Toners and lotions

You don’t need to rely on the cosmetic industry to supply your toners and lotions – after all, your grandmother and great grandmother certainly didn’t need to.

A toner is particularly good for oily skin. The gentle astringents remove all excess oil and dirt which can often be missed in cleansing. Other lotions can smooth and soothe dry skin and keep normal healthy skin looking its best.


Here is the greatest lazy person’s hint for a quick herbal lotion: if you like drinking herbal tea (with no added flavourings), after you have taken the tea bag from your cup, wring out the excess water and wipe over your face.

  • Peppermint: great for acne, especially the itchy under the skin type. It soothes itchy skin in general.
  • Chamomile: Soothing and healing.
  • Lime Flower (linden): Soothing and softening, refines skin texture. Also supposed to help remove wrinkles.
  • Yarrow infusion: makes a great problem skin wash. It’s a good astringent, but take care, it has been known to cause photosensitivity in some people. Test on the arm first.
  • Lemon balm: helps with teenage acne.
  • Parsley: apply with a cotton ball several times a day.
  • Oily skin citrus lotion: thinly peel a couple of oranges and lemons, try not to get any of the white pith. Pack the peel into a glass jar and cover with water. Leave to steep overnight. The next day, strain and filter the liquid, add a few drops tincture of benzoin (as a preservative) and keep in the fridge. The benzoin tincture will turn the lotion milky. Apply 2 or 3 times per day and leave on. This improves the texture of oily skin and clears dull skin, and the essential oils from the peel help heal and prevent pimples.
  • Sage Lotion: excellent for acne treatment. Make a sage infusion and add half as much cider vinegar as you have infusion. Apply several times a day.
  • Herbal Pimple Lotion: Simmer 25 grams lavender flowers, the peel of half a lemon (no white pith), and 25 grams thyme in 200 ml distilled water. Add 10 drops of lavender oil and 10 drops of tea tree oil. Dab on spots as needed. It should keep at least a week in the fridge.

Almond Milk

Pour 500 ml distilled water over 25 grams almond meal and 1/2 tsp sugar and leave overnight to soak. Strain and filter, add 6 drops tincture of benzoin as a preservative, bottle and label. Apply morning and night.

Milk of Roses

As above but use rosewater instead of the distilled water.

Virgin Milk

This very old recipe is great for softening and soothing dry patches on your face.

Shake together 50 ml each of distilled water and rosewater.

Add 1/2 teaspoon of tincture of benzoin to the mixture and it will turn cloudy (which gives it the ‘milk’ appearance).

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