Natural Health
Healthy living, herbal remedies and DIY natural beauty.

Peppermint Foot Chiller for Tired, Hot Feet


Folks, it doesn’t have to be summertime for you to experience dog-tired, hot, sweaty feet.  Just ask anyone who routinely spends a lot of time on their feet . . . landscapers, brick masons, carpenters, massage therapists, sales clerks, waiters, parents of young children, runners, school teachers, hair stylists, exercise instructors, nurses, etc.  Their poor tootsies take a beating all year long! 

Your feet are your foundation – ever think about that?  They literally connect you with the earth, stabilize your being, take you from point A to point B, and enable you to jump, run, ski, bike, swim, and enjoy life, often with grace and style.  It’s very difficult to get along without them.  At the end of the day, after being on them for hours, your poor fatigued, throbbing, sweaty, swollen “barking dogs” are in need of refreshment, rejuvenation, and relief!  For all the support they give, regular soothing care is recommended to keep them (and you) happy!  In this blog, I offer a simple, natural, soothing, aromatic solution that you can make in 5 minutes flat – a few minty spritzes will leave you with comfortable, cool feet so you can step lively once again!

I’m a practicing foot reflexologist and the DIY spritzer recipe below is one that I use nearly every day in my treatments.  I spray a light mist on my client’s feet and lower legs at the end of their session and massage it in real good!  They’re usually quite relaxed after 75 minutes of foot work, so this minty-fresh spray perks them up a bit, hydrates their skin (which is often dry), and sends them out the door with feet feeling ultra-revived!

Bonus uses?  You bet!  This spray doubles as a superior room freshener – perfect to deodorize both bathrooms and mud rooms where stinky shoes are stored.  Simply spritz into the air a few times (and into shoes, too) and say good-bye to staleness and odor. 

Make yourself a batch, won’t you?  This recipe is also perfect for gift-giving – design a decorative custom label with directions, ingredients, and date made.  I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t love to receive a bottle of this pleasingly fragrant spritzer.

Lini-Mint: Peppermint Foot Chiller Recipe

Refreshing herbal relief is a quick spray away with this super-easy-to-make foot chillin’ formula.  Vodka, along with peppermint and lavender essential oils, combine to form a menthol liniment of moderate intensity, with a cool-to-cold energy that evaporates rapidly, removing heat along with sweat and odor and leaving you feeling footloose and fancy-free.  I recommend stashing a small bottle in your gym bag to use as a postworkout foot refresher – especially if there’s no time to shower – it’ll put some spring back in your step!


  • 1 cup unflavored vodka (use either 80- or 100-proof)
  • 30 drops peppermint (Mentha piperita) essential oil
  • 10 drops lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil (optional, but blends beautifully with peppermint, and adds anti-inflammatory, muscle-relaxing properties, too)
  • ½ teaspoon vegetable glycerin
  • 1 8-oz dark-glass spray-top bottle


Combine the vodka, peppermint and lavender (optional) essential oils, and glycerin in your spritzer bottle and shake vigorously to blend. 

Label and store on a counter (out of the sun) or in a cool cabinet.  No refrigeration is required, but chilling the formula makes it even more cooling. 

For maximum freshness and potency, please use within 1 year.

To Apply:  Shake well before each use as the essential oils will naturally separate out and float to the top.  Immediately spray on bare feet and lower legs whenever they’re feeling weary, hot, and generally uncomfortable.  Give feet and legs a good rub down.  If you can coerce a friend or family member to do this for you, all the better!  Allow feet to air-dry before putting on socks or hosiery.

Yield:  Approximately 1 cup

Recipe excerpted from “Hands-On Healing Remedies: 150 Recipes for Herbal Balms, Salves, Oils, Liniments & Other Topical Therapies,” (c2012 by Stephanie Tourles).  Used with permission from Storey Publishing.

