Photos by author
You’ve heard of a vegetable garden, a pollinator garden, and a flower garden; but have you ever heard of a skincare garden? I’ll be sharing with you my top 5 plants for my own skincare garden where I live which is Zone 6b. Many of these plants are readily available to most gardeners and zones and you may even have them growing in your garden now!
What’s not to love about lavender? It’s my go-to herb for most of the skincare products I make and highlight in my book; Forrest + Thyme Apothecary: simple skincare formulas you can make uniquely your own. The scent is light and by just inhaling its flowers is calming to the nervous system. It helps to soothe and calm irritated, inflamed, or sunburned skin; can help clear up acne thanks to its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. It can aid in just about any skin issue you may have from eczema, psoriasis, dry skin, aging skin, or acne prone skin. Many believe it helps to speed up the healing of the skin, which is why I use it in my Herbal Soothing Salve. Lavender also contains antioxidants which could also help slow down the aging process by blocking free radicals from your skin, which is one of the causes of fine lines and wrinkles. I personally infuse lavender in my oils for my face serum as well as my wrinkle cream.
Chamomile isn’t just great for tea but great for your skin too! It is a powerhouse of an herb from being anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiseptic, hypoallergenic, as well as containing antioxidants. It helps reduce free radicals in the skin much like lavender and I love infusing Chamomile with Rose in a blend for a face serum. Not only does it work wonders on your skin but it smells fantastic too! I like to grind dried flowers and add them to my charcoal mask, infuse the flowers into oil to then be made into body oil, lip balm, wrinkle cream, face serum. You can infuse fresh petals into witch hazel for a facial toner as well. The possibilities really are endless.
Rose + Rosehips
If I had to guess, rose is probably the oldest ingredient in skincare. It is superb for dry and aging skin due to it’s variety of A, C, D, and E vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. But the flower and it’s seeds are also great for acne, redness, and irritation due to its astringent qualities. Any variety of rose will work in your skincare routine. The rosehips come after the flowers have fallen off and I like to harvest my rosehips after the first frost, just be sure to allow them to fully dry before storing them. I love using rose in bath salts, in a body oil, and in my face serum along with Chamomile.
Rosemary isn’t just used in baking and cooking! It can help increase circulation, is anti-inflammatory, and is used in many haircare products to promote hair growth. Due to this reason alone, I add Rosemary to all of my homemade hair care products. Infuse the herb in spring water and spray it on the roots of your hair twice a day to help regrow hair. I also infuse the rosemary in oils for a nourishing hair serum/deep conditioner, concentrating on the roots. I use it as an eyelash and brow boosting serum too (infused oils only, no essential oils so close to the eye!)
I’m probably late to the party on this one as I just discovered last year that Marigold is the same plant as Calendula. I’ve been growing this magical plant in my garden for years but mainly used as a deterrent of pests in the garden and to enjoy the sunshine color it provides among a sea of green. This past summer I studied it’s properties more and even though I’ve never used this flower in my skincare products before I’m adding it to the list now because that will all change this year! Calendula is great for inflammation and muscle spasms so I will be adding it to my Herbal Soothing Salve as well as into my Muscle Rub. It can also sooth skin ailments like eczema and psoriasis so it will be going into my next batch of body oil. The flower may also help fade dark spots so I’ll be adding it to my batch of face serum as well this year.
Bonus: Chili Pepper
I’m throwing the chili pepper into this list as an added bonus as it is the secret ingredient (well, it’s really not THAT secret) in my muscle rub. Infusing the dried peppers into oil along with a few other ingredients is one of the warming agents in the rub. It penetrates deep into the muscle to help sooth after a long day working in the garden.
Do you have any of these plants growing in your garden now? Have you ever used them in your skincare routines? Next month, I'll be sharing my Top 5 foraged plants that I use in my skincare routine just in time for this years foraging season!
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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