Beautiful skin rituals – teatime toners

I love the scent of sweet apple-like chamomile tea in the morning, so soothing and delicious with a spoonful of honey. The uplifting aroma of Moroccan mint tea in the afternoon clears my mind, and the enchanting fragrance of jasmine tea helps me to unwind in the evening.

My daily tea rituals are good for my skin, because tea is not only healthy to drink but it makes a lovely skin toner too. Good skin care should be simple and natural, and what is more basic than making a cup of tea? After brewing a herbal tea, I pour a little into a small cup or bowl to use as a toner for my face – so easy!

Rain on Saturday meant that Emily and me put off the shook swarm – bees don’t like to be shaken but they dislike wet weather even more – to spend the afternoon spring cleaning last year’s brood boxes with a blow torch. By the evening, I felt in need of doing something more feminine, so I made some recipes for herbal teas to enjoy with mum on Sunday. I used my favourite herbs – chamomile, lavender, peppermint and rose.

Chamomile and honey tea toner

I love the sweet smell of chamomile. It is one of my favourite herbs, so good for drinking and lovely for my skin.

Chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties and is soothing to skin, being particularly useful for irritated skin, rashes, allergic reactions, spots, acne and eczema. By reducing swelling and inflammation, chamomile calms the skin and supports healing. This herb is generally good for promoting healthy skin for all skin types, and can be used as a daily toner even for sensitive skin. Honey is soothing and moisturising, and this time I used manuka honey which is particularly antibacterial.

I like to use a Bodum tea infuser to make pots of herbal tea at home. It is so handy, I can infuse regular or herbal tea bags or loose leaf tea and herbs in any combination. The infuser gradually steeps the herbs and keeps them covered. This is important to make sure that the beneficial chemical constituents in the herbs are not lost through evaporation, and as the steam cools it condenses back into the infusion. That’s the science bit.

This Bodum tea infuser pot is brilliant, I am always using it to make my own fresh herbal teas.

You will need:

  • dried chamomile flowers
  • manuka honey
  • tea pot with infuser

How to make:

  1. Add 3 tsp of dried chamomile to a tea pot with infuser; pour over hot water and cover to steep and cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Pour a little chamomile tea into a measuring cup or bowl, and add 1/2 tsp of manuka honey; stir until the honey has dissolved.
  3. Soak a couple of cotton wool pads in the chamomile and honey tea, then remove and squeeze excess liquid before sweeping across your face.

A little chamomile tea with 1/2 tsp of manuka honey in a small measuring cup to soothe my skin.


Herbal tea toners are meant to be used the day that they are made, because any homemade beauty product that uses water as an ingredient has a short shelf life – and these are mostly water! You could let the tea cool and jar it in the fridge for one or two days, but as I drink a lot of herb tea I prefer to use a fresh batch of toner each day.

Green tea and peppermint toner

I like to add a few herbs to my plain green tea to make it tastier, it goes well with peppermint.

I use green tea bags when I am in a hurry, although I prefer loose leaf green tea because only a sprinkle is needed and it seems to have a more delicate taste. To make green tea from bags more tasty, I’ll add a little peppermint or lavender to my mug using a mesh tea infuser.

Green tea is very beneficial for skin. It is high in antioxidants and often drunk as an anti-aging remedy. Topically, it is astringent and toning, helping to improve skin texture, while also being anti-inflammatory and helpful for irritated or blemished skins. Peppermint is a herb that is both cooling and calming to skin. This toner was very refreshing on my skin.

You will need:

  • green tea bags
  • dried peppermint
  • mesh tea infuser

How to make:

  1. Simply steep the green tea bag in a mug with a scoop of dried peppermint leaves inside a mesh tea infuser.
  2. After about three minutes remove the green tea bag (green tea is not so tasty when it is brewed too long) but let the dried peppermint continue to brew for another seven minutes or so.
  3. Remember to cover the infusion with a saucer or tea cloth, so the chemical properties don’t evaporate.
  4. Pour a little into a small cup and allow to cool. Soak with a cotton wool pad and wipe over your face.

My mesh infuser is great for adding loose herbs to a mug for a quick herbal tea.


Green and mint tea is so refreshing and really wakes me up. I also make rosemary tea like this, because it is a great substitute for coffee and stimulates the mind.


