Inspiration from Meghan

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Toner… I Mean Astringent… I Mean Salad Dressing


It's a little bit funny that I am so enthusiastic about natural body care when, in reality, I take low maintenance to a whole new level. This is great for me, not so great for the man in my life. Ah well. Win some, lose some. So when I went to go about making a toner for my natural body care workshop, I took it upon myself to learn the difference between a toner and an astringent as I haven't really used either all that regularly.

As it turns out, the two words are used pretty interchangeably though some argue the difference is that astringents have alcohol and toners do not. My question, of course is why on earth would you want to put alcohol on your face? I would so much rather put the alcohol into my face than on it, and even then its not ideal for my health.

Either way, I made a deliciously simple astringent/toner using a method very similar to tincture making except instead of using alcohol, I used apple cider vinegar and instead of using just one herb, I used a variety of skin healthy edible herbs for my face to absorb and delight in.

Bonus! You could also use this mix as a delicious salad dressing.

I hope that once you get your natural body caring hands on the brand shiny new tutorial on Wednesday that you will pick your own herbs of choice for your skin type (and share the blend!)

Here is the down-low on the main herbs I used in my toner:

  • Lemon Balm:Effective in creams and toners for mildly oily skin, cleanses and closes open pores, has an astringent and soothing effect when used as a face toner or facial steam for tired, sensitive skin.
  • Chamomile: From ?owers. Chamomile herbs have well known sedative and relaxing properties. Used in skin and hair care for its cleansing and soothing bene?t. Good for sensitive and irritated skin. Good also for scalp irritations.
  • Rose Petals: Rose oil, rose water, and an infusion made from rose petals are used in skin care products for tender, dry, sensitive skin and have a cleansing, astringent, toning, moisture retaining, stimulating and soothing effect. When rose is included in a cream or lotion, it stimulates and protects the skin while moisturizing and hydrating it. It gives a boost to all skin types, and is particularly bene?cial to dry, mature and sensitive skin.
  • Calendula: Used for its healing and tissue-regenerating properties for all types of skin. Calendula is good to use in all cases where cell regeneration is required, such as in cases of sunburn and sores where the skin is red and irritated. Also good as a regular wash for spots and boils.

I used a few others too and also dropped in some lavender essential oil at the end of the brewing. Where do you get these herbs? Ever check the bulk herb/tea aisle of your local health food store? That would be a great place to start. You can also search herbal dispensary in google and you may find shops in your city or online order options. Easy to get!

Queen of Hungary's Astringent Water
(claim to fame as the very 1st herbal beauty recipe)
This recipe can be used diluted as a facial astringent/toner and also works wonderfully as a hair rinse
6 parts lemon balm
4 parts chamomile
4 parts roses
3 parts calendula
3 parts comfrey leaf
1 part lemon peel
1 part rosemary
1 part sage
Vinegar to cover (apple cider or white wine vinegar)
Rose water or witch hazel
Essential oil of lavender (optional)

  • Place the herbs in a wide-mouth jar.
  • Fill the jar with enough vinegar so that it rises an inch or two above the mixture.
  • Cover tightly and let it sit in a warm spot for 2-3 weeks
  • Strain out the herbs. To each cup of herbal vinegar add, add 2/3 cup of rose water or witch hazel.
  • Add a drop or two of essential oil, if desired.
  • Re-bottle
  • This does not need to be refrigerated and will keep indefinitely. This one is also nice if kept in a glass spray bottle and used as a refreshing spray after cleansing.

20 Responses to “Toner… I Mean Astringent… I Mean Salad Dressing”

  1. marie poulin said…
    This is exactly what I needed, thank you Meghan! I've been fighting with my skin for a long time, and I think it's time to try the homemade route... thank you for making it a much more approachable alternative!
  2. Sarah said…
    This is probably a different question but is there a difference between lemon peel and lemon zest?
    • essensu said…
      Lemon peel is usually purchased dried from the store, and is sold in a bottle usually from the baking section, and lemon zest you grate from the "skin" of a fresh lemon.
  3. [...] true. Once again, like the salad dressing/facial toner recipe, most of the ingredients in this awesomely delicious banana coconut bread recipe, would make [...]
  4. [...] toner with this recipe or a simplified version of just apple cider vinegar, chamomile herb, witch hazel and essential [...]
  5. Erin said…
    I'm excited to make a homemade toner. Curious though, I want to ditch my Clinique face soap but am not sure where to find a good recipe. I use a soap and toner for Clinique and am guessing it would be best to have a homemade soap and toner. Any suggested recipes? Thanks!
  6. Janie said…
    This might be a silly question but…what is lemon balm? I'm familiar with balms in the form of a heavy cream, like a body butter or thick moisturizer. But I get the impression that's probably not what you're referring to when you say "lemon balm." Also guessing you don't mean lemon chapstick. Please let me know what lemon balm is because I would like to eventually try to make this natural toner.
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      Hi Janie! Not a silly question at all. Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is an herb and it is often used to soothe the nervous system. It's one of the herbs that I discuss in this course:
  7. Crystol Warren said… June 22, 2020
    Will this toner still smell like apple cider vinegar when you apply it to your skin? If so, can you substitute witch hazel for the vinegar when making the toner?
    • The rose water or witch hazel added after straining will help to dilute the scent of the apple cider vinegar. The apple cider vinegar helps to preserve the herbs so they don't get moldy.

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