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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Tourles

The Magic of Herbal Facial Oils

Facial oils are hot commodities in today’s skincare market, but formulas claiming to be “natural” can contain irritating chemical ingredients. Why not make your own?

Herbal facial elixirs (also known as facial oils) provide a moisturizing alternative treatment for your face. They nourish skin on a cellular level, as well as restore, soften, balance, condition, and help repair damage. Photo © Michael Piazza Photography, excerpted from Pure Skin Care.

The next time you’re at your local mall, take a walk through the dizzying sea of cosmetic counters at one of the large department or beauty specialty stores. You’ll see a wide array of beautifully-packaged, petite boxes of “age-reversing” and “age-defying” serums on display.

I first heard about these highly touted, “youthifying” commercial facial serums in the mid-1990s, when it seemed like every cosmetics company was producing one. Back then, these ½-to-1-ounce bottles of promise came at a hefty price, and after a bit of ingredient sleuthing, I discovered that they consisted primarily of water and/or cheap, highly-refined mineral oil, synthetic skin softeners, chemical exfoliants, a vitamin or two, humectants, artificial fragrance, and preservatives. To say the least, the majority of these little bottles filled with “fountain of youth miracle broth” were unsavory cocktails for your face!

Thankfully, some of the brand-name formulations of these anti-aging face serums available in today’s skin care market have improved since they first appeared 25 years ago, but many are still chock-full of deleterious ingredients. So what’s a devotee of natural skin care to do?

Learn to create your own versions of these facial oils, which I call facial elixirs for the magical benefits they provide. Are they difficult to concoct, you ask? Quite the contrary. If you can use a measuring spoon and count drops of essential oils, you’re all set.

When formulating facial oil blends, I lean on some of Mother Nature’s most powerful skin rejuvenators. My recipes are packed with rich, emollient oils derived from ingredients such as rose hip seeds, tamanu seeds, hazelnuts, almonds, and jojoba beans — all of which are chock-full of supportive fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. These elixirs, with their base oils and added essential oils, deliver powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties to help protect the skin from free radicals, promote new cell growth, prolong youthful function, and seemingly “plump” the underlying structure so skin appears fuller and wrinkles visibly smoothed over. The end result is skin that appears timeless, radiant, and beautifully nourished.

The prep time for these recipes is minimal, but plan on setting aside your herbal facial elixir for at least 1 day after making it. During the 24 hours that you let your blend rest, you are letting it synergize, so that it becomes a more powerful conditioner for your skin.

Use these herbal facial elixir recipes as alternative moisturizing treatment to a traditionally made facial cream or lotion (an emulsion of fatty and water-based ingredients). First, cleanse your skin (or moisten your already-clean skin with your favorite toner or astringent; aloe vera juice, witch hazel, herbal hydrosol, or fresh chamomile or calendula blossom herb tea are excellent options). Then massage in an exlir blend specialized to your skin type. The oils will seal in the water-based moisture you just applied, and the elixir will nourish, soften, balance, restore, and repair skin on a cellular level. As an added benefit, the aromatherapeutic properties of these elixirs will serve to calm, uplift, recharge, or soothe the mind and spirit.

With consistent use, herbal facial oils will aid in transforming even the most lackluster, slack, or troubled skin into skin that you’re proud to reveal to the world. That’s what we all want, right? And, with recipe names such as “Healing Thyme Elixir,” “Repair and Restore Remedy,” and “Out, Damn Spot! Antiblemish Elixir,” you’re sure to find one specific to your skin’s needs.

You must remember that your skin is your largest organ and your “living hide,” so to speak. It is not just an inert covering, but a beautiful and faithful friend that, with daily nurturing, will enable you to love the skin you’re in. Ready to start? Here’s the perfect recipe to satisfy your curiosity — and your skin. Evening Luxe Elixir, from my book Pure Skin Care, is intended for all skin types.

Evening Luxe Elixir

This elixir is designed for all skin types in need of light pampering and balancing. It softens, conditions, rejuvenates, aids in healing, tones the skin, and speeds cell regeneration. The base oils penetrate and should leave no oily residue. Combined, the essential oils have a calming, sedative effect on the psyche and body. Applying this just before bedtime can help lull you into restorative sleep. Recommended for: All skin types Yield: 1 ounce Prep Time: 15 minutes, plus 24 hours to synergize

  • 8 drops neroli essential oil

  • 4 drops frankincense essential oil (CO2)

  • 4 drops lavender essential oil

  • 4 drops rose otto essential oil

  • 1 tablespoon hazelnut oil

  • 1 tablespoon jojoba oil

  1. To Make: Add the essential oils, drop by drop, directly into a glass storage bottle. Add the base oils. Screw on the dropper bottle top, wrap your hand around the bottle, and shake the formula vigorously for 2 minutes to completely blend all the ingredients and gently warm them to body temperature. Label and date. Set the bottle in a dark location that’s between 60°F (16°C) and 70°F (21°C) for 24 hours so that the oils can synergize.

  2. To Store: No refrigeration is required, but for maximum freshness and potency, please use within 6 months. Store in a dark, cool cabinet.

  3. To Apply: Immediately before bedtime, cleanse your face, then apply the appropriate toner, astringent, or hydrosol. While your skin is still damp, place 10 to 15 drops of the elixir into the palm of one of your hands, rub both palms together, and then lightly massage the elixir into your skin, beginning with your chest and throat and then moving to your face, using upward, outward, and circular strokes. Wait 5 minutes before applying additional moisturizer (if desired). Use one time per day, right before bedtime.



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