Just as they spice and flavor our food, nourish our bodies and help us heal, herbs are a natural beauty ally that can give you shinier, healthier hair and glowing, moisturized skin. Long used in Ayurvedic and Chinese traditions for beauty applications, herbs like turmeric and evening primrose are a chemical-free, natural way to look your best.
Some of them might already be in your pantry while the others may be growing in your garden. You can also purchase them online at Mountain Rose Herbs. Here are a few of the top herbs for beauty and how you can use them, both topically and internally.
Turmeric for fresh, glowing skin: This spicy relative of ginger, with its vibrant yellow-orange color and mustardy smell, is very popular in India not just as an flavorful addition to cuisine but as an inexpensive beauty aid. Mix it with coconut oil and apply it to your face like a mask for radiant, soft skin. This application is also said to help arrest the growth of unwanted hair.
Rosemary to invigorate the scalp and promote hair growth: This highly fragrant, evergreen plant is a common sight in gardens and commonly used for cooking, but it can also give you a lush, full head of hair. Rosemary oil can be massaged into the scalp or added to your shampoo to stimulate your hair follicles, encouraging growth and preventing hair loss. Note that regular use of rosemary can make your hair darker.
Sage to deepen brunette shades of hair and tone skin: Sage is an astringent herb, making it ideal for use as a facial toner for oily skin. Just infuse the leaves in boiling water for 15 minutes, strain and mix with equal parts cider vinegar. It can also be used to deepen brunette hair. Place a few sage leaves in 2 cups of water and let it sit overnight, then use it as a leave-in rinse after shampooing.
Neem to treat blemishes, eczema and dandruff: Neem, a cornerstone of Ayurvedic tradition for ages, is a great skin treatment for acne, eczema, psoriasis, dandruff and other conditions of the skin because it’s antibacterial. Use the oil for dry skin, and the powder mixed with water for oily skin.
Evening Primrose to reduce skin inflammation and strengthen hair and nails: The beautiful blooms of Evening Primrose look great in your garden, and they can also give you clearer, more even skin tone and stronger, more resilient hair. Apply the oil directly to your skin, or take capsules internally for healthy hair and nails. Evening primrose is rich in Gamma Linoleic Acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid with anti-inflammatory properties.
Photo credit: Flickr user Tina Keller