We’ve assembled a guide to DIY herbal skincare, including our favorite herbs and our favorite methods for loving your skin. High quality, extremely effective, and truly natural, using an herbal skincare regime will give you great results. The best part? You can grow these herbs in your own herb garden. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to be 100% natural!
Humanity has a sordid history with skincare. At one point, we were using arsenic in our face powder and copper eyedrops to color our eyes. The most extreme? The ancient Greeks used lead-based masks to improve their skin. (Yikes.) Unsurprisingly, this toxic mania led to madness, infertility, scarring, illness, and sometimes even death.
…And it might be easy to judge our ancestors, but the truth is, we just care about our skin! We want it to be bright and beautiful and wrinkle-free. Thanks to science and proper education, we finally know that synthetic chemicals and toxic metals might achieve short-term shine, but they’re not long-term answers to healthy, bright skin.
Our rule at Gardenuity is, “If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your face.” If that seems extreme, just think about it! Your skin is one big organ with little holes all over—it absorbs everything. If you spray, scrub, slather, or spritz something, your pores have drunk it up, and that thing has entered your body.
When we’re applying something to our skin, we’re ingesting that thing. So, if you can’t consume them orally, you probably shouldn’t be treating your skin with them either. Luckily, there’s a lot of food that can double as skincare. To treat your skin, you can use fruit (coconut oil is all the rage) or veggies (cucumbers are a spa staple).
But the big kahunas for all-natural skin treatment are herbs.
This is because herbs are high in antioxidants and possess anti-inflammatory and regenerating properties. They also provide bright complexion to the skin, protect against outside elements, moisten, and nourish your skin. Generally, herbs are a good solution for fighting acne, preventing aging, and brightening your complexion.
Today, we’re walking through all things herbal skincare — from our favorite herbs for skin treatment to our favorite methods for applying them.
Go through your skincare drawer. Pull out every single thing in there and search for them on the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. The website will tell you how safe your products are on a scale of 1-10 (1 is the safest). If it’s above a 4, we throw it out. You’ll be surprised at how many of your “natural” products are unsafe!
This purple beauty contains natural antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties. As such, it’s a good choice for acne, wrinkles, psoriasis, and other inflammatory conditions. Use lavender oil to treat eczema and speed up the healing of cuts, wounds, burns, and sunburns. It’ll also brighten your skin!
These sweet leaves are a mild astringent, which means they’re great for cleansing and toning. Believe it or not, basil will help prevent acne. It’s also the most famous anti-aging remedy. People have used it for centuries to promote elasticity because of its high antioxidant properties. Great for mature and oily skin!
Peppermint is the ultimate refresher and an herbal skincare staple. It stimulates nerve endings and increases local blood flow, which is extremely helpful for dry skin. It cools, revitalizes, tones, and clarifies. Plus, it can help relieve nasal and chest congestion—especially when used in a facial steam.
Fighting blackheads is this herb’s superpower. It’s got major antibacterial properties that will clean out your pores. It also improves blood flow to the skin, and is, therefore, an invigorating toner and astringent. If your skin is dull, lifeless, or oily, rosemary is the answer.
Rich in antioxidants, astringent properties, and antibacterial qualities, sage leaves are ideal for oily, wrinkled, or saggy skin. These leaves will primarily clean and restore elasticity to your skin. Use it post-shower to re-close your pores—this will help prevent dirt from getting caught in your skin!
These leaves are your skin healer. Their antiseptic and anti-fungal properties clean, heal and soothe inflamed skin. Also, use it for deep cleaning—thyme has antibacterial properties that are more effective than benzoyl peroxide, which is the main agent in most acne medications.
Herbal Facial Scrub
Exfoliation is important, but it’s hard to find an all-natural one out there. So make your own! If you add the liquid later, it’ll keep for months.
- 1 cup oat flour
- ⅓ cup dried ground herbs (either a single herb or a mixture)
- 1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
- Grind herbs in a clean coffee grinder.
- Combine oat flour, herbs, and sugar in a clean jar or container.
- Store in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry location. Keeps for 2-3 months!
- To use, place a small amount of scrub in the palm of your hand. Add a small amount of water, facial oil, or honey so that it becomes a paste. Apply gently over skin, avoiding your eyes. Massage gently using circular motions. Rinse and pat dry.
Herbal Facial Toner
A facial toner is the simplest way to infuse your skin with the love it needs. A home-made herbal toner will impart all of an herb’s benefits to your skin. Simple to make, easy to use, and bright results.
- Muslin bag
- ¼ cup herbs
- Fill muslin bag with ¼ cup herbs. Pour 1 cup boiling water over the bag and steep for 10 minutes. Let cool.
- Use tea formula as a toner. Either spritz on the skin with a spray bottle or use a cotton round to apply.
- Tea will keep 7 days in the fridge.
PRO TIP: If you have acne-prone skin, mix the toner with one part tea and one part aloe juice.
Herbal Facial Steams
Steam expands pores and allows them to breathe. Impurities are forced out, and the herb’s nourishing qualities penetrate the skin. This herbal skincare method will plump wrinkles, hydrate skin, and bring a rosy glow to lackluster skin.
- Herb(s) of choice
- Bring a small pot of water to a boil—only a few cups needed.
- Wash your face before beginning the steam, making sure to not exfoliate. Pat dry with a towel.
- Pour water into a heat-proof bowl.
- Add herbs to the water.
- Hold face over steaming water, draping a towel over your head, so that it creates a tent over your face. Keep your face over the bowl for 10 minutes, closing eyes and breathing deeply.
- Listen to how your skin feels. Even if it hasn’t been 10 minutes, if it feels too intense, end the steam. Otherwise, your skin could become inflamed!
- If you desire, use a mask to extract dirt from your now open pores. Either way, then close your pores with a toner, and moisturize!
WARNING: Facial Steams aren’t appropriate for everyone! If you have cystic acne, rosacea, or eczema, do not use this method. Additionally, if you have very sensitive or damaged skin, herbal steams can be irritating—just use the water. If you feel light-headed, stop immediately.
If you need to heal irritated skin or rashes, this is a great, all-natural option. It’s super easy and no-fuss. Plus, you’ll rest easy knowing you’re treating your skin with things you could eat!
- Muslin bag
- ¼ cup herbs
- Fill muslin bag with ¼ cup herbs.
- Fill a sink with warm water and submerge bag until the bag and the herbs inside the bag are thoroughly wet.
- Making sure it’s not too hot, apply the herbal compress to the skin. Let rest on the treated area for at least 5 minutes. Or use as a washcloth, gently rubbing over face.
- Discard wet herbs.
We love our skin, and so should you. Treat it well with all-natural products — especially the homemade kind — and it will pay you back tenfold! You’ll have brighter, healthier, and more elastic skin.
Send us your favorite herbal combinations or your innovative herbal skincare methods by tagging us on Facebook or Instagram. @gardenuity
Brighter skin isn’t the only benefit of having herbs around. Check out this guide to an aromatherapy herb garden.
Use of herbs or herbal skin care treatment methods are not intended nor should they replace a relationship with a trusted medical professional. Only use herbs and herbal skincare treatments with the approval of your doctor and/or dermatologist.