Each time we look in the mirror, it seems like our skin loses more and more of its natural radiance and we notice another beauty bother that we swear we didn’t have a few days ago. Sure, there are tons of pricey lotions and potions that are marketed to work like a magic wand to make our top aging skin concerns disappear quickly. But the better and more cost-effective option is often to use herbal skin solutions that are powered by the nutrient-packed herbs found in your garden or kitchen. Read on to learn why herbs are helpful in turning back the clock and discover the ones that will work best for you.
Why are herbal skin solutions popular?
“Certain plants can be beneficial in many aspects of our lives, serving as healing ingredients in herbal medicine and even skin care products,” says natural beauty expert Tanya Anderson, author of A Woman’s Garden and founder of LovelyGreens.com. And since herbs contain a variety of skin-nourishing vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, herbal extracts are a mainstay in ready-made beauty products.
Interestingly enough, the herbal beauty products market is expected to grow nearly 7% over the next 5 years. The reason behind this is that women are now opting to use cosmetics that feature organically derived herbal compounds like lavender, chamomile and rosemary to treat their top aging skin and hair issues.
And if you’re like us and don’t want to part with too much of your hard-earned dolllars on products, it’s very simple to make your own healing herbal skin solutions using on-hand fresh or dried herbs and even essential oils for a fraction of the cost.
The best DIY herbal skin solutions
Here, expert-backed herbal DIY treatments that will resolve your biggest aging skin concerns fast.
1. Sage skin benefits: Brightens a dull complexion
When the complexion looks more dull than dazzling, turn to sage. Ursolic acid in the herb increases cell turnover to whisk away dead skin cells, while its vitamin A and magnesium generate new cells for more vibrant-looking skin. And mixing with sugar (its gentle granules further exfoliate skin) and avocado oil (its fatty acids hydrate) leaves the complexion with a youthful lit-from-within glow.
To do: Combine 1 tsp. of chopped fresh or dried sage , 2 tsp. of sugar and 1/2 Tbs. of avocado oil. Massage the mixture onto a clean, damp face for one minute, then rinse. Use once a week to prolong the radiant results.
2. Basil skin benefits: Calms rosacea
The skin condition is caused for many reasons, and one quick way to ease flareups is to apply a basil-infused treatment. The herb’s anti-inflammatory compounds ease skin redness and irritation on contact. And using with coconut oil (its antioxidants repair skin’s barrier) boosts the skin-soothing benefits.
To do: Mix 1⁄2 Tbs. of fresh or dried chopped basil and 1⁄2 Tbs. of coconut oil. Rub onto a clean, dry face and let sit 10 minutes before rinsing.
3. Mint skin benefits: Adds a rosy glow
With age circulation slows, which can make skin look sallow and pallid. The fix? A mint-infused “facial. ” Steaming promotes circulation to bring blood flow back to the complexion, says aesthetician Gabrielle Ophals, co-founder of Haven Spa in New York City. And when added to the steam, menthol-rich mint tea absorbs into skin, doubling the blood flow–stimulating effects.
To do: Add 2 peppermint tea bags (or several sprigs of fresh mint) to a bowl filled with 3 cups of boiling water. Drape a towel over your head, keeping your face at least 6″ away from the bowl; steam for 5 minutes. Use twice a month to extend results.
For a tutorial on how to do an at-home herbal facial steam, check out the below video from YouTuber Kendra Atkins.
4. Calendula skin benefits: Ends rashiness
Since skin becomes thinner and more delicate with age, we’re much more prone to redness and rashes. Thankfully, they can be easily treated with calendula. The plant “contains a mix of natural chemical compounds that speed up the healing of skin cells and is helpful in treating skin inflammation while being extremely safe to use,” says Anderson. Pairing with skin-repairing milk restores skin’s barrier to prevent new rashes from forming.
To do: Mix 1 cup of warm milk and 1 Tbs. of calendula oil (Buy from iHerb, $11.98). Soak a washcloth in the liquid and apply to rashes for 10 minutes; remove and rinse.
5. Sage skin benefits: Increases collagen production
To diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, try a treatment infused with sage. The herb’s vitamin A promotes production of skin-firming, line-diminishing collagen. And combining it with coconut oil (its lauric acid deeply hydrates) helps “fill in” creases in a flash.
To do: Mix 2 tsp. of fresh or dried chopped sage and 1⁄2 Tbs. of coconut oil. Rub on wrinkly skin; rinse after 15 minutes. Use twice a week to see a noticeable difference within 30 days.
6. Parsley skin benefits: Erases under-eye circles
To treat pesky dark circles, grab some parsley from your garden or kitchen. The leafy herb is rich in vitamin K, a nutrient that, when applied topically, promotes circulation to push out stagnant blood and fluids that pool underneath the eyes.
To do: Pulse 5 to 8 sprigs of parsley in a food processor, cover with 1 cup of hot, distilled water and steep for 15 minutes. Strain the liquid into a small spray bottle; chill in the fridge. Mist onto two cotton pads and place over closed eyes. Relax 10 to 15 minutes. Store leftovers can be stored in the fridge for one week.
7. Mint skin benefits: Mattifies oily skin
When skin becomes oily after hormonal flux, you can balance it out and remove unwanted oil by using a toner made with mint. Unique compounds in mint cut down on excess oil production, so skin won’t look greasy. And using it with apple cider vinegar (its alpha hydroxy acids shrink enlarged pores) helps expedite the results.
