I’ve got a glut of basil at the moment, as all my seeds came up. I’ve written elsewhere on this page about its healing and culinary properties, but it is also amazing when used in skin and hair care. Not only does it contain antioxidants which help protect it from the oxidative stress and free radical damage that lead to fine lines and wrinkles, it also helps tighten the skin, improve its tone and boosts the growth of new skin cells.
Simple Basil Face Wash
To get the benefits of basil, you can simply use a basil infusion (pour boiling water on a few basil leaves). Massage into your skin and rinse off. You can use this once a day. Keep the infusion in the fridge for up to 3 days, and use as required.
Basil Skin Exfoliator
2 tsp ground almonds or bran meal
1 tsp dried basil leaves
½ tsp cider vinegar
Mix all the ingredients together. Wet your fingers in water and rub the mixture over your face for a minute or two. Rinse off well and follow with a moisturiser. This will cleanse and refine your skin, leaving it glowing.
Simple Basil Face Pack
Handful of fresh basil leaves
Using a blender or a pestle and mortar, blitz the basil leaves into a paste and apply directly to your face and neck. Leave for 15-20 minutes and wash off with lukewarm water. Finish with a spritz of cold water to close the pores. Follow with a moisturiser.
Basil & Egg-white Face Mask
8 basil leaves
White of 1 egg, whisked
1 tsp honey
Pulp the basil leaves finely in a blender or pestle and mortar. Add the juice to the whisked egg white and apply to the skin of the face. Leave on for 20-30 minutes, then wash off with lukewarm water. Finish with a splash of cold water to close the pores, and apply your moisturiser. Basil and honey have antiseptic properties which help clear up the infections which cause blemishes, while the egg white helps to tighten the skin and reduce enlarged pores.
TIP: Try adding 1 tsp of ground turmeric powder for an extra anti-inflammatory effect. This will also help remove blackheads.
Basil and Clay Mask
Finely powdered dried basil leaves
Powdered green clay (cosmetic grade)
Use a tiny amount of water to mix the combined green clay and basil into a paste. Apply to the skin of your face and allow to dry. Leave it on for 15 minutes and wash off with plenty of lukewarm water. Finish off with a splash of cold water to seal the pores and apply your moisturiser. This will leave your skin bright, radiant and deeply cleansed. You can use this once a week.
TIP: You can combine the dried basil leaves and powdered clay and keep in a tightly closed tin, and then mix up as much as you need whenever you like. If you have dry or mature skin, you can substitute rose clay or use pulped fresh leaves in the mask instead.
Basil Skin Toner
200 ml rose water
1 cm lemon zest (no white pith)
25 basil leaves
110 ml witch hazel
3 ml benzoin tincture
Put the basil, rose water and lemon in a pan and warm gently for 10 minutes. Do not boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 3-4 hours. Sieve through fine muslin into a jug or bowl and stir in the witch hazel and benzoin tincture (a preservative). Pour into a glass bottle, stopper, and store in the fridge for up to two weeks. Use morning and evening by dabbing it on your face and neck with a cotton wool pad. Follow with a moisturiser. This will help deep clean your skin, tighten it, bust blemishes, and protect it from environmental stresses. Basil is a powerful cleanser and this is perfect for those with oily skin and clogged pores.
Basil and Orange Blemish Gel
Handful basil leaves
1 tsp orange zest (no white pith)
20 ml water
1 sachet vegetable gelatine
70 ml distilled witch hazel
Put the basil and orange zest in a blender, and process until smooth. Strain to extract the juice. Put the witch hazel in a pan, heat and whisk in the gelatine until it begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and whisk in the basil juice. Put into a clean glass jar and fit the lid. Apply some to blemishes two or three times a day. This will keep in the fridge for about six weeks.
Basil Leaf Blackhead Treatment
Pound up a couple of basil leaves in the pestle and mortar, and apply directly to the affected area. Leave for 5 minutes and rinse off. Regular treatment will help remove blackheads.
