DIY Herbal Infused Oils for Beauty & Cooking

Infused Vanilla and Lavender Oils feature via @poorandpretty

Infused Coffee Vanilla and Lavender Oils via @poorandpretty

When I began creating products for my 100% natural Apothecary line, I realized quickly that my fragrance options were pretty limited. Because I only use essential oils, I can’t easily achieve apple pie, cucumber melon, or vanilla frosting scents. I was not willing to give up on vanilla, but Vanilla Absolute (the closest thing you get to vanilla essential oil) is CRAZY expensive — sometimes around $100/oz! I knew there had to be a less expensive alternative. That’s when I discovered I could make my own oil infusions. You can do this with all kinds of herbs and flowers, and it’s cheaper than buying essential oils. 

DIY Infused Lavender Oil supplies via @poorandpretty

Depending on the types of oil and herb, flower, or bean you use, your infused oils can be used in beauty products or cooking. Next week, I’m going to share how I used mine to make body sprays! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s get infusing!

Basic Infused Oil Recipe

  • ¼ – ½ cup herb, flower, or bean
  • 1 cup of oil

These are approximations. For some oils, you’ll want to use more of the herb you’re working with, and some you’ll use less. See my “herbs to infuse” section below for details.

Infusing Lavender Almond Oil via @poorandpretty

Double-Boiler Infusion Method  — the fastest method!

  1. Fill the bottom pan of a double boiler with water. If you don’t have a double boiler, fill a medium saucepan with 1 ½ cups of water.
  2. Add your oil and herbs, flowers, or beans to the top pan of your double-boiler. If using a saucepan, put the oil and herbs into a heat-safe bowl or Pyrex measuring cup and place gently into the saucepan.
  3. Warm on low heat for 2-4 hours, checking every so often to make sure your water hasn’t evaporated. If it starts getting low, add more in.
  4. Strain the oil/herb mixture through cheesecloth, a fine mesh strainer, or a coffee filter into a jar and close the lid tightly.

Infused Vanilla and Lavender Oils via @poorandpretty

Tips & Tricks for Infusing Oils

  • Use oils that have a long shelf life — Jojoba, Olive, Sweet Almond, and Avocado oils are best. You can buy them here.
  • For the most part, you’ll want to use dried herbs and flowers to prevent bacterial growth and mold.
  • Straining through a coffee filter took a long time. If you’ve got cheesecloth or a fine mesh filter, use that instead!

DIY Infused Oils via @poorandpretty

Herbs to Infuse + Where to Buy Them

  • Calendula (Marigold) – One of the best, most versatile infusions. Calendula soothes dry & damaged skin and irritations. Use it alone or in a salve or lotion to heal sunburn and rashes. It makes a great baby oil, too. Use up to 1:1 calendula to oil ratio. You can buy calendula here.
  • Chamomile – If you want something relaxing, but you’re not a fan of lavender, chamomile is a close second. It’s not as strongly scented as lavender. Use ½ cup chamomile per cup of oil. You can buy chamomile here.
  • Coffee Grounds – This oil will tighten skin, fight free radicals, stimulate blood flow, and reduce cellulite. Ever notice that eye creams tend to have coffee in them? That’s because coffee reduces puffiness and gets rid of under-eye circles. Use ¼ – ½ cup of coffee grounds to 1 cup of oil. You can buy coffee grounds at your local supermarket.
  • Lavender  – You know the drill. Lavender is great at reducing stress and inducing relaxation and sleep. (Learn more about why I love lavender here.) Use ¼ cup of lavender buds per cup of oil. You can buy lavender buds here.
  • Orange Peel – A lovely brightening, cheering scent, I love using powdered orange peel in my Orange Sugar Scrubs. Dried orange peel can also be used to make an infused oil. You can make dried orange peel yourself by peeling oranges and letting the peels cook in the oven on very low heat for a few hours or you can skip that (it’s kind of a pain) and buy dried orange peel here.
  • Peppermint – Awakens the senses and soothes sore muscles. A peppermint-infused oil would be great on its own as a sore muscle massage oil. Use fresh peppermint, which you can buy in your local supermarket. I love combining rosemary + peppermint for cold season remedies, like in this DIY Mint + Rosemary Vapor Rub or my Mint + Rosemary Bathing Salts.
  • Rosemary – This can make a great culinary or beauty oil. Use it as a rub for muscle pain or as a treatment for dry, itchy, flaky scalp. It’s also great in recipes for roasting potatoes, pasta sauce, etc. I used about 2 tbs of dried rosemary in 1 ½ cups of olive oil. Because I will primarily use this for cooking, I left the rosemary in the oil. You can buy rosemary in the spice aisle of your local supermarket.
  • Vanilla Beans – This smells incredible! I use vanilla-infused jojoba oil in my Vanilla Sugar Scrubs. Slice up 3-4 vanilla beans per cup of oil. I like the tiny seeds mixing in with my sugar scrubs, so I don’t strain this oil. You can buy vanilla beans in most supermarkets or natural food stores.

