Real Food for Your Skin

Reader Contribution by Ilene White Freedman and House In The Woods Farm
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Our bodies drink through our skin, as well as from the food and water we eat. I heard this at a presentation on skin care and suddenly felt very thirsty, craving to hydrate my skin. I wanted to feed my body real food and water, inside and out. Being a farmer and a homesteader, I already feed the inside of my body real food. Now I wanted to feed the outside of my body real food, too. I love to make things from scratch, so I set out to find a delicious skin care recipe to create. 

I’m a hard sell on skin products. I have sensitive skin that is best left alone. I don’t like commercial skincare products or perfumes or preservatives or just about anything on the market. With a bit of resignation, I usually just skip the skin care. But suddenly I craved hydration like a dried out prune. Anticipating the dry air that would fill my house from winter’s wood stove heat, I became determined to have lovely well-nourished skin.

It took me a couple months to research recipes, collect ingredients, and make time to create my own homemade skin cleanser and cream. I selected Rosemary Gladstar’s Cleansing Miracle Grains and Rosemary’s Perfect Face Cream, from her book Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health. These recipes are made from real ingredients.

Miracle Grains. For the grains, I used lavender from my herb garden, as well as oatmeal, almonds, and poppy seeds from my kitchen cabinets. And white cosmetic clay and roses. If you grow flowers without spraying, you can harvest and dry whole rose buds to use.

Grind all the ingredients of the Miracle Grains, ideally in a small coffee grinder. Store the gritty Grains in a jar. For application, mix a tablespoon of dry grains in a little jar with distilled water and/or rose water until it is a paste. It lasts for a few days. You can use tap water, but it will not keep long, it will mold, so make this by the teaspoon for only one or two applications.

“Face Mayo.” Rosemary’s Perfect Face Cream is an emulsified blend of waters like rose water, distilled water and aloe with oils like coconut, almond, lanolin and a touch of beeswax. You can personalize your blends. I call the skin cream “Face Mayo” because it is made just like mayonnaise. I found it easy because I am used to making mayonnaise.

Here are some tips: you are blending waters and oils, which don’t usually blend well. Keep them about equal in quantity and temperature, at room temperature. You want them to blend, so one should not dominate. Put waters in a blender or food processor. Drizzle the oil into the waters slowly while blending until they are completely emulsified and look like mayonnaise.

Balancing waters and oils makes sense to me, as the goal is to hydrate your skin with waters and moisturize with oils. I keep a small jar in the bathroom and store the rest in the refrigerator. I do not label the refrigerated jar “Face Mayo”, for fear that my son will smear some on a sandwich.

I am excited about this new venture, because I am finally taking care of my skin. As a farmer, I am hard on my skin. I like to feel the soil, so I am not protecting my hands as often as I likely should, and my feet are barely slipped into garden clogs. My skin could use some TLC after all that hard work.

The first time I used the grains and moisturizer, my skin was instantly softer and balanced and made me want to start doing promotional videos for Rosemary. I look forward to washing my face in the evening. That makes me chuckle, as I’m really not the kind. It is like a little spa time every evening when I heat up my skin with a warm wash cloth, rub the gentle mask of grains over my skin and wipe it off with the wet wash cloth. Then massage in just a dab of the face mayo. I slather it on after showering and on my feet as often as possible. Life is good, skin is good.  

Winter at its best is a time of homey, cozy indulgences like this one. The real test will be giving my skin this loving, beneficial hydration when I start playing in the soil again in March. All of these skin-care programs…”May they serve to enhance your inner harmony and may you become enchanted with your own unique, radiant beauty.” Rosemary Gladstar, Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health

The Recipes

Cleansing Miracle Grains

Rosemary’s Perfect Face Cream

Read a blog post I wrote about seeing presentations by Rosemary Gladstar at MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR and another one of her wonderful recipes: Make Echinacea Tincture

Ilene White Freedman operates House in the Woods organic CSA farm with her husband, Phil, in Frederick, Maryland. The Freedmans are one of six 2013 MOTHER EARTH NEWS Homesteaders of the Year. Ilene blogs about making things from scratch, putting up the harvest, gardening and farm life on the farm’s Facebook Page. For more about House in the Woods Farm, go to the House in the Woods website, and read all of Ilene’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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