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From the Publisher
In the Garden
Preparing your ingredients
Many of us have discovered the joy of growing our own plants and flowers in gardens, courtyards, patios or window boxes. It is surprising what can be achieved with a bit of planning in even the smallest of spaces. You may have thought about growing vegetables or some herbs for cooking, but we would love to encourage you to think about adding a few more plants for use in cosmetic recipes to enhance your home spa experience. The opportunity to pick your own herbs and flowers will inspire and enrich your recipes with the freshest and most potent of ingredients, grown in your own back garden and at your fingertips whenever you need them.
A selection of herbs such as lemon balm, sage, mint, marjoram, camomile, lavender, fennel, pelargonium (also known as rose geranium) and thyme are used in many of the recipes. Fresh herbs can be used in herbal teas and facial steams, but for wheat packs, incense, bath oils, powders and herb pillows, dried herbs are required. Simply place your fresh herbs in an airing cupboard on a paper-lined tray and they will dry within a few days. Keep them in airtight containers in a cool, dry place until required.
As well as herbs, try growing flowers such as healing calendula, St John’s wort and achillea, immune-boosting
echinacea, fragrant roses (flowers and rose hips) for cosmetics and teas, elderflowers for creams and lotions, hops to aid sleep, and violas and daisies for soothing balms.
Even unpopular weeds such as nettles can be useful for hair products. Or if you only have a windowsill, why not cultivate an aloe plant which will give you an instant cooling gel for treating sunburn and an all-purpose soothing skincare ingredient.
Only use flowers in perfect condition and fully open; avoid damaged petals or any that are imperfect in colour or shape. Also avoid any flowers or plants that are potential irritants or poisonous.
Using flowers and herbs in the recipes
For The Dispersing Bath Oil: (page 74) Lavender, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, roses, calendula or late-flowering daisy-headed flowers such as echinacea and achillea are ideal for use in this oil.
For The Facial Steam With Flowers: (page 72) A facial steam is a great way to benefit from the power of soothing and healing plants. Try lavender, camomile, rose and calendula for their soothing and calming properties, or fennel, juniper, sage and thyme for problem skin.
For The Purifying Incense Powder: (page 118) For powder incense recipes you can add botanical ingredients to the mix of wood powders and resins which form the base. Try dried pelargonium leaves, sage, thyme or rosemary, dried pine needles, cistus and marjoram as well as lavender flowers.
Cooling Cucumber, Matcha and Lime Face Mask
Makes approx. 380ml (²⁄³ pint)
This mask can be made with ingredients that you may already have in your kitchen, and if you use the matcha powder it will have the most amazing, bright green colour. It is a truly zingy, refreshing mask, ideal for a hot, sticky day when its cooling effect can be best appreciated.
How to apply
Spread the cooling mask over the face and neck and relax while the antioxidant, anti-ageing green tea and cooling, soothing cucumber get to work. Leave for 5 to 10 minutes before removing with warm water and a muslin cloth.
This is a fresh recipe so it should ideally be used straight away. It can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days, after which it should be discarded.
1 green tea bag or 5g (1 tsp) matcha green tea powder (or follow packet instructions)
75g (2½oz) cucumber
2.5g (½ tsp) vegetable gelatine powder, such as Vegeset (or follow packet instructions)
20 drops lime essential oil
Cooling Cucumber, Matcha and Lime Face Mask
Pour 300ml (½ pint) hot (not boiling) water on to the green tea bag or matcha green tea powder in a mug or jug (follow the packet instructions for the correct dosage of powder to water). If using the powder, stir to combine – the liquid will be a bright green colour – then leave to cool slightly. Alternatively, leave the tea bag to infuse for 10 minutes.
Chop slices of cucumber and place in a blender with the green tea liquid. Whizz until the cucumber is fully blitzed, then leave to cool completely. Check the amount of liquid and measure out the correct quantity of gelatine powder according to the packet instructions (typically 1 tsp per 600ml/1 pint). Add the gelatine to the liquid and stir to combine.
Place the mixture in a pan over a low heat, stirring all the time. Once it has reached boiling point, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool to around 40°C (104°F). Add the lime essential oil to give a citrus scent: for 300ml (½ pint) use 20 drops (or 10 drops in 150ml/¼ pint). Pour into a bowl and allow to cool before placing in the fridge to set.