Herbs in natural personal products are my favorite way of using herbs. They can be blended into a wash for the hair, an astringent for the face, soaps, scrubs, masks, salves, and creams. I began my career as a massage therapist using herb-infused oils for massage blends. Working in Miami, in a very hot tropical climate, I began to feel like I was cooking my clients with this lovely but oily substance. I decided to try to create a lotion from my herbal oil base.
Acting like a mad scientist in the kitchen working up a combination of oil and water, I used mayonnaise as my reference. Creating a balance of oil and water was fun. It needed to be thick, but not too thick and not to thin. I infused comfrey infused almond oil and decided on aloe vera juice as my “water part.” There are many choices for the “water part.” Rosewater, witch hazel, aloe juice or even cucumber juice can be this “part.” I also needed an emulsifier, which will keep the product from separating. Beeswax, coconut oil, and shea butter are good choices. I decided on a blend of all three. After melting the oils together I began blending. It was amazing to watch the oil and aloe blending together forming a nice thick creamy lotion. I also added essential oils for the therapeutic benefits they offer.
Many people are surprised to discover that it is not the least bit difficult to create your own products in your kitchen. These handmade products are cleaner i.e. no chemical preservatives or fragrances; they are kinder to your skin and gentler on the environment. Not to mention animals. It is also a fact that many of the products we use in our daily lives are “tested to be deemed safe for humans” by applying them to live animals to see the “reaction.” Animal testing is a cruel, inhumane, and an outdated practice, in my humble opinion, and is quite common. There is no need to smear rabbits or monkeys with "experimental” products to see how they will affect human skin. I don’t know about you but I don’t want any part of blinding eyes or burning skin to determine whether a product is safe for me to use.
Wonderful “beauty oil bases” can be created by infusing dry or fresh herbs in oils like olive, sweet almond, apricot kernel or sesame. Comfrey leaf, calendula flowers or dandelion leaf and blossoms, offer wonderful healing and soothing properties that are extracted into the oil and can then be blended into a salve, cream or massage oil. Here are a couple of my favorite simple formulas:
Here are a couple of recipes for salves and creams.
For Salves, combine in a small pan the following:
- 1 cup oil
- 1 tablespoon grated beeswax
- ¼ cup shea butter, cocoa butter or coconut oil
- Melt together on low heat
- Remove from heat and let cool until solid.
You have just created an herbal salve. This salve is poured into jars for use or used to create a cream.
To create a Cream:
- Scoop all of the “salve” into the blender
- Add 15 – 30 drops of an essential oil
- Add 1 Cap of Vitamin E, squeezed from the capsule
- Turn blender speed on low.
- Slowly add 1 cup of “water” in a thin stream into the canister. It will begin to solidify, continue until mixed well. Pour into jars or other containers.
The “water” you use may be a flower hydrosol like rosewater, aloe vera juice, witch hazel or any other fluid you like. You can even try juice like cucumber, which is excellent for the skin. Into this water part, you may add essential oils, vitamin e oil, menthol etc. If you use juices for your water, be sure to refrigerate the final product to prevent mold.
I hope this has inspired you to give homemade skincare a try!!! Your skin will thank you!