Saturday 24 February 2018

Nature and nurture

Health and beauty experts Jo Fairley and Sarah Stacey share some of their home-made recipes to naturally boost everything from skin to eyelashes

'Women who take care of themselves naturally radiate beauty'.
'Women who take care of themselves naturally radiate beauty'.
The Starflower mask soften and plumps the skin.

Jo Fairley and Sarah Stacey

The Ultimate Natural Beauty Bible prides itself on home-made recipes and tips that really work – naturally.

It's 17 years since health and beauty experts Sarah Stacey and Josephine Fairley teamed up for their first book, and their latest is no less compelling.

This time around the authors have turned their attention to natural, chemical-free beauty. They give the low-down on reading ingredient labels, how to be naturally confident about your appearance and tried and tested recipes for products you can whip up in your own kitchen.

The book contains recipes for making skincare and haircare products – even the occasional make-up item – from easy-to-find ingredients.

The authors say they've seen, time and time again, how women who take care of themselves naturally radiate beauty, grace and ease – what the French call 'etre bien dans sa peau'. Proof, if any was needed, to follow nature's path...

Sage lash conditioner

Give eyelashes a boost with this conditioner. The nourishing blend of sage and olive oil will add length, fullness and shine to both lashes and brows

Fact: we're not at all keen on many proprietary lash-growth-booster products. (Some even contain pharmaceutical substances which may pose risks to eye health.) This lash treatment is as gentle as can be and enhances brow lustre, safely nurturing in the most natural way.

You will need

20g (1oz) fresh sage (or half the quantity of dried herb)

75ml (3fl oz) purified tap, mineral or rain water

2 tbsp olive oil


Place the sage and water in a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Cool and strain through a muslin cloth or a kitchen towel. Put one tablespoon of the tisane into a small-necked bottle with a lid; add the olive oil and give the bottle a good shake. Before using the lash conditioner, always shake the bottle to mix the oil and water elements. Use a clean mascara wand to apply the mixture to eyelashes. The oil can also be stroked along brows to add lustre; the sage can have a slightly darkening effect, so you may find you don't need to use so much mascara or brow pencil.

NB: Wash and rinse the wand after use to ensure it's sterile; leave to dry on a radiator or near a heated towel rail.

Willow Blemish Buster

The salicylic acid in the willow leaves will dry out spots effectively.

you will need

10g (½ oz) fresh willow leaves, chopped

50ml (2fl oz) apple cider vinegar


Put the willow leaves in a jug and pour the vinegar over them, then put in a screw-top bottle and shake well. Keep in the refrigerator and shake the bottle every day for a week. Apply with a cotton wool ball to pimples.

Chamomile and Rhubarb Hair Brightener 

Used once a week, this will keep the summer lightness in blonde hair or lift mousey shades.

you will need

25g (1oz) dried chamomile flowers

25g (1oz) rhubarb root powder

200ml (7fl oz) boiling mineral, purified tap or rain water

1 tbsp olive oil


In a pestle and mortar or herb chopper, grind the chamomile flowers to a fine powder.

Combine them with the rhubarb powder in a bowl. (To make your own, cut fresh rhubarb root crosswise into small pieces and spread on a baking sheet. Dry in a low oven (110°C/225°F for 2–3 hours. When cool, grind to a dust.)

Add the boiling water to create a paste, and then mix in the olive oil with a spoon. Using clips or grips, section off your dry hair and smooth the paste from root to tip of each section.

Wrap your hair in clingfilm and allow the treatment 45 minutes to work. Rinse thoroughly with warm water, then shampoo and condition.

Facial Oils

Facial oils are a cinch to make: simply pop in a small screw-top jar or bottle and shake vigorously to blend. Shake again before using.


Mention 'facial oil' to those with a shiny complexion and they may run a mile. Yet botanical oils can work to re-balance and normalise greasy or oily skins.

Many people need to overcome their prejudice against oils – we suggest you give this formula a go, at night, for two weeks, and you may well be very surprised (and delighted) by the results.

You will need

2 tbsp grapeseed oil (this is the best oil for oily skin, although jojoba is also brilliantly re-balancing)

10 drops juniper essential oil

15 drops petitgrain essential oil

5 drops frankincense essential oil

5 drops marjoram essential oil

10 drops lemon essential oil


Normal skin? Lucky you! This blissful scented oil can be used instead of a night-time moisturiser. We always advise a real-time assessment of skin's needs on a daily (or, in this case, nightly) basis: an oil is great when your normal skin is feeling in need of a little extra nourishment. That might mean every night – or it might mean twice a week. Try to tune into your own skin's condition and use accordingly; if it feels dry or rough to your fingertips, it would love some well-oiled TLC.

You will need

2 tablespoons avocado oil

15 drops rose essential oil

10 drops geranium essential oil

5 drops neroli essential oil

5 drops palmarosa essential oil

10 drops calendula essential oil


These oils are all excellent for ageing and sagging skin – and this is the blend we make for ourselves.

Our favourite essential oil is probably neroli (orange blossom oil), which has a natural cell-rejuvenating action as well as a divine, sweet fragrance.

If you don't want to use a blend like this (but please do try it, you might be converted), simply add a drop or two of neroli to your usual night-time moisturiser as a booster: blend in the palm of your hand, and massage into skin.

You will need

1 tbsp sweet almond oil

1 tbsp argan oil

The contents of 2 capsules wheatgerm oil (roughly 1 teaspoon)

10 drops frankincense essential oil

10 drops sandalwood essential oil

10 drops patchouli essential oil

15 drops neroli essential oil

5 drops clary sage essential oil

Starflower Mask

For dry skin

This is Jo's all-time favourite mask, created by her husband Craig Sams: "I love the way it softens and 'plumps' my dry skin," she says.

You will need

50g (2oz) aloe vera flesh

2 tbsp plain yogurt

2 capsules of starflower (borage flower) oil

10 fresh borage flowers (in season)


Aloe vera flesh is quite hard to blend, so it is easiest to whizz all the ingredients in an electric herb chopper. (You'll need to snip the starflower oil capsules and squeeze out the oil.)

Massage the mixture into the skin of the face and neck, and leave for about 15 minutes whereupon the most extraordinary thing happens – your complexion will have soaked up almost all the mask, and will be left looking plumped-up and younger.

Strawberry smile brightener

This makes a delicious and effective brightening paste. Apply as often as you have time – and strawberries.

You will need

1 ripe strawberry

½ teaspoon baking powder


Crush the strawberry to a pulp, and then mix with the baking powder. Paint the mixture onto teeth and allow to set for five minutes. Then use a soft toothbrush to lighten and brighten teeth. To remove the mixture, be sure to brush thoroughly with your normal toothpaste. Rinse with plenty of water.

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