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Herbs for beauty

(The VinesNetwork) -- Herbs have been used as beauty aids throughout recorded history.

Ancient Egyptians employed plant extracts to outline their eyes, redden lips and cheeks and anoint and perfume their bodies, while Romans applied herbal face packs and soaked in flower-scented baths. The basic formula for cold cream dates back to the second century A.D. in Greece.

In Colonial America, our ancestors turned to the fruits and bark of trees, fleshy roots and wild flowering plants in the forest for their healing and beautifying powers. Native Americans knew the value of Mother Nature's bounty and benefited from herbs and plants for centuries. After all these years, the cosmetic industry is finally rediscovering the benefits of Nature's juices and extracts.

There are many advantages of making herbal lotions for skin and hair yourself. The most important is to save money and have the assurance the ingredients you use are natural, pure and not harmful in any way. Recipes to follow will cover facials, lotions, rinses, shampoos and conditioners for your face, skin and hair.

Experiment and see what ingredient works for you. All the ingredients are widely available in drugstores, supermarkets and a well-stocked herbal store. Nearly all can be prepared in a short time. Keep in mind you can change the consistency and substitute with other herbs the same way you would in the kitchen to modify a recipe to suit your taste.

When making your recipe use clear, clean containers. Most will keep as long as the shelf time at the supermarket. Lotions and creams will generally last several weeks, especially if refrigerated. Facial and shampoo rinses should be used in three or four days. Remember, there are no preservatives or chemicals being used to make them last longer. Quite frankly, wouldn't you prefer it that way?

If you suffer hay fever or plant allergies, test before using. Apply a small amount on your inner forearm and wait 24 hours to see if you suffer a reaction. Otherwise, enjoy your very own natural and healthy creations, which are sure to help your skin look and feel better -- and let's not forget minimize you paying high prices on products you're using now.


Ingredients will clog in a sink, so mix in a large bowl.

1 qt. boiling water
1 tblsp. dried peppermint, or spearmint (can use tea bag packets)
2 tblsp. chamomile flowers (also tea packets)
1 tblsp. dried lavender, or dried sage

Crush ingredients in bowl, add boiling water. Put face over bowl and cover head with a towel, forming a tent. Keep face 12 inches from water, so not to burn your skin. Steam 5-10 minutes. Pat face dry, add moisturizer.

(c) 2001 The VinesNetwork

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