These are just a few of the oil infusions you can make! I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences. On Monday, I’ll share how to use these infusions to make body sprays.

Disclosure: I was provided some of the supplies shown in this post by Bramble Berry, because I totally love them and they love me too! This post also contains affiliate links which may generate a revenue for Poor & Pretty when a purchase is made. You can read more about my affiliate link policies here.

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5 Beauty Benefits of Green Tea

Green Tea Beauty Benefits feature

Hello, I’m Sami and I have a tea addiction. Black, green, white, oolong, herbal… you name it, I’ve got it. I drink it straight or make chai lattes in the winter and matcha green tea ice cream in the summer. Studies have shown antioxidant-rich teas can help prevent a boatload of health issues from cancers to heart disease, and they have some pretty great beauty benefits too!Green Tea Beauty Benefits via @poorandpretty

1. Reduces puffiness. Don’t have cucumber slices handy? You can use leftover green tea bags (chilled) for the same eye de-puffing effect.

2. Revives tired skin. The natural catechins (antioxidants with killer free radical-fighting powers) found in green tea promote healthy cell turnover to restore UV damaged or dying skill cells.

3. Prevents wrinkles. In addition to revitalizing skin cells, catechins also prevent cell damage before it begins by blocking enzymes that cause skin wrinkling.

4. Tightens pores. Apply cold green tea to your face with a cotton ball (or a spritzer) to shrink large pores and give your skin a healthy glow.

5. Toner. Green tea on its own makes an excellent toner because it tightens pores (see above), moisturizes, and provides an antioxidant boost. That’s why green tea extract is an essential ingredient in my Rose & Tea Facial Toner.

Rose Tea Facial Toner 2

Want to get more green tea in your beauty routine? Try my Rose & Tea Facial Toner and Green Tea Salt Scrub.

Green Tea Salt Scrub 8oz teacup

Available in 4oz or 8oz, my Green Tea Salt Scrub combines green tea extract and matcha powder as a powerful antioxidizing and anti-aging duo. Paired with Dead Sea and Epsom salts, this lightly scented scrub exfoliates and remineralizes skin and soothes eczema. When used on the face, it tightens pores and diminishes puffiness and redness.

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Israel’s Olea Essence: Olive Oil & Natural Skincare

Olea Essence feat

Olea Essence tour Qatzrin Israel via @poorandpretty

One of the places Stan visited during his Israel trip was a family-owned olive oil press in Qatzrin, in northeastern Israel. Founded by the Talmon family in 1997, Olea Essence is known for its high quality olive oils and sustainable farming and manufacturing processes. It was this ecological focus that led to the introduction of their 100% natural skincare line.

Olea Essence Skincare via @poorandpretty

Olive residue, a by-product of olive oil manufacturing, is harmful to the environment due to its excessive concentration of antioxidants. But the Talmon family found that this made an excellent base in cosmetics, especially for its anti-aging benefits. No wonder Israeli women have such beautiful skin!

