recipes for radiant beauty

Recipes for Radiant Beauty


ROSE WATER

Although distilling fresh rose petals (Rosa spp.) generally produces rose water, the following method is simple and effective, and it ensures a perfect rose water every time. Be sure you use fresh roses that have just begun to open; they are at their prime and will yield the strongest water. The more fragrant the roses, the stronger the scent of the rose water. Using roses that have been sprayed with insecticides will result in the toxins being extracted into the water.

3 parts witch hazel extract, vodka, or gin

1 part distilled water

Fresh, organically grown roses or rose petals

Mix the witch hazel (or vodka or gin) with the distilled water. Place the fresh roses in a quart jar. Completely cover the roses with the alcohol mixture, adding enough extra that the alcohol mixture rises 2 to 3 inches above the flowers. Cover tightly and place in a warm, shaded area. Let the mixture sit for 2 to 3 weeks.

Strain out the roses and rebottle the water for use. Rose water does not need refrigeration, but storing it in a cool place will prolong its shelf life.

MIRACLE GRAINS

A perfect soap replacement, these cleansing grains are mild, nourishing, suitable for all skin types, and can be used daily. There are many items you can add to this basic formula, such as seaweed, vitamins A and E, and other combinations of herbs. Be creative! You may design a truly unique and wonderful formula personalized for your skin type.

You may wish to add a few drops of pure essential oils such as lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), rose, or lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) to enhance the scent and the effect of the grains.

2 cups white clay

1 cup finely ground oats

1/4 cup finely ground almonds

1/8 cup finely ground lavender

1/8 cup poppy seeds or finely ground blue corn, optional

1/8 cup finely ground roses

Combine all of the ingredients. Store the grains next to the sink in a glass container or in a spice jar with a shaker top. To use, mix 1 to 2 teaspoons of the grains with water. Stir into a paste and gently massage onto the face. Rinse off with warm water.

HERBAL FACIAL STEAMS

Following are two of my favorite recipes for facial steams. To perform a facial steam, bring 2 to 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Toss in a healthy handful of herbs, cover, and let simmer for a couple of minutes. Then remove the pot from the heat and place it on a heatproof surface at a level that will enable you to comfortably sit and place your face over the pot. Leaning over the pot, drape a large, thick towel over your head and the pot, capturing the steaming herb water. It will get very hot under the towel. To regulate the heat, raise or lower your head or lift a corner of the towel to let in a little cool air. Steam for 5 to 8 minutes.

Steam for Dry to Normal Skin

3 parts comfrey leaf (Symphytum officinale)

2 parts calendula (Calendula officinalis)

2 parts chamomile (Matricaria recutita)

2 parts roses

1 part lavender

Combine the herbs, adjusting the amounts to suit your skin type. Store in an airtight glass bottle. Use as instructed above.

Steam for Normal to Oily Skin

3 parts comfrey leaf

2 parts calendula

1 part raspberry leaf (Rubus idaeus)

1 part sage (Salvia officinalis)

1/4 part rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Combine the herbs, adjusting the amounts to suit your skin type. Store in an airtight glass bottle. Use as instructed above.

ASTRINGENTS

Astringents, also known as toners, are used to remove excess oil from the skin. They are usually applied after cleansing; they remove any residual cleanser and tone the skin, helping prepare it for moisturizing. While astringents are especially appropriate for oily skin, all types of skin can benefit from their pore-tightening effects.

THE QUEEN OF HUNGARY'S WATER

This wonderful astringent lotion has been hailed as the first herbal product ever produced and marketed. Legend has it that the early Gypsies formulated it and claimed it to be a cure-all. Whether or not it is I hardly know, but I do know that it is an excellent astringent for the face and a great rinse for dark hair.

This is one of the world's finest cosmetic formulas. It combines gentle common herbs in a masterful way, it's easy to make, and it's a versatile formula that serves many purposes. The Gypsies used it as a hair rinse, mouthwash, headache remedy, aftershave, footbath, and who knows what else! I have seen this formula sold in department stores in exotic little bottles for a fancy price. You can make it for the cost of a few herbs and a bottle of vinegar.

6 parts lemon balm

4 parts chamomile

4 parts roses

3 parts calendula

3 parts comfrey leaf

1 part lemon peel

1 part rosemary

1 part sage

Vinegar to cover (apple cider or wine vinegar)

Rose water or witch hazel extract

Essential oil of lavender or rose (optional)

Place the herbs in a widemouthed jar. Fill the jar with enough vinegar that it rises an inch or two above the herb mixture. Cover tightly and let it sit in a warm spot for 2 to 3 weeks. Strain out the herbs. To each cup of herbal vinegar, add 2/3 to 1 cup of rose water or witch hazel. Add a drop or two of essential oil, if desired. Rebottle. This product does not need to be refrigerated and will keep indefinitely.

FACIAL CREAM

The following recipe makes the most wonderful facial cream I have ever experienced. Having used it in its many variations for many years, smoothing it over every inch of my body, my skin-now heading into its sixth decade-is still soft and supple as a child's. (Well, this may be stretching the truth a bit, but it still feels wonderful to me!)

The cream is rich with natural ingredients. Deeply moisturizing, it provides nourishment and moisture for the skin. And for the final stroke, it is relatively inexpensive to make. This basic formula, though excellent as it is, can be further embellished with your own creative spirit. There is plenty of room for creative input. Feel free.

PERFECT CREAM

Although this recipe appears easy, it is also a bit challenging. You are attempting to combine water and oil; they don't normally mix. Follow the recipe closely. If it doesn't turn out right the first time, don't be discouraged. Try again; the luscious cream is well worth your time and effort.