Basil and Cucumber Eye Gel for Puffy Eyes
Handful basil leaves
1 sachet vegetable gelatine
50 ml distilled witch hazel
Put the cucumber and basil in a blender, and process until smooth. Strain to extract the juice. Measure out 100 ml of the juice. Put the witch hazel in a pan and whisk in the gelatine until it begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and whisk in 100 ml of the basil and cucumber juice (if there is any left, you can drink it or apply it as a face mask). Put into a clean glass jar and fit the lid. Apply some to puffy and tired areas beneath the eyes each night before bed. This will keep in the fridge for about six weeks.
TIP: You can try wet basil leaves under your eyes to calm the look of puffy eyes and reduce the appearance of dark circles.
Basil Tooth Powder
3 tbsp. bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 tbsp. fine salt
2 pinches finely ground dried basil
3 drops peppermint oil (optional)
Combine the ingredients well and store in a wide necked jar, tightly stoppered. To use, simply wet your toothbrush and dip in the powder, and use it to clean your teeth as usual. Basil helps to prevent gum disease and freshen the breath.
TIP: You can chew a few basil leaves to freshen the breath.
Basil has amazing benefits in hair care too. It stimulates hair follicles, increases blood circulation in the scalp and promotes hair growth, as well as adding shine to dull hair. The magnesium in basil helps protect hair from breakage, the antioxidant properties protect the hair from environmental damage, and its antiseptic and antifungal properties treat dandruff and an itchy scalp.
Basil Scalp Treatment
Basil can help to treat dandruff or soothe an itchy scalp as it has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. You can warm up a little infused basil oil and massage it into the scalp, wrap your hair in a towel, and leave for at least a couple of hours, or even overnight. Wash off with a mild shampoo.
TIP: Alternatively, grind up some fresh basil leaves in a pestle and mortar until it becomes a paste, add a tablespoon of warmed sesame or coconut oil, warm it slightly and apply to the scalp and proceed as above.
250 ml basil infusion
150 ml liquid castile soap
3 ml olive oil
8 drops basil essential oil (optional)
Combine the ingredients and bottle. Shake well before use. This will not later as much as a commercial shampoo, but it will cleanse and treat your hair with nourishing basil. This will keep in the fridge for 1 week.
TIP: Alternatively, you can add 15 drops of basil essential oil to your normal shampoo.
Basil Hot Oil Treatment
1 tbsp. Jojoba or olive oil
1 tsp. infused basil oil
Combine the basil oil and olive/jojoba oil. To use, warm the oil slightly as this will help it penetrate the hair shaft. Massage into the scalp and through the hair. Cover your hair with a shower cap and wrap in a towel to retain the heat for as long as possible. Leave the oil on for at least 30 minutes, though you can leave it on for several hours. Wash out the oil with a mild shampoo. If your hair is frizzy or dull, oil treatments are a wonderful way to deep condition it, leaving it smooth and glossy. This one is helped by the natural properties of basil, and will also help treat dandruff and scalp conditions.
TIP: You can add 10 drops of basil essential oil to 30 ml of olive or jojoba oil and use this instead.
Basil Hair Rinse
Handful fresh basil leaves
500 ml boiling water
Pour the water over the basil leaves and leave to infuse for 2 hours. Strain and retain the liquid. You can use this as a hair rinse. To use, after you have washed your hair, gently pour the rinse over your head, massaging it into your hair and scalp. Do this over a bowl so you can keep scoping up the infusion and pouring it back over. Repeat several times, and rinse out with warm water. This will condition and soften the hair, adding shine and body, as well as treating scalp conditions.
Basil and Cider Vinegar Rinse
Pack fresh slightly crushed fresh basil leave into a glass jar and top up with cider vinegar. Fit the lid and leave to infuse for a month, shaking the jar daily. Strain out the herbs and transfer your basil and cider vinegar to a clean glass bottle. This will keep at least a year in a cool, dark place.
To use, massage a little basil and cider vinegar into your scalp and damp hair. Rinse out with warm water, or dilute the basil vinegar in water and pour over your hair (do it over the sink, and keep scooping it out and pouring it back over) before rinsing well with warm water. This vinegar rinse helps to remove all soap traces, restore the hair’s pH balance and leave it glossy. It is especially good for oily hair, dull hair, and those with dandruff or an itchy scalp.
TIP: This can also be used as an antiseptic facial toner, diluted well with distilled water. You can even add a teaspoon or two of it to hot water and drink it as internal cleaner and anti-inflammatory!
© Anna Franklin, 2020