To do: Mix 5 crushed mint leaves, 2 tsp. of apple cider vinegar and 1⁄2 cup of water, then add to a lidded jar. Saturate a cotton pad with the liquid and sweep onto clean, dry skin on the face once a day.
8. Rosemary skin benefits: Banishes bacne
We thought we left breakouts behind in our teenage years, but hormonal changes can bring acne, especially body acne back. The herbal skin solution that can help? Rosemary! “By targeting and destroying acne-causing bacteria, rosemary’s potent antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory antioxidants alleviate existing acne and prevent future flare-ups,” says Paul Yamauchi, MD, a dermatologist at Dermatology Institute & Skin Care Center in Santa Monica.
To do: Boil 1⁄4 cup of fresh rosemary in water; let cool, then strain liquid into a spray bottle and store in the fridge. Spray onto a cotton ball and dab onto blemishes or areas prone to them.
9. Parsley skin benefits: Erases age spots
It seems like every year we notice more and more brown spots on our face, hands, neck and chest. What can help: Parsley. A compound in the leafy green herb breaks down the excess pigment in skin that leads to discoloration. Even better? Mixing with yogurt (it sloughs off dead, dry skin cells) helps reveal brighter skin underneath, evening out skin’s tone quickly.
To do: Combine 2 tsp. of chopped fresh or dried parsley and 1⁄2 Tbs. of plain yogurt. Rub onto spots, then let sit for 15 minutes before rinsing. Use three times a week to see results within 30 days.
10. Lavender skin benefits: Gets rid of stretch marks
A natural remedy that helps get rid of stretch marks? Look to lavender. Antioxidants in the flower’s oil penetrate skin and stimulate collagen production to repair skin from deep within, where the scarring occurred. “Lavender also helps ease inflammation to calm skin and reduce redness in newer stretch marks,” says Hana Tisserand, head of the Tisserand Institute, an education center that focuses on essential oils. What’s more, lavender oil’s antioxidants can hydrate and plump skin, “filling in” the striations so they’re less pronounced.
To do: Combine 3 drops of lavender essential oil with a palmful of your regular body lotion. Massage the mix onto stretch marks once a day to see noticeable results within four weeks.
11. Witch hazel skin benefits: Diminishes spider veins
If you’re bothered by pesky web-like veins that can also feel painful, grab a bottle of witch hazel. In fact, dabbing witch hazel directly onto veins has been shown to diminish their appearance within one week. That’s because its astringent, anti-inflammatory compounds called tannins and procyanidins absorb into skin, shrinking puffy veins and easing any pain. (Click through for more ways on how to get rid of spider veins.)
To do: Saturate a cotton pad with witch hazel, like T.N. Dickinson’s Witch Hazel for Face and Body (Buy from Amazon, $7.70) and hold on veins for 5 minutes. Repeat twice a day as needed.
12. Lemon balm skin benefits: Heals cold sores
Johns Hopkins researchers say 50% of us carry the virus that causes cold sores, and the sun’s bright rays or blustery weather conditions can trigger painful breakouts. But dabbing on a mixture of lemon balm (its anti-inflammatory compounds calm pain nerves and speed healing) and honey (its antiviral properties kill the virus that causes the breakouts) shrinks cold sores in as little as 48 hours.
To do: Mix 10 drops of lemon balm oil into 2 Tbs. of honey; apply to sores 4 times daily.
13. Mint body benefits: Ends belly bloat
To swiftly de-bloat the belly, Hope Gillerman, holistic beauty expert and author of Essential Oils Everyday, recommends rubbing peppermint oil onto the area. “When used topically, the menthol in peppermint oil stimulates the lymph system to push out stagnant fluids and trapped toxins for a flatter-looking tummy in minutes.” And the motions of massaging the oil onto skin enhances circulation to speed the stomach-slimming results.
To do: Combine 3 drops of peppermint essential oil with 1⁄2 Tbs. of olive oil (it moisturizes skin and prevents irritation). Rub the blend on the abdomen in clockwise, circular motions for 2 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes; rinse.
For a step-by-step tutorial on how do do an abdominal massage to help alleviate bloating, watch the below video from YouTuber and physical therapist Lauren Baker.
14. Rosemary skin benefits: Tightens lax skin
Reverse the aging effects of gravity with rosemary. Its anti-aging credit goes to the herb’s carnosic acid and rosmarinic acid, active ingredients that promote collagen synthesis to firm loose, saggy skin on areas like the neck, chest and arms. What’s more, astringent properties in rosemary have an immediate tightening effect, which leaves saggy areas looking tauter much faster. (Click through to learn how to use rosemary oil for hair loss.)
To do: Add 4 drops of rosemary essential oil to a palmful of any body lotion, then rub onto areas on the body with saggy skin. Repeat twice a to see firmer skin within 30 days.
15. Ginger skin benefits: Evens out skin’s tone
Whether from hyperpigmentation or splotches of redness, ginger can help restore skin’s natural tone fast. “Ginger’s gingerol is a powerful antioxidant that fights free-radical damage and helps even out skin tone,” says New York City board-certified dermatologist Michele Green, MD. And it also contains anti-inflammatory compounds that alleviate redness.
To do: Mix 2 drops of ginger essential oil with a quarter-size amount of jojoba oil (it reduces irritation and moisturizes skin). Apply onto splotchy or discolored skin and let sit 15 minutes; rinse. Use three times a week to see more even-toned skin in four weeks.
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