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Summer skin soothers

Summer Skin and Hair Care

Find recipes for summertime hair and skin care, and learn which herbs are good for your skin and hair in the summer months.

Summer’s fun in the sun—and wind and water—can take a toll on your skin and hair. When you’re feeling parched, itchy, or just plain droopy this season, herbs can help nourish, relieve, soothe and refresh!

Hair-Nourishing Oil Pack

sageIt takes a week to steep the herbs for this renewing treatment, so you may want to start a new batch as soon as you use up the old. Feel free to substitute other hair-nourishing oils for the olive oil. Coconut, almond, sesame, and jojoba are also good choices.

1 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon rosemary leaf (for dark hair) or
chamomile flowers (for light hair)
1 tablespoon nettle leaf
1 tablespoon sage leaf
1 egg yolk, beaten

Place the oil and the herbs in a glass jar and cover. Let the jar stand, preferably in the sun, for about a week. Strain. When ready to use, mix in the beaten egg yolk. Apply the oil to dry hair, massaging into the scalp and along all of the hair strands. Wrap your head in a warm, wet towel. Leave on for an hour or more. Shampoo well and rinse with half cider vinegar/half water rinse.

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Refreshing Herbal Splasher

Revitalize on scorching summer days with a spritz of herbal spray. This one’s good for oily skin, which can feel especially overactive on a hot day.

petals2 cups water
2 tablespoons (total) of any of the following: nettle leaf, parsley leaf, peppermint, rose flowers and petals, rosemary leaf, sage leaf, yarrow flowers
1 cup apple cider vinegar

Boil water and pour over herbs. Steep for 20 minutes, then strain. Combine with the vinegar and place in a spray bottle. Store in the refrigerator, to keep fresh and for extra vim!

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Itch-Relief Bath

oatsTake this soothing bath when itch instigators are getting the best of you.

1/4 cup lavender flowers
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup cornstarch

Combine all ingredients and tie into a muslin bag. Place in the tub while filling with warm water. (The cornstarch will dissolve into the water.) Use the bag to wash with; don’t use soap, and don’t rinse off . Other itch-soothing herbs (especially good for a poultice for skin that’s been irritated by poison oak or ivy or other plants) include: catnip, chickweed, comfrey, goldenseal, lemon balm, marshmallow root, and mugwort.

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Ask the Experts

What’s witch hazel?
Witch hazel is an herb, but you’ll also find it sold as a liquid. The liquid is distilled from the leaves and bark of the witch hazel shrub, Hamamelis virginiana, and makes an excellent astringent (generally used after washing the skin, to tighten pores and restore the skin’s pH balance).

chamomile flowersI love to soak my feet after a long hike. What herbs would be good to add to my soak?
Soaking your feet can be relaxing, cleansing, invigorating, and/or soothing, depending on the water temperature and the herbs you choose. Make an infusion of chamomile, comfrey, horsetail, lavender, peppermint, or sage, and add to your basin. You might also add a little salt and/or baking soda (about 1 tablespoon per quart of water) for added soothing. To boost the freshening, add a little cider vinegar or lemon juice. Dry well afterward, and powder with a sprinkling of cornstarch (to absorb moisture and deodorize).

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