for its restorative benefits. We even hear stories of Ghengis Khan feeding the berries to his soldiers and horses before battle for additional strength and resiliency in healing afterward. It is nutritionally packed with over 190 bioactive substances, including Vit C, which appears at dozens the levels found in other fruits & berries, and Vit E which tops that of all fruit. Used for centuries as a medicinal food in Asia and Europe, Sea Buckthorn Berry is considered an immune tonic, restorative, regenerative, and growth promoter.
In topical applications, Sea Buckthorn Berry Seed is often extracted using CO2 and this extract is commonly called (not surprisingly a CO2 extract!). A CO2 extract is different from the steam distillation of the pure essential oil, in that more of the ‘nutritional’ components of the plant are also extracted. In that sense, for example, Calendula CO2 is closer to the actual plant than its essential oil would be. It is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids such as oleic and linoleic acids, tocopherols and carotinoids.
As an oil or CO2 extract, Sea Buckthorn Berry has been found to have vulnerary action (help heal wounds), regenerative properties for the skin , the ability to help protect the skin from UV damage, to reduce premature aging of the skin through radiation, sun damage, etc.
In this sense, sea buckthorn is mostly used topically to treat damaged skin, scar tissue, wrinkles, skin conditions such as eczema, and burns. The oil, as opposed to the CO2 extract, is cold extracted from whole berries and can be applied directly to the skin or included in various topical applications. The oil itself is a very concentrated oil and should be used sparingly, and even small percentages of the oil or CO2 extract in lotions and creams can have a very beneficial effect.
I use Sea Buckthorn Berry in my facial serum line for all of these reasons, regardless of skin type, not only because it’s a nutritional powerhouse, but because we could all use a little help counteracting sun damage, aging, and wrinkle formation! I’ll probably start introducing it into other products such as my Green Tea Eye Potion and other applications where such assistance is most needed.
The Herbal Gram, America’s most respected scientific herbal journal recently published an issue with Sea Buckthorn Berry’s therapeutic uses highlighted. The Herbal Gram is published by the Americal Botanical Council, and more information can be found at their website: www.herbalgram.org. There you can access their Herbal Library which provides you with many monographs and published clinical studies about various herbs and nutritional supplements.