As I delve ever deeper into the inspiring, exciting and genuinely life-changing world of natural skincare, I am routinely humbled and awestruck by the healing powers of plants for our outsides as well as our insides. This is my first foray into the world of homemade face creams and potions and I am a changed woman since I first slathered it on my sleepy morning cheeks. It is super refreshing but perfectly gentle, brightens and tightens better than any chemical-filled goop and leaves you smelling like a meadow. Hook me up! I hear you cry: well, even better, it ain’t all that hard.
I first made this under expert supervision at a workshop at Made in Hackney, and this is my second jar – and counting. The recipe is originally from a neat little book called Grow Your own Drugs (yes please!) by the brilliant and fresh-faced James Wong. BBC2 also did a series on it and you can find some more recipes online. The almond oil is a great light moisturiser and while lavender soothes and calms, the marigold (Calendula officinalis) flowers are brilliant for healing and protecting skin – their mucilage protects against inflammation and dryness while an abundance of antioxidants help keep environmental damage at bay. Marigold (or calendula) is also good at keeping oily skin in balance; the bright yellow little flower has a lot to give.
You can buy the flowers dried, online, or use fresh ones if you have them at hand. Clearpsing Agar jelly, which I used here as a vegan gelatin, is available from most health food shops and is a neat little agent made from Japanese sea vegetables which are left out to dry in the snow, harnessing all their plant power.
As with most natural skin products, you want to keep this in a sterilised glass jar and wash your hands before you use it. Once made, keep it in the fridge, and use twice daily or whenever you feel like it.
10 rose geranium flowers, with leaves and stems
8 marigold (Calendula officinalis) flowers
20 lavender flowerheads
200 ml water
1 sachet vegetable gelatine
5 tsp almond oil
10 drops lavender or geranium essential oil
1. Chop the flowers, leaves and stems of the rose geranium and place them in a heatproof glass bowl with the marigold flowers and lavender flowerheads.
2. Boil the water and pour it over the flowers to make an infusion. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes, or until the water has taken on the colour of the flowers. Blend the lot, and then strain in muslin or a nut milk bag.
3. Now, in another bowl, dissolve the gelatine in 2 tbsp cold water. Gradually add the flower infusion, stirring to separate lumps. Add the almond and essential oil, stirring until a gel is formed. Pour into a jar or pump bottle (Muji do good ones) and leave to cool completely before using and refrigerating.