Jasmine, rose and lavender toner

Rose smells heavenly and makes a lovely cup of tea with lavender and jasmine-infused green tea leaves.

This luxurious herbal tea was the one I chose to make for my mum on Sunday. It has the delicate taste of jasmine and smells gorgeous because of the rose and lavender. I prefer to drink it with a spoonful of honey in my cup.

As a toner, this tea has many lovely properties for your skin including all the benefits of green tea. Jasmine is soothing, softening and hydrating; lavender is antiseptic, astringent, anti-inflammatory and also balancing to skin; rose is cleansing, refreshing and hydrating. My skin felt and smelt lovely after I used this!

You will need: 

  • loose leaf green tea with jasmine
  • dried lavender
  • dried rose petals

How to make:

  1. Add 1 tsp of jasmine green tea to a tea infuser pot with 1/2 tsp of dried lavender and 1 tsp of dried rose petals. Pour over just boiled water.
  2. Steep the infusion for 10 minutes and allow to cool for a further few minutes.
  3. Pour the infusion into a small cup and enjoy the scent of jasmine, lavender and rose as you use it on your skin.

My jasmine, rose and lavender tea ready to drink and to pour a little for a pretty skin toner.

Beautiful tea and cake for Mother’s Day

On Sunday there is usually cake for teatime and as today was also Mother’s Day the cakes were especially beautiful!

Smell of roses and cupcakes – heavenly!

With a card perfect for a beekeeping daughter to give to her mother…

Happy Mother's Day, mum! Enjoy your scents of roses!

The perfume is ‘Pure Essence Eau de Parfum No.2 Rose’ from Neal’s Yard. My mum loves it – and I do too!

I’m looking forward to drinking my green tea and peppermint infusion again tomorrow morning – exactly what’s needed for a Monday! With a bit of luck, this week’s forecasted fair weather should bring our shook swarm!

I would like to say a big thanks to Donna of Momma E blog for nominating my blog for a Sunshine Award. It is so lovely to be appreciated and I’ll be sure to pass along my own nominations soon. 

The chamomile sisters

The chamomile sisters are kind and gentle, sensible and reliable. But this is where their similarities end. Blue is the practical sort, she is down-to-earth and takes a no-nonsense approach to life. Like a caring but firm matron, she steps in to sort things out and provides emotional strength. Roman takes a softer, subtler approach. She is the listener and comforter. Wherever a storm is brewing she enters with serenity and sunshine to cast the clouds away.

This week I decided to use two essential oils. So similar are the chamomiles in their therapeutic actions that it hardly seemed worth separating them. There is a third chamomile – Moroccan chamomile (Ormensis mixta) – although blue and roman are more commonly used in aromatherapy.

The only thing that separates these two oils, in my mind, is their fragrance. Roman chamomile has a sweet, floral, almost fruity fragrance, reminiscent of apple blossom. Blue chamomile has a strong, overpowering and herbaceous aroma – it’s an acquired taste, one I’ve not acquired.

Both herbs yield their oils by steam distillation of their small, delicate, white daisy-like flowers. Blue is an annual herb growing to about 60cm, with a hairless stem and feathery leaves, and roman is perennial, growing to about 25cm with a hairy stem and feathery leaves.

Traditionally the chamomiles are known as the ‘children’s remedy’. They are among the gentlest oils you can use for babies, children and for those with sensitive skins. For obvious reasons, I prefer to use roman chamomile for children’s remedies and skin care. Most people find its scent more pleasant than blue, and an aromatherapy blend is as much about the aesthetics as it is about healing.

Chamomile compress

Both chamomiles have a strong anti-inflammatory action. They are helpful for muscular aches and pains, sprains, inflamed joints and torn tendons, or for irritated, inflamed skin, rheumatism and arthritis. I often blend chamomile for backache with other anti-inflammatory oils such as lavender.

However, I’ve found blue to be the more anti-inflammatory of the two, so, with nose peg in place, this is how you make a hot chamomile compress.

You’ll need:

  • shallow bowl filled with near boiling water
  • blue chamomile oil
  • clean flannel
  • clean towels

Add five to six drops blue chamomile to the water and hold your flannel taut over the bowl until it just skims the water surface, absorbing the oil. Carefully raise the cloth (it should not be dripping) and lower slowly onto skin to allow adjustment to the heat. For example, place on an aching shoulder muscle. Then wrap the compress and that area of your body in a towel and leave for five to 10 minutes.

