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Fermented Beauty Products


  I just gave a webinar the other day on “Kitchen Beauty” for The National Ladies Homestead Gathering.  During the questions section, we discussed the use of vinegar as a beauty ingredient. I thought it might be a good idea to do a blog post on “Fermented Beauty” a trend that popped up a few years back and is still popular today. This really is not a new idea but rather an improved upon idea as we all know that bathing in wine and using vinegar to cleanse our skin and hair has been around since ancient times. Today the use of probiotics and fermented ingredients is on the rise because they are effective at reducing the signs of aging and have some real benefits to the overall health of our skin. The fermentation process also makes them more effective and more easily absorbed by our skin. Commercial products are featuring these ingredients to balance skin pH, prevent bacteria growth, and hydrate the skin. Fermentation of ingredients can also increase the shelf life of a product reducing the need for chemical preservatives. This is a bonus for all-natural skin and hair care products. It is also a benefit to creating your own basic products at home. You can easily create your own fermented wines, vinegar, yogurt, and teas like kombucha at home. You can also find them at most grocery and natural food shop.

    The benefits of fermented ingredients are that they are rich in antioxidants and natural acids that not only cleanse our skin but also help reduce inflammation and strengthen it too. It is essential for healthy skin to support a natural acid level and when we use soap, cleansers, and other products we often weaken or alter the natural pH levels. Using a mildly acidic or fermented ingredients and products help restore this natural healthy level. As this trend continues you may see more and more products touting the use of probiotics and fermented ingredients. These products and ingredients can be used head to toe to keep your skin clean and healthy. They are also believed to be powerful anti-aging ingredients more effective than non-fermented ingredients. However, they also can be a bit stronger, so care should be used when trying any new product even natural ones. Fermented ingredients can be used on most healthy skin types but if you have a pre-existing skin condition you may want to consult your physician first or do a patch test. Here are some recipes for you to try at home:



Fermented Dandelion Bath

This is adapted from an old folk recipe for dandelion wine. People have bathed in wine for years to keep their bodies fresh and clean. Dandelion wine is well suited for this purpose as it creates a cleansing tonic for tired and dull skin. This bath mixture also has a refreshing slightly spicy scent that will revitalize your body and senses.

Yield: 24 ounces


4 cups fresh dandelion flower heads (make sure they have not been sprayed.)

2 quarts boiling water

1 orange, cut into slices

1 lemon, cut into slices

3 cups raw sugar

6 whole clove buds

2 cinnamon sticks

1 /2 a package of dried yeast

1 /4 cup warm water


Place the dandelion flowers in a glass bowl. Pour the boiling water over them and allow the mixture to cool and steep overnight. Strain the dandelion mixture pour it into a medium size saucepan. Add orange, lemon, sugar, cloves, and cinnamon. Bring the mixture to a boil; simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add the yeast to the saucepan and stir well. Pour into a clean jar or container and let sit for 2 days. Strain the mixture and remove all solids. Let the mixture sit and ferment for 3 weeks, then strain again. Pour into a clean container. To use: pour 1 /2 cup into your bathwater and stir well.




Carnation Vinegar Bath

Carnations are a spicy scented old-fashioned flower that is easily grown in the garden and can be used to create scented bath vinegar. Using vinegar in the bath is beneficial to your body. It helps your skin keep a healthy pH, which is naturally acidic. Vinegar is also antibacterial, soothes sore muscles and helps with dry skin conditions. Besides carnations you may want to experiment with other herbal flowers in this recipe such as violas, rose, lavender and calendula.

Yield: 24 ounces


1 cup fresh carnation petals, washed

4 cups white vinegar


Pull the petals off the flower stems. Wash them well and pat dry. Heat the vinegar to lukewarm. Place the flower petals a large glass jar. Cover with the warm vinegar and let sit for 3 weeks. Then strain the mixture and pour into a clean container. To use: Pour one cup of the scented vinegar into a full bath and stir well.



Fennel Facial Mask

Fennel has been a valued complexion beautifying ingredient since Roman times. Combined with whole milk yogurt that is rich in lactic acid and honey that has antibacterial properties this mask is perfect for troubled skin types as it will help deep cleanse your complexion and leave you with soft, smooth skin.

Yield: 2 ounces


1 /4 cup boiling water

1 Tablespoon fresh fennel leaves finely chopped

1 Tablespoon pure honey

2 Tablespoons plain yogurt


Place the fresh fennel in a glass or ceramic bowl. Pour the boiling water over it and let the mixture cool completely. When cool strain off the liquid and mix with the yogurt and honey until you have a smooth cream. To use:  Massage the mixture into damp skin and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Then rinse with cool water. Store any remaining mask in the refrigerator.




Probiotic Body Mask

At most natural food stores, you can buy a fermented natural sea kelp. It is a thick yellow liquid that is the result of fermenting sea kelp with lactobacillus (a probiotic or “good bacteria.”)  You may use this liquid alone as a skin moisturizer or combine it with other ingredients as in this recipe to treat your skin and hair. This body mask is a good all over treatment especially in the summer months to keep your skin fresh and full of moisture.

Yield: 4 ounces, enough for one treatment


1 Tablespoon fermented sea kelp

1 Tablespoon plain yogurt

1 whole avocado, mashed

1 Tablespoon raw honey


Mix all the ingredients until you have a smooth mixture or cream. To use:  Starting at your feet massage the body mask all over your body. Cover yourself with a towel or sheet and rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse well in a warm bath or shower and pat your skin dry. Massage a natural oil or more fermented sea kelp into your skin.



Kombucha Sheet Mask:

Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that dates back to ancient China. It is made with yeast, sugar and black tea and has become a popular “health” drink. It works well as a base for a light sheet mask to soothe and hydrate your skin, especially after a day in the sun. You may want to create a bunch of sheet masks and store them in your refrigerator to use whenever you could use a bit of self-care.

Yield: 4 ounces


1 /4 cup kombucha

1 /4 green tea or cooled rice water

1 cotton sheet mask or a piece of thin cheesecloth


Mix the kombucha and green tea in a small bowl or jar. Place the fabric inside and allow it to absorb the liquid. To use:  Gently squeeze out any excess solution from the fabric and lay it on your face. Lie down and relax for 10 to 15 minutes. Then splash your face with cool water.




Refreshing Vinegar Face Toner

Vinegar is a useful cosmetic ingredient and can be used in a variety of products. Just make sure you never use it full strength on your skin or hair. It should always be diluted. This recipe is useful in restoring acidity to the skin and keeping it healthy. It also helps treat both oily skin and dry skin. Apple cider works well in this recipe, but you may want to experiment with other fruit or herbal vinegars.

Yield: 8 ounces


1 Tablespoon dried mint leaves or 2 Tablespoons fresh

2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 cup water


Mix all the ingredients together. Stir thoroughly and let the mixture sit for 3 days. Strain or filter out all the mint leaves. Pour the toner into a clean bottle with a lid. To use:  Apply to just washed skin with a clean cotton pad.




Sake Skin freshener:

Sake is a fermented rice wine that is popular in Japan. Combined with two well-known skin beautifiers rosewater and chamomile tea this skin freshener can be used throughout the day to keep your skin fresh and clean. It is also perfect for sensitive and mature skin types.

Yield:  5 ounces


1 Tablespoon sake

2 Tablespoons Rosewater

1 /2 cup strong chamomile tea, cooled


Mix all ingredients and pour into a clean container. To use:  Spray or splash on your skin when needed to refresh or cool. It can also be used as an after-bath splash.



For more recipes and ideas check out my beauty books and workbooks on this site.

Happy Summer!

Janice Cox


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