It's So Natural | A natural about-face

HERBAL HELP: For millennia plants have been a source of natural skin care, and work best in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle.
HERBAL HELP: For millennia plants have been a source of natural skin care, and work best in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle.

Since early times, human beings have used plant extracts to enhance their appearance and take care of their skin.

Down the centuries, herbs were chosen for their special properties. An extract of yarrow was used to suppress skin inflammations, aid skin cleansing and remove dead skin cells.

Chamomile was used as a soothing agent, while a calendula, pot marigold, oil was used to clean and soften skin and soothe irritation.

An old beauty treatment for refreshing and revitalising the skin can be made quickly and simply from nothing more than fresh strawberries.

Cut up and mash to a pulp enough strawberries to spread all over the face and neck. Cleanse your face and neck and apply the pulp, avoiding the eye area, then lay down and relax for 20 minutes while the facial mask does its work.

For an extra benefit, soak cotton-wool balls in cold fennel tea, then place them over your closed eyelids. Rinse the mask off with warm water, then splash cold water all over the face and neck and pat dry with a soft towel.

To make your fennel tea, put one teaspoon of the dried seeds in a small bowl, add one cup of boiling water, cover, infuse until cold, and then strain through clean muslin or cheese cloth.

For a soothing and rejuvenating skin lotion, warm a cup of clear honey in a saucepan, then add half-a-cup of milk and two teaspoons of rose water, turning off the heat as you do.

Stir the mixture thoroughly, allow it to cool, then pour into a sterilised container and store in the refrigerator. Rose water is available from chemists, health food stores and some supermarkets.

Before using your rose water lotion, stir well and then pour a little of the liquid into a saucer. Soak cotton-wool balls in the lotion and pat onto the face and neck every night. Do not rinse off until the following morning.

Remember though, natural skin care preparations alone won't give you that healthy glow. A holistic approach, including regular exercise and a good diet, is also essential to keep skin soft and supple.