Beauty Naturally

Written By: The Lowdown - Jul• 01•13



Many people skip the toning step and go from cleansing directly to moisturising. It is your decision but personally I really like toning for two main reasons: toners help in removing the last traces of cleanser or mask and it is a great way to refresh your face on a hot day (it is easy to turn a toner into a spritzer; pour it into a small spray bottle). Commercial toners often use alcohol which is very astringent and dries out the skin. The recipes below have no alcohol and are very gentle.


One of the best home made toners is just a few spritzers of flower water. Flower waters (Hydrosols or Hydrolats) are expensive as they are a by-product of the distillation of flowers, leaves or barks to obtain essential oils. They are normally quite expensive and the good quality ones are difficult to source in Zambia so here a “cheat” version of it that you can do on the stove and it is all your skin needs (and it is still very natural) .

Prepare a double boiler: pour water into the bottom part then pack the top part with fresh petals. Cover the petals with mineral or filtered water. Cover with a lid and simmer very gently for one hour. Once cooled squish the petals to squeeze out all the liquid. Discard the petals and repeat using fresh ones and pouring the original water onto them. Cool your home made flower water and pour it into sterilised bottles. This should last in the fridge for one to two weeks so only make small quantities at the time.


An even easier and quicker way to make a good facial rinse is to make infused waters. A water infusion is nothing more than a tea: chop your dried herbs into fine pieces. Pour boiling water over them and let it steep for 1 minute. Strain, cool and bottle. Lasts one week in the refrigerator.


Another home made way to extract the plants properties and use them as a water is to make a decoction. This method is normally used with the woodier, thicker parts of a plants such as seeds, roots and barks: roughly chop the plant parts you intend to use, put them in a large pot and cover them with water. Slowly bring the water to the boil, simmer for fifteen minutes, strain, cool and bottle. It will last one week in the fridge.


Here a small guide for choosing your correct plant part for a home made face toner or spritzer.


Sensitive skin: lavender, chamomile, calendula petals, borage leaves and petals

Dry skin: geranium, rose petals, borage leaves and petals, orange flower, calendula, chamomile

Normal skin: dandelion, hibiscus, lavender

Mature skin: rose petals, fennel seeds, borage leaves and petals, carrot, green tea

Oily skin: peppermint, thyme, sage, yarrow, orange peel, borage leaves and petals, rosemary

You can make two or three and mix them up according to your preference and skin type.


How to tone your face: shake the bottle and apply your toner to cotton wool. Wipe it gently across the face in long sweeping movements from the bottom going up (don’t help what gravity already does well … skin sag!). Pay attention to the area around the nose but avoid the eyes. Make sure you don’t forget about the hair line and the area under your chin! This should not take you more than one minute and you will notice then your moisturiser will absorb easily after applying the toner.

You will feel perfectly clean and refreshed.





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