Herbal Apothecary: Soap-Free Facial Scrub

In addition to all the edible stuff we've been growing all summer, I've also been slowly building up an herbal apothecary:


From left to right, we have dried lavender, dried rose petals, dry face scrub, face scrub moistened into a paste, dried chamomile, and comfrey oil. The dried flowers have all kinds of uses, both edible and not. Here I've used it for an all-natural face scrub. 

You can see it in its dry form in the jar above — the white stuff in the center. This is from a recipe by herbalist Rosemary Gladstar. You can check it out here, or read the whole book, which has lots of cosmetics as well as medicinal recipes. This face scrub is called "miracle grains," and is actually a substitute for soap. It uses a bunch of kaolin clay (that's the white stuff that you see in the jar), plus ground almonds and oatmeal, and chopped up dried rose petal and lavender. The clay draws impurities out of the skin, and the other ingredients are for gentle exfoliation. 

I store the scrub in dry form in the big mason jar, but to use it, I put a scoop in a jelly jar and add honey and rose water (store bought for now, but next year we should have enough roses to make our own) to make a thick paste. That part was kind of a pain, but it turned out great:


I have a plastic screw-top lid for the mason jar, so it stays on the shelf in the shower with no problem. The honey is softening and (surprisingly) not sticky at all. This small amount doesn't go bad before I use it up, and I mix up some new every couple of weeks.

At first I was skeptical about not using soap, but I've been really pleased with this. It cleans well, and my skin feels soft and smooth. It smells nice, and there are no chemicals or preservatives in it at all. The only very minor drawback is that you have to make sure you break up any lumps of clay as you wash it down the drain so you don't get a clog. No big deal — a fine trade-off for a great, all-natural product!

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