I've recently become obsessed with flowers. There are so many powerful plants with an abundance of skin benefits like the hibiscus flower, so it's no wonder my mild interest has turned into an obsession. Due to the healing properties, hibiscus has been popular in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries. Hibiscus isn't just another pretty flower: It tones, hydrates, and firms the skin naturally.
Until recently, most of my experience with this beautiful flower was drinking hibiscus tea. It's always helped my uber-sensitive stomach, so I wasn't incredibly surprised to find that it could help with my temperamental skin too. Burt's Bees lists hibiscus flowers as a natural source of alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) which exfoliate, speed up cell rejuvenation, control annoying breakouts, and can even improve the elasticity of our skin. Now, there are loads of skin products with synthetic versions of AHAs, but they can come with some negative side effects like making your face way more vulnerable to sun damage. Hibiscus, however, actually can reverse damage from UV rays, disease, and pollution according to sources at Dermatocare.com.
One of the first things I look for when in a new natural ingredient is its cleansing properties. According to that same article in Dermatocare.com, hibiscus has natural cleansing properties due to the natural surfactants. So whip up a cup of hibiscus tea and try these five floral beauty rituals — just note that hibiscus can irritate some skin types, so be kind to your bod and do a test patch on the inside of your arm before enjoying these beauty recipes to the fullest!
1. Hair Cleanser
To make a something soothing and cleansing for your scalp, start by making hibiscus tea. I used half a cup of dried hibiscus leaves and three quarters of a quart of hot water.
Then I used half of my tea, mixed it with one third of a cup of apple cider vinegar and a third of a cup of skullcap tea and shook vigorously. You can add essential oils to play with the scent, but it's totally optional. Massage into your scalp to remove oil and dirt buildup and leave in for about 15 minutes. Rinse well with warm water. I was super pleased with how soft my locks felt after this treatment.
2. Hibiscus & Bay Leaf Facial Steam
This was my first time with an at home facial steam and it certainly won't be my last. Place a handful of bay leaves and hibiscus into a ceramic bowl, then pour enough hot water on top to cover it all. Wait for your brew to cool slightly before placing a towel over your head and leaning closely to the bowl.
The towel will act like a tent for your skin to capture all the nutritious steam. I stayed steaming for about 10 minutes before rinsing with cool water. This is a perfect treat for when you and your skin want to feel pretty.
3. Hibiscus Honey Coffee Exfoliate
I used equal parts of hibiscus and honey and added it to freshly brewed coffee grinds (about half a cup) and mixed well with a wooden spoon. Apply on damp, makeup free skin and gently exfoliate the face and neck. This is great for under-eye baggage and waking up your complexion — a perfect morning facial!
4. Hibiscus & Rose Body Scrub
I'm loving my new body scrub. It's super easy to make and you can feel free to swap out ingredients for your preferred oils or exfoliate. I used fine sea salt, coconut oil, safflower oil, dried hibiscus, and dried roses and added a little bit of coconut milk (water works fine to loosen up the mixture too).
Blend your ingredients together in a sturdy blender and then add your fave essential oils. I used rose, cedarwood, and lemon essential oils.
5. Hibiscus Clay Mask
Since I'm all about French clay masks lately, I couldn't resist infusing my clay with my leftover hibiscus tea. Use enough to get a nice smooth paste and add a few dashes of carrot seed oil (optional). Apply on makeup free, damp skin. Leave your mask on until it starts to harden and rinse well with lukewarm water.
Images: Kristin Collins Jackson