Are you looking for ways to cut chemicals out of your beauty routine? Finding replacements for beauty products can be difficult, especially if your skin is sensitive. This is where plants come in! Lots of plants provide natural solutions to help improve skin and hair quality.
Below you will find 13 plants that can benefit your beauty routine. You might even have some of these plants in your backyard already! To show you how to use them, we created this how-to guide with custom tips for each plant. Now you can make your own essential oils, soaps and lotions!
Now that you know the benefits of each plant, you can choose one that suits your beauty needs. For dry skin, try chamomile. If you live in a sunny area, an aloe plant might be a smart investment. The next step is extracting the oil that will give you that desired benefit.
The three most popular ways to extract oils are maceration, steam distillation and cold pressing. While they may seem complicated, they can all be performed at home with only a few tools! Each of these methods will produce an oil that should be stored in an airtight container out of direct sunlight and used within 6-12 months. Ready to give it a try? We’ll teach you how to perform each method.
Pro-tip: Often you can use the flower, root or leaf of a plant to make oils. When we refer to leaves, we mean all three of these.
Maceration uses oil, leaves, and heat to produce and infused oil. This is the recommended manner of extraction for chamomile and lavender.
What you’ll need: airtight container, carrier oil (we prefer coconut oil but vegetable or olive oil can be substituted) and dried leaves
- Clean the container thoroughly.
- Fill it with chopped and dried leaves.
- Pour the carrier oil of your choosing over the plant material until it is covered completely.
- Place the container in a sunny spot for about three weeks. Heat from the sun will gently extract the oils without compromising the properties of the plant.
- Gently stir or shake the mixture every other day. With most plants you will begin to notice a coloration of the carrier oil.
- Strain the oil and store.
This method distills the oils through steam. The essential oil attaches to the steam, which is then condensed into water and oil. Separate the oil from the water, and you have your essential oil! This is the best way to make tea tree oil.
What you’ll need: sauce pot with lid, vegetable steamer, measuring cup, ice cubes, separating funnel, stopcock and leaves
- Place leaves in a pot and cover with water.
- Put a vegetable steamer inside the pot above the leaves.
- Place a measuring cup inside the steamer.
- Cover with the sauce pot lid placed upside down.
- While the stove is on high to boil the water, put a few ice cubes on top of the lid. This will expedite the condensation process.
- Once the ice melts, turn off the stove and carefully remove the measuring cup.
- Empty the contents of the pot into a separating funnel with a stopcock.
- Once filled, make sure both ends of the funnel are closed and shake vigorously.
- Invert the funnel and open to release pressure. Oil will float and water will sink.
- Empty the oil and water each into separate containers.
- Repeat this process three more times to extract the maximum amount of oil.
Cold pressing simply means squeezing the oils out via pressure. You can use cold pressing for cucumber and aloe vera.
Supplies: mortar and pestle, leaves and carrier oil
- Place your leaves into a mortar and pestle with just enough carrier oil to cover the leaves.
- Grind the leaves for 15-30 minutes. Your kitchen should smell intensely of whatever plant you are cold-pressing.
- Add more oil into the mortar, cover and let it sit for at least 48 hours.
- Strain using a cheesecloth or sieve.
If all of the beauty benefits possible in plants inspired your green thumb, check out our plant selection! You can find everything from bonsai trees to bromeliads. A touch of green will do more than bring a natural glow to your skin, they can also improving your breathing, humidify the air and lower your risk of sickness.