My quiet blog lately has been the result of me having just taken lots of lovely courses learning about how to make beauty products from natural ingredients.
Having thought long and hard about how to make a living from my gardening exploits, I've decided to take the plunge and have spent the last few months setting up my business plan, doing market research and starting to design my very own range of natural beauty products. Ingredients will of course include a range of cosmetic herbs grown as the understory to our eagerly anticipated forest garden.
Looking around the garden over the last few weeks, I've realised that july is likely to be the beginning of my yearly harvest of cosmetic herbs. This week I've been out collecting lavender and alchemilla (lady's mantle). I'll tell you a bit about what they're good for while it's still fresh in my mind.
Lavender is renowned as having numerous uses for the skin and body as well as around the home. It is antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsive and antidepressant. For cosmetic use, it is said to be an excellent beauty product, especially good for dry and normal skin. It's healing properties also make it good for treating acne and eczema. Lavender is very safe to use, so you can easily take advantage of these properties by adding a few drops of the essential oil to any beauty products you already have. Or you can grow lavender and make products from scratch!
And of course, it's also a great plant to have in the garden and attracts loads of insects - while out gathering mine I came across this lovely grasshopper:
And the bees were thronging around so much they couldn't even resist sipping at lavender nectar from the cut flowers in my basket!
Alchemilla is another great herb. Beautiful in the garden with it's lovely frothy, zesty coloured flowers and soft grey-green leaves.
Traditionally it is said to be wonderful for maintaining youthfulness. One of the ways it does this is by acting to protect newly formed elastin fibres in the skin, keeping it smooth and supple. It also soothes, cleanses and heals dry and sensitive skin. So as you might have guessed, I'll be using this lovely herb in creams for dry and mature skin.
The next stage is for me to dry my herbs out so they'll keep over the next year. Then I'll make them up into herbal infusions (basically a herbal tea) and into macerated oils (herbs soaked in natural oils for around 6 weeks before straining and using). These will then be mixed with other lovely, nourishing ingredients like shea butter and honey extracts and will become face creams, body butters and facial cleansers. Can't wait to get the first batches made up!