In Vermont, we look forward to summer all year. There’s nothing like those first few weeks of hot sunshine that make us grateful to live in this lush and green paradise. The warm weather inspires all sorts of summertime activities, from working in our gardens, swimming in clear, cold rivers, hiking in our lovely wild spaces, spending time with friends, and sleeping under the stars.
Because we spend so much time outside, it’s important to think about caring for our skin as we take on the blazing summer sun. And what better way to do so with plants! It connects us to the season and allows us to savor the sweet gifts of summer.
Our skin is the barrier to the world around us, always coming into contact with smoke, exhaust, sunshine, and dirt, and unnatural substances.
Pampering our skin not only makes us feel adorned and special with the act of self-care, but it’s also such a lovely way to use the herbs and flowers that are blooming around us.
Here are some ways to add flowers, herbs, and sunshine into your everyday skincare routine:
Summer sun tea or herbal water
The ultimate sun + plant connection
Connecting sun, plants and water is such a vibrant way to bring summer magic into our daily rituals. Plus, it’s like drinking liquid sunshine, after fresh herbs have sat in the blazing sun all day, infusing into fresh water.
To make sun tea: Fill a jar about halfway with fresh plants, cover with water, and let the sun work its magic, steeping the tea all day. The next morning strain and enjoy the tea – such a lovely way to connect with the plants around.
For a whole other experience, try it during a full moon. Leave the tea out overnight to steep in the moon’s magic light and enjoy it the next day. It will be a high vibe experience!
If you don’t have time for sun tea each day, harvest a few fresh herbs in the morning and enjoy them in your water bottle throughout the day, the flavor will be subtle but still enjoyable. A few favorites for this include Rose, Tulsi, Borage, Lemon Balm and Chamomile.
Hydrosols or Floral Waters
These are such a lovely treat during the hot summer months, as they are cooling and leave you feeling refreshed and hydrated.
Hydrosols, are essentially a product of distillation and carry the hydrophilic properties (water-soluble components) of the plant in liquid. Hydrosols usually have a scent similar to the plant’s essential oil, but also are easier to make, and more sustainable since you don’t have to use pounds and pounds of herbs.
They are easy to make and they make your house smell positively divine! You can also buy them, but make sure they are coming from an organic, unsprayed source.
I like to keep mine in the fridge to preserve them longer.
They make a lovely addition to drinks and facial masks, or as a cooling spray to the face and body on a hot summer day.
They also pair well with aloe gel and make a great spray for after hours spent in the sun.
Some favorite ones to make in the summer are Rose Geranium, Rose, Chamomile, Tulsi, Elderflower, Lemon Balm and Peppermint.
Is there anything more luscious than rubbing yourself down with oil after a bath?
It leaves the skin velvety soft and supple and is a luxurious treat for our summer skin. A great way to use oils is with sugar scrubs as you can use them in the bath or shower and it acts as a gentle exfoliate, especially if we find ourselves a little dirty after a day at the beach or working in the garden.
You can add in fresh herbs like roses, or lavender to brown or white sugar, and pour melted coconut oil over the top. Then combine well and store in a jar for later use. A small spoonful will be enough for one application and will leave you feeling fresh and hydrated.
Note: Be careful as the tub can sometimes get a little greasy with the oil!
Herbal and Floral Hair Rinses
Hair rinses are simple to make, and they naturally condition the hair and scalp leaving your hair soft, shiny and clean. They are essentially a tea, but you can use the leftover parts of plants you might not necessarily use; like stems and buds, broken petals etc.
Simply make a tea with boiling water and herbs, and allow it to infuse overnight- around 8 hours. Strain off the liquid and use in your next shower. Makes sure to slowly pour over your head so you can massage it into your hair and scalp. You would do this after shampooing and conditioning. If you place a large bowl under your head, you can catch the liquid and reapply several times. You can either rinse it out or leave it to dry and go about your day knowing you have flowers in your hair. Some favorite herbs for the hair are Rose, Nettles, Calendula, Lavender, Raspberry Leaf, Calendula, Chamomile, Horsetail and Burdock Root.
Fresh floral Masks
It’s common to use powdered herbs in our face masks, but how often do you use fresh herbs!? It makes a lovely way to bring the delicate and beautiful flowers into our everyday.
Gather a few favorites like Rose, Calendula or Lavender and use a mortar and pestle to grind them up. Add in other items like honey, hydrosols and clay and mix well. A drop of essential oil is nice too. Mix with the mortar and pestle, grinding the fresh flowers. It will be a little thick, but that’s okay! Spread evenly on your face and leave for 10- 20 minutes before rinsing off. Follow it with a hydrosol spritz!
Good hydration is essential!
That dewy glow we all thrive for—it doesn’t come from a product. It comes from being hydrated, which in turn leaves our tissues plump and smooth. Ideally, we should be drinking 64 oz of water a day, but this varies depending on your activity level and body weight.
Take your bitters!
What you put on your skin matters, but it’s more important to pay attention to what you are putting in your body. The age-old saying, “beauty starts from within” is true in many ways. When it comes to clear, sparkly and glowing skin, it’s all about gut health—so take those bitters! A clean and healthy diet, filled with foods and herbs that enhance digestion (i.e. bitter, warming and pungent herbs) is comprised of ingredients you can find in the spice cabinet or the produce section of your local store. A few of our favorites include ginger, fennel, dandelion, and burdock. Better yet, harvest them yourselves this spring when the dandelion leaves are fresh, and the burdock roots are still juicy.
Adopt the beauty routine of keeping bitters with your beauty products. A quick dose in the morning when you are getting ready adds to your adornment inside and out.
Here’s to basking in the summer sun, surrounds ourselves with flowers and being our most beautiful selves inside and out!