Body Care Herbs: An A-to-Z Guide

This weekend while selling my soap and body care products at the local Christmas Farmers’ Market, a very enthusiastic customer took a look at my array of soaps and asked for a “quick overview” of the healing properties of the herbs I’d chosen to use.  I  soon realized there could be nothing quick about it, and her question inspired me to write the this  post on my Forest Garden blog.  Think of it as a quick reference dictionary for the most common uses of some of the most widely used herbs for beauty and personal care products.

If you are interested in the properties of herbs used in natural body care products and want to make more informed choices or learn which herbs are best for your needs, take a look at the post here : Body Care Herbs A-Z

Calendula, Borage and Mullein - three of my favourite herbs to grow, enjoy and incorporate in my body care products. Learn more about their properties and uses at my Forest Garden blog.

Nourishing Clay Facial Cleansing Grains

Nourishing Clay Facial Cleanser

Herbal cleansing grains with skin-nourishing Australian Pink Clay and Canadian Glacial Marine Clay, Lavender, Roses and Marshmallow. The base is a nourishing blend of finely ground oatmeal, white clay, and milk powder – excellent for sensitive or dry skin and good for all skin types. All ingredients are very finely ground to create a smooth, creamy, gentle exfoliating scrub that smells heavenly and leaves your skin feeling clean and looking revitalized.

 Use as a daily scrub or leave on and treat yourself to a luxurious, detoxifying facial.

To use:
Combine approximately 2 tsp of dry mix with enough water to form a creamy paste. Massage gently over skin. Rinse with warm water.

Ingredients:
White Kaolin clay, ground oatmeal, milk powder, Australian Pink Clay, BC Glacial Marine Clay, lavender buds, rose petals, marshmallow root, cinnamon bark, lavender essential oil.

Australian Pink Clay Soap (with lavender and rose)

Australian Pink Clay Soap

I am so pleased with how this soap turned out. So far, everyone who has tried it says it is the best soap I’ve ever made. I knew Australian Pink Clay had a fabulous reputation as a skin care clay; I didn’t expect it to result in a bar of soap quite this heavenly. It glides over the skin like silk without being slippery and lathers beautifully.  Knowing the resulting bar would be a subtle, natural shade of pink, I decided to scent it with lavender and rose.

Australian Pink Clay soap scented with rose and lavender essential oils

Ingredients:  Saponified coconut, olive, soybean,  palm, and castor  oils, shea and cocoa butters, Australian pink clay, lavender and rose essential oils.

Shampoo Bars

Herbal Shampoo Bars . . . with silk!

Never throw out a shampoo bottle again with LavenderBlue shampoo bars! These bars are loaded with carefully chosen combinations of herbs and essential oils especially beneficial for the hair such as nettle, rosemary, horsetail, burdock, marshmallow root, comfrey and chamomile. The addition of silk peptide powder and ample amounts of jojoba and  sweet almond oils –  and  all the luxury of shea and cocoa butters –  ensures a creamy shampoo that is nourishing to the scalp and leaves the hair full and shiny.

Choose from:

Rosemary

Rosemary shampoo

Infused with nettle, horsetail, comfrey and chamomile with lavender and rosemary essential oils. Nettle and Horsetail are considered the ultimate herbs for hair health. Comfrey is softening and soothing to hair and scalp, and chamomile is excellent for sensitive skin. Lavender is also soothing and anti-inflammatory, while rosemary stimulates circulation to the scalp. Silk peptide powder is added for conditioning and shine.

Frankincense and Clary Sage

Frankincense and Clary Sage Shampoo

Infused with burdock, chamomile, milky oat tops, and marshmallow root with the addition of frankincense and Clary sage essential oils.  All of these herbs and oils are the friend of a dry, flaking, sensitive scalp, and dry, brittle hair,  but will bring a softening and luster to any hair type. Silk peptide powder is added for conditioning and shine.

Using Solid Shampoo Bars

Shampoo bars are becoming increasingly popular, but you won’t find them the same as your old chemical-laden shampoos that leave the hair feeling kinda slimy. At first you might think your hair feels strange, but once your hair has dried, you will realize it is simply clean. As with any change in hair routine, it takes your hair a few washes to adjust and the benefits of these shampoos to take effect. To use, simply rub up a lather with bar directly on hair and/or in your hands – a good shampoo bar will have a recognizably foamy lather – massage into hair and scalp and rinse well.

Natural shampoo bars are often followed by a rinse of 1/4 cup cider vinegar in two cups of water, which is an effective way of naturally restoring the hair’s pH balance and de-tangling the hair. Rinsing with a cup or two of a strong herbal tea  such as nettle – or any of the herbs included in my shampoo bars – is another great option; throw in a teaspoon of or so of vegetable glycerine and a couple of tablespoons of cider vinegar and you have an incredible, home-made conditioning hair rinse!  If that all sounds like a bit too much work, your favourite conditioner will do just fine!

Hair Rinse Herbs and their properties:

Nettle – Strengthens and conditions hair, may darken it slightly.

Chamomile – Softens and conditions the hair and soothes itching, may lighten hair slightly.

Burdock – The hair rinse herb of choice for dandruff, eczema, etc.

Rosemary – Promotes hair growth by encouraging circulation to scalp area.

