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Spring Beauty Recipes from the Garden

Janice Cox, Author “Natural Beauty from the Garden”



 

 

    The first plants of spring not only give the winter-weary hope for the summer ahead, they also provide the perfect ingredients for beauty! Nettles, dandelions, mint, lilacs, and violets are just some of the herbs we can use to achieve smoother skin, create delightful fragrances, and add shine to hair. 

    Spring is a season of renewal and growth, the garden is once again fragrant and green.  It is also a time to freshen and condition your skin and hair after winter.  Using body scrubs and polishes are a wonderful way to boost your circulation and revive your skin.  Spring is also a good time to treat your skin with moisture and light skin toners and scents.  Sunscreen is a year round must, but with warmer temperatures and more time spent outdoors it is a good reminder to use daily especially on your face where sun exposure can lead to drier skin and early signs of aging.  Bathing this time of year can also be a celebration of all the flowers and herbs you now have available in your garden or at your local market.  Using fresh or dried herbs in the bath is a wonderful way to relax and really reap the benefits of these fresh botanicals.  Homemade bath products also make wonderful gifts for some of the many springtime events and holidays such as Bridesmaid lunches, Mother’s Day, Graduation and Baby showers.

    Spring is also a time to plan your “Beauty Garden” for the summer so make sure you add a few new herbs and flowers to your yard or create a special container garden for your patio or deck.  Fill one with different varieties of mint that can be enjoyed well into the fall.  Here are some recipes and treatments to enjoy this spring:


Dandelion Body Moisturizer

    All parts of the dandelion plant are useful.  The flowers are moisturizing and calming to your skin.  The leaves are rich in antioxidants such as vitamin A and C, and help clear your skin of blemishes.  The white sap is an old folk remedy for warts and corns and the roots yield a bright pink dye.  In this recipe the bright yellow flowers are used to add moisture to the skin and can also be used as a conditioning hair oil.

Yield: 4 ounces

 

1 /2 cup fresh yellow dandelion flower heads

1 /2 cup coconut oil

1 Tablespoon light sesame oil

1 /2 teaspoon vitamin E oil

    Place the dandelion flowers in a ceramic or glass bowl.  Add the coconut and sesame oil and stir well.  Heat the mixture in the microwave or on the stovetop until just heated (do not boil).  Let the mixture cool and sit for a day or two.  Reheat the mixture until the oils are liquid and strain the oil, removing the majority of the flower heads (you may have few stray petals).  Stir in the vitamin E oil and spoon into a clean container.  To use: Massage the moisturizer into your skin or hair where needed. 

 

Dandelion Skin Balm

    Dandelion leaves are rich in vitamins A and C and helpful in maintaining healthy skin.  This is a simple skin balm that can be used to treat blemishes, scrapes and cuts.   Make sure the dandelion leaves that you use are not sprayed with any weed killer or come from an organic farm.  This is a rich skin balm that can be tucked inside your bag or backpack and used whenever you need it. Beeswax is easy to find at most natural food stores or where they sell bee-keeping supplies.

Yield: 1.5 ounces

 

1 Tablespoon fresh dandelion leaves, finely chopped

1 Tablespoon light almond oil

1 /2 Tablespoon grated beeswax

1 /8 teaspoon vitamin E oil

    In a glass or ceramic bowl place the dandelion leaves, almond oil and beeswax.  Heat gently in the microwave or in a water bath on the stovetop until all ingredients are liquid.  Stir in the Vitamin E oil and pour into a clean small container.  Let cool completely.  To use:  Massage into small areas of your skin that need extra pampering or healing.

 

Nettle Leaf Hair Rinse

    Nettles appear in the spring and can reach up to four feet in height.  Young shoots are rich in vitamins and minerals and tender young leaves may be added to salads and smoothies.  Nettles are naturally astringent and cleansing.  Added combined with apple cider vinegar they create a hair rinse that gets your tresses clean and rids your scalp of any surface debris and impurities.  If you do not have fresh nettles in your area look for dried nettles or teas made with nettle leaves at your local market.

Yield: 16 ounces

 

1 /4 cup fresh nettle leaves, finely chopped

1 /2 cup apple cider vinegar

2 cups water

In a clean container or jar combine the nettle leaves and vinegar and let sit over night or for a few days.  Strain the mixture and pour into a clean bottle and add the water.  To use:  After you shampoo, pour a cup of the nettle rinse through your hair as a final rinse.  Massage well into your scalp and let sit for a few seconds.  Rinse well with the coolest water you can stand.


Violet Powder

    Sweet violet flowers are delicate in both appearance and scent and make a lovely Victorian style body powder.  Violets are gentle and mild and well suited for all skin types.  Orrisroot powder is made from the root of the white iris (Iris Florentina) and is used as a fixative in perfumes and powders.  It can be found at most natural food stores.

Yield: 6 ounces

 

2 Tablespoons fresh violet flowers, finely chopped

1 /2 cup rice flower

1 /4 cup cornstarch  

1 Tablespoon orrisroot powder

1 -2 drops essential oil of violet or lavender (optional)

   Mix together all ingredients in a glass or ceramic bowl and stir well.  Spoon the powder into a clean container with a tight fitting lid. To use:  Sprinkle on dry skin after bathing or sprinkle on your sheets before going to bed at night.

