With all the stress lately, I’ve developed some irritated skin. Here are two pieces of kitchen witchery I’ve done in the last few days to take care of it.

Calendula and chamomile facial mask

I mixed 1 part calendula powder, 1 part chamomile powder, and 6 parts cosmetic clay. I added enough water to make a texture slightly thicker than yogurt and applied to clean skin fairly thickly. I didn’t let it dry all the way – the goal was to use the mask as a sort of poultice for irritated skin, and I didn’t want to undo the good of the herbs by dehydrating the skin afterwards.

This felt good on my skin; I dried gently and put on a light lotion, and the irritation was decreased.

Calendula and chamomile salve

In the top of a double boiler, I simmered 1 Tbsp each calendula and chamomile powders in 100 g light olive oil for about 20 minutes. Then I added 30 g beeswax and stirred until it was all melted. Poured out into a clean container and let cool with occasional additional stirring – if you don’t stir while cooling, it separates into layers – can anyone advise me about easier ways to prevent this?

This produced a nice consistency, firm enough that it doesn’t feel oily but still very spreadable. It’s grainy from the powders being left in; next time I’ll simmer the whole herb in a cloth bag so I can remove it. This does smell strongly of calendula and chamomile, though, and it has a potentially less than appealing brown color, but neither of those bother me.

Obviously, I’m just beginning to dip my toes into the wider expanses of herbalism and kitchen witchery. I’d be happy to hear advice or suggestions from my readers!

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