Annual Bath & Beauty Pot

Guest post by Eleanor Athens

There are so many herbs that make fantastic skin care ingredients. The three in this project – borage, chamomile and calendula – are all annuals.

Start your pot in the spring after the last frost using the two-inch herbs available at most nurseries. Your pot will need good drainage, rich soil and a full-sun location.

Plant one of each in a shallow 18-inch round. Or, for a more formal presentation, center the borage in the middle of a larger pot and surround with three calendula plants. Next plant chamomile, 3-5 plants depending on pot, size around the edges. The chamomile will spill over the pot sides.

Expect flowers throughout the summer and into fall. Bright yellow-orange calendula adds a splash of color against the pretty daisy-like chamomile blossoms and star-shaped borage flowers.

For the following bath and beauty recipes, you will be harvesting both flowers and leaves.

Borage Toner

This project starts with a simple vinegar infusion, which is diluted for use as a toner after cleansing. Borage is high in minerals and mucilage, which makes it a great soothing skin-care herb. It has a cooling, refreshing effect.

You will need:

  • Borage sprigs, flowers and leaves
  • Organic vinegar, apple cider or white
  • Distilled water
  • Clean glass jar or bottle

Place the borage in your glass vessel and cover completely with vinegar. Store in a cool, dark place for 1-2 weeks, shaking occasionally. Strain well (several layers of cheesecloth is a good option), and dilute 1 Tbsp vinegar in 1 cup of distilled water. Store in a clean glass bottle or mister.

Calendula Oil

A wonderful body or massage oil based on an infusion of calendula. Calendula, or pot marigold, is loved for its healing and soothing qualities. It is important to use cold-pressed oil because it hasn’t been solvent-processed or had its nature altered by the application of heat.

You will need:

  • Calendula flowers
  • Organic olive oil (cold-pressed)
  • Clean glass jar

Collect enough flower heads to almost fill your jar. Place on clean paper towels and allow them to rest for about 30 minutes. Add your flowers to the jar and cover with oil. Cap tightly and keep covered in a warm place for a week. Strain thoroughly and store oil in a clean glass jar or bottle.

Chamomile Tea

The simplest of beauty recipes, chamomile tea makes a fantastic hair rinse for blonds, or can be added to the bath for a relaxing, fresh-smelling soak. Chamomile is well known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties, and has a great apple scent.

You will need:

  • Fresh chamomile, both leaves and flowers
  • Distilled water

Use chamomile: water in a 1:2 proportion, that is, 1 cup of chamomile to 2 of water. Place the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer, covered, over low heat for 20 minutes. Cool, strain, and use your tea right away.

Other Great Bath and Beauty Herbs

Try experimenting with the following herbs using the recipes above. Choose your favorites for their scent and skin care properties.

Basil (leaves): green and spicy scent, stimulates dull skin.
Fennel (seeds): earthy, licorice aroma, used to tone and tighten skin.
Lavender (flowers): distinctive floral/herbaceous scent, ideal for all skin types.
Peppermint (leaves): refreshing and cool, good for oily or congested skin.
Rosemary (leaves): stimulating camphorous aroma, tonic for oily skin.
Eleanor Athens, is the founder of E aromachologic fragrance oils; scents created from pure essential oils and perfumer’s absolutes. Her interests in phyto- and aromatherapy led to the creation of a fragrance line that uses natural, organic, and cruelty-free ingredients to enhance the well-being of the wearer. Visit


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