How to Up Your Beauty Game With Herbs

Leah Faye Cooper
herbs for beauty

Photo: Getty Images

For centuries people have relied on nature and nature alone for their beauty needs, with herbs being the answer to dry skin, dull hair, blemishes, and more. While there are now countless non-plant-based products to choose from—many which are safe and effective—don’t go thinking that herbs have lost their luster. After getting some tips and DIY recipes from Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, chief medical officer of Well & Being, we’re eyeing mother nature to address a range of grooming matters. These are a few of her favorite herbs for beauty and her recommendations for how to use them.

Sunflower Seed Oil for Dry Skin 
“Sunflower seed oil [helps] your skin maintain its natural barrier function,” Dr. Low Dog says. “You can make your own amazing moisturizer by filling a pint-size jar 3/4 of the way full with calendula flowers and covering them with organic sunflower seed oil. Let the jar sit for two weeks, shaking it daily. Strain the flowers out and measure the liquid. For each cup, add 1/2 to one teaspoon of your favorite scented essential oil. The moisturizer can be used in the bathtub or directly on the skin after bathing.”

Rosa roxburghii for Dark Spots
“I love Rosa roxburghii for dark spots. This beautiful, flowering bush grows throughout Asia, and its fruit is rich in vitamins A, C, and E and essential fatty acids that help soothe irritation and inflammation that contributes to hyper-pigmentation. It can be found in a number of popular skin care lines [such as Origins], often in combination with licorice, which also has good evidence for naturally lightening dark spots.”

Chamomile, Rosemary, Nettles and Cocoa Nibs for Hair
“I love to use herbal rinses on my hair. Chamomile and calendula flowers are generally used for light colored hair, while rosemary, nettles, and cacoa nibs are used for dark hair. To make a hair rinse, simply steep one cup of herbs in four cups of water for 20 minutes. Strain into a quart-size jar. You can add an essential oil if you like—5-10 drops of lavender or rosemary for instance—along with two teaspoons of baking soda. Shake well and allow to cool. In the shower or bath, pour it over your hair and gently massage it into your scalp. Leave it on for about five minutes and then rinse. Try doing this once a week—you’ll be surprised at how soft and luscious your hair feels!”

Arnica, Calendula, Lavender, Eucalyptus, and Neroli to Enhance Massages 
“Herbs and essential oils extracted from plants enhance the beneficial effects of a massage. For example, arnica oil is often used to relieve sore muscles and calendula oil is good for dry skin. Lavender is great for easing tension and eucalyptus opens the sinus passages. Neroli calms and lifts the spirit.”

Green Tea, Tea Tree Oil, and Lemongrass Oil for Acne
“A simple toner can be made at home that is both inexpensive and highly effective. This is the vinegar green tea toner that I make: Bring six ounces of water to boil, turn off heat, and add three organic green tea teabags. Steep covered for 20 minutes. Remove teabags and add one ounce of organic apple cider vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of tea tree oil or lemongrass oil. Refrigerate for 7-10 days. Apply a bit to the neck to make sure you don’t have any sensitivity, then use morning and night after washing your face. Vinegar contains acetic acid, which acts as a natural exfoliant for the skin, removing dead skin cells and dissolving the oil that can clog pores. Green tea improves acne by decreases sebum production, and tea tree oil reduces inflammation.”

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