Today, more and more aestheticians, spas, and wellness practitioners are offering their own signature herbal facial treatments and products. Many of them are products they blend on the spot using natural ingredients like fresh or powdered herbs, clays, hydrosols, and carrier oils. These ingredients are easily available online. However really don’t need to go further than your backyard or garden to find beauty nutrient-rich herbs to experience farm-to-face skincare.
Though often considered (and discarded) as common weeds, the following common North American “weeds” are rich with farm-to-face skincare benefits.
Yes, nettles (Urtica dioica) will “sting” you if you touch the sharp edges of the leaves or spiky undersides and stems–so handle with care! However, nettles are mineral-rich and strong detoxifiers. They make an excellent addition to any preparation intended for inflamed or irritated skin. Nettles also benefit skin rashes where a potential irritant or histamine might be involved.
Plantain (Plantago major) is known as nature’s first aid kit, as it’s used to draw out dirt, debris, or toxins and soothe inflamed or broken skin. It’s often used by gardeners, hikers, and foragers for anything from poison ivy/oak/sumac to splinters, to minor cuts and abrasions. An effective way to use plantain in your skin treatments is as a “skin detox” for congested or acneic skin. Apply a warm plantain tea compress to the face for 15 minutes 2 to 3 times a day for 3 weeks. The skin may experience a “purge” for a few weeks. After that period, pores will be clear and skin will be smooth. For many, this is a less disruptive way to decongest pores than using harsh cleansers, or manual or chemical exfoliators.
Violets (Viola odorata) have a more subtle action on the skin than some of our other backyard herbs. Even so, their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits make them a strong ally to the skin. Violets contain small amounts of salicylic acid as well as flavonoid antioxidants which help nourish the skin, calm inflammation, and neutralize free radicals. Use an herbal preparation of violets alone, or pair them with their sister flower, pansies, for a gentle and nourishing floral treatment.
One of the first herbs to appear in spring, chickweed (Stellaria media) is also a powerhouse of skin benefits. Its anti-inflammatory and cooling benefits make it an excellent herb for all skin combinations. Chickweed has both drying and emollient properties that help to balance the skin, and is also a good astringent, which helps to firm, tighten, and contract the pores. High in skin-nourishing B vitamins and vitamin C, this little weed is one of your most abundant and potent farm-to-face skincare ingredients.
Though wild roses are smaller, less fragrant, and in bloom for shorter periods of time compared to their more ornamental counterparts, the petals and hips still deliver carotenoid antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and bioavailable vitamin C to the skin. They’re much more affordable than full-size roses— especially if you have them in your yard—and deliver the same soothing, tightening, and firming qualities to the skin. You’ll find many species used in farm-to-face skincare, but we particularly like rosa canina and rosa rugosa.
How to use these herbal allies in your farm-to-face skincare treatments:
There are many ways to use herbs for skincare. The easiest is to infuse them in water to make tea, add them to facial toners and other products. You can also dry them and infuse them in your favorite carrier or massage oil.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can even steep them in vodka or glycerine on a sunny windowsill or greenhouse shelf for 3 to 4 weeks to create extracts to add to your skincare products and treatments. You can also dry them and grind them into a fine powder to add to a mask. Of course, it’s important to do a patch test first, and avoid if you’re allergic to these herbs.
Want to learn more about creating your own professional farm-to-face skincare products and treatments?
NAA President, Rachael Pontillo, teaches a version of her online herbal skincare formulation course that’s specifically for aestheticians, herbalists, health coaches, and other skincare and wellness practitioners. It’s called Create Your Skincare Professional Edition, and NAA Members get 20% off tuition!
Click HERE to learn more about this and the many other amazing benefits that come with NAA Membership, and join us today!
We’d love to hear from you!
Do you use farm-to-face skincare either personally or in your practice? Have you ever made your own? What are your favorite herbs? Please share in the comments below!
Photo credits: Stinging nettles by Paul M on Unsplash. Plantain by Liubov Ilchuk on Unsplash. Violets by Ernesto Bruschi on Unsplash. Chickweed by hedera.baltica via photopin (license). Wild roses by Maros Misove on Unsplash.