Simple gifts: Yogurt and green tea facial scrub.

dscf1264.JPGI don’t like to buy skin care products. They tend to be either ridiculously expensive or full of sketchy industrial ingredients (yes, even the ones in health food stores).

The thing is, it’s really easy to make very high quality skin care products from things that you already have kicking around your kitchen.

Today I made a lovely yogurt and green tea facial scrub. I think I’ll be using this one for a while. The ingredients? Yogurt and green tea. Yes, that’s all. Just grind up some green tea and mix it with enough plain yogurt to get the consistency you want. You can add a pinch of vitamin C powder if you have it, or a drop of essential oil if you want to scent it (though I like the fresh green tea smell, myself).

I use this concoction as a combination facial scrub / mask. I rub it on with circular strokes, letting the little bits of green tea do the scrubbing. I leave it on for a few minutes to give the lactic acid and cultures in the yogurt a chance to work on my skin. Then I just rinse.

The combination of yogurt and green tea is soothing, cooling and gently exfoliating. It’s wonderful for sensitive, irritated skin. (Some of the most expensive skin care products on the market are based on green tea or lactic acid. This homemade version is cheaper, fresher, and better.)

If you put this stuff in a little jar and put a ribbon on it, you have a great Christmas gift. (Just make sure the recipient knows to keep it refrigerated.)

Here are some other simple facial scrubs / masks (and potential quick-and-easy gifts):

Honey mixed with ground almonds and a bit of oil. (A nourishing scrub.)

Milk and honey and powdered rose petals. (Moisturizing and soothing.)

Yogurt and chopped mint leaves. (Cooling, soothing and stimulating.)

Yogurt and ground basil. (Soothing and invigorating.)

Oat flour and plantain infusion. (Incredibly soothing and healing.)

Oat flour and rosemary infusion. (Healing and stimulating.)

You get the idea. Why not make up your own recipes?


  1. Kiva Rose said,

    December 9, 2007 @ 3:06 pm

    Very nice, though I don’t usually use skincare stuff, as nearly all of them upset my sensitive skin and plus I just can’t be bothered to do these girly kind of things usually, but these are nice simple recipes, and I think I’ll have to try a few. Thanks Rebecca.

  2. Becca Ribbing said,

    December 9, 2007 @ 8:00 pm

    That sounds great! I was just getting ready for a bath, and I think that I will whip up a batch and try it out tonight. Thanks for sharing!

  3. crabappleherbs said,

    December 9, 2007 @ 9:06 pm

    Have fun! Let me know how your potions turn out!

    (Kiva — try the yogurt with tea or something minty. It’s really really amazing for calming sensitive prone-to-redness skin.)

  4. Elizabeth said,

    December 10, 2007 @ 8:30 pm

    I also have sensitive skin, and I love this idea! I think I’ll have to make a batch of yogurt just to try it out. Thanks for the great ideas and howdy to a fellow wild and wonderful West Virginian!

  5. Robin Rose Bennett said,

    December 11, 2007 @ 4:48 am

    Hi Rebecca,

    just wanted to say that I think it’s wonderful you posted some simple recipes for gift ideas…I found it very affirming as I was just thinking about how I want to make all my gifts this year, most herbal and some not…don’t want to run around shopping or even catalog shopping (building up those credit card debts!) when that’s not what this season is really about. And the gifts really don’t have to be fancy. Even tuning into someone and picking out a tincture or tea for them that you think will benefit them is such a thoughtful gift. So, Thank you.

    And by the way, I had never tried flax seed as a tea, and intrigued by your post about it, I drank some last Friday night, (made with a teaspoon of freshly ground golden flax seed). I was feeling a little dehydrated from the wood stove and a glass or two of red wine…and it was quite nice, very moistening! Next, the hair gel! (I like that girly stuff) : ) besides, boys need skin care, too… ps flax seed is used for hair gel in the Dominican Republic, too.

  6. crabappleherbs said,

    December 11, 2007 @ 10:34 am

    Elizabeth — Thanks! I’m glad to meet another WV blogger, too. Are you up in the northeast mountains, then?

    Robin Rose — Thank you for your very sweet comments! I feel that way about Christmas too. People always appreciate my homemade gifts, and it feels so much better than buying things. As for the flax, I think it must be one of the oldest hair gels. Such an amazing substance!

  7. Lisa said,

    December 11, 2007 @ 3:22 pm

    These are great ideas. I am going to have to go through your posts; it looks like we have very similar interests. I found you through These Days in French Life.

  8. Persephone said,

    December 11, 2007 @ 6:37 pm

    My very favorite skin cleanser is honey and cornmeal in a paste. but i usually just use water- i have acne prone skin, and water is usually enough to keep my skin clear- unless i’m extra hormonal. šŸ™‚

  9. Elizabeth said,

    December 12, 2007 @ 8:57 am

    I’m in north-central WV, the Morgantown area, but we’re building our home a little further toward the Tygart Valley.

  10. crabappleherbs said,

    December 13, 2007 @ 10:32 am

    Persephone — cornmeal and honey sound lovely.

    Elizabeth — I’ve never really spent any time in that part of the state. (I think I’ve only been to Morgantown once.) WV is a funny state that way. What’s the land like? Is it like the area around Elkins?

