Make Your Own Garden-inspired Beauty Boosters

Let your inner child out to play and experiment with natural beauty products.

Credit: Sheena Adams

Winter, when we spend more time indoors, is a great time to let your inner child out to play and experiment with natural beauty products.

Inhaling the fragrance while mixing and mashing leftover treasures from the garden is sure to bring back summer memories.

For thousands of years many garden plants, such as lavender, mint, calendula and rose, have been incorporated into body-care products. Flowers, foliage, seeds and roots have been used to produce natural cleansers, makeup and scented oils. They can be used fresh during the growing season, or dried and saved for year-round use; just be sure the plants you pick have been organically grown.

Making your own beauty products is a great way to support the environment by reducing chemical use, eliminating long-distance shipping and minimizing packaging. And when you replace the chemicals and preservatives used in so many commercial products with simple natural nutrients, you can feel good about having control over what you are using on your body.

Homemade beauty products also make wonderful gifts, and with the festive season upon us it is a perfect time to whip some up for friends and family! Here are few fun ways for you to get started:

Chamomile hair rinse

If you have blonde or light-brown hair, wake it up with gentle highlights by using a chamomile hair rinse. I would suggest a test patch to ensure you like the result.

Boil 1 cup (250 mL) of dried chamomile flowers in 4 cups (1 L) water for 10 minutes. Cool and strain into a glass jar. Rinse with the solution after washing and conditioning your hair. Dry as usual.

Oatmeal rosemary hand scrub

The strong fragrance of rosemary is a natural stimulant that is believed to strengthen and harmonize the heart and emotions, making this a treat for body and soul. Breathe deeply while you massage and clean your hands with this fragrant gentle scrubbing blend.

Finely chop one sprig of rosemary and add to 1 tsp. (5 mL) of sesame oil; set aside to infuse for at least 2 hours. Mix in ¼ cup (60 mL) oatmeal and ¼ tsp. (1 mL) fine sea salt. Add more oil until the mixture is slightly moistened. Massage over your hands, rinse with warm water and pat dry.

Rose-petal salt scrub

Use this romantically fragranced salt to gently exfoliate skin; this is suitable for the body, not for the face.

Remove the petals from six roses (dried roses from your summer garden will work fine) and place in a glass or ceramic container. Add 1 cup (250 mL) of Epsom salts, being sure to cover all the petals. Let sit for several days, stirring occasionally. Moisten with olive oil and gently scrub arms and legs; rinse and gently pat dry.

Scented geranium leaf linen spray

Freshen up your linens, bedding, curtains and laundry room with this fresh and natural spray. Experiment with fragrances such as lime, rose and lemon to find your favourite.

Gently boil 1 cup (250 mL) scented geranium leaves in 4 cups (1 L) water for 5 minutes. Cool and strain through a filter. Place in a glass spray bottle and label.

Lavender mint foot scrub

Benefit from the antibacterial properties of lavender and mint while refreshing tired feet. Lovely lavender has a relaxing aroma and sedative quality, while cooling mint opens the mind and promotes harmony of the emotions.

Combine ½ cup (125 mL) each of finely chopped mint and lavender, blossoms and stems, with 1 cup (250 mL) of Epsom salts in a glass or ceramic container; mix in 1 tsp. (5 mL) baking soda and lightly cover with paper towel or cheesecloth. When you’re ready to use it, let sit a minimum of 24 hours to allow oils to release, and add enough sesame oil to moisten and blend the ingredients. Gently massage into the feet, let sit for 1 minute and rinse off with warm water. Pat dry and place socks on immediately to prevent slipping!

Cucumber face spritz

With naturally cooling and hydrating cucumber as a key ingredient, this refreshing mist spray is perfect first thing in the morning, especially in dry winter-heated homes.

Cover 1 cup (250 mL) sliced cucumber with cool water and store in the refrigerator for 3 days. Strain and place the water in a glass spray bottle. Store in the fridge for up to a week. Best used cold.

Parsley face mask

Plump your facial skin with this nutritious mask.

Blend 1 Tbsp. (15 mL) finely chopped parsley with 2 tsp. (10 mL) plain yogurt. Use immediately. Spread over face, avoiding eyes, and allow to sit for 3 minutes, then rinse with warm water. If your skin is sensitive, test a small area and reduce time to 1 minute.

Blueberry-honey face scrub

Deep clean with natural honey, oatmeal and blueberries frozen from your summer garden.

Blend 1 tsp. (5 mL) honey with 1 tsp. (5 mL) finely crushed oatmeal. Mash in 5 blueberries. Exfoliate face and neck by gently applying mixture in a circular motion, using fingertips and avoiding eyes, rinse off and pat dry.