Hot compresses are suitable for relieving chronic pain (for example, people who chronically suffer from a bad back), menstrual cramps, to draw out infection or splinters, and for general aches and pains. Cold compresses are better for first aid use on muscle injuries such as sprains, inflammations or for acute pain or irritated skin. For a cold compress substitute the above method for a bowl of iced water. For severe injuries or persistent pain always contact a medical practitioner.

Soothing and calming

Roman’s turn. Roman chamomile is lovely to use in skin care because of its sweet floral fragrance, calming effects on the mind and soothing action on sensitive or inflamed skins. I gave this blend to a friend for a nightly facial massage oil to prevent skin breakouts during a period of stress. She found it kept her skin clear and also helped her to sleep peacefully.

Blend 30ml jojoba oil with 6 drops roman chamomile, 6 drops lavender and 6 drops geranium. Massage a teaspoonful on face and neck after cleansing your skin.

Blue and orange, roman and vanilla

For blending tips, I’ve found that blue chamomile blends very well with sweet orange or mandarin oils – in a ratio of orange 2:blue chamomile 1. The sweet zesty scent of orange offsets the strong herby aroma of blue chamomile and makes it much more palatable to use. Carry out a patch test before using sweet orange as it may irritate some sensitive skins.

After receiving some enquiries from a friend about using vanilla oil (an oil little-used in aromatherapy) I decided to explore its use with roman chamomile. They complement each other in equal ratios for a charming, warming and comforting room fragrance.

The chamomiles are among those essential oils whose uses for common everyday conditions are so varied that it would take too long to write them all here. The profiles below provide a summary of their actions and methods of use.

This post is dedicated to Sarah Bee, because she is an oasis of calm.

Profile of blue chamomile:

Latin name: Matricaria recutica
Plant family: Asteraceae (Compositae)
Plant type: herb
Perfume note: middle
Botany and origins: originally grown in Germany (it is also called German chamomile) it is native to Europe, north and west Asia and is also grown in North America, Australia and eastern Europe
Extraction: steam distillation is the most common method, although an absolute can be produced
Chemical properties/active components: 35% sesquiterpenes, which are calming, soothing and anti-inflammatory; main active constituent is chamazulene (sesquiterpene)
Blends with: orange oils, chamomiles, patchouli, geranium and lavender
Key actions: analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, bactericidal, calming, soothing, sedative
Common conditions: a children’s remedy to aid sleep; nausea, muscular pains and spasms, rheumatism and arthritis, sprains, inflamed joints and tendons; soothes dry, sensitive and irritated or itching skin, acne, allergies, burns, cuts, dermatitis, eczema, rashes, insect bites and wounds
Contraindications: non-toxic, non-sensitising and non-irritant. It is reportedly an emmenagogue (promotes menstruation); avoid during pregnancy.

Profile of roman chamomile:

Latin name: Anthemis nobilis
Plant family: Asteraceae (Compositae)
Plant type: herb
Perfume note: middle
Botany and origins: native to south and west Europe, it is also grown in England, Belgium, France, Italy, Hungary and North America
Extraction: steam distillation
Chemical properties/active components: 75% esters (particularly active constituents are angelates responsible for its anti-inflammatory actions)
Blends with: orange oils, citrus oils, floral oils, herb oils – and vanilla!
Key actions: analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, bactericidal, calming, soothing, sedative
Common conditions: a children’s remedy to aid sleep and soothe irritated skin; nausea, menstrual pain and PMS; muscular pain, rheumatism, arthritis, sprains, inflamed joints; acne, allergic skin reactions, burns, cuts, dermatitis, eczema, inflamed skin, insect bites, rashes, sensitive skin; headaches, depression, nervous tension, insomnia, migraine, stress, irritability and restlessness
Contraindications: non-toxic and non-irritant, although it may irritate very sensitive skins. It is reportedly an emmenagogue (promotes menstruation); avoid during pregnancy.

Further reading: These profiles are based on my own experience and knowledge of using these essential oils. Other aromatherapy texts will list a wider range of properties and uses. The most comprehensive essential oil profiles that I have read are given by Salvatore Battaglia’s The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, Second Edition, published by Perfect Potion, 2003, Australia. ISBN:  0-6464-2896-9

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