Horsetail – This silica-rich herb strengthens the hair and builds body.

Comfrey – Soothing, softening and supremely kind to both hair and scalp. Builds body.

Care of your Shampoo Bar

High quality shampoo bars are not made, like a regular bar of soap, with hardness as a chief concern. This is shampoo after all and the solid fats that work so well in a long-lasting bar soap, if added in excess to a shampoo bar, will leave residue on your hair. Thus, my shampoo bars contain a lot of conditioning liquid oils, most notably jojoba , sweet almond, castor, and olive. These softer bars require that extra care is taken to ensure they dry completely between use and do not lie in puddles of water. A wire rack, the top of a scrub brush, or a very well-draining soap rack will ensure months of use from each bar.

Fragrance Free Herbal Soaps

Luxurious Shea and Cocoa Butter soaps infused with honey and herbal oils

One of the reasons I started making my own soap and body care products was that I hated the overuse of scents that bombards us everywhere we go. All my life my eyes have watered and my nasal passages burned when walking through the detergent isle at a grocery store or through the cosmetics department of a department store.  I needn’t mentioned those weird chemical soup air “fresheners” that plug into power sockets. Fortunately, unlike many, these unnatural olfactory assaults don’t, for me, trigger migraines, nausea, or other more serious effects of chemical sensitivity; they are just an annoyance . . . well, probably a long-term health hazard as well when one considers the toxic, carcinogenic effects of these phthalate-laden fake smells.

I made these soaps so those who want a truly luxurious bar with all the goodies – shea butter, cocoa butter, creamy castor oil, carefully infused with healthful, skin-loving, soothing herbs – but without the scent; something far more exciting and skin friendly than just a plain jane unscented soap.

These soaps are a good choice for infants and small children, fragile elderly skin, and also a great idea for those who are temporarily intolerant to scent and prone to nausea, whether due to pregnancy, chemotherapy, etc., but who would still love to use a wonderfully luxurious natural soap.

I couldn’t find anything like these soaps anywhere . . . so I had to create them myself, and I absolutely LOVE them!

Choose from:

Calendula and Marshmallow

Marshmallow-Calendula Soap made with organic summer garden herbs

Calendula and Marshmallow fragrance-free soap

Chamomile and Honey

Chamomile Honey soap with a lovely hint of natural honey scent

Chamomile and Honey fragrance-free soap

Calendula and Honey

Calendula Honey soap. The honey increases the bubbly lather.

Calendula and Honey Soap

Yarrow

Yarrow Soap - a great choice for mature skin

Yarrow fragrance-free soap

Borage

Borage soap with borage blossoms and the bee that couldn't stay away long enough for me to take a photo. Bees are borage blossom addicts . .. and for good reason.

Borage fragrance-free soap

Wild Rose Hip

Rose hips - so abundant in the north woods and so, so good!

Wild Rose hip fragrance free soap

Chamomile

100% natural chamomile soap - a favourite for dry or itching skin

Chamomile fragrance-free soap

Comfrey

last but not least - Comfrey, the queen of skin regenerating herbs

Comfrey fragrance-free soap

Ingredients in the above soaps:

Saponified coconut, soybean,  palm, and castor  oils, shea and cocoa butters. Herbal oil and water infusions with my own organically grown and/or wild-crafted herbs.

Why Natural?

Natural Unscented Soap

Unscented Hand-Made Soap

For those who love a no-nonsense, plain bar of soap that gets the job done and is healthy, natural, and kind to the skin, LavenderBlue Natural Unscented soap is recommended. This soap has a smooth, stable lather and contains a wholesome blend of olive and coconut oils.

Introducing Lavender Blue Handmade Herbals

♥ ♥ Welcome to Lavender Blue Hand-Made Herbals ♥ ♥

Your source for local artisan soap, natural body care and herbal lifestyle products in Quesnel, BC, all formulated and created by Quesnel herbalist, Laurel Glitherow, a certified herbal practitioner.

About me:

 I am a Certified Herbal Practitioner living in the wilderness heart of Beautiful British Columbia, Canada. Here in my little clearing in the woods, I am inspired by nature and the powerful, healing herbs that grow in my garden and the surrounding forest to create natural herbal remedies and body-care products that capture the essence of the pristine wilderness I’m blessed to call home.

It brings me great joy to apply my love, creativity and green wisdom to share the healing gifts of nature.

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About my products:

My products are intended to nurture and delight both body and spirit.

I use only organically grown or wild-crafted herbs. What I don’t harvest from my own garden, meadow, and woods comes from trusted certified organic or ethically wild-crafted sources. I do not use wild-crafted herbs that are considered at-risk or endangered species. My preference is for well-known traditional plants backed up by centuries of therapeutic use (chamomile, calendula, comfrey, st. john’s wort, yarrow, etc. ) and abundant local species (i.e, dandelion, cottonwood, birch, fireweed, balsam fir).

I put great care into formulating my products and harvesting and processing by the best methods to ensure a quality product that incorporates the finest botanical properties.

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Where to Buy:

You can purchase directly from me (see how to purchase), on-line at Etsy or Poppyswap (click buttons on right hand side of this page), or at the upcoming Quesnel Christmas Farmer’s Markets. My products will also be available soon at Green Tree Health and Wellness on Reid Street, Quesnel.