Herbs are added to many skincare formulas to soothe, strengthen, and exfoliate different skin types. The following at-home recipes were created by Letha Hadady, herbalist and author of Healthy Beauty (iUniverse.com, April 2007).
Milk Thistle and Marshmallow Deep Conditioner
This mixture deep conditions and strengthens hair fibers and soothes an irritated scalp.
2 tablespoons milk thistle powder
2 tablespoons marshmallow herb powder
1+ cups water
Medium-sized ceramic-coated cooking pot
Combine the milk thistle and marshmallow herb powder and one cup of water in your cooking pot. Bring to a boil then simmer for five minutes until the marshmallow expands into a foamy, slimy liquid. Add water as needed to cook the herbal mixture for up to three minutes. Allow mixture to cool then apply it to clean, dry hair and scalp. Cover your head with a shower cap and let the conditioner soak for 20 minutes, then wash off thoroughly with warm water.
Papaya-Sage Exfoliating Mask
Sage stimulates new skin-cell growth and papaya exfoliates dry or sun-damaged skin, making this stimulating, fragrant mask ideal for refreshing tired or sallow skin. It is gentle enough for weekly use even on sensitive skin.
½ cup very ripe papaya
2 tablespoons fresh green sage leaves
In a blender at high speed, mix the two ingredients to make a foamy cream. Apply to a clean, dry face and neck, and leave on for 15 minutes. Rinse with cold water.
Horsetail Goat Milk Bath
This calming bath helps skin form collagen.
2 cups water
Contents of 10 horsetail capsules or 1 cup fresh horsetail herb
1 ounce (2 scoops) powdered dry whole goat's milk
Using a ceramic-coated pot, simmer horsetail herb in water for 20 minutes. Let it cool for a few minutes, then mix in the powdered goat's milk until blended. Add to a warm bath and soak for 20 minutes.
Sea Buckthorn Black Tea Serum
Awaken and heal tired and irritated dry skin with this sea buckthorn and black tea serum. Sea buckthorn is a potent antioxidant and strong, cold black tea applied topically alleviates skin burns.
1 cup water
1 teaspoon dried Earl Grey tea
1 tablespoon milk
10 drops sea buckthorn oil
Airtight glass mixing jar
Steep the Earl Grey tea (or other caffeinated black tea) in hot water overnight using one cup of water. Strain the tea. In a clean glass jar, shake tea with all other ingredients until completely blended. Apply the serum with a cotton ball to clean, dry skin.
Licorice Root Shine-Reducing Powder
Licorice applied as a fine powder absorbs oil and softens skin.
1 licorice tea bag
1 cup water
½ teaspoon very fine quality licorice powder
Place licorice tea bag in hot water, let it steep, then cool. Dab the tea onto dry skin. Alternatively, dust the fine powder on skin to absorb oiliness.