We all love the idea of wild berries, herbs and rose petals in our beauty products. But have you ever wondered how these gorgeous ingredients actually end up in the bottle on your vanity?
We asked Sarah and Marina, the two herbalist pals behind Earth Tu Face’s cult-worthy natural skincare products to let us in on how the whole earth-to-bottle process goes down. Since Earth Tu Face products are created straight from the girls’ own Northern California garden, including a Palmarosa and Aloe Face Wash we die for and an all-purpose herbal Skin Stick on our beauty shortlist, we knew these two would have all the interesting details we’re craving about harvesting and processing the floral ingredients we’re obsessed with. Here are the girls on how they harvest, extract and prepare some of our favorite natural ingredients…
Creating skincare from our own garden is really a dream come true – and just as lovely as it sounds. Here’s how we process most of our blooms!
First, we dry flowers completely so there is no moisture left in them. The healing properties will still be there, but without the water content there is no chance of mold or spoilage. We then either use the whole dried petals or grind them to a fine powder & use them for dry formulas like exfoliants, first-aid powders and masks. We also save a portion of the dried flowers to make teas and tinctures that we take internally.
Then we add the dried flowers to organic oil, usually olive, safflower or sesame oil. We do this in large glass jars. We then store the glass jars in the warm area of our apothecary. We keep them covered and protected from light. They are stored for a few weeks and then strained. What is left is an oil that has been gently infused with the healing properties of whichever plant we chose to soak in it. We then use this oil as base for products we create.
We really enjoy working with pure unfiltered beeswax and organic oils. We make various creams and salves using these ingredients as a healing base. We can make the base product softer (like a cream) or firmer (like a lip balm) depending on the ratio of oil to beeswax used. Then we choose the specific oils and plants we are going to use in the formula based on what sort of healing issues we want to address. All of the organic oils we use are both hydrating and nourishing, but each oil has other properties unique unto itself. Coconut oil is a cooling base oil – great for burns and inflamed skin. Sesame is neutral in temperature, but it’s even more hydrating than many other oils, so we love it for formulas geared toward the driest skin type. Olive oil is very similar to our skin’s own natural oil. It is easily absorbed into skin cells for nourishment. It contains natural sunscreen properties and is rich in minerals, vitamins, proteins and essential fatty acids.
We love working with the medicinal flower petals that we grow and harvest. Rose petals are incredible because they are cooling and astringent. Rose tones and tightens the skin while helping diminish redness and blotchy areas. Lavender is another favorite. Lavender excels at fading and preventing scarring. It is especially beneficial for healing burns, blemishes and general skin irritations. And of course, the soothing aroma of lavender calms and reduces stress. Another one of our favorite ingredients are sea buckthorn berries. We used a pressed oil which is bright orange in color like the berries themselves. Sea buckthorn is a supreme skin healer and regenerator. It repairs damaged skin, scar tissue, and reduces wrinkles. It is known to strengthen the epidermis and the body’s cell membranes.
All of the ingredients we use – plants & oils – are highly antioxidant and therefore anti-aging. They all have unique, incredible healing properties. On top of all this, they cause no harm to the skin and body – unlike many chemical and synthetic ingredients.
How it grows: These are bright orange flowers that grow easily in California year round. The flowers re-seed themselves all the time, so it’s very abundant.
How it’s harvested: We collect the whole flower heads and dry them in baskets.
How it grows: This is a shrub that requires very little water; it’s drought tolerant.
How it’s harvested: It has a big bloom once a year that lasts for a few months and we harvest all the flower heads after that time and dry them.
How it grows: These are shrubs that require pruning and care throughout the year.
How it’s harvested: Roses continuously bloom for us in late spring through summer months. We harvest the petals continuously to build up a good supply that will last us for the year. We dry the petals in baskets.
How it grows: It’s such a cute little plant. It has tiny white petals with a yellow center.
How it’s harvested: We use a tool called a chamomile rake to grab handfuls of the flower heads at once. They are so small that it would take forever if we harvested the flowers one by one. The whole flower heads are dried.