Stephanie Tourles is a licensed holistic aesthetician, certified aromatherapist, and gardener with training in Western and Ayurvedic herbalism. She has also written many other books, including her best-selling, Organic Body Care RecipesHands-On Healing RemediesRaw Energy In a GlassRaw Energy; Pure Skin Care; and Naturally Bug-Free (all available in the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Store). Visit her website to learn more, and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Milk Baths: Fit For a Queen (or King)

Milk Bath 

Our youngest farmhand, our eight-year-old daughter, decided to be Cleopatra, Queen of Ancient Egypt, for Halloween this year. Getting her costume ready reminded me that it’s been a while since I took a milk bath. "Self care" is a popular term these days, because our society is so perpetually busy that taking something as simple as a bath feels indulgent. Isn’t that sad? Cleopatra was known for her famous milk baths, specifically donkey milk baths. While donkey milk is not a sustainable source in current times, there are other alternatives to still give you the skin loving milk bath experience you desire — no donkey kicks required.

The Roman author and philosopher Pliny the Elder, described the benefits of (donkey) milk for the skin: “It is generally believed that ass milk effaces wrinkles in the face, renders the skin more delicate, and it is a well-known fact, that some women are in the habit of washing their face with it seven times daily, strictly observing that number. Poppaea, the wife of the Emperor Nero, was the first to practice this; indeed, she had sitting-baths, prepared solely with ass milk, for which purpose whole troops of she- asses used to attend her on her journeys."

It is also reported Napoleon’s sister, Pauline Bonaparte, used ass milk for her skin’s health care as well.

Ok, so "ass milk" jokes aside, milk can be such a nourishing treat for your skin! There are many companies that sell dehydrated milk bath powders, or you can use fresh milk from the store or farmer. I personally prefer fresh milk as it’s much more likely to retain the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, proteins and fatty acids than any processed powder can. Now this doesn’t mean go fill your tub full of milk and take a bath — that would be very costly and not practical. But even adding a few cups of (whole) milk to a warm bath can give you a really indulgent farm-to-bath experience.

Soaking in either a cow's milk or goat's milk bath can help exfoliate dead skin with natural lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid that releases bonds of old skin cells from fresher, younger cells below, leaving skin soft and smooth. Milk baths can both hydrate and soothe your skin with the natural fats, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Additional ingredients, such as honey (a humectant, meaning it draws moisture to the skin), salts, flower petals, or oils can all be added to create a custom bath for just a few dollars.

I hope you try a milk bath soon, whether you have itchy irritated skin or healthy skin but would just love a bit of relaxation and a skin loving soak, milk baths are fit for a queen or king.

Nicole Wilkey transitioned from a corporate job to small-scale farmer in 2015. Since then, she has run California-based Flicker Farm to accommodate meat pigs, mini Juliana pigs and pastured poultry, and to sell goat's milk soap and lotion on Etsy. Connect with Nicole on Instagram and Facebook, and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Crochet Through Depression

crochet image

A couple of years ago, following a long period of extreme financial stress, coupled with the constant fear that accompanied living in an unsafe area, I succumbed to a violent combination of depression and anxiety that required professional help and, eventually, medication. 

I used to be very ashamed of this, as if not "having it all together" was somehow my fault, but experienced a painful shift in perspective after a dear friend lost her life to depression-induced suicide. Since then, I resolved to be more open about my own struggles, figuring that it will all be worth it if I can reach even one person with the following message: There is help out there and you deserve to get it! Your life has value! Please don't do something irrevocable. 

Although medication and group therapy helped, I was extremely discouraged by the prospect of having to go through life using pills as a crutch. Besides, I was feeling kind of numb. I couldn't cry when I needed to. I couldn't laugh at things that had previously seemed hilarious. Food didn't taste as good as it used to. I had tried to wean myself off of medication, but the results were disastrous — I was in floods of tears daily and just couldn't function.

Later, when the circumstances of my life objectively changed for the better, I decided it was time to try again. I also began to read extensively about depression and anxiety, and the biochemical cycle leading to these conditions. In particular, I was interested in natural ways to boost serotonin, the vital neurotransmitter linked to feeling stable and emotionally healthy. There are different ways to aid these beneficial pathways of brain chemistry, such as a wholesome, healthy diet, sufficient sleep and exercise, hugging your loved ones often and, yes, crafts. 

