Monday, November 21, 2011

Making Holiday Gifts Series - Winter Skin Care

Today's descriptions and suggestions are for simple gifts to care for your skin in winter.  A perfect selection of items you can give in a gift basket to a close friend or anyone who lives in the northern tundra!

Always keep in mind that when crafting items for the skin you need to use cleansing and exfoliating herbs.  You cleanse with herbs that contain foaming saponins, like oats and yucca as well as anti microbial herbs like thyme and sage.  To exfoliate you need abrasives.  You can use ground peach or date pits, but I prefer powdered parsley which is less harsh and has some naturally occurring acid for exfoliation.  Chamomile and lemon also contain good acids for this.

Skin Softening Wash Bag

This cleansing bag has just was you need to soften and scrub.

8-inch square muslin fabric
¼ cup ground oatmeal
¼ cup ground sunflower seeds

Place ingredients in center of cloth and tie closed with yarn or ribbon.  Gather into a pouch.  As you relax in the tub, rub your entire body with the bag, then let it remain in the water releasing its softening properties.  Discard bag when finished.

You can enhance this recipe by adding Chamomile or Scented geranium leaves to the mixture in the bag. 

Chamomile – Tones all types of complexions. The anti-inflammatory effect of this essential oil applied topically improves skin regeneration, and a cold compress does wonders for puffy eyes. Chamomile is used in facial steams to reduce puffiness and cleanse the pores of the skin.

Geranium – Wonderful oil for mature and troubled skin and brings a radiant glow and promotes circulation.


Rose water in addition to being an ingredient in many skin treatments is by itself a great item to use and this simple recipe will allow you to make your own.

If you do not have time to distill your own rosewater, you can create rosewater, using a much simpler method.  Your water may not be a fragrant as the distilled method, but the results are very pleasant and you can use the mild rose scented liquid as a light fragrance, after-bath splash or skin toner.  It also makes a nice addition to homemade creams and lotions.

Quick Rosewater
1 cup firmly packed rose petals, washed
2 cups boiling water

Place rose petals in a ceramic or glass bowl.  Use only fresh petals (no leaves or stems).  Pour boiling water over petals, and allow to steep until cool.  Strain off the petals and pour the scented liquid into a clean bottle.

Rose – Astringent and luxurious, rose oils and rose waters are welcome additions to almost any skin care formulation has an astringent effect on oily skin, reducing puffiness, edema and has a slight tightening effect. The oil most effective for moisturizing and hydrating the skin while having a general stimulant and antiseptic action which is good for all skin types, but especially so for dry, mature and irritated skin. It is used to repair broken capillaries, inflammation, as well as skin redness and is useful in eczema

Bath Tub Tea
A bath tub tea can help with exfoliation and the removal of agents that dry skin.  You can include a lemon in the basket and a 2-3 peppermint tea bags with the following instructions to use in the tub as well:
                                      Use these items to produce a Lemon Mint Herbal Bath Tea. 
                                      Prepare the bags of peppermint tea and slice the lemon. 
                                      Add the liquid from the tea to the bath water and float the
                                      lemon slices. Crawl into the water and soak for at least 15
                                      minutes.  Pat do not rub your skin to dry!

If you are in a hurry, you can also get some great Bath Salts, Scrubs and Tub Teas from the Backyard Patch and put them into a basket too!  Check out our choose your own basket items on Etsy.


  1. Hello
    I have been busy this past month making Christmas gifts for friends and family. I made the skin softening wash bag today and tested it out and I love it. Thank you for the easy but oh so usable gift.

  2. Thank you. I will be sharing this in a special Library Program I am doing in February!

  3. Hi Marcy
    I could not wait so I gave a few away at the Thanksgiving festivities, they loved them!

  4. Hi..
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