How to use Fresh Herbs & Flowers in Beauty Products

Use homegrown plants and flowers to make handmade beauty products

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So many skin caring plants and flowers can be grown by you in your own garden. Calendula for skin healing, rose petals for sensitive toning, and thyme for treating acne just to name a few. In my first post in this series I introduce some of the plants you can grow for specific skin types and issues but once you have them growing and ready to harvest what do you do next?

How to use homegrown plants and flowers to make beauty products

Aloe Vera gel is great in creams

Using fresh plant and flowers

There are a few plants that provide us with a material that we can use fresh in our handmade beauty products. For everything else, extracting the skin beneficial properties is the next step in making your own creams, lotions, soaps, balms, toners, and more. Here are some examples of plants you can use fresh and what to use them in:

How to use homegrown plants and flowers to make beauty products

Beetroot powder, Orris root powder, and dried Lavender buds


Dried Botanicals

Some herbs and plants can be used in their dried and powdered states as beauty product ingredients and natural decoration. You’ll find that this is a common preparation for when the roots of a plant are used as a cosmetic ingredient. It’s also best to dry your herbs and flowers before using them in oil infusions if you intend on using the infusions in water-less products without preservatives.

Drying plant material can be done in a solar or electric dehydrator or in the oven at a very low temperature. Flower petals and thin leaves will take a very short time to dry (less than an hour generally) but fruit, thick leaves, and roots will take much longer depending on what it is, how thinly you sliced the material, and how full your dehydrator is. Don’t be surprised if it takes a couple of days.

Some thin plant material, such as flower petals, can be air dried within a couple of days when left on a paper plate or a metal screen such as a rack inside a food dehydrator.

With roots, dehydrate until hard and brittle and allow to cool. Use a coffee grinder or a food processor to break the dried roots down into a powder and then sift it to remove any large particles. Dried plant material can keep up to ten years.

How to use homegrown plants and flowers to make beauty products

Water infusions of fresh Peppermint (top left) and dried rose petals

Water Infusion

Suitable for most herbs and flower petals

A water infusion is essentially a tea. Use approximately 14g/0.5oz dried plant material or 28g/1oz tsp fresh to one cup boiling water. Seep for twenty minutes and strain. Use the resulting infusion in creams, lotions, rinses, or on its own as a toner. If you’re using the infusion as a toner, refrigerate the liquid and use within a month.

How to use homegrown plants and flowers to make beauty products

Cold oil infusions of Calendula petals (left) and Alkanet root

Oil Infusion

Suitable for herbs and flower petals with low water content. Oil infusions also work for dried and powdered roots.

Many of the beneficial components of medicinal flowers and plants are oil soluble, meaning that instead of infusing them in water, you can infuse them in oil. Oil infusions can be used in creams and lotions but they’re even more important for creating waterless products such as balms, ointments, and massage oils. There are two ways to make an oil infusion:

1. Cold Oil Infusion: place 250g dried or 500g fresh* plant material into a glass jar. Cover with 750ml (3 cups) of high quality vegetable or nut oil such as olive oil, sweet almond oil, or sunflower oil, and place the jar in a sunny window. Leave it there for at least one week and up to four weeks, shaking once a day. Oil infusions generally have a shelf-life of up to a year.

How to use homegrown plants and flowers to make beauty products

2. Warm Oil Infusion: the cold oil infusion takes at least a month to make but there’s a quicker way of extracting the medicinal components of beauty plants. Place the same quantities of herb to oil as in the cold oil infusion in a saucepan. Place that saucepan into a another pan of simmering water (also known as a double boiler) and leave to heat for two hours, keeping a close eye on the pans. Afterwards, allow the oil to cool and then strain it through a muslin, discarding the plant material. Oil infusions generally have a shelf-life of up to a year.

* Oil infusions are best made with dried plant material since there will be a small amount of water in fresh. Any water in oil can mean creating a place for bacteria to take up residence. If you’re infusing material that has relatively a lot of moisture (i.e. flower petals) it would be best to use the resulting oil within a month and in products that include a preservative.

16 Discussion to this post

  1. Dewberry says:

    I really like your blog, you post many useful recipes and ideas.

    My grandma was always making a calendula skin ointment. She boiled calendula petals in lard. Nowadays she would probably use olive oil 🙂 This ointment was very good at chafes or abrasions. I was using it when I was a child. I, myself, am buying such ointment at pharmacist, but I'm going to prepare one myself 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Lard is perfect for infusing medicinal plants and flowers into! Its consistency at room temperature is like an ointment so you don't have to add additional oils in to soften/harden the mix. The vegan equivalent of lard is palm oil so if you're not keen on using animal products, source a bit of sustainably sourced palm and create the same warm oil infusion.

  2. Many thanks for the amazing essay I really gained a lot of info. That I

    was searching for

  3. Oh man…. again the Nescafe jars ^_^ You kitchen and mine ahahah Nescafe jars everywhere
    I love that we have that in common 🙂 Found someone that, like me likes to keep her glass jars <3

  4. Tante Mali says:

    Oh great, thank you for the amazing post!!! So much information in it!!! Great!
    All the best from Austria

  5. Natural ingredients are healthy, fun way to take care of skin, that can feel good on skin as well 🙂

  6. Thank you so much Tanya for all the information you share! I have learned a lot of great knowledge and new recipes!

  7. When we talk about the skincare the first thing that we trust are the natural skincare products. That will be including products with Herbs, Flowers, and Plant Extracts. The above post is full of the various beneficial aspects about the same. Thanks for sharing.

  8. julia kapeng says:

    good day I will like you to help me..want to have my own beauty creams for different skin type.give it my own name..please help how to mix herbs in order to see my dream become a success.

  9. Noreen says:

    My 9 y/o granddaughter wants to become a herbalist, any suggestions for starting. Im beginning with her making natural soaps but any help would be appreciated. Any books to suggest?

  10. Althea says:

    Thank you so much for all this valuable information

  11. Neelam Gupta says:

    Thanks for sharing valuable information Best wishes from India

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