5 WAYS TO LOVE

5 Ways to Love: Marshmallow Root

Marshmallow Root (Althaea officinalis) is a wonderful addition to a natural skin care plan. Its mucilaginous (slippery and moistening) effect, and cooling nature makes it ideal for supporting skin that may be dry, sensitive, inflamed, hot or irritated. This can be from genetic or environmental factors or skin that is experiencing an inflamed skin condition such as rosacea or acne.

Marshmallow root is best suited for application as a cold water infusion, or powdered, to enjoy its cooling, moistening and anti-inflammatory properties.

To easily create a cold marshmallow root infusion, add a small handful of dried marshmallow root to a pint mason jar. Cover with cold water and place in the fridge overnight. Your infusion should be ready in the morning - nice and slippery, gooey. To keep the infusion fresh, create a new batch each time you use it. 

5 WAYS TO LOVE MARSHMALLOW ROOT:

  1. Soak a soft cloth or cotton with a cool marshmallow infusion and apply it as a poultice for 15-20 minutes (or longer) to areas of skin needing cool moisture, resoaking the cloth with cool infusion as needed.
  2. Moisten skin with a splash of freshly made marshmallow root infusion prior to cleansing to add extra soothing. You can also use the infusion as your rinse water. 
  3. Try a marshmallow root infusion in place of your regular toner, followed by your favorite serum and moisturizer.
  4. Soak powdered marshmallow root in water to make a smooth paste. Allow to sit for 15 minutes, then apply to cleansed skin and leave on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse and apply your favorite toner, serum and moisturizer.
  5. Apply powdered marshmallow root mixed with a few drops of water to damp skin in gentle circular motions for a gentle exfoliant. Rinse with marshmallow root infusion.

You can often find marshmallow root in the bulk foods section of your local natural foods store. You can also purchase lovely mallow at Mountain Rose Herbs.

Want an already-made mallow treatment? Try Cocoa, Mallow & Rose Facial Mask, in the Autumn Moon Easy Boutique, This powdered mask gives the soothing comfort of mallow root to skin, along with the humectant (moisture holding) qualities of honey and the refining properties of cocoa and kaolin clay. 

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Do you use mallow root? What is your favorite application? 

5 Ways to Love: Kelp

Kelp is a beautiful skin care ally both internally and externally. It is loaded with minerals, nourishing inside and out, while offering a mucilaginous (I love that word) loveliness that hydrates and soothes the skin. It can readily be found in its powdered form at your local natural foods store or online at herb suppliers such as Mountain Rose Herbs.

Just the aroma of kelp makes you feel like a mermaid frolicking in the ocean. I find myself opening a jar of it just for a sniff. It's great ocean aromatherapy for those of us who live near freshwater.

Here are 5 easy ways that you can incorporate  powdered kelp into your daily skin care:

PLEASE NOTE: You may want to avoid kelp if you have an iodine allergy or sensitivity. Please check with your doc. :)

1. A simple, skin moistening facial mask

Mix a teaspoon of powdered kelp with enough water to make a runny paste. Allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes to become mucilaginous. Apply to freshly cleansed and exfoliated skin and leave on for 15-20 minutes. If it begins to dry, you can remoisten the mask with wet fingertips or a facial mist to reactivate its gooeyness. Remove with a warm, damp cloth and follow with your favorite toner, serum and moisturizer. This mask costs pennies and works infinitely better than many masks you can buy off-the-shelf.

2. A nourishing hair treatment

Just as kelp is great for your skin, it is also great for your scalp (which is really just the skin on your head). Double or triple the mask recipe above and apply to damp hair and scalp, massaging it in. Cover your head with a towel and relax for 30 minutes. Rinse out well with warm water, followed with a cool water rinse. Those with color treated or very light colored hair might want to test a patch first to make sure it doesn't affect hair color. I have blonde hair and it doesn't, but just in case :)

3. A boo boo healer

Take a pinch of kelp powder and mix with a few drops of water to make a paste. Use the paste on minor abrasions or skin irritations to soothe and help speed healing.

4. A relaxing ocean bath

Fill a muslin bag (or layered cheesecloth) with a large handful of powdered kelp and a large handful of sea salt. Toss it in a warm bath and soak your cares away.

5. A product "add-in"

Add sprinkles of kelp powder when using your current cleanser, exfoliant, body wash or body scrub to super charge your products with a hydrating boost.

Kelp powder can also be added to soups, stews or smoothies to get the internal nourishing benefits. Give kelp a try and rock your inner mermaid. <3

Do you already use kelp? How do you like to use it?

5 Ways to Love: Hydrosols

One of my favorite herbal delights is the wispy and mysterious hydrosol. What is a hydrosol - or sometimes called "herbal distillate?" It is the aqueous product that is left over after distilling plants to extract their essential oils. What is left is the water soluble, aromatic and therapeutic qualities of the plant. These aromatic waters offer a myriad of wonderful applications for body and home.

1. A natural body fragrance spray.

Hydrosols make a wonderful alternative to body sprays containing artificial fragrances. Spray them all over skin and hair for a subtle scent.

2. An aromatic and therapeutic facial mist.

Since hydrosols retain the treatment properties of plants, they can help to support healthy skin. Try rose hydrosol for dry/mature skin, neroli for oilier skins, calendula or chamomile for sensitive skins and tulsi (holy basil) for acne prone skin.

3. A luxurious addition to your bath.

Add a cup of hydrosol to your bathwater for a plant energized, aromatic and therapeutic soak.

4. Add them to your food.

Hydrosols (food grade only) can be added to food and beverages to excite your tastebuds and offer a tasty treat. Try a splash of rose hydrosol in a mug of warm milk and honey with a dash of cinnamon. Divine!

5. Scent your home.

Hydrosols offer a gentle fragrance that can be used to scent your rooms and linens.

How do you like to use hydrosols?