  11. Rachel R. said,

    January 22, 2008 @ 1:08 pm

    Do you use shampoo? I’m wondering because you said you don’t like to use the storebought stuff, and I’ve been trying to find an inexpensive something with which to wash my hair, that isn’t full of junk, with (so far) no success. I’d love to know what you use. šŸ™‚

  12. crabappleherbs said,

    January 22, 2008 @ 1:28 pm

    Hi Rachel.

    For my hair, I stick to herbal rinses. Maybe five years ago, I started to realize that my detergent-based shampoo was stripping my scalp of its natural moisture. I switched to a non-detergent-based shampoo (I think it was Aubrey — a not-too-cheap health food store brand). That was better, but I gradually used less and less of it, and finally switched to a baking soda rinse (maybe 1/2 tsp baking soda in a pint of water) followed by a vinegar rinse (maybe 1 tablespoon of vinegar in a pint of water). That was even better, and eventually I realized that I didn’t need it very often. So now I just rinse well in hot water and do herbal tea rinses when I feel like it. That’s how I’ve been doing it for maybe 3 years. My hair is really so much healthier now, and I don’t spend all that money on shampoo and conditioner!

    I wouldn’t recommend going “cold turkey” on detergent-based shampoo, though. Your scalp would likely have a really oily “rebound” effect. If you want to switch to baking soda and vinegar or herbal rinses, I’d recommend first switching to a non-detergent shampoo and tapering off slowly like I did. To give your scalp a chance to adjust.

  13. Tammy said,

    January 30, 2008 @ 3:51 pm

    I LOVE your blog! Waving from Virginia, hi ya’ll! I’m wanting to switch rinses instead of shampoo, too. Are the home made shampoos that are made with castile soap considered non-detergent? I’ve seen several recipes mixing castile with herbal teas. Curious if that might be a good way to begin getting rid of my store bought shampoo.

  14. crabappleherbs said,

    January 30, 2008 @ 7:04 pm

    Thanks, Tammy!

    This settles it, my next post is going to be on herbal hair care.

    Yes, castile soap is non-detergent. You have to be careful not to use too much, though, or it can leave a soapy film on the hair — use a vinegar rinse to prevent this. More soon, in an actual post!

  15. Michelle P said,

    March 10, 2008 @ 2:33 pm

    Hi Rebecca,
    Another new fan of your blog, I got here by researching Bee Balm.
    It is the new herb this year on my one acre homestead here in western NY.
    You’ve got me looking forward to using this new herb & new ways to use
    other herbs we grow here. I’ve been studying your natural/no
    shampoo method. Reading all the questions & responses has been very helpful as well as inspirational!

    I’d like to try the yogurt mask& am going to experiment on myself to see if it will calm the redness caused by rosacea. I bet the bee balm would be a good herb for that! The seeds aren’t even here yet & the plants have purpose! I think they will make for a lovely ingredient in the herbal hair rinse as well!

    Here’s a question about the infusion to add to the oat mask:
    Is the herb infused just in water as a tea…or in an oil, or perhaps another ingredient?

    Thank You for sharing your herbal wisdom through your blog, I hope to learn
    many more ways to use the plants grown here.

    Green Blessings!

  16. crabappleherbs said,

    March 10, 2008 @ 8:49 pm

    Thanks, Michelle!

    I was thinking of a hot water infusion (aka tea), but you could try an infused oil too. (I wouldn’t advise using essential oils on sensitive facial skin, though.)

  17. Victoria said,

    March 22, 2008 @ 10:43 pm


    Where can i get some green tea?


  18. crabappleherbs said,

    April 3, 2008 @ 3:49 pm

    Victoria — You can get green tea in most supermarkets.

  19. Lori said,

    October 7, 2008 @ 11:03 pm

    How do you know if a shampoo is detergent based?

    Thanks so much for all the tips

  20. Jennifer said,

    March 24, 2009 @ 11:06 pm

    Loved the Green Tea mask… it felt wonderful!

  21. Susan said,

    December 7, 2009 @ 6:15 pm

    I don’t go for the “girly” stuff either, but these recipes are great! And I want to remember myself and remind everyone else how easily herbs are absorbed through our largest (and perhaps most porous) organ, the skin. I think that herbal baths and skin treatments are very much underrated in our pill-popping culture. We herbalists could use these things to our advantage. For example, I think these facial treatments could be a entree into working with a client who is both vain and somewhat skeptical of herbs…say with rose to calm her anxiety. Facial and skin treatments can deliver herbs, essential oils (small amounts, of course), and flower essences directly to the person’s system.

  22. nancy said,

    August 12, 2010 @ 1:16 pm

    Hi Rebecca,

    Thank you for posting this wonderful recipe (yup, I’m trolling the archives — so much great information! :)) I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now, morning and evening, leaving the mixture on for about 10 minutes before rinsing. I’ve abandoned my expensive toner and moisturizer, and my skin has never felt better! I love the aroma of the green tea, too.


  23. Romala Rathnam said,

    October 14, 2010 @ 11:16 am

    I am looking for a large farm area to grow “flaxseed” in Morgantown or nearby areas – do you know of any such piece of land or a farmer who wants to grow flaxseed every year on a large scale?

    Please respond.


    Romala Rathnam

  24. Letty said,

    August 5, 2011 @ 11:39 pm

    I was wondering if you have an idea for a mositurizer..i cant seem to find something that is light and wont make my face oily…the oil free ones…dont work!! Thank you!

  25. Diana said,

    October 2, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

    Thanks so much šŸ™‚ Such a great blog, keep on with the good job šŸ™‚

    Greetings from Macedonia šŸ™‚

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