Waters

2/3 cup distilled water (or rose water)

1/3 cup aloe vera gel

1 or 2 drops essential oil of your choice

Vitamins A and E as desired

Oils

3/4 cup apricot, almond, or grapeseed oil

1/3 cup coconut oil or cocoa butter

1/4 teaspoon lanolin

1/2 to 1 ounce grated beeswax

Combine the waters in a glass measuring cup. Set aside. In a double boiler over low heat, combine the oils. Heat them just enough to melt. Pour the oils into a blender and let them cool to room temperature. The mixture should become thick, creamy, semisolid, and cream-colored. This cooling process can be hastened in the refrigerator, but keep an eye on it so it doesn't become too hard. When the mixture has cooled, turn on the blender at its highest speed. In a slow, thin drizzle, pour the water mixture into the center vortex of the whirling oil mixture. When most of the water mixture has been added to the oils, listen to the blender and watch the cream. When the blender coughs and chokes and the cream looks thick and white, like buttercream frosting, turn off the blender. You can slowly add more water, beating it in by hand with a spoon, but don't overbeat. The cream will thicken as it sets. Pour into cream or lotion jars and store in a cool location.

Regular skin-care routine

Follow this skin-care routine for beautiful skin.

Daily

Cleanse with cleansing grains.

Close pores with an astringent.

Massage in a light cream.

Finish with a light mist of rose water or an astringent.

Weekly

Use a honey or clay mask suitable for your skin type.

Monthly

Treat yourself and a friend! Follow the entire five-step program that follows for radiant skin.

This treatment takes about forty-five marvelous minutes and, for best results, should be done at least once a month. By following this simple, inexpensive treatment, you can be assured of healthier, glowing skin within two to three months.

A five-step skin-care program for perfect skin

Step One: Miracle Grains

Lightly cleanse your face and neck with Miracle Grains. Use the grains to gently massage and stimulate the skin. The grains will massage off dry, dead skin, increase circulation to the facial surface, and provide a nourishing "meal" for your face. Rinse off the grains with warm water.

Step Two: Herbal Facial Steam

Select an herbal facial steam that's best for your skin type. A facial steam is the best possible way for deep pore cleansing, and each of the herbs used is rich in nutrients that nourish and tone the skin. The aromatic oils of the plants are released by the heat and are absorbed by the skin. And best of all, it feels so good!

Immediately after you complete your facial steam, rinse your face with cold water and gently pat with The Queen of Hungary's Water or Rose Water. Gently pat dry. Your face will feel smooth and will glow with radiance.

Step Three: Facial

Facials are excellent for stimulating circulation to the skin by drawing fresh blood to the surface. They promote deep pore cleansing and help heal blemishes and acne. Facials also help tone and firm the skin.

There are several kinds of facials available. My favorites are made with a base of cosmetic clay, which is particularly suitable when you want a drawing, firming type of facial. Clay is very high in minerals and nourishes the skin. If choosing a clay facial, mix it with just enough water to make a nice paste. The thicker the clay/water mix, the more drying the facial. Apply, and leave on until completely dry. It is tempting to want to rinse it off beforehand, especially as it starts to tighten, but you will not receive the full benefits from a clay facial if you rinse it off before it's completely dry.

For dry skin, choose a white cosmetic-grade clay. White clay, though lightly drawing, is very gentle to the skin. For a more nourishing facial, mix with yogurt or avocado, or both. For oily skin, choose green, red, or yellow clay. These clays are much more drying than the white variety. They also are very high in minerals and are excellent for problematic, blemish-prone skin. In natural therapeutics, these clays are often used for soothing poison oak and poison ivy, bee stings, and insect bites.

Honey, too, has its magic and is another of my favorite facials. It is a marvelous cosmetic aid for the skin. A natural humectant, honey both moisturizes and cleanses the skin. Applying a honey pack to your face is a bit messy, but the results are well worth the trouble. For all skin types, honey makes an excellent facial pack. It draws fresh blood to the surface of the skin, removes impurities, and smoothes and softens.

If you choose to use the honey pack, apply a fingerful of honey to skin that is completely dry. It won't work well if the skin is wet or damp. Be sure all of your hair is out of reach; it gets very sticky when full of honey! Gently massage, pat, or rub honey into the skin. Let your senses tell you what strokes to use. I usually enjoy a rather vigorous rubbing and patting motion, but others prefer a gentle stretching and light patting. Rinse the honey off with warm water. It comes off very easily, but be sure to rinse off completely or you will feel sticky for the rest of the day. The fresh flow of blood brought to the surface of the skin by the honey facial will create a deep, warm, lasting glow.

Step Four: Tonic Astringents

When the facial is completely dry, rinse off with warm water. Be gentle to your skin while rinsing off the facial material. Honey will rinse off easily and quickly, but clay may take a bit more effort. Use soft, circular motions. Massage your skin; do not scrub it. Immediately after rinsing the facial, apply an astringent preparation to tone and close the pores. Use a cotton pad for application, or mist the skin with a spritzer bottle. For dry skin, use Rose Water, a very light, gentle astringent. For normal to oily skin, use The Queen of Hungary's Water.

Step Five: Massage and Cream

The finishing touch is a light, delicate facial massage using Perfect Cream. This is usually everyone's favorite part, especially when someone else does it for you and you can just sit back and enjoy.

Spread a small amount of cream on your palms and gently circle the outer edges of the face, always stroking upward and outward. Follow the contours of the face, using your fingers to trace the structure. You can use gentle motions, circular motions, and sweeping motions up and away from the face.

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