Forage for Skin and Hair Care Ingredients

    Foraged Horsetail

    Foraged horsetail. Photo by Sarah Hart Morgan

    Last month, I shared my top 5 plants in my skincare garden but many of the plants I use have been foraged for around my property. I’m a big believer in eating locally grown food and that extends into the plants I use in my skin and hair care routines. The same reason I prefer to eat locally sourced honey, I believe nature provides most of what we need to our local regions. I’ll be sharing with you what plants I forage for in my zone: 6b, and how I incorporate them into my hair and skincare routines.

    Power up with protein. Protein is essential for building and repairing muscle. Choose lean or low-fat cuts of beef or pork, and skinless chicken or turkey. Get your protein from seafood twice a week. Quality protein sources come from plant based foods, too.


    Horsetail can be found in wet areas along creeks, streams, and rivers. I am lucky enough to have this plant growing along the side of my road for easy harvesting. Horsetail can improve circulation in the hair follicles which can promote hair growth, therefore, I like to incorporate this plant into all of my hair growth products combined with Rosemary. After harvesting, let the reeds dry, you can dry them in a dark place hanging upside down, on a drying rack, or in a dehydrator. The reeds will then separate easily for storage. I like to infuse horsetail along with rosemary in spring water to be used as a hair growth spray. Add a bit of witch hazel into a 1oz spray bottle and use twice a day. Keep the mixture in the fridge for preservation. I also infuse in a mixture of oils to use as a hair serum/deep conditioner treatment.

    Drink half your body weight in ounces of water everyday. Drink between meals, and finish your fluids 2 hours before bed. Use a reverse-osmosis water filter, a Big Berkey water filter, or buy Spring water.

    Wild Rose + Rosehips

    Wild Roses Grow Along the Creek

    Wild roses grow along the creek. Photo by Sarah Hart Morgan

    Wild Rosehips foraged in the Fall/Winter Months

    Wild Rosehips foraged in the Fall. Photo by Sarah Hart Morgan Wild rose and rosehips are much smaller than the cultivated variety but I LOVE foraging for wild roses along our creek. For me, it may be more of a mindful practice then anything else and it is one of my favorite summer activities. The petals dry quickly and easily for storage. I like to grind them up to be used in bath salts, infused in oils along with Chamomile in my face serum, and used in wrinkle cream. Rosehips can be found in the fall/winter months and are best harvested after the first frost. Just be sure to leave plenty for birds and other wildlife to eat during the colder months.

    Don't Smoke or do Drugs, and Only Drink in Moderation. If you're a tobacco smoker, or abuse drugs, then diet and exercise are the least of your worries. Tackle those problems first. If you choose to include alcohol in your life, then do so in moderation only, and consider avoiding it completely if you have alcoholic tendencies.


    Yarrow Found in a Field

    Yarrow found in a field. Photo by Sarah Hart Morgan In skincare, yarrow is wonderful with wound healing and for this reason, I incorporate it in my Herbal Soothing Salve, infusing the plant in oils along with other skin loving plants and herbs for at least 6 weeks. I also incorporate it in my Muscle Rub as it is said to help improve circulation. It is easy to harvest and easy to dry by hanging it upside down in a dark room.

    Wild Violet

    Wild Violet

    Wild violet. Photo by Sarah Hart Morgan

    This flower may be small but when it’s blooming it’s easy to spot. The dark purple flowers stand out against the green grass. The flowers can come in shades of purple into white. The flowers are good for dry, chapped skin. They are cooling, soothing, and anti-inflammatory. They can be infused in witch hazel (you may even get a purple color!) to be used as a facial toner or to help relieve the itch from insect bites. You can infuse them in oils for all your skincare needs. It can be time consuming harvesting these beautiful little flowers so be sure to give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the process!

    Use Aloe Vera To Transform Red Irritated Skin Into Soft Healthly Skin. If your skin is red and irritated, you’ll want to soothe it right away. Prolonged inflammation of your skin can cause your skin to break down collagen. Or, if you just want smooth, vibrant skin, you can also use this skin soother. Aloe Vera gel has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and healing properties, and it penetrates the skin easily to provide nourishment.


    Elderflower found in a Field

    Elderflower found in a field. Photo by Sarah Hart Morgan

    Preparing Elderflower for Drying

    Preparing Elderflower for drying. Photo by Sarah Hart Morgan

    Elderflowers are the flowers that come before the Elderberries. I personally love the berries more than the flowers so I try to only harvest what I need of the flowers and leave the rest to turn into berries. The flowers have anti-aging qualities, are said to improve skin elasticity and are firming. They are full of vitamins and improve skin complexion. I harvest just enough to last a year and use it in my wrinkle cream and body oil.

    Eliminate Tired Puffy Eyes With Chilled Tea Bags. Briefly steep 2 green, black, or chamomile tea bags in hot water for less than a minute. Then remove the tea bags from the water and chill in a small bowl in the refrigerator. Once chilled, place 1 bag over each closed eyelid. Leave on your lids for 5 to 15 minutes.

    What do you forage for in your area? Are any of these plants available to you? I’d love to know what local plants you harvest and how you use them, please share in the comment section!

    Sarah Hart Morgan is a designer, photographer and author of Forrest + Thyme Apothecary: simple skin care formulas you can make uniquely your own. She lives in the Shenandoah Valley, where she works with foraged plants in her skincare and apothecary products, camera-less photography, using plants as a developing agent in film photography, and creating natural inks for painting. Connect with Sarah on her website, Instagram, and Pinterest. Read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here . Originally Published: 4/6/2021 9:24:00 AM