When we think of gardening we typically imagine beautiful flowers or delicious vegetables and herbs. We seldom consider growing plants to use to support our skincare.
While many of us use the healthiest of natural skincare products, we often overlook simple ways we can support our product effectiveness with plants grown in our own garden or that can be found at area Farmer’s Markets.
Simple things, such as drinking water with skin loving herbs or performing a facial steam can make a major improvement in your skin clarity and how your skincare products perform.
At the Brown Barn Botanicals Farm in Abbotsford, Wisconsin we grow a wide variety of herbs and flowers for use in creating natural skincare products. Beyond what we grow for use in formulations, I also grow plants that I personally prefer for my own skincare routine.
Below are some of my favorites and how I use them to my skincare advantage.
Peppermint – Peppermint is simultaneously soothing, invigorating, and clarifying. I drink a daily glass of detoxifying water made with a generous amount of peppermint, slices of lemon and a sliver of peeled ginger to promote gentle detoxification. When applied to your skin, Peppermint stimulates blood flow and also helps to naturally balance sebum (natural body oil).
Tip - Grow peppermint in a pot to keep it from spreading out-of-control.
Peppermint is excellent for both aging skin and acne/oily skin types. You can easily create a peppermint infused skin-activating essence to apply to skin after cleansing by brewing a Peppermint essence (directions below).
To make an essence - Simply drop a few sprigs of fresh peppermint in a small amount of warm water and wait a few moments for the peppermint oils to release from the leaves. The warm water will draw peppermint’s rich oils out. Dip a cotton ball or the corner of a clean washcloth into the water and gently wipe skin using upward strokes. Apply essence after cleansing, morning and night.
Cucumber – Cucumber is an often overlooked beauty gem. It’s moist flesh is loaded with vitamin C and caffeic acid, which fight to reduce inflamed or irritated skin. Cucumber aides hydration thanks to cucumber’s high water content. The peel itself contains silica, which firms sagging skin.
Slices of cucumber can be used to reduce puffiness, soothe irritation, and tighten the skin. Puree the flesh and skin to use as a facial mask, or lay slices of cucumber over the eyes to soothe, tighten, and lighten dark circles. For a refreshingly fun essence try cutting off a slice of cucumber and wiping it over your face after cleansing!
Lavender – They don’t call it “Beauty Sleep” for nothing! Lavender promotes relaxation and helps gain a sound night’s sleep. Create a quick lavender sachet to tuck under your pillow to support your beauty sleep by tossing some fresh or dried Lavender buds into the end of a pantyhose and tying it off. Or toss a handful of lavender into your bathwater (again, use the end of a pantyhose to keep buds contained if you are concerned for your plumbing). Lavender is a great toss-in herb for your facial steaming water.
Chamomile – Chamomile is a powerhouse of antioxidants and protects the skin from free-radical damage. Chamomile is soothing and calming to your skin and soul. Use in tea or iced tea or as an essence (see Peppermint for instructions). Combine with other herbs or use alone in a facial steam for a skin pick-me-up and calming aromatherapy.
Aloe Vera – Aloe Vera’s gel-filled leaves soothe burned skin and reduce inflammation. Aloe can also be used as an occasional oil-free moisturizer to apply following overexposure to sun or wind (limit use because regular use can over-dry your skin). Extract aloe gel by cutting the leaves open and scooping out the gel. Aloe as a direct moisturizing application is great for those with acne prone or oily skin.
These are just a few of my skin loving plant favorites. Many of our yards are filled with plants we consider commonly to be weeds but are in fact packed with skin loving constituents. Plantain leaves, burdock root, dandelion – the list is long and Mother Nature is generous! A simple Google search will tell you more about the plants in your yard and if they are beneficial for skincare.
Christine Untiedt, Owner, Brown Barn Botanicals
Notice: These statements and blog content have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information in our articles are not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and are not intended as medical advice. The content of these blogs and associated products is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using products or following blog advice.