Forage for Skin and Hair Care Ingredients

Reader Contribution by Sarah Hart Morgan
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Foraged horsetail. Photo by Sarah Hart Morgan

Last month, I shared my top 5 plants in my skincare garden but many of the plants I use have been foraged for around my property. I’m a big believer in eating locally grown food and that extends into the plants I use in my skin and hair care routines. The same reason I prefer to eat locally sourced honey, I believe nature provides most of what we need to our local regions.  I’ll be sharing with you what plants I forage for in my zone: 6b, and how I incorporate them into my hair and skincare routines.

Horsetail

Horsetail can be found in wet areas along creeks, streams, and rivers. I am lucky enough to have this plant growing along the side of my road for easy harvesting. Horsetail can improve circulation in the hair follicles which can promote hair growth, therefore, I like to incorporate this plant into all of my hair growth products combined with Rosemary.  After harvesting, let the reeds dry, you can dry them in a dark place hanging upside down, on a drying rack, or in a dehydrator. The reeds will then separate easily for storage. I like to infuse horsetail along with rosemary in spring water to be used as a hair growth spray. Add a bit of witch hazel into a 1oz spray bottle and use twice a day. Keep the mixture in the fridge for preservation. I also infuse in a mixture of oils to use as a hair serum/deep conditioner treatment. 

Wild Rose + Rosehips

Wild roses grow along the creek. Photo by Sarah Hart Morgan

 Wild Rosehips foraged in the Fall. Photo by Sarah Hart Morgan

Wild rose and rosehips are much smaller than the cultivated variety but I LOVE foraging for wild roses along our creek. For me, it may be more of a mindful practice then anything else and it is one of my favorite summer activities.  The petals dry quickly and easily for storage.  I like to grind them up to be used in bath salts, infused in oils along with Chamomile in my face serum, and used in wrinkle cream.  Rosehips can be found in the fall/winter months and are best harvested after the first frost. Just be sure to leave plenty for birds and other wildlife to eat during the colder months.

Yarrow

Yarrow found in a field. Photo by Sarah Hart Morgan

In skincare, yarrow is wonderful with wound healing and for this reason, I incorporate it in my Herbal Soothing Salve, infusing the plant in oils along with other skin loving plants and herbs for at least 6 weeks.  I also incorporate it in my Muscle Rub as it is said to help improve circulation. It is easy to harvest and easy to dry by hanging it upside down in a dark room.

Wild Violet

Wild violet. Photo by Sarah Hart Morgan

This flower may be small but when it’s blooming it’s easy to spot. The dark purple flowers stand out against the green grass. The flowers can come in shades of purple into white. The flowers are good for dry, chapped skin. They are cooling, soothing, and anti-inflammatory. They can be infused in witch hazel (you may even get a purple color!) to be used as a facial toner or to help relieve the itch from insect bites. You can infuse them in oils for all your skincare needs. It can be time consuming harvesting these beautiful little flowers so be sure to give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the process!

Elderflower

Elderflower found in a field. Photo by Sarah Hart Morgan

Preparing Elderflower for drying. Photo by Sarah Hart Morgan

Elderflowers are the flowers that come before the Elderberries. I personally love the berries more than the flowers so I try to only harvest what I need of the flowers and leave the rest to turn into berries.  The flowers have anti-aging qualities, are said to improve skin elasticity and are firming. They are full of vitamins and improve skin complexion. I harvest just enough to last a year and use it in my wrinkle cream and body oil. 

What do you forage for in your area? Are any of these plants available to you? I’d love to know what local plants you harvest and how you use them, please share in the comment section!

Sarah Hart Morgan is a designer, photographer and author of Forrest + Thyme Apothecary: simple skin care formulas you can make uniquely your own. She lives in the Shenandoah Valley, where she works with foraged plants in her skincare and apothecary products, camera-less photography, using plants as a developing agent in film photography, and creating natural inks for painting. Connect with Sarah on her website, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


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