Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Get Steamed

Anytime of the year is a good time to partake of a herbal facial steam. Herb-infused steam will hydrate your skin and allow your pores to perspire and breathe. As the steam penetrates your skin, the various herbs will soften the surface, act as an astringent or toner, and aid in the healing of skin lesions. Also, any clogging from dirt or makeup will be loosened for easy removal afterward.

Herbal steams can be used regularly, say once or twice per week, by those with normal, dry, or oily skin. Those of you with highly sensitive skin, dilated capillaries, rosacea, or sunburned/windburned skin, however, should abstain. Always cleanse your skin prior to steaming.

Steams For Pore Perfection

To prepare a facial steam, boil 4 cups of distilled or purified water. Remove pan from the heat, add herbs, cover, and allow to steep for about 5 - 10 minutes. Place the pot in a safe, stable place where you can sit comfortably for about 10 minutes. Use a bath towel to create a tent over your head, shoulders, and steaming herb pot; allow at least 10 to 15 inches between the steaming herb pot and your face to avoid burning your skin. Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and relax.

All of the herbs in the following blends are in dried form. If you're using fresh herbs, double the quantity.


1. For Normal or Oily Skin: 1 teaspoon yarrow leaves, 1 teaspoon sage leaves, 1 teaspoon rosemary leaves, and 1 teaspoon peppermint leaves.

2. For Normal or Dry Skin: 1 teaspoon orange flowers or orange peel, 2 teaspoons comfrey leaves, and 1 teaspoon elder flowers.

3. For All Skin Types: 1 teaspoon calendula blossoms, 1 teaspoon chamomile flowers, 1 teaspoon raspberry leaves, 1 teaspoon peppermint leaves, and 1 teaspoon strawberry leaves (optional).

4. Wrinkle Chaser: 1 tablespoon crushed fennel seeds and 2 drops essential oil of rose or rose geranium. Add the essential oil to the water immediately before you steam your face.

NOTE: The above article was written by Stephanie Tourles, certified aromatherapist, licensed holistic esthetician, herbalist, and author of "Organic Body Care Recipes". The information is true and complete to the best of my knowledge. All recommendations are made without guarantee and are for educational purposes only. Ms. Tourles disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information. Use your common sense and seek medical attention should you have an adverse reaction to the use of herbs on your skin.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cleanse & Condition Your Complexion

Simple, natural cleansing creams, fruit pastes, and grain blends can be used to effectively and economically remove makeup and everday dirt and grime that collects in your pores. Unlike soap - which has a tendency to dry the skin's surface - these products are very gentle and nourishing and do a thorough job of cleansing without stripping your skin of its natural barrier of protective oils.

If you happen to wear liquid foundation or mineral powder makeup, or tinted moisturizers, you will probably need to wash your face twice. Once to initially remove the makeup and a 2nd time to thoroughly deep cleanse and condition using one of the following recipes. I like to use a super-fatted goat's milk soap or olive oil-based cleanser first to remove my makeup. Just make sure to use a natural product suited for your skin type and one that doesn't leave your skin "squeaky" clean. If it "squeaks", then it's been stripped of essential oils and will have a tendency to look and feel dehydrated on the surface.

Restore The Radiance

1. For smooth, soft skin, wash your face everyday with plain, organic yogurt or buttermilk. It can be the full-fat variety, low-fat, or skim. Use it as you would ordinary cold cream, avoiding the eye area. It's gentle enough for all skin types and as a bonus, it contains naturally occurring lactic acid. This acts as a mild exfoliant to remove dead skin buildup.

2. For positively glowing skin, mash a third of a very, very ripe banana in a small bowl. Use the pulp to wash your face and throat, avoiding the eye area. If your skin is especially dry or dehydrated, leave this on for approximately 5 minutes. Rinse, then pat dry.

3. To pamper mature, thin, dry skin, mix 1 tablespoon of heavy cream with 1 or 2 drops of essential oil of rose or rose geranium. Use as you would a cleansing lotion, massaging well into your face and throat. This can be used on the eye area to remove eye makeup and mascara. This blend smells exquisite and if a drop happens to drip into your mouth, it will taste like a rose shake!

4. Instant oatmeal makes a wonderful cleanser and gently bleaching facial scrub. Simply pour one-half of a packet of oatmeal into a small bowl. Add enough warm water to form a paste. Stir and let it set up in the bowl for a minute or two. If too thick, add a bit more water. Massage onto your skin in circular motions for 60 seconds. Rinse with warm water.

NOTE TO READERS: The above article was written by Stephanie Tourles, lic. holistic esthetician, certified aromatherapist, herbalist, nutritionist, and author of "Organic Body Care Recipes" plus many other books on natural skin and body care. The information is true and complete to the best of my knowledge. All recommendations are made without guarantee and are given as educational information only.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Make A Splash - Herbal Facial Toner Recipes

Nothing is more cooling and invigorating to hot summer skin than a chilled splash or spritz of a freshly made, fragrant natural skin toner. Like a summer breeze that soothes your parched skin and revives your senses, these lightly scented toners can be customized to your particular skin type and fragrance preference.

Give Your Skin A "Drink"

Natural skin toners have been used for centuries to refresh, pamper, and gently scent the skin and air. The following toner recipes can be applied as a splash, a light mist from a spray bottle, or with cotton balls. Use at any time of the day or immediately after cleansing to remove traces of cleanser and prepare your skin for moisturizer. Store in the refrigerator and discard after 5 days unless otherwise indicated.


1. For normal to oily skin, brew a cup of strong peppermint or lemon balm tea. Chill it, and use it to remove excess oil and shine from your skin.

2. For itchy, rashy skin, pour a cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds. Steep for 10 minutes. Strain and chill.

3. For all skin types, brew a cup of strong chamomile tea, chill, and use to soften and moisturize. This is particularly good to use during the winter, when skin dehydrates and chaps easily.

4. For normal and dry skin, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable glycerin to 1/2 cup of rose water or rose hydrosol (the watery byproduct of essential oil extraction). The glycerin will act as a humectant and draw water vapor from the air to your skin. This makes a super, light floral summer moisturizer that can be stored in the refrigerator for up to six months. Shake before each use.

NOTE: The above blog was written by Stephanie Tourles, lic. holistic esthetician, aromatherapist, and herbalist. The author disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information. It is for educational purposes only. Please use your common sense when applying new herbal formulations to your skin. Discontinue use immediately should you develop a rash or irritation.