There is much to know, learn, and love about using herbs in beauty routines, but one outstanding feature that distinguishes herbs from all other ingredients used in skincare products, is that herbs are adaptogenic. That means they serve to bring the body back into its own unique rhythm of balance – the state required for healing and repair.
The best herbs suited for use in beauty routines are those that rebalance the body on all levels – physical, mental, and emotional. The natural world is dense with plants that help with this, but the mainstays in any herbal tool chest are those with the widest arc of beauty benefits, and two of note are Lavender and Geranium. These two herbs have super-powers because they serve to balance not only skin health, but the health of the whole system which is at the core of a natural beauty regimen.
So whether utilized in infused or essential oils, tinctures, aromatic waters, salves, serums, creams, or tonics; whether from artisan herbal beauty brands or from your own kitchen garden, these two herbaceous lovelies are brimming with beauty benefits.
Lavender-(Lavender officinalis, L. angustifloria). There is a reason we find lavender in so many skincare products. The name is derived from the Latin ‘lavare’ – to wash – referring to its ability to cleanse and purify. Where some medicinal plants used in ancient civilizations have fallen out of favor, lavender never has because it is so valuable in restoring and maintaining skin health.
Antiseptic, antibacterial, antimicrobial (and just about anything else you can think of.)
Purifying, toning agent to cleanse skin. Targets:
- “normal” skin to maintain a clean, balanced complexion
- aging, slacking, crêpey tissue prone to “wrinkling”
- blemishes brought on by hormonal imbalance (i.e. menstrual, menopause, pregnancy, chemo, adolescence)
- over-secretion of sebum on which bacteria thrive
Cytophylactic, meaning it stimulates new cell growth. Targets:
- aging skin that is slow to regenerate, accelerating process of repair
- damaged or scarred tissue in need of healing
- over-heated, over-exposed, over-processed or sunburned skin
Relaxing, stress-relieving. Targets:
- grief, sleeplessness, restlessness, anxiety
- mental confusion in need of clarity
- a worried mind, restoring calm and confidence
Geranium (true geraniums vs ornamentals; pelargonium graveolens, P. captiatum; P. radens and hybrids of these). Antiseptic, astringent, antidepressant, with a delightful “green” scent profile, somewhere between a sweet tea rose and the sharper note of bergamot. Used for centuries for its toning effect on the skin and whole system.
Balancing sebum secretion. Targets:
- dehydrated or excessively oily skin, restoring state of optimal skin health
- congestion, blackheads or acne
- aging, slacking, crêpey, “wrinkle” prone skin
- dryness or blemishes brought on by hormonal imbalance
Stimulating to lymph system, helping to clear the body of toxins. Targets:
- puffiness due to excessive fluid retention
- injuries or damage in need of accelerated healing
Uplifting, energizing, mood enhancing. Targets:
- pessimistic thinking
- sluggishness & crabbiness
- the “blues” and over-emotional feelings; great tool when in need of “lightening up”
- low energy levels and malaise, helps one re-engage with their world-inside and out!
Do you have a favorite herb to use in your beauty routines? Share below!