Foraging for Facewashes: Herbs that can help your Skin

Foraging for Facewashes: Herbs that can help your Skin

Want to look after your skin naturally? Herbalist Henriette Kress, author of Practical Herbs 1 & 2, recommends making your own herbal face wash… 

Herbal face washes are great! They’re nourishing, cleansing, drying, moistening, they can reduce inflammation or scar tissue, and stinging nettles is even rumoured to work against wrinkles!

Here are a few herbs to choose from, singly or in various blends:

– Burdock leaf for eczema

– Chickweed to soothe irritated skin

– Calendula for general skin health

– Stinging nettle to nourish your skin and combat wrinkles

– Chamomile to combat inflammation

– Cleavers to nourish your skin

– Rose petals or lavender for that extra bit of luxury.

Here are five different facewashes for different skins and purposes:

1.An oil-based face cleanser
First, make an infused oil:

  • Enough dried or fresh herbs to fill a small glass jar
  • Enough cold-pressed organic oil (olive, sesame or similar) to cover your herb

Fill the jar with herb and oil and leave it in your oven on 50 ºC for two hours. Then strain.

(An infused oil made from fresh herb requires some extra steps: pour the strained herb into a widemouth jar and leave it in a shady spot until the oil has cleared. This can take up to seven days, during which time the water from the fresh herb will move to the bottom of the jar. Next, carefully pour the herbal oil into a clean bottle. Make sure to leave all of the (usually dark green) water in the jar.)

Label your oil, for instance: ‘Chickweed oil, June 2018’.

Your infused oil will keep for months in your fridge. Discard it after it’s gone rancid.

To use: massage 1/2 teaspoon into your face.

If you wish to address possible scar tissue, add one part castor oil to 10 parts of your herbal oil.

2.A honey-based herbal facewash

  • 1 tbsp liquid honey
  • 3 tsp infused herbal oil

Combine your ingredients in a small jar.

To use, massage 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of the mix into your face. Leave it on for 5-10 minutes, then rinse it off with warm water.

This is just sheer luxury for your face! Honey is nutritive and the herbal oil is very soothing.

It keeps for months – until the oil goes rancid.

3.An oatmeal-based face cleanser

  • 20g oatmeal
  • 5g dried herb, for instance lavender, burdock or nettle

Powder the dried herb in a coffee grinder or with mortar and pestle, then mix it into the oatmeal.

To use: wet your face with warm water. Then mix 1/2 teaspoon of the mix with a little water and massage it into your face. Leave it on for a few minutes, then rinse it off with warm water.

This facewash won’t remove makeup, but it will make your skin glow.

4.A vinegar-based herbal facewash
First, make a herbal vinegar:

  • Enough fresh herb to fill a small jar or enough dried herb to half fill a small jar
  • Enough apple cider vinegar to cover the herb in the jar

Let the herbs infuse in the vinegar for two weeks, then strain.

To use: massage 1/2 teaspoon into your face, leave it on for a few minutes, then rinse it off with warm water.

This is excellent for acne and similar skin problems, but it is rather drying. For dry skin, use honey- or oil-based herbal face washes instead.

5.A water-based herbal facewash
First, make a strong herbal tea:

  • 2 tbsp dried herb or 4 tbsp fresh herb
  • 100 ml boiling water

Pour boiling water over the herbs, let steep for 10 minutes and strain.

To use: dip a clean washcloth into the herbal tea and use it to gently massage your face.

Practical Herbs 1 & 2 by Henriette Kress are available now, published by AEON Books, priced £19.99 each. For more information see:

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