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Herbal Facial Masks

Herbal masks are easy to make. Learn which herbs to use and stock up on your favorites. (These herbs are all available in bulk.)

It's skin care extraordinaire. Using ordinary kitchen ingredients (like fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy products), you can create natural, nourishing facial masks. And with the addition of an herb or two, it's easy to customize your creation — to moisturize or remove excess oil, unclog or reduce pores, soften skin, and/or heal blemishes, for example. All are easy and fun to make, and all will smooth and enliven your complexion.

Exact recipes aren’t really needed, but below are some ideas to get you going. You can always customize your mask by adding herbs like these:

To reduce large pores: coltsfoot leaf, elder flowers, lavender flowers, peppermint leaf
To moisturize: comfrey leaf, elder flowers, red clover blossoms, yarrow flowers
To reduce oiliness: dandelion leaf, lavender flowers, lemongrass
To combat blemishes and irritation, as well as soothe: elder flowers, lady’s mantle, lavender flowers, linden flowers, peppermint leaf, rose petals, sassafras root bark, yarrow
To cleanse and tone: chamomile (German), comfrey root, comfrey leaf, elder flowers, lady’s mantle, lemongrass, lovage root, nettle leaf, peppermint leaf, rosemary leaf, sage leaf,
horsetail, yarrow flowers

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Herbal Clay Mask

French Red Clay PowderNatural clay is renowned for drawing out impurities. The herbs in this recipe enhance the refreshing, cleansing qualities of the mask.

1 tablespoon lemongrass
1 tablespoon sage leaf, rubbed
1 teaspoon yogurt
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon French clay powder (green, red, or white)

Pour 1 cup boiling water over the lemongrass and sage leaf. Simmer for one minute, turn off the heat, stir, and cover. Steep for about 10-15 minutes. Strain, reserving the liquid. In a separate bowl, combine yogurt with the honey and green clay. Add 1 teaspoon of the herbal infusion to the clay mixture and stir well. (If it’s too thick to spread, add more infusion; if it’s too runny, add more clay powder.)

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Softening Lavender Mask

Oats, almond and flax soften and smooth a tired complexion, while lavender calms and cleanses the skin. This one’s a bit messy but fun!

1 teaspoon flax seed
1 tablespoon lavender flowers
1 tablespoon rolled oats, lightly ground
1 tablespoon almond meal

Pour 1 cup boiling water over the flax seed and lavender flowers. Simmer for one minute, turn off the heat, stir, and cover. Steep for about 15 minutes. Strain, reserving the liquid. In a separate bowl, combine the rolled oats and almond meal. Add enough of the reserved water to make a paste.

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Chamomile Fruit Face

Chamomile—a gentle yet effective herb—cleanses, tones, and smoothes at the same time. Adding a mashed fruit or vegetable to this recipe will add or enhance particular properties.

1 tablespoon chamomile flowers
1 mashed fruit or vegetable:
• banana for removing dead skin cells and energizing
• avocado for replenishing moisture and softening
• citrus fruits for toning and cleansing
• cucumbers to revive and lighten the skin

Grind chamomile flowers to a powder, then mix into mashed produce.

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Sweet Yarrow Mask

If your skin is dry or irritated, you’ll find this combination of yarrow, honey, and egg soothing and nourishing. You’ll love how smooth your skin feels after this facial!

1 tablespoon yarrow flowers
2 tablespoons honey
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon yogurt
dry milk powder

Pour 1 cup boiling water over the yarrow flowers. Simmer for one minute, turn off the heat, stir, and cover. Steep for about 10-15 minutes. Strain, reserving the liquid. In a separate bowl, combine honey, egg yolk and yogurt. Stir in 1 teaspoon of the yarrow infusion. Add enough milk powder to make a paste.

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rosemary leafRevitalizing Rosemary Mask

Rosemary is cleansing and revitalizing, while avocado oil helps replenish moisture and smooth the skin. Warm the oil before applying and plan to relax!

1/4 cup sweet avocado oil
1 tablespoon rosemary leaf

Combine the avocado oil and the rosemary leaf in a small, clean glass jar. Cover and let stand in the sun for a day. Strain.

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Ask the Experts

How do I prepare a facial steam?

The perfect prelude to an herbal mask, a facial steam is very easy to do. Simply place a small handful of herbs (chosen according to properties) in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over the herbs (half fill the bowl). Lean over the bowl, draping a large, lush towel over your head and the bowl (as a tent). Steam your face for about 15 to 20 minutes, until you feel that your pores are cleansed and your face is very wet. (If the steam is hot, you may want to come up for a breath of air now and then—don’t burn yourself!) In addition to the herbs used in facial masks, other good choices for steams include: bay leaves, licorice root, parsley, rose, and thyme.

How often should I use an herbal mask?

It depends on the strength of the ingredients and the sensitivity of your skin. One
sweeping recommendation is to give yourself a facial mask once a week to keep your skin
cleansed, toned, and refreshed. But you might want to use some masks less often than
that (if you feel that a particular mask really strips your skin of oils, for example), and others more often (like an infused oil that calms and hydrates). Pay attention to how your own skin reacts. It’ll quickly let you know what it needs and when.

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