Multiple chemical sensitivities and allergic contaminant reactions are multiplying in every area of our lives today. An abundance of the chemicals that generate allergies and sensitivities are in cosmetics and beauty products. Heredity plays a role in our potential to cosmetic sensitivities, but the daily onslaught from environmental toxins, and free radical damage from chemicals and the aging process impact cosmetic beauty far more. If you’re someone with sensitive skin, or whose system can’t tolerate this chemical overload, all-natural, non-chemical body care and beauty products may be for you.
Can you really make your own herbal cosmetics?
Yes, you can .... and it’s easy!
If you experience redness, itchiness or breakouts to drugstore or department store cosmetics, you may be reacting to their chemical irritants
When you make your own herbal cosmetics, you’re in control. You know everything they contain, you know each ingredient is pure and natural and if it’s something good for your body. You can personalize your cosmetic recipes for your own needs.
Making your own cosmetics is like trying a new recipe; these are essentially “kitchen cosmetics.” You can make herbal compounds for your eyes, nails, skin, hair, smile and feet. You’ll need a little patience and a little trial and error as you get the hang of it. Their simplicity is part of their charm. There are no harsh chemicals to irritate your body or the environment, and their subtle effects can bring out a more naturally beautiful you!
It’s wonderful to be able to use freshly picked herbs in your cosmetics. You might even want to plant a small herb garden as your own personal beauty aid! However, the herbal compounds in this section can be made with both dried or fresh herbs. Dried herbs equal about one-half the volume of fresh herbs. One cup fresh equals 1/4 to 1/2 cup dry. Try to use distilled water or purified water rather than highly fluoridated tap water.
Here are some of the tools and supplies you’ll need.
enamel pots and bowls
measuring cups, spoons
clean glass jars
clean glass or plastic containers for creams and liquids
small food scale
apple cider vinegar
eggs, wire whip or egg beater
tincture of benzoin (purchase from the drug store)
herbs from a garden or the health food store
A few of my recipes:
Lips and smile beauty tip.....
1: Make your own natural, moisturizing lip gloss. Gently heat 6 tablespoons sweet almond or sesame oil with 1 tablespoon beeswax til just melted. Remove from heat and whisk in 2 teaspoons honey, and 12 drops of your favorite essential oil for flavor (cinnamon, peppermint or anise oil are good choices). I use this gloss without color as a good lip conditioner under my lipstick, or as a moisturizing finisher on top of lipstick. For a colored gloss, blend in about 1/2 tube of your favorite all natural, lipstick from the health food store, or add a few drops of beet juice while gloss is still hot. Whisk until cool to prevent separation. Add flavor oil after gloss has cooled.
2: Use the same method to make a healing lip balm for dry, chapped lips. Reduce the amount of almond or sesame oil to 5 tablespoons, and add healing agents of 11/2 teaspoons each St. John’s wort oil and calendula oil, and 2 teaspoons aloe vera gel. I like essential oil of vanilla for flavor.
Herbs that intensify and enhance hair color:
1: To add sheen to dark hair, rinse your hair with sage or rosemary tea after shampooing.
2: To add golden highlights to mousy, brown hair, rinse with chamomile/lemon tea.
3: Rinse hair after shampooing with nettles tea to darken and shine brown hair.
4: Is your dark hair starting to gray but you don’t want to use chemical hair color? If your hair hasn’t been chemically treated try a natural darkener: to 2 qts. boiling water add one handful each - dry sage, dry nettles, dry rosemary, cut black walnut hulls, chopped dry dulse and cut black tea (any kind). Immediately remove from heat, cover and let steep for 4 hours. Add 1 tablespoon wheat germ oil. Refrigerate for three weeks. Strain and put liquid into bottles. Work a generous amount into hair after shampooing, leave on 10 minutes and rinse out.
5: Is your blonde hair fading, but chemical hair color isn’t for you? Try my marigold/lemon rinse for summer blonde highlights.I have used this rinse for many years; it looks best (blonde, not brassy) on non-chemically treated hair. Mix 1 cup of dry marigold flowers, 1 cup dry chamomile flowers, 1/2 cup lemon peel, 1/2 cup cut burdock root. Heat two quarts apple cider vinegar (for body and shine) and pour over herbs in a gallon jar. Store in a cool garage or basement, shaking every 24 hours for 7 days. Place a double piece of cheesecloth on top of the jar and strain off vinegar. Put liquid in bottles, and use 2 to 3 tablespoons in a cup of warm water as a hair rinse several times a week during the summer. Leave on 2 minutes, then rinse.
What about henna? Is it a good choice for hair coloring?
1: Henna is a natural non-carcinogenic plant used for centuries for nail, body and hair coloring. It offers hair extra body while it colors - often dramatically. Henna works best on thin, light porous hair.
2: To add gold highlights to darker hair, add chamomile powder to henna hair color.
These are just a few examples of what you can do at home for non-toxic personal care and cosmetics. There are also many fine paraben-free, natural personal care products and cosmetics at your local health food store.
Interested in learning more? Here are a few excellent resources:
Jeanne Rose, Herbal Body Book, March 2000
Yoanna Kanalakis, Secrets to Looking Young Naturally, 2014
Zia Welsey Hosford, Face Value for Women over 35, 1990