Botanical Anthology, Natural Beauty

Lilac Toner

Today’s post is an excerpt from the spring edition of Botanical Anthology written by Harmonie O’Loughlin. This plant centered digital publication is packed with seasonal crafts, recipes, foraging tips, articles & more. Click here on for more info and to see the full table of contents.

Lilac bursts with spring energy.  She isn’t the first to the party, but she is the long awaited guest whose attendance you savor. Lilac’s ephemeral beauty and thoroughly encompassing scent makes for a spring moment no one wants to miss.   

And a moment it is, for the lilac season is gone in a flash, lasting just a few short weeks.  Savor it while you can.  Sip on a lilac tea latte, make a floral honey or simple syrup, steep blooms in an enfleurage preparation to capture the scent, and add it to your beauty regimen with a lilac toner.  

For all its sweet presence and floral aroma, lilac is actually gently astringent and slightly bitter.  The scent is fleeting, but its medicinal properties make it valued in facial care to aid in toning and tightening skin. 

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Natural Beauty, Plant Wonder Collective

Hibiscus & Peppermint Herbal Hair Rinse

There are more than 300 species of Hibiscus that grow throughout the world, ranging from tropical to temperate regions. These Malvaceae family plants almost all have showy flowers and are appreciated for their ornamental value, as well as a number of culinary and medicinal uses.

Flor de Jamaica (Hibiscus sabdariffa), also commonly known as roselle, is a type of hibiscus that produces large, deep red calyces. They are rich in anthocyanins, which give them their vibrant color. In Mexico and parts of Central America, these calyces are commonly made into a tea that is enjoyed for its tart flavor and health benefits.

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Natural Beauty

Soothing Facial Mask & Scrub

Our consumer culture would like us to believe that the newest gadgets, designer clothes, and expensive accessories make the best holiday gifts. However, there is something truly special and timeless about handmade presents.

Handcrafted, natural personal care products make wonderful gifts for friends and family. They can easily be customized to meet the recipient’s preferences, giving them a personal touch. Homemade products don’t contain any of the toxic additives that are found in their conventional counterparts – which can have various negative health and environmental effects. Personal care items also promote self-care and wellness, which is a truly beautiful thing to give the ones we love. 

This facial scrub is a quick and simple to put together and is perfect as a last minute gift. You’ll likely want to make a smaller batch if you’re just crafting it for yourself or one other person, as the recipes will makes a good amount so that you have enough to give as gifts.

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Natural Beauty

Pumpkin & Rosemary Facial Toner

Facial toners are deeply cleansing, helping to remove environmental toxins, dirt, and make up that has built up on the skin. They also tighten the pores, so that skin looks smoother. But, at $10-$30 a bottle they can seem like too much of a luxury to use regularly.

Fortunately, making your own facial toners is quite simple and is a fraction of the cost of buying a bottle from popular cosmetic brands. They are easily made with basic ingredients you find at the local grocery store and farmer’s market.

Handmade facial toners also make lovely gifts. With the holidays coming up, you might just want to whip up an extra bottle or two to give to friends and family. 

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Natural Beauty, Plant Wonder Collective

Oregano & Tea Tree Vinegar Hair Rinse

It can be intimidating to make the switch from conventional shampoos to an all-natural hair care routine. Truthfully, it took me a long time to figure out what really worked for my hair. I tried out various DIY shampoo recipes, but nothing left my hair feeling as clean and soft as store-bought shampoo.

These days I have a super simple hair care regimen that I’m really happy with. First, I give my hair a light wash (not using much soap) with my friend, Ali’s, gorgeous goat milk soap or one of my own botanical infused soaps. Then I pour a bit of herbal hair vinegar over my scalp and rinse with cool water. This simple method leaves my hair feeling great.

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Natural Beauty

Happy Hippie Body Spray

The use of aromatic plant oils and extracts dates back to ancient times. People have long utilized perfumes as a part of rituals & religious ceremonies, to mask body odors, and to help boost mood.

Today, most perfumes contain synthetic fragrances, which can have a number of negative health effects — including allergies, damage to the immune system, endocrine disruption, and more.

Making your own body sprays with natural ingredients is an lovely way to enjoy fragrances, without all the toxic additives. One of my favorite blends combines three uplifting aromatic plants to help boost mood. I like to keep a bottle in my purse or backpack and spritz on for an instant pick-me-up whenever I need it.

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Natural Beauty, Plant Wonder Collective

Rosemary Dry Shampoo

Rosemary is a common culinary herb that is also a lovely addition to a variety of cosmetics. It is antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and rich in antioxidants.

When used on the scalp, rosemary essential oil improves circulation and nerve growth to help boost the overall health of hair. It is said to reduce hair loss, promote hair growth, and prevent premature graying. It may also ease dry, itchy scalp and dandruff.

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Natural Beauty

Nourishing Hair Mask

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), “We each use about 10 personal care products each day, repeatedly exposing ourselves to tons of unique ingredients. Some may be benign, but others may be harmful. Some chemicals, like those that affect our hormones, can have an effect even at low doses.”

They state, “Research shows certain chemicals may cause long-term, gradual changes – changes that you may not notice for years, if not decades. For example, some common ingredients are ‘sensitizers.’ Repeated exposure may cause you to develop an allergy. Many chemicals associated with health hazards accumulate in the body. Some are passed through to the fetus. Some cosmetics ingredients have been linked to cancer or developmental problems.”

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Natural Beauty

Citrus & Sea Salt Texturizing Hair Spray

There must be something strangely sacred about salt. It is in our tears and in the sea. — Kahlil Gibran

I recently spent some time on the coast of Ecuador and one of my favorite things about living near the beach was daily swims in the ocean. These dips were not only refreshing, but I loved how the salt water gave my hair extra body and natural waves.

I crafted this sea salt spritz with beachy hair in mind. This spray adds texture and body, and the addition of refreshing & uplifting citrusy essential oils, boosts hair health & mood.

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Kitchen Basics, Natural Beauty

How to Make & Use Ghee

Ghee is clarified butter — a fragrant, flavorful oil that is well suited for cooking, as it doesn’t burn easily. It’s more shelf stable than butter and can be stored outside of the fridge for up to 6 months.

In the process of turning butter into ghee, the milk solids are removed. So, even folks who have a milk protein intolerance can consume ghee without issue.

Ghee is made by gently heating butter until the water evaporates and skimming & straining out the milk solids so that only the liquid fat is left. Slowly heating the butter on low heat is important as it helps retain vitamins and minerals.

Ghee is rich in antioxidants, vitamin E, and vitamin A. Cooking with fat-rich ghee may help improve bioavailability and absorption of certain nutrients in your food.

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Natural Beauty

DIY Coffee & Orange Exfoliating Scrub

Updated February 27, 2022

Commercially made body scrubs often contain synthetic preservatives and fragrances. These chemicals increase shelf life and make products “smell nice,” but can have some seriously detrimental health effects.

Synthetic preservatives, like parabens and formaldehyde, can cause skin irritation, allergies, and more serious health problems, like hormone disruption, infertility, and cancer.

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