Did you know that your extremely expensive face, hair and body care products are often full of tea? Yes, indeed! Any time that you see in the ingredient list the words “aqueous extract” of anything, it is really just a fancy scientific way of saying tea: meaning that they took a plant substance or herb and steeped it in hot water for a very long time.
There are many things in your kitchen cupboards, on your grocery store shelves and growing in your garden that you can use to make your own highly effective beauty concoctions without the chemical additives.
An infusion is basically a very strong tea that has been steeped for a very long time. Basically, to make your own at home, just take one generous handful of dried herbs and steep it, covered, in about 500 ml of boiled water. For roots I would do about 8 hours, for leaves – 4 hours, and for flowers – no more than 30 minutes. Strain and store the tea in a sealed glass container in your fridge for no more than 4 days if you have extra left over after use.
Common Medicinal Beauty Infusions
The following is a list of herbs that are commonly made into tea infusions for homemade beauty concoctions.
Most of them are available in Zimbabwe, some of them you would need to order from a bulk herb shop (online or in person) if you are in the diaspora. Remember to try your local nursery if you don’t know of anyone growing such plants in their garden. If you have friends or family abroad – feel free to ask them to send you some seeds for Christmas. It is a cheap and light gift, and once you have successfully planted you will now have seeds of your own for future plantings.
For the Face
Steaming the face is great for opening the pores and releasing toxins. When you add some dried or fresh botanicals into the brew, you can then absorb some of their precious oils and other phytonutrients into the skin. Regular steaming gives one a most radiant glow, and can be beneficial if you suffer from acne. Do this post cleansing your face, but before you put on your toner, serum and or moisturizer.
Herbs which are great for steaming include – Rooibos tea, green tea, gingko biloba, chamomile flowers, lavender flowers, rosemary, sage leaves, rose petals and calendula (marigold) flowers.
A rooibos, white tea and or green tea infusion makes an excellent anti-aging and youthening skin toner that tightens and brightens the skin, especially if you mix it with aloe. (See our previous blog on this amazing local plant.) Just be sure to store it in the refrigerator and throw it out after about 3 weeks. The high antioxidant content allows it to last that long. Most teas go bad after just a few days in the fridge without an adequate preservative. It just goes to show how potent rooibos and green tea actually are in fighting of scavenging free radicals both internally and externally.
For the Hair
Doing a final rinse with tea when washing the hair is one of the best ways to strengthen and condition the hair and scalp, and not to mention, stimulating growth. Hair tea can even darken graying hair and give a shine to your mane.
Great herbs for hair include black tea, green tea, gingko biloba, comfrey, nettles, oatstraw, rosemary, mint, sage, lavender as well as the roots of ginger, burdock and marshmallow.
So now you know, tea is not just for drinking!
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