Skin Care Using Herbs and Essential Oils
There are many books giving many recipes for making skin-care treatments including my own The Herbal Body Book (See Table 1) as well as Kitchen Cosmetics. Use these for reference. Read these books very carefully and practice making your own body-care products. Lavender is a well-known addition to any skin-care and beauty products. Lavandula angustifolia, the ‘true’ Lavender, with its high ester content is best in formulas for acne that is either pustular or dry, reddened or couperose skin, devitalized (skin with no life) skin, inflamed or irritated skin, oily skin, skin that is fully of water (edema) but dry and fatty and for wrinkles.
Lavender that is higher in camphor or borneol, Lavandula latifolia, the ‘Spike’ Lavender or certain chemotypes of Lavender can be used specifically for acne and dry acne.
Know your Lavender, especially it is good to know what type of Lavender that you are using when you make a skin-care formula.
Some Simple Lavender Aroma/Herbal Therapy Formulas:
Refer to Table 1 of The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations and Table 1 of The Herbal Body Book for your choice of essential oils.
Simple Scrub as a Cleanser or Soap Substitute
1 T Oatmeal added to 1 T warm honey + 1 drop Lavender oil.
Apply to moistened skin.
Facial Oil for Skin
Make your blend of therapeutic essential oils using Table 1 of the Herbal Body Book or the chapter on Blending of the Aromatherapy Studies Course. Add 4-6 drops of your e.o. mixture to 1 oz of herbal infused vegetable oil. Particularly recommended is Lavender Infused Oil with your added essential Oils. Or use Olive oil for normal skin, Hazelnut oil for oily skin and Sunflower oil for dry skin. Bottle, label and use. Make only one ounce of facial oil at a time because as you treat your skin condition, it will change and so will your choice of essential oils.
Almond Milk for Tender or Inflamed Skin
In a small blender, blend 3 oz whole milk, 1 oz Lavender hydrosol with 4 T chopped Almonds until creamy. Refrigerate and add 3-5 drops of your choice Lavender essential oil as needed to 1 oz of the nut milk and mix thoroughly. Cleanse your face and apply the fragrant milk with your fingertips in sweeping motions to your face. Always move your fingertips upward from chin to ears and jaw to eye and from eyebrows to hairline. Let it dry on the skin. This is best used in the evening before bedtime. Cleanse your face gently in the morning.
Steaming Your Skin as a Cleansing Alternative
Any mixture of herbs and essential oils will work. But for simplicity sake use Lavender flower, Chamomile flowers, Rosebuds and Comfrey leaf. Infuse 1 T of each in one cup of water, then heat this water just to boiling. Remove the pot to a table and place face over pot and let the steam do its work. Use only 1 drop of your choice of essential oil per steam. See the Herbal Body Book and The Aromatherapy Book
Gentle Masks for Stimulation
These were discussed at length in The Herbal Body Book and many examples are given. The easiest mask and the most therapeutic besides the ones mentioned in the required readings is to simply take the simplest store-bought mask and make it therapeutic by adding high-quality Lavender oils and a bit of herbal Lavender infusion or hydrosol. Use no more than 1-2 drops essential oil per mask. You may also use 1 t. clay + 1 t. hydrosol + a touch of Lavender/Chamomile essential oil.
Hot Oil Treatments for Skin and Hair
To one ounce of Jojoba oil or Walnut oil, add up to 10 drops of essential oil of your choice. Heat gently. Apply to hair roots and scalp only. [Yes, I know that this is difficult, it may help to wet the hair with water so that the oil does not penetrate the hair shaft as readily]. After all the oil has been massaged into the roots and scalp, put on a shower cap and let it warm up (via sun or hairdryer set on medium). Warm it up for 10-15 minutes. Massage scalp. Shampoo hair.
Shampoo can be easily be made from herbs, soap and essential oils. However, if you don’t wish to do this, make herbal shampoo the easy way. Make an herbal infusion using 1 oz of mixed Lavender flowers to 2 cups of water. Strain and add 1/2 cup of this floral infusion to 1 oz of store-bought shampoo. Add 3 drops of essential oil. Shampoo hair. Dry by using a Linen or silk towel and rubbing the hair with the towel. This will give a gloss to the hair.
With the rest of your Lavender herbal infusion you can steam your skin or add it to your aromatic Lavender bath or use as a hair rinse. The excess can be refrigerated or used in your bath.
I generally add Spikenard or Lavender/Chamomile e.o. to a bath.
Other bath treatments can be made with any number of herbal and essential oil ingredients. Salt scrub baths made up of 1 oz Sea Salt + 1 oz Hazel nut oil + 5 drops Lavender essential oil is used as externally to exfoliate for dead skin cells. A shower or soak follows the salt scrub (see The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations).
Are there any other body and skin care treatments that can be made using herbs and essential oil? You bet!
Jeanne Rose has been teaching skin care since 1972. Jeanne has written 20 books on herbs and aromatherapy and has two home-study courses; Aromatherapy and Herbal Studies. For contact information on these courses and the books see:
Institute of Aromatic & Herbal Studies • Jeanne Rose, 219 Carl Street • San Francisco, CA 94117
©Author’s Copyright and Jeanne Rose
Photo. Willfried Wende