D-I-Y herbal skincare
Be your own beauty guru with these easy and effective do-it-yourself skincare recipes. In a digital world, where many of us spend a vast chunk of each day staring at a computer screen, making your own pampering treats is a way of keeping your senses alive and slowing down a little in order to enjoy life’s simple pleasures. It is also fun and will save you money.
Rose hand cream
The age-old combination of rose oil, rich cocoa butter and sweet almond oil produces a hand cream that will soften and nourish your hands. It also has an anti-ageing effect, with a study in the Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry, showing that citronellol, an antioxidant ingredient in rose oil, helps prevent sun damage.(Note: Essential oils are highly potent. They should never be applied directly onto skin or eaten.)
2 tablespoons cocoa butter
2 tablespoons rosewater
4 tablespoons almond oil
2 capsules vitamin E oil
8 drops rose essential oil
1. Place beeswax, cocoa butter, rosewater and almond oil in a bowl. Set bowl over a saucepan of very hot water. The beeswax and cocoa butter should melt and mix with the oil.
2. Remove bowl and place on a work surface. Pierce capsules and squeeze oil into the mixture. Add rose oil.
3. Whisk mixture until it looks like soft whipped cream. Spoon cream into pretty wide-mouthed jars. It will set further as it cools. Don’t forget to label jars.
4 tablespoons cocoa butter or coconut oil
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
4 tablespoons bicarbonate of soda
2 tablespoons cornflour
6 drops rose essential oil
1 tablespoon dried rose petals*
1. To melt cocoa butter (or coconut oil), place the jar in very hot water. While the butter is melting, measure and sift the dry ingredients into a bowl, then add the petals. When the cocoa butter has melted sufficiently to measure, take a tablespoonful, add 6 drops essential oil and pour into the dry mixture. Measure 3 further tablespoonfuls of cocoa butter into the dry ingredients. Mix well and after a few minutes you should have a ball of dough. You may need to add a little more oil, but not too much.
2. Tip the dough onto a clean surface and roll out to a thickness of 1cm. Cut into small hearts with a biscuit cutter. Place the shapes on a clean plate or baking tray and refrigerate until firm. Store in labelled glass jars.
3. To use, place two or three fizzies in a hot bath. The little hearts will fizzle away leaving the water softened with the bicarb and fragrant with roses. The cocoa butter with smooth your skin.
* Always use roses that have been grown in a chemical-free environment. Old rose varieties have the best fragrances.
Invigorating salt and olive oil body scrub
Place 200g sea salt in a glass jar, add 60g lavender flowers and slowly pour in enough olive oil to cover; it will seep into the salt, so keep going until the level of olive oil is 1cm above the salt mixture. Shake well. To use, stand in the shower or bath and scoop out a handful of the mix, use a cotton mitt to apply to your skin, rubbing in circular movements over your entire body. Rinse well with warm water.
Bath salts Add ½ cup of Epsom salts to a hot bath, and sink in for a relaxing bath.
Ginger bath Use sliced ginger in your bath to soothe joint stiffness and rheumatic pain. Cut a piece of ginger the size of a child’s thumb. Slice thinly, bring to the boil in 1 litre water, simmer for 15 minutes, and then add the liquid to a warm bath.
Bath vinegar Add a handful of fresh mint to ½ bottle of cider vinegar. Leave for a week before straining into a pretty bottle, and add 2-3 tablespoons to a bath.
Herbal baths Place a handful of herbs in a muslin bag and suspend from the hot tap when you bathe. Try rosemary (to stimulate), thyme or sage (if you feel a cold coming on), lavender (to relax), and lemon balm (to refresh).