There have been numerous research programs focusing on how traditional crafts such as knitting and crochet help combat anxiety and depression. The soothing, repetitive movements, the sensory pleasure of different textures and colors of yarn, the benign interest of reading a pattern, the sense of accomplishment in creating something with one's own hands, all contribute to increased well-being. Even a person who is too depressed to get out of bed (or someone who is depressed because they physically can't get out of bed!) can pick up a crochet hook or a pair of knitting needles and some yarn and work on creating something useful and beautiful. I also highly recommend the book Crochet Saved My Life by Kathryn Vercillo where this idea is extensively discussed. 

Crochet and knitting, of course, are not the only crafts that can enhance emotional health. Basket weaving, cross-stitch, embroidery, traditional pottery, etc - any creative activity with rhythmic, repetitive movements would work on the same principle. 

I had always crocheted on and off throughout the years, but it was my first time to begin using the craft consciously and consistently as a form of therapy. I focused on patterns that would provide me with plenty of variety to keep my mind occupied on things outside myself, and smooth, soothing stitches that would help me get into the flow. 

Naturally, I'm not suggesting that one should just ditch medical treatment and pick up a ball of yarn. It's essential to proceed very, very carefully and take the best possible care of one's mental health, because depression kills. But it is possible to get better and, in many cases, wean off meds and feel like a whole new person. 

In my case, I make a point to have plenty of outdoor time daily to work in my garden and hang out with my chickens. Often I combine all my favorite things as I sit under a tree with my crochet in my lap while the chickens scratch in the dirt and my children play all around me. It feels like a little piece heaven!

I will continue to keep a close eye on my mental health and encourage everyone to find their oasis of peaceful creativity and mindfulness in this chaotic world.

Anna Twitto’s academic background in nutrition made her care deeply about real food and seek ways to obtain it. Anna, her husband, and their four children live on the outskirts of a small town in northern Israel. They aim to grow and raise a significant part of their food by maintaining a vegetable garden, keeping a flock of backyard chickens and foraging. Anna's books are on her Author PageConnect with Anna on Facebook and read more about her current projects on her blogRead all Anna's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

How to Float in a Sensory-Deprivation Tank

Photo by Adobe Stock/vlorzor

Life is so busy, I often feel overstimulated. This past weekend was no exception, and I felt pulled in many different directions, with loads of stimulation. I worked at Ogden Publications’ annual Mother Earth News Fair at Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Pennsylvania. We brought in thousands of people ready to hear speakers, and see our vendors and hands-on classes.

I arrived home sore, super tired, overstimulated, and in need of some TLC, — I was zapped. I thought about what I could do to make a comeback. I have been in a sensory deprivation tank once before but I wasn’t sold, ergo the owner gave me a free visit. If I had time, I would have walked off the plane and into a tank but, alas, family comes first. I knew if there was ever a time I’d see results it’d be now, so I set an appointment for the next day.

Yes, You Really Float!

The tank is filled with 800-plus pounds of magnesium sulfate, which is just a fancy way to say it is filled with a lot of pharmaceutical-grade Epson salt. All the salt makes the water denser than your body, allowing you to float and reap the benefits of an Epson salt soak. If you listen close enough, you can hear the salt crystals crackling when you move.

I was super self-conscience the first visit and somewhat uncomfortable in a new place, not to mention buck naked to boot! I chose a pod and my first question was, “How do I breathe in there?” I was told there is a vent at the back of the unit to let air in and if I needed I could leave the lid open for my comfort. I’m not a super claustrophobic person; however, I indeed did feel a little air on my face.


