At Urbotanica, we aim to use herbs to promote dining pleasure. But often we ignore (or forget) the fact that a lot of those herbs are of great benefit to our bodies too. Just as much as we enjoy discovering the properties these herbs have in the kitchen, join us as we delve into their benefits in the bathroom alongside other essential oils and extracts!
With the world moving towards a greener, cleaner approach to eating, so too have women & men reconsidered their once chemical-heavy grooming products. Prevailing logic says that if a plant-based diet is beneficial for your body, then the same approach should be just as beneficial for your skin; meaning the kinds of ingredients you once expected to find at a salad bar or in a tea bag have now found their way into your moisturiser.
Despite their great virtues, these DIY masks require care. We recommend testing any preparation beforehand on a little part of the face to prevent allergy. When using essential oils, a few drops will be enough.
Peppermint is an analgesic, antiseptic and antioxidant! Antioxidants moisturise the skin to provide a natural radiance; and mint’s ability to relieve minor skin irritations makes it a popular ingredient, largely due to the numbing effect from its main component menthol. Furthermore, mint is rich in salicylic acid, making it the perfect component to fight against blemishes.
DIY mask: To create this mask, mix a handful of mint leaves with a tablespoon of yoghurt and a teaspoon of lime juice. Blend the components together and apply all over your face. Leave on for 10 minutes then wash out with water.
When the dried flower heads of the chamomile plant are brewed into a tea and ingested it is known to reduce bloating and stress. As a skin care ingredient, chamomile boasts soothing properties and is ideal for temperamental complexions and skin that is routinely exposed to environmental stress, as it contains antioxidants and flavonoids (protective molecules.)
In perfume speak, Cedarwood invented the formal, warm base associated with many classic men’s fragrances - particularly those with a woody tone. But as an essential oil, Cedarwood functions as an antiseptic, anti-fungal and antibacterial agent, and is considered the staple of ancient Ayurveda medicine. Today, 3000 years later, Cedarwood is on the verge of a rebirth in the form of a new-fangled cleansing product and lotion.
Korea has always been decades ahead of Western skincare markets, with many regarding it as the epicentre for new-age products including sheet masks, cosmetics and food-based skincare that originally were considered strictly Far Eastern imports. The country’s reputation as a pioneer in research and development remains unsurpassed to this day. Thanks to Bamboo's moisture-binding properties and high silica content, it is an ingredient that has made it into numerous Korean (and now Western) products. Most of all, it is a natural source of methanol, which helps the skin to heal quickly.
Rosemary’s soothing scent relaxes every single part of your body and as flavoured oil, rosemary can help you to get rid of hair loss and itchy scalp.
To use the herb Rosemary in your skin care regime, brew some rosemary branches in olive oil for a few days in an airtight container. To get the best results, apply the mixture to the roots of your hair and leave on during your night of sleep. Thoroughly wash out in the morning.
Sage is a perennial herb/evergreen that is a member of the mint family and is a highly effective conditioning agent and anti-ager. Sage has natural stores of vitamin A and calcium that assist in cell regeneration to prevent early ageing. In certain products, sage oil functions as a natural astringent, relieving conditions such as acne. For this reason, sage is perfect to clean your skin, you can prepare a lotion based with sage and warm water.
How: fill a bowl with warm water, add several sage leafs, some slices of cucumber and a touch of lime juice. Let it infuse for 10 minutes, and then simply wash your face with this natural lotion.
Thyme’s perfume puts your body into a deep relaxation. Fill up a bathtub with hot water and put a few thyme branches in it with some Epsom salts. Relaxation and pleasure guaranteed from your left-over herbs!
Considered relatively new in the “superfood” world, Boab is sourced from the enormous trees that bloom in the arid climates of the African savannah and Northern Australia. When ingested, baobab helps boost immune function, gastro-health and energy levels and when used topically, its high levels of antioxidants, especially fatty acids, making it ideal for improving damaged skin and correcting complexion, and solidifying itself as a natural anti-ageing wonder.
Oils have become a substitute for conventional cream-based moisturisers, and few are more nourishing and regarded than argan oil. Referred to as “liquid gold,” Argan oil comes from the kernels of the argan tree in the UNESCO-protected Moroccan woodlands. The oil is rich in fatty acids (palmitic, oleic and linoleic) and vitamin E, making it the perfect all-rounder for climates where dehydrated hair, skin and nails are common.
One product to hit Instagram with great success was coffee-based face and body scrubs. By mixing the ground coffee post-cuppa, and adding natural oils and extracts to the grounds, you created an awesome exfoliator. As coffee is naturally packed with many anti-oxidants, the caffeine in it helps to stimulate blood flow. A remedy with great benefit for those suffering from dermatitis or eczema.