Olea Essence tour ancient press Qatzrin Israel via @poorandpretty

Stan (who hates olives but loves olive oil!) learned about the olive oil process from harvesting through pressing, including ancient and modern-day techniques. He also taste-tested Olea Essence’s different flavored olive oils and brought home a delicious bottle of Tabha Olive Oil, which I’ve been instructed to “only use for dipping good bread in.” And of course, he picked up a few all-natural cosmetics for me:

Olea Essence Skincare products via @poorandpretty

I was a little skeptical to try these at first, thinking they’d all smell strongly like olive oil, but they really don’t. The body milk is lightly scented with lemongrass, pine, grapefruit, and tea tree oils and absorbs very quickly into the skin.

Olea Essence Hand Cream via @poorandpretty

The hand cream is barely scented, and is more like a balm than a cream. It’s really good for Stan’s very dry, cracked hands. My hands usually don’t need as much attention, but I like using this on my cuticles.

Olea Essence Olive Wash and Exfoliate via @poorandpretty

Olive Wash and Exfoliate is mostly olive pulp and has an invigorating but light lemongrass scent. It’s a wonderfully gentle all-over body cleanser and exfoliator, and reportedly great at treating acne. I follow it up with the body milk or my whipped body butter.

Don’t worry: you don’t have to go all the way to Israel to try these! All of these products can be purchased online.

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5 Beauty Benefits of Orange

Beauty Benefits of Orange via @poorandpretty feature

I love the smell and taste of oranges. They’re so good for your body, and as it turns out, they’ve got a lot of beauty benefits too. Here are just a few:

Beauty Benefits of Orange via @poorandpretty

1. Treat dark spots. The vitamin C in oranges helps reduce dark spots, even skin tone, and get rid of blemishes. Did you know that orange peels actually contain more vitamin C than the fruit itself? That’s why I use orange peel powder in my Orange Sugar Scrub.

2. Dry out & heal acne. Citric acid blasts away pore-blocking dirt and bacteria to deep clean and kill any existing acne.

3. Detoxify. You can thank dietary fiber for giving orange peels super detoxifying powers. By ridding the skin and body of harmful toxins, fiber helps prevent acne breakouts.

4. Skin-firming. Not only does vitamin C improve your skin’s texture and color, it also restores collagen to firm and prevent premature aging of your skin.

5. Rejuvenate dull skin. The combination of vitamin C, citric acid, and dietary fiber in oranges work together to exfoliate and revitalize lackluster skin.

Orange Sugar Scrubs_600

Orange you glad I shared these tips with you? Grab an Orange Sugar Scrub for yourself or someone else who could use a little relaxing & pampering right here.

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Coffee or Tea? The Scrub Showdown + Giveaway

coffee-vs-tea_feature

If you aren’t following Poor & Pretty on Facebook or Instagram, you may have missed a few of my latest additions to the Apothecary: Coffee Sugar Scrub and Green Tea Salt Scrub.

Coffee Sugar Scrub top

Made with organic and fair trade certified Colombian coffee beans, my Coffee Sugar Scrub boosts circulation and reduces inflammation. Plus it smells like coffee, which to me is a total plus.

Green Tea Salt Scrubs_600

My Green Tea Salt Scrub is handmade with matcha powder and green tea extract, which are masters at detoxifying, soothing eczema, and diminishing puffiness and redness, especially when used on the face.

If you’ve been reading Poor & Pretty for a while, you’ll know I’m kind of a tea fiend. You might even say I have a bit of a problem. (Stan and I have almost an entire kitchen cabinet devoted to tea.) I also love the smell of coffee. Not the taste, or the fact that it makes me jittery (even though I know some teas contain more caffeine than coffee), but I’m loving that I have coffee beans in the house — they’re so aromatic! So I thought it would be fun do to a little coffee vs tea contest.

coffee-vs-tea

Here are the deets: Win a 4oz Coffee Sugar Scrub or Green Tea Salt Scrub! All you gotta do is leave a comment below saying whether you prefer to drink coffee or tea, and which scrub you’d like to win! The contest is open to U.S. residents only until Friday, November 28th at 11:59pm EST.  Get an extra entry if you “favorite” either of these scrubs on Etsy. Good luck! This contest is now closed. Congrats to Zuleyka!

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