Herbs transform skin care into fragrant, potent skin food that you might be tempted to eat. Actually, some of these recipes ARE edible and work as therapeutically internally as they do externally.

Herbal face masks can bring your skin into balance by delivering healing levels of nutrients to the skin. Creating your own recipes allows you to determine the right ingredients that work ideally with your skin type. They’re extremely versatile depending on the results you wish to achieve.

Tip: Introduce new herbs, oils, or products slowly so that skin has time to adjust and so that you discover what works for you or what causes an adverse reaction — like a rash.

Some redness or tingling on the skin during or after a mask is normal and desirable as it stimulates blood flow to the skin and elicits a healing response. However, if you experience any itching or discomfort, please discontinue use.

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Start out with a lovely herbal steam to open pores and prep your skin to receive nutrients.

Elaine Springer, a Pangea Organics Beauty Ecologist and wellness specialist, offers this method of using herbs on her Facebook page.

You will need:

  • Choose any herb that appeals to you.  Dried lavender, fresh basil, sprigs of fresh rosemary, mint leaves, and fresh thyme are lovely options. Alternatively, choose a loose leaf tea with ingredients like nettles, roses, rooibos, green or white tea leaves.
  • The amount of herbs vary according to desired strength (2-3 sprigs should do it)
  • A pot of water
  • A glass spray atomizer

Directions:

  • Put the herbs in a pot with enough water to cover
  • Bring water to a boil and lower heat immediately
  • Simmer covered for thirty minutes
  • Remove from the stove
  • Take a towel and put it over your head
  • With a cleansed face, lean over the pot (it should not be too hot, but steam should still be rising) and cover head with the towel
  • Allow the herb-infused steam to work its magic
  • Breathe and enjoy the fragrance

Result? Skin will “sweat” from the heat, preparing skin for face mask. You can pour the remaining water into the spray bottle or use it to moisten a powder mask.

Here are the properties of each herb:

Basil: Antiseptic, circulatory-stimulating, good for oily, acneic skin, treats fungal infections.

Lavender: Aromatic, antiseptic, astringent, uplifting and relaxing aroma, cell regenerating, wrinkle and scar preventing, soothing for burns.

Mint: Anti-pruritic (its juice can soothe and calm skin that’s itchy or infected). Contains vitamin A (to strengthen skin tissue and help reduce oily skin) and salicylic acid (great for acne).

Rosemary: Tones and firms skin, astringent, antibacterial, energizing aroma.

Thyme: Antioxidant, cell regenerating, pH balancing, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiseptic, and astringent, fungicidal.

Flowers like roses also make wonderful options.

DIY Mask with Turmeric
Turmeric proves invaluable for its anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits. It is also a wonderful addition in DIY recipes for its ability to treat blemishes, hyper-pigmentation, dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, and for its anti-aging properties.

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This simple recipe incorporates turmeric plus chickpea flour, used to cleanse and exfoliate the skin and easily obtained from health food stores or Indian markets.

As always, whenever possible, choose organic ingredients so that you are not adding unwanted pesticides or chemicals to your skin.

Tip: Turmeric stains hands and clothing easily. Use a dry brush for mixing and applying.

You will need:

  • 3 Tbs. organic Chickpea Flour
  • 1 tsp. organic Turmeric
  • Sesame, almond, or jojoba oils (preferably organic and cold-pressed), enough to make a paste
  • A small mixing bowl
  • A pastry brush or a washable foundation brush with tapered ends

Directions:

  • Combine ingredients
  • Mix into a paste with the pastry/cosmetic brush
  • Apply to the face and let sit until dry
  • Remove by rubbing the mixture off with your hands (this motion will add to the exfoliation process)
  • Wash the rest of the mixture off

Result? Fabulous baby soft skin.

Alternatively, Turmeric can also be mixed with water (or herbal steam water above), coconut oil or sesame oil OR a few drops of cucumber or lemon juice to make a paste that heals blemishes. Leave on for 10 to 15 minutes.

DIY Mask With Cinnamon
Cinnamon offers anti-inflammatory properties that help treat blemishes and calm skin. It helps dry dampness in the body and promotes a rosy complexion.

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This simple recipe also incorporates raw organic manuka honey or raw organic honey, which is healing, antimicrobial, a natural humectant, purifying, and benefits both oily and dry skin types.

Jennifer Taveras, L.Ac., at Triangle Wellness, recommended this easy formula.

You will need:

  • 1 Tbs. Honey (Manuka or regular, preferably raw and organic)
  • 1 tsp. organic ground Cinnamon

Directions:

  • Mix ingredients together
  • Massage onto face to stimulate circulation and oxygenating properties of honey
  • Leave on for 15 minutes then wash off

Results? Pores tighten, skin looks radiant, scars may lighten over time, blemishes diminish.

Herbs for the Bath
Enjoy the blissful experience of taking a bath while surrounded by the soft scents and sensations of herbs.

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You will need (choose one or more):

  • calendula
  • chamomile flowers
  • comfrey leaves elder blossoms
  • fennel seed
  • lavender flowers
  • marshmallow root
  • rosebuds
  • violet leaves

Tie a bundle of herbs together and put into a washcloth or mesh bag to steep in the bathtub. Add oil if desired for extra moisture.

Result? Hydrated skin that’s relaxed and toned thanks to the tranquil experience and the herbs.

These recipes are extremely easy to do. DIY skin care can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. Several other lovely additions to recipes include:

  • Plain, full fat organic yogurt to exfoliate dead skin cells
  • Lemon juice to banish blemishes and hyper-pigmentation
  • Ground oatmeal to exfoliate and soothe
  • Essential oils like frankincense, tea tree, geranium
  • Healing oils like neem, black seed, and tamanu
  • Organic sugar or brown sugar for exfoliation

There are so many possibilities. The main goal is to enjoy the experience, relax while the treatments go to work, and try not to lick it off before it takes effect!

Sarita Coren is a freelance writer and blogger at Peace on the Skin & Peace Within, www.ediblefacial.com. She is committed to spreading the world about green beauty, holistic wellness, and living from the heart. She can be contacted at ediblefacial@gmail.com.