Here’s How to Make Vegan Skincare From Your Herb Garden

You don't have to spend $$$ on expensive skincare products. Make your own vegan skincare at home from your herb garden.

You don’t have to spend $$$ on expensive skincare products for glowing skin. You can make your own vegan skincare from the comfort of your own home.

On this episode of LIVEKINDLY With Me, herbalist and founder of Willow’s Touch, a herbal remedy brand, Vivian Mac gives a tour of her herb garden. She also gives three easy DIY skincare garden recipes: a lemon balm sugar scrub, a calendula face serum, and a rosemary hair rinse.

Mac opts for lemon balm for its anti-viral properties. It also helps to support the nervous system and is known for being a mood enhancer. “Lemon balm, I love, because it’s very calming,” she explains. “The oil of lemon balm can also be used for any topical itching or acne, cuts, scrapes, wounds as well.”

The calendula is another good option for herbal skin care because it has anti-inflammatory properties and helps to provide relief from irritation. “They’re known for their bright yellow colors, though the colors can range from cream to bright orange,” Mac says. “The medicinal part is the entire flower. You can actually eat the petals and add it to your salads or use it as a garnish for desserts.”

Lastly, Mac uses rosemary, which also has anti-inflammatory properties. The aromatic herb helps to relieve colds and is a flavor enhancer. “Just smelling it helps open up the nasal passages,” she explains. In addition to aiding in digestion, Mac says rosemary may help relieve fevers.

Vivian Mac vegan skincare
Vivian Mac, herbalist and founder of the herbal remedy brand, Willow’s Touch, talks all things vegan skin care. | Chris Willmore

Here’s How to Make Vegan Skincare

Lemon Balm Sugar Scrub

Vegan

Ingredients

Part 1: Lemon balm herbal-infused oil

  • 1 part dried lemon balm
  • 4 parts grapeseed oil (You can substitute other oils such as olive, sunflower, etc.)

Part 2: Making the scrub

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup (30 mL) lemon balm infused oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon balm leaves

Preparation

  1. 1
    Part 1: Fill a clean, dry glass jar with the dried lemon balm leaves ¼ of the way.
  2. 2
    Top the rest of the jar with oil.
  3. 3
    Cap and shake the jar.
  4. 4
    Label the jar with the ingredients, date, and anything else you would like to note, such as your intentions for making this oil.
  5. 5
    Shake the jar regularly, ideally a few times a week. Store it in a warm, sunny place to let the oil infuse for 6 weeks.
  6. 6
    After 6 weeks, the herbal oil will be ready to use. Strain out the lemon balm leaves. You can also use a cheesecloth to strain out the finer bits, squeezing the cheesecloth to get the remaining oil out of it.
  7. 7
    The oil can last for a long time (ranging from 6 months to 3 years) if made and stored correctly. Keep it free of moisture, airtight, and stored in a cool and dark place. Pouring it into an amber bottle also helps. Check if the oil has gone rancid by smelling it and seeing if it smells sour or off.
  8. 8
    Part 2: Add the sugar and lemon balm infused oil to a clean, dry bowl and mix.
  9. 9
    Crush lemon balm leaves with a mortar and pestle (or use a spoon, coffee/herb grinder, or your clean hands) until it is finely crushed.
  10. 10
    Add the lemon balm leaves to the scrub and mix to incorporate.
  11. 11
    Transfer the scrub to a clean, dry jar. To maximize shelf life and prevent contamination, scoop out the scrub with a clean spoon with each use. You can store this for approximately six months or longer.
  12. 12
    You can use this refreshing and exfoliating scrub on your skin by gently massaging it onto your body in a circular motion. Rinse off the scrub when you are done.

Recipe Notes

The lemon balm herbal-infused oil will need to be prepared at least six weeks in advance, using the solar infusion method. The summertime is a great time to do this, as the sun is out and the weather is warmer, which is ideal for herbal oil-making. You can scale this to your desired amount, depending on how much lemon balm and oil you have on hand. This oil is made in preparation to make the lemon balm sugar scrub, but you can also use this oil in other ways, such as: applying it as is to your skin, making a salve, or in your cooking!

Calendula Face Serum

Vegan

Ingredients

  • 1 part calendula flowers
  • 4 parts jojoba oil (You can substitute other oils such as olive, sunflower, etc.)

Preparation

  1. 1
    Fill a clean, dry glass jar with the dried calendula flowers ¼ of the way.
  2. 2
    Top the rest of the jar with jojoba oil.
  3. 3
    Cap and shake the jar.
  4. 4
    Label the jar with the ingredients, date, and anything else you would like to note, such as your intentions for making this oil.
  5. 5
    Shake the jar regularly, ideally a few times a week. Store it in a warm, sunny place to let the oil infuse for 6 weeks.
  6. 6
    After 6 weeks, strain out the calendula into a measuring cup. You can also use a cheesecloth to strain out the finer bits.
  7. 7
    Pour the strained oil into a dropper bottle for easy application. Store the remaining oil in a clean, dry jar. The oil can last for a long time (ranging from 6 months to 3 years) if made and stored correctly. Keep it free of moisture, airtight, and stored in a cool and dark place. Pouring it into an amber bottle also helps. Check if the oil has gone rancid by smelling it and seeing if it smells sour or off.
  8. 8
    To use the calendula face serum, add about 5-10 drops to your palm and gently massage it onto clean skin.

Rosemary Hair Rinse

Vegan

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of rosemary (about 10 sprigs)
  • 6 cups boiling water
  • Sponge or small cup

Preparation

  1. 1
    Put the rosemary in a large heat-proof bowl. .
  2. 2
    Add boiling water to the bowl.
  3. 3
    Let the rosemary steep until it cools down enough to safely apply to your scalp and hair. (If you are in a pinch, steep the rosemary in 2 cups of boiling water for 20+ min to make a stronger infusion, and then add warm or cool water to the bowl. This would cut down on the time needed to wait for the hair rinse to cool down.)
  4. 4
    Bend your head over the bowl. Place your hair so that it is over the bowl as well, so that any excess water will drip into the bowl. Use a sponge or small cup to pour the hair rinse over your head. Repeat several times until you’ve wet your entire scalp and hair.
  5. 5
    Massage your scalp with your fingers.
  6. 6
    Once you’re done, pat your hair with a towel and dry your hair. It is recommended to leave in the hair rinse and let it dry rather than rinsing or washing your hair afterwards, but it is up to you. You can also wash your hair first and then finish off with a hair rinse.