I removed jewelry, covered a small scratch with petroleum jelly (for a natural alternative, you could use a beeswax jelly), and inserted molded earplugs before showering excluding conditioner. I prefer to wear ear plugs instead of drying out my ears super well after. They are great for sound reduction; on the other hand, you will need to listen up when the voice calmly instructs you to lie down and clear your mind. I grabbed the head floater as a crutch and draped the dry washcloth as instructed over the inside arm of the tank just in case I had to itch my face.

Inside a Sensory-Deprivation Tank

I hear saltwater stings if it gets in your eye or an open wound, and you will want to avoid shaving 12 to 24 hours before. For five minutes, I felt a tingling sensation on a small blemish I didn’t know was there. The head floater is not necessary, but nice to have for the first float. Some spas keep a spray bottle with water close for you to rinse saltwater out of your eye.

The pod has soft meditation music with controls and soft blue light on at the beginning and end of the float. I focused mostly on my breathing during my float; I believe I reached a meditative state. The temperature of the water is around 93.5 degrees Fahrenheit, about the same as our skin. It’s easy to stop feeling your body, which makes it much easier to reach your relaxed state. The best way to describe this feeling is that, if I didn’t know any better, I’d almost think it was just my brain floating in the water. I’m guessing this is the feeling of an altered state some people report.

I was ready to get out after my thoughts started to bounce around at the end of the float. I didn’t focus on my breathing the second time around. There was no rhyme or reason to my thoughts; I wanted to stay longer. Most pods offer a 60 minutes or a 90-minute option. Next time I’ll try the 90 minutes.


I walked into the tank with the thought that I might fall asleep; I do not fall asleep just anywhere. If you are the type to fall asleep in the theater, dentist, or car at a drop of a hat — there's a chance you might fall asleep while floating. I know some will question, what if. Floating takes away all pressure points off the body so you will have no reflex to flip over. However, most locations will have you sign a waiver covering several things, including recently dyed hair. Even as worn out as I was, I still did not fall asleep. Perhaps that’s just the magic of the float.

Keep in mind, very salty water can cause a lot of damage to everything it repeatedly comes in contact with. Go directly to the shower after stepping out of the tank. Take a thorough shower to wash off all salt. All the salt in my hair made it feel like I had used a whole bottle of hairspray. However, my hair was so soft after washing it.

The pod will start its recirculation routine after you exit, making it pass through the tank’s filtration and the UV disinfection system. After dressing, find a place to relax and acclimate yourself to the world around you. This is a good time to rehydrate, because the salty water will make you thirsty. You may notice an inner calm, which some call the afterglow. Enjoy!

Benefits of Saltwater Immersion Therapy

  • Reduced pain relief
  • Aids chronic fatigue
  • Helps PTSD
  • Increases dopamine and endorphin levels
  • Aids anxiety and depression
  • Decreases blood pressure
  • Helps fibromyalgia
  • Aids hypertension
  • Helps arthritis
  • Helps athletes relax sore muscles to aid recovery
  • Improved learning
  • Enhanced creativity

Floating is not recommended for people with kidney disease, low blood pressure, epilepsy, any contagious diseases, open wounds, skin ulcers, or severe skin conditions. Unplug from technology, silence your phone and avoid drinking caffeine before for maximum benefit. If your hair is dyed, the water should run clear during washing before floating.

Tonya Olson is a digital content manager for Ogden Publications' magazine titles. She was born and raised in Northeast Kansas swimming in corn, jumping hay bales, and driving go-carts as a child. College took her to Arizona, life moved her to North Idaho, and her heart brought her back home. She’s an artist by nature, her usual outlet is her eye behind the lens of a camera. You can find her on Instagram. Outside the office, Tonya enjoys kayaking local waters, digging in the dirt and wrangling kiddos. Read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Natural Beauty Routine + Lip Balm Recipe

Sage in the garden

Natural Beauty Products Should Be Ubiquitous

I used to be a make-up consultant when I was very young and naive. After a few years of selling products that I realized were full of toxic chemicals I had an awakening. I couldn’t sell them anymore. I wanted to give the gift of confidence and natural beauty, not the gift of future cancer. So I took a financial hit and threw all of my inventory away. And I started looking up every ingredient that was listed on beauty products. It was an education in complex sounding ingredients like parabens, and I’m happy that nowadays most educated women are very wary of mainstream beauty products and their toxic ingredients. It’s not worth the risk of long-term health damage to have the latest beauty product on your skin. 

