[ Late-Summer Herbal Skin Care Formulas ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company
Summer Skin Care Shadow Header
Ah, the joys of summer—long, lazy days spent splashing in pools of cool water, kicking sand off our feet and feeling the warmth of the sun on our faces. It’s a pretty picture, at least until we look in the mirror and realize that our hair and skin can’t take the heat.

What we hoped would be a rosy glow is actually a dull complexion, and the halo of hair surrounding our crowns appears just as weathered from wind and humidity. It’s time to ramp up the skin care regimen! Not with expensive spa treatments or store-bought chemical-laden creams, but with midsummer maintenance made from simple, natural ingredients.

[ Late-Summer Herbal Skin Care Formulas: Too Much of A Good Thing ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

a. too much of
a good thing

There’s no doubt that sunlight is good for us. We all need to have some exposure to natural sunlight in order to manufacture enough vitamin D to keep our bodies healthy, as well as maintain a sense of well-being. Sunlight is also required to produce melanin, a skin pigment that acts like a built-in sunscreen. Too much fun in the sun, however, and these benefits become lost to uneven skin tone, fine lines and the feeling of tightness that comes from dehydration of the uppermost layer of skin.

On a deeper level, excessive sun worshipping triggers a break down the collagen matrix and the corruption of genetic material, which translates to rogue cell formation and an increased risk of skin cancer. So, whenever you hit the beach or spend all afternoon in the garden pulling weeds, be generous with an organic, plant-based sun screen lotion—and don’t forget the hat!

stay covered
sunscreen and shade
is advised

[ Late-Summer Herbal Skin Care Formulas: Consuming Cosmetics ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

b. too much of
a not-so-good thing

In the U.S. alone, cosmetic sales represent a $56.63 billion industry with 27% of the market being dedicated to facial skin care products and 20% to hair care products. While many of these products may promise to deliver the fountain of youth, they often end up depositing harmful ingredients on your skin or scalp. Preservatives, for example, such as quaternium-15 and DMDM hydantoin, slowly release formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. Other preserving agents like long-chain parabens are endocrine disrupters, meaning they interfere with hormone production and signaling that regulate reproduction.

Unfortunately, at this point in time, U.S. cosmetic manufacturers are not required to safety test any of their ingredients nor present final products for pre-market approval to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Similarly, and in contrast to popular belief, the FDA has no regulatory authority to recall a cosmetic product due to injury. In fact, the agency relies on manufacturers to voluntarily submit this information.

The lesson for consumers? Learn to read labels and research ingredients. (See The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database)

[ Late-Summer Herbal Skin Care Formulas: Natural Defenses ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

c. botanical biology
is beautiful

It is estimated that there are as many as 500,000 species of plants on our planet, but we’ve only made friends with about 10%. Much of what we know about the latter is owing to clues left by various indigenous cultures throughout the world, from Neanderthal artifacts found in what is now Iraq to the writings of Hippocrates, Dioscorides, Galen and others from the ancient Greek, Roman and Renaissance periods. In the New World, various Native American peoples contributed significant knowledge of thousands of plants, some of which the current body of western materia medica is built upon.

Modern scientists have identified specific groups of phytochemicals produced by plants that not only provide plants their flavor, color and aroma but also act as defense mechanisms to protect plant cells from oxidative stress. Formulas for skin and hair that utilize of these natural antioxidant compounds instead of toxic “anti-aging” chemicals are far less likely to give you worry lines, among other things.

[ Late-Summer Herbal Skin Care Formulas: The Right Stuff ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

d. the right stuff

The benefits of incorporating herbs and other natural ingredients into your personal care products include the fact that they are inexpensive and you usually won’t have to go any further than your garden, pantry or favorite herb supplier (we hope that’s us). Take green tea, for instance. The same brew you sip at breakfast can zap a bug bite, enhance light hair shades, reduce the appearance of under-eye circles, and serve as an astringent toner and after shave lotion.

Another example is linalool, a highly aromatic plant alcohol used in the perfume and cosmetic industry in synthetic form that naturally occurs in birch, cinnamon, mint and, most notably, in lavender. Named after the Greek word that means “to wash,” the skin rejuvenating qualities of the latter was discovered in 1928 by Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, a chemist who accidentally caught his sleeve on fire and sought relief of the resulting burn from the nearest coolant available—a vat of lavender oil.

[ Late-Summer Herbal Skin Care Formulas: Feel Fine and Look Fetching with These Favorites ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

e. feel fine & look fetching
with these favorites

coconut oil
Expressed from the inner flesh of the coconut and solid at room temperature, coconut oil is rich in fatty acids, including lauric acid and palmitic acid. Use it as a base for skin creams, lotions and lip balms.

Calendula contains carotenoids, vitamins A and C and various antioxidant flavonoids. Infuse the herb in a carrier oil to make skin lotions and hair conditioners, or apply the strong tea directly to skin and hair.

Sage is rich in beta-carotene and phenolic acids, including the antioxidants apigenin and luteolin. Use it in rinses for darker hair shades to counter graying and to resolve dandruff.

green tea
Green tea leaves are an abundant source of antioxidant polyphenols, particularly one known as epigallocatechingallate, or ECGG. With properties similar to aspirin, ECGG is very soothing for inflamed and acne-prone skin.

Lavender blossoms yield scent and anti-inflammatory agents to hot water and oils, and the essential oil distilled from the flowers is one of the few that is applied topically without dilution. Use lavender in skin and hair formulas, or simply add either herb or oil to the bath.

Rosemary supports healthy skin internally with B vitamins and manganese, and externally with antioxidant and antimicrobial compounds that address dandruff, eczema or psoriasis.

[ Late-Summer Herbal Skin Care Formulas: Recipes ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

f. recipes

calendula & honey facial cleanse
Calendula soothes skin while honey softens as it gently cleanses. Don’t worry that you’ll feel “sticky” from this formula; the honey rinses beautifully with warm water.
view the recipe >

lavender & coconut moisturizing cleanser
This formula is ideal for dry or mature skin in need of extra pampering. The oils easily remove makeup and dirt and serve as cleanser and moisturizer in one product.
view the recipe >

green tea & sage toner
This combined antioxidant and antibacterial actions of green tea and sage help to improve blemished skin. Use after cleansing and follow with a light moisturizer, if you wish.
view the recipe >

lavender anti-aging facial serum
Apricot kernel oil is rich in fatty acids and vitamins A, C and E and is readily absorbed in to the skin.
view the recipe >

coconut body butter
This moisturizing body butter smells sweet and tropical as it is, but you could add a few drops of an essential oil of your choice for more scent. Suggestions: vanilla, lemongrass or mint.
view the recipe >

rosemary & mint shampoo
The combination of rosemary and mint in this all-natural shampoo is rejuvenating for hair and scalp and refreshing for the senses.
view the recipe >

did you know?
honey is naturally