Fresh Herb Beauty Recipes: Field-to-Face Grooming
Nothing enlivens a meal like fresh-cut herbs. They add flavour, fragrance and zest to your dishes as well as many therapeutic properties. Herbs have been used medicinally and therapeutically for their natural beautifying benefits for centuries. Popular herbs such as mint, basil, sage and rosemary are commonly found this season at your local grocer, farmers’ market or snipped from your own backyard. They are so much more than tasty garnishes! To help you harness the power garden-fresh herbs, here are four DIY recipes for at home field-to-face grooming.
Mint is one of the most refreshing, cooling herbs available and can be used to treat skin inflammation inside and out. It is wonderful as a digestive tonic that helps to soothe conditions like rosacea, eczema and acne; skin problems that are often linked to poor digestion and inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. Mint can also easily be made into a calming toner by infusing a handful of it in two cups of hot water and refrigerating. Simply transfer this to a spray bottle and mist sensitive skin after cleansing for complexion calming action.
An excellent herb for anti-aging, basil regenerates dull complexions and repairs skin damage. While sweet basil is most commonly found in North American gardens and grocery stores, other types of basil also make fantastic aromatics and beauty treatments. In particular, holy basil, also known as tulsi, is a basil family member that is prized for its complexion-healing properties. According to Ayurvedic medicine, tulsi is a rasayana: a natural rejuvenator and anti-oxidant that helps to restore skin. Either type of basil can be added to meals or used as a facial mask. Simply finely chop one teaspoon of conventional basil or tulsi and combine this with one tablespoon of plain yogurt to make a facial mask. Let this mixture sit for ten minutes so that the basil leaf essence can meld into the yogurt base before applying it to clean skin. Rinse with tepid water after twenty minutes for a newly hydrated, nourished complexion.
A strong anti-bacterial, sage is known to treat problem skin. This herb helps clarify acne complexions and regulate surface sebum. Add fresh sage to warm water and use this as a facial compress or put its leaves into boiled water to make a clarifying steam bath. To further use sage’s blemish-fighting action, also drink as a tea. Sage tea has been used in herbal medicine to rebalance the hormonal system and normalize the output of sweat glands.
Rosemary increases circulation. Eating it or applying it topically helps to stimulate blood flow, which is important for feeding and detoxifying the skin. Poor circulation in the scalp and around hair follicles has also been linked to hair loss making rosemary a therapeutic hair oil ingredient. Make your own by crushing rosemary sprigs with a spoon before letting it soak in a cup of olive, jojoba or coconut oil overnight. Apply this oil to the roots of the hair while doing an invigorating scalp massage.
Kristen Ma is an esthetician, Ayurvedic practitioner and award-winning author of “Beauty: Pure + Simple – A Holistic Guide to Natural Beauty”. Kristen co-owns Pure + Simple Inc., an independent chain of holistic spas that also has its own line of natural skincare. She blogs regularly about natural, Ayurveda-inspired beauty at www.holisticvanity.com and tweets @holisticvanity. She also writes for a number of publications and is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post.