Glowing, Colorful Natural Look

In my opinion, the most beautiful women have a clean, fresh face that glows with health and a bright smile. My mother also believes that wearing lots of color helps your natural beauty shine through, and I have to agree with her. After looking at my closet, I find that I own a lot of brown, grey, and black clothes. Now that I am in my mid-thirties, I think that beautiful colors and patterns in clothing are a nice addition to my natural beauty routine. Luckily, there are also lots of lovely patterns out there even in eco-friendly clothing and organic fabrics. 

I’ve made a short video showing my simple daily beauty routine. Let me know what you think!

Which Skincare Brands Are Pure & Natural?

How does someone learn which companies make pure healthy beauty products? It can be daunting and confusing, especially with an already busy life. 

Start simple and buy only 100% Certified Organic products. Beyond that, try to get to know the beauty company, where  the products are made, and what standards they have. There are many local make-up and beauty small businesses popping up. Even Amazon sells some handmade products. But it’s best to check in your local health food store and ask if there are any local beauty companies selling there. 

In my e-book, Rosemary’s All-Natural Cosmetics Guide, I share with readers all of the natural beauty products that meet my high purity standards. I am not an affiliate of any of the companies. I also used EWG’s (Environmental Working Group) rating system as a reference point. EWG is a non-profit organization that tests thousands of products for all types of chemicals and ranks them in terms of toxicity. Use their database to look up the products that you normally use, if you're curious. My beauty guide is complete and simple, and will take all of the guesswork out of which products are pure and which are not. As an added bonus, I tried to pick products that were in the mid price range, so that it can be affordable for most people. Most people cannot afford to spend $50 on a daily moisturizer or cleanser!  Some of my tips that are spread throughout the guide are intended for you to simplify your beauty routine. It will also lower your risk of overloading your body with toxins and cancer-causing chemicals. 

Homemade Lip Balm

Make Your Own Homemade Lip Balm

On our homestead, my eight year-old and I make lip balm and fill up our old lip balm containers with pure, wholesome salve for lips! It is a really fun activity for older kids (who can be trusted to be patient and very careful pouring), and the result is your family gets many months of natural lip balm. It is full of organic essential oils and beeswax. Here is my recipe and it has totally simple and pure ingredients. Certified organic lip balm can cost as much as $8 for a small tube, so it can save you a surprising amount of money! Play around with it and try mixing a small bit of lipstick in there for a colorful lip balm. 

Rosemary’s Natural Lip Balm Recipe


5 tbsp Cocoa butter or Shea butter 
1 tbsp Beeswax/beeswax pellets
2 tsp honey
20 drops peppermint essential oil
5 drops tea tree essential oil (optional – will help heal cracks)
5 drops Tamanu nut oil (optional)
A pea-sized amount of lipstick of your favorite color (optional)    


1. Melt butter (cocoa or shea) with beeswax in a double boiler on low. 

2. Stir with a popsicle stick or silicone spatula.

3. Turn off the heat and add honey, EOs, and optional lipstick.

4. Stir again.

5. Then immediately pour into lip balm pots or sticks.

6. Each time you fill a lip balm pot immediately cool in the fridge so that the ingredients don’t separate. Enjoy your lip balm!

Rosemary Hansen is an author, homesteading Mama, and a chef. She has spent the last 10 years “homesteading” in the city. She and her family have just started their off-grid homestead in rural British Columbia, Canada. Her books, Grow a Salad In Your City Apartment and Rosemary’s Natural Cosmetic Guide are a great way to ease into a healthy, pure lifestyle. You can connect with Rosemary at her website, or on her YouTube channel. Read all of Rosemary's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Lemon Balm for Loss and Grief Herbal Healing

Lemon Balm Garden Patch 

When I finally got around to checking the gardens, the Lemon Balm had grown unruly, specifically the greenhouse plot. Unclipped, it continued to rise toward the plastic roof, sprouting seed heads along the way. The base had started to coil, almost snake-like, until the plant was unusable for tea. But I couldn’t bring myself to care about that, or any of the many plants I was responsible for that needed attention and love.

