Herbs, Clays, & Exfoliants for DIY Skin Care

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Activated Charcoal Powder

Activated charcoal powder (not to be confused with regular charcoal powder) is widely used in skin care recipes due to its detoxifying properties.

It can be used to make facial masks, which helps to draw impurities out of skin (making pores appear smaller).

Activated charcoal is also very helpful in cold process soaps for all over body use, as it absorbs bacteria and toxins from the body.

Arnica • Arnica montana

 Arnica is a perennial plant in the same family as the sunflower. It is widely used in topical salves for sore muscles, menstrual cramping, and surface bruises.

Arnica can be poisonous if consumed internally, but safe when applied topically after being infused for use as an oil, tincture, or ointment.

Not to be used on open skin, mucous membranes, children, or pregnant women.

Basil • Ocimum basilicum

 Basil is a fragrant herb that is most often used in cooking. However, it is a welcome addition as an exfoliant and natural fragrance in cold process recipes, such as our Herbal Coffee Kitchen Soap.

Basil smells minty and peppery at the same time, creating a lovely, well-rounded scent however it is used.

Calcium Bentonite Clay • Montmorillonite clay

Bentonite clay is used in a variety of skin care recipes, including facial masks, cold process soap, exfoliating body scrubs, and detoxifying lotions.

Our favorite use for this is in our fragrance free shaving soap, as it adds a nice ‘slip’ to the skin which is ideal when using a razor.

Though it feels like the bentonite would remain hard and sandy in a recipe (like pumice), it dissolves very easily when added to liquid.

Calendula • Calendula officinalis

Calendula is an herb made from dried petals of (nonornamental) marigold flowers.  Soak calendula in various oils for weeks at a time to make a vitamin-rich oil infusion. This infused oil can then be used in products to reduce inflammation and minor skin abrasions.

Dried calendula petals can also be used as ornamental pretties on soap by placing on top while it is still wet (before curing).

Chamomile • Matricaria chamomilla

Dried chamomile is from the flowers and buds of a German Chamomile plant.  Smells sweet, fruity, and herbaceous, and most often used in skin care formulations and muscle ailments. Fantastic in oil infusions, especially for sensitive skin types (including babies).

Just like calendula, chamomile can be used ornamentally on soap by placing on top while it is still wet (before curing).

Coffee (Ground) • Coffea arabica

Ground coffee is an excellent exfoliant and a wonderful addition to neutralizing soaps, such as our Herbal Coffee Kitchen Soap recipe.

While we do have this particular brand linked here, the coffee itself doesn’t really matter (you won’t be tasting it, after all). What does matter is how finely it is ground and how much ‘grit’ you want in your soaps and scrubs. Your personal preference!

Colloidal (Ground) Oatmeal • Avena sativa

Oatmeal is made from hulled oat grains and is used in handmade recipes to naturally exfoliate and ease discomfort of many skin ailments. 

Colloidal Oatmeal is simply ground up oatmeal that is a very fine powder. This is helpful in soothing recipes such as sensitive skin soap bars and powdered milk baths.

Lemon Balm • Melissa officinalis

Dried lemon balm comes from a perennial herb in the mint family. It has a smell and taste like lemon and adds a layer of depth to any skin care recipe.

Lemon balm can be infused in oil for a vitamin rich topical application, or it can be added to cold process soaps for exfoliating purposes.

A lovely addition to tea bags or scented sachets as well!

Marshmallow Root • Althea officinalis

Marshmallow root comes from the root of the marshmallow plant and is most commonly known for use as tea, in syrups, and homemade lozenges.

This root is a key ingredient in our Lanolin-Free Nursing Balm for breastfeeding mothers, helping to soothe sensitive skin the first few weeks after childbirth.

A cooling, delicate herb that is safe for babies to ingest and gentle enough for tender, raw skin.

Moroccan Clay • Rhassoul Clay (Ghassoul) Powder

Rhassoul clay, a type of Moroccan clay, is rich in magnesium, potassium, and other vitamins to help nourish the skin.

It is added to soaps, scrubs, and masks to help even out skin tone, draw out impurities, reduce skin dryness, and make skin feel silky-smooth.

A FANTASTIC clay to have on hand for a number of DIY natural skin care recipes.

Variety Clay Set • Bentonite, Moroccan, Kaolin, Activated Charcoal, Mixed Blend

A mixed set of most of the clays mentioned above for a super bundle price. This is the perfect set to get started as you experiment with recipes and find out which products you are going to keep for the long-haul in your skin care line.

Most recipes (even 5 pound soap batches) only call for 3 Tbsp of clay or powder, so this set will last a very decent amount of time as you test what your audience wants more of.

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