 

Violet Cold Cream

    Cold cream is one of the easiest creams to make and also one of the oldest.  It was named after the cooling sensation the cream left on the skin after cleansing and has been used by people for centuries to lock in moisture, cleanse and keep your skin soft.  Sweet violets from your yard can be added to this simple cream they are naturally soothing and astringent.

Yield: 4 ounces

 

1 /4 cup pure water

1 /2 cup almond oil

2 Tablespoons grated beeswax

1 Tablespoon fresh violet flowers and leaves, finely chopped  

1 Teaspoon rosewater

2-3 drops essential oil of violet

1 /8 teaspoon borax powder

    Dissolve the borax in a small bowl of water and set aside.  Mix together the oil, beeswax and violet flowers and leaves in another small bowl and gently heat in the microwave or in a water bath until the wax is melted, stir well.  In a blender or food processor, Add the oil mixture and slowly in a steady stream while the blender is running add the water/borax mixture.  You should have a creamy mixture, as the cream cools add the rosewater and essential oil and stir well.  Spoon into a clean container your cream should thicken as it cools and the oil and water should be combined in a creamy emulsion.  To use: Massage a small amount into your skin.  If using as a cleansing cream rinse with warm water. 

 

Fresh Mint Toner

    Mint is a popular garden herb because it is practically foolproof to grow in fact you must be a bit careful or it will take over your garden with very little effort.  This is why this fragrant and useful herb is usually contained in pots or it’s own patch in the yard.  Mint is also easy to find at your grocery store or natural food store.  This is a good skin toner for normal to oily skin types. 

Yield: 8 ounces

3 Tablespoons fresh mint, chopped

1 cup witch hazel

2-3 drops essential oil of peppermint (optional)

In a clean canning jar, mix together the mint leaves and witch hazel and cover with a tight fitting lid.  Place your container in a cool, dry spot and let sit for up to a week.  Strain the contents into a clean container and discard the mint leaves.  Add a few drops of peppermint essential oil if desired.  To use: Apply to clean skin with a cotton ball or small spray bottle. 

 

Parsley and Chervil Skin Tonic

    We all know fresh parsley is a powerful mouth freshener but it is also a wonderful and light skin toner.  Mixed together with fresh chervil it is especially soothing and cleansing for your complexion.  Use this skin tonic throughout the day to keep your skin fresh and glowing.  Fresh parsley is easy to find in most markets and easy to grow in your garden.  If you cannot find fresh chervil you may use dried.

Yield: 8 ounces

 

1/ 4 cup chopped fresh parsley (1 Tablespoon dried)

1 /4 cup chopped fresh chervil  (1 Tablespoon dried)

1 cup boiling water

2 Tablespoons witch hazel

 

    Place the herbs in a clean ceramic or glass bowl.  Pour the boiling water over them and allow the mixture to steep and cool completely.  Strain the mixture and remove all solids.  Stir in witch hazel and pour into a clean container with a tight fitting lid.  To use:  Apply to your skin with a cotton pad or small spray bottle.

 

Springtime Facial Mask

    This is a lightweight fresh green mask that will leave your skin feeling like silk.  Aloe vera and honey are both naturally hydrating and refreshing to all skin types and especially well suited for sensitive and dry skin types.  Combined with your favorite spring herbs such as parsley, mint, rose petal and lilac buds it is lovely.

Yield: 3 ounces

 

2 Tablespoons fresh spring herbs and flowers (parsley, mint, rose, lilac)

2 Tablespoons pure aloe vera gel

2 Tablespoons pure honey

    Finely chop the herbs and flower buds and place in a small bowl, add the aloe and honey and stir well.  Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.  To use: Wash your face and pat your skin dry.  Massage the facial mask into slightly damp skin avoiding your eye area but also applying to your neck and shoulders.  Let the mask sit on your skin for 15 to 20 minutes then rinse well with warm water followed by a cool water splash. 

 

Lilac Flower Bath Salts

    Fresh lilacs are one of the true flower joys of spring.  Just a small bouquet of their delicate blooms can fill your home with their scent.  This is lovely bath salt recipe that is relaxing for your whole body and also makes a nice springtime gift for a friend.  Pink salt can be found at many natural food stores but if you cannot find you may use white sea salt in it’s place.  Sea salt also benefits your skin as recent studies have shown soaking in a salty bath enhances your skin’s ability to absorb and retain moisture.

Yield: 12 ounces

1 /2 cup fresh lilac flowers,

1 /4 cup baking soda

1 /4 cup Epsom salts

1 /2 cup pink or natural sea salt

    Mix together all ingredients and spoon into a clean container.  To use: Add 1 /2 cup to your bath as you fill the tub with warm water.  Stir gently before entering and soak for at least 15 to 20 minutes but no more than 40 minutes.  Pat your skin dry and moisturize with your favorite lotion or light oil to lock in moisture.

 

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You are beautiful!

Janice Cox

 



 

 

 

 

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