The Mugwort was suddenly taller than I was, the St. Johnswort had been overtaken by weeds, and the hyssop had gone and dried up. It had really only been a few days, but as I’ve quickly learned in this field, plants don’t abide by our sense of time.

Healing from Loss

I recently lost my brother unexpectedly, and as many who have grieved can attest to, felt utterly alone in my pain. Chores seemed meaningless and unnecessary. I couldn’t muster the love I’d previously had for Anise Hyssop and Feverfew, even as they stood vibrant before me. Though surrounded by family, I felt as if sharing my thoughts and feelings would be a burden to them.

So I stayed quiet, alone. But Lemon Balm doesn’t grow alone. Lemon Balm may start as a small thing, but make the mistake of blinking and it will spread across an entire garden plot. The plant called to me, telling me in the ways only pants can, that everything would be alright. And I listened.

While too grown for tea, the stems could be tied and dried for smudging. When combined with a few sprigs each of sage, rosemary, and lavender, I’ve found the smudge has the potential to clear a space, person or thing of negative or stagnant energy, and encourages positive growth through calming and clarifying scents. The plant had not left us, it had simply changed.

Lemon Balm for Healing Tea

Lemon Balm Tea Infusion Colors

 The second patch of Lemon Balm was still usable for teas and when collected, I stuck a few leaves right into my water bottle. My mom had taught me to do this a few summers ago when I was having stress-related stomach problems. I blamed it on school, work, and the woes of socializing, but it was really from not listening. Not listening to my body when it said “slow down and deal with it”.

As I came to learn, Lemon Balm is calming, both physically and emotionally. In the book Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs, Gail Edwards notes that it acts as an antidepressant and helps to alleviate stomach cramps. I have personally found that Lemon Balm helps me to direct my focus on and complete one task before another, helping me feel less overwhelmed.

I like to make a big pot of “house tea” when it’s time to wind down, or when I have company and want to offer them something. The blend is multiple mints (apple mint, peppermint and spearmint), as well as Lemon Balm and nettles. The ratio is 2:2:1, respectively. The tea is nutritive and lively, while also working to soothe any worries, internal or mental.

Over the course of a few weeks with smudging and tea time, my house began to feel like home again. There was more laughter and teasing. More planning and movement. More life in general. I’ve come to love Lemon Balm this season, for all its taught me and all it has yet to teach me. How I’ve been able to misstep in my care and yet it still stood, ready to be harvested and used for an alternative purpose. The lessons of Lemon Balm are not lost on me, though I’m sure I’ll need a reminder every now and then; we need to stop and we need to listen.

While I know we will always miss him, the plants are happy, and we are healing. Perhaps, as my mother always says, there is a lesson in this after all.

Mackenzie Varney is an apprentice herbalist on Nezinscot Farm in Maine. She has degrees in biology and health and has lived and worked on farms all her life. Connect with her on Instagram, and read all of Mackenzie’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Get Your Glow On: Stephanie’s Original All-Purpose Scrub Recipe


As a licensed esthetician (skin care specialist), my clients often ask me about what they can do to improve the texture and radiance of their skin. In addition to my customary sage advice that includes observing good lifestyle habits, drinking plenty of water and eating a whole foods diet, minimizing stress, living in joy, and avoiding excess sun exposure, I always ask if they use a gentle exfoliating facial scrub on a regular basis. Why? Well, allow me to impart a bit of educational "skinformation."

The epidermis, the thin outer layer of the skin that is visible to the eye and protects the body, renews and replaces itself completely every 30 to 60 days or so. This timetable varies with age, health, lifestyle habits, skin care regimen, and environmental factors. The younger you are, the more rapid the cellular turnover and natural sloughing of spent epidermal cells. As you age, the skin’s metabolism naturally slows, resulting in slower cell turnover and a potential buildup of surface dead skin cells. Gentle, consistent exfoliation is essential to aid in the removal of this dry, scaly, lackluster layer, revealing a fresher, smoother complexion that will more readily accept beneficial hydration from a toner, astringent, facial steam, mask, or moisturizer.

I practice holistic skin care, meaning I eschew products containing unnecessary synthetics, irritants, and useless fillers, as well as modern exfoliating treatments such as harsh chemical peels and microdermabrasion that can compromise the long-term health of the skin and its protective microbiome. I prefer instead to use products based on organic plant ingredients and extracts that nourish and support the functioning of the skin, including facial exfoliants that are uber gentle, yet effective, and I incorporate plenty of facial massage during my treatment sessions to stimulate circulation, tighten muscles, and boost product penetration. Yep, I give great facials that leave your skin smiling!

The recipe below is unlike most commercial facial scrub products that contain rough bits of gritty pumice, ground apricot kernels, walnut hulls, or plastic beads (an environmental no-no) - which serve to mechanically exfoliate your skin. Instead, my formula contains softer, soothing, mildly abrasive ingredients that accomplish the same goal while being much easier on your delicate skin.

Stephanie’s Original All-Purpose Scrub Recipe

This recipe will definitely do that for you if used several days per week. It’s actually the very first skin care product that I ever made! I was about 15 at the time, and I’ve used and loved it ever since. It leaves your skin feeling very smooth and satiny and, as a bonus, it doubles as a facial mask: after cleansing your skin, simply apply a thin layer, let dry for 20 minutes, and then rinse.

Note: This recipe calls for oatmeal, almonds, and sunflower seeds processed or ground into “meals”. You can easily grind these ingredients by using a clean coffee grinder (in which you don’t grind coffee) or use a small food processor. Or, you can purchase pre-made oat flour and almond meal. I rarely find sunflower seed meal, though, so this ingredient will probably have to make from scratch.


  • 1/2 cup ground oatmeal or oat flour
  • 1/4 cup almond meal (use raw almonds, not roasted)
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seed meal (use raw seeds, not roasted)
  • 1 teaspoon ground, dried peppermint, rosemary, or spearmint leaves
  • Dash of cinnamon powder (optional, but it adds a pleasant hint of spicy fragrance)
Yield: 1 cup dry ingredients

Liquid additives:

For dry skin: Approx. 2-3 teaspoons full-fat coconut milk, heavy cream, or half-and-half

For normal skin: Approx. 2-3 teaspoons coconut water, almond milk, or low-fat or whole dairy milk

For oily skin: Approx. 2-3 teaspoons distilled or purified water or aloe vera juice


  1. Thoroughly blend all the dry ingredient in a small bowl using a spoon or small whisk, or shake them in a ziplock plastic bag.
  2. Pour the mixture into an airtight storage container. Label and date.

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

To Apply: In a very small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of the dry scrub mixture with enough of the appropriate liquid to form a spreadable paste. Allow the paste to thicken for 1 minute. Now, cleanse your face and throat with your usual cleanser, pat dry. Next, using your fingers, gently massage the scrub onto your face and throat for 1 minute. Rinse well with warm water. This scrub is so gentle that you can use it daily, if you wish. Otherwise, please use at least twice per week. Follow with moisturizer.

Recipe excerpted from Pure Skin Care: Nourishing Recipes for Vibrant Skin & Natural Beauty © 2018 by Stephanie Tourles, used with permission from Storey Publishing.

Stephanie Tourles is a licensed holistic aesthetician, certified aromatherapist, and gardener with training in Western and Ayurvedic herbalism. She has also written many other books, including her best-selling, Organic Body Care RecipesHands-On Healing RemediesRaw Energy In a GlassRaw Energy; Pure Skin Care; and Naturally Bug-Free (all available in the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Store). Visit her website to learn more, and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

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