corn flower flour maskColumn Alison Steele Columns Health 

Corn Flower Face Mask

By Alison Steele

Self-care is the new buzzword. Without caring for ourselves, it’s nearly impossible to care for the folks around us. Self-care is time taken, time out, no matter how little, on a daily basis to give our nervous systems a breather and reconnect with our true selves.

I love getting older. All the know-how piles up and suddenly you find yourself wiser. One of the beautiful parts is recognizing the tough times as our teachers. Our fine lines and silver manes remind us that we are not broken. We’re still here, laughing our way through the tough times and back into peaceful ones. We learn how to care for our bodies knowing that what we put in now will fuel our adventures down the road.

Late winter is a time for pruning, clearing, and tending in preparation for what’s to come as the light returns for another season of growing. Daffodils are already popping up alongside the winter primrose and violas. My irises tell me that the sun is higher. Plant shadows are becoming shorter, outlooks brighter.

Watching my son practice the ancient art of wrestling through the dead of winter, and my daughter taking time to care for her skin at the end of the day leaves me in awe of these little people who are growing up to participate, boldly, in the act of truly living in this world. Making it better through nurturing themselves, harnessing emotions, tending to their minds and bodies for a holistic remedy of genuine well-being. Simple daily practices make a difference!

I tend to put the kettle on and grab something sweet before I brush my pearly whites and hop into bed. Anyone who knows me, knows I have a sweet tooth, but this may be my year for skipping the late night sweets in favor of fresh flower petal face masks and deep breaths. Guaranteed to set the winter senses singing, hearts humming, and faces glowing, this tuck-in ritual is easy on the adrenals and doesn’t strip the skin of its natural bacterial layer.

Corn Flower Face Mask

For 2

1 T corn flour
Rose petals from a fresh mountain rose*
1 t coconut cream
The zest of one lemon
1 t local raw honey
Mortar & Pestle

*Other petals to consider seasonally are elderflower, chamomile, calendula, and olive flower.

Lemon zest contains powerful anti-aging antioxidants and can brighten the skin.

If grinding your own, make sure to sift the cornmeal into corn flour for a very delicate exfoliation. Zest lemon rind with a parmesan grater and further mince with rose petals for a superfine facial confetti. Spoon honey into a mortar along with lemon zest and rose petals. Grind into a smooth paste to release essential oils, stir in coconut cream and corn flour. Set aside for a few minutes to allow the phytonutrients time to infuse. If need be, thin with a few drops of coconut milk. For acne-prone skin, swap out corn for oat flour and remember to be gentle with your application. In college, I would keep a small bowl of cornmeal in the shower, squirt some castile soap in and scrub the heck out of my skin. With age, I’ve learned to go easy on the amazing organ that is our protective outer husk. Using gentle upward circular motions, slather on neck and face, find your spot, and breathe.

It will never completely “dry” because honey is a humectant and emollient attracting water for hydration and delivering lipids for moisture. The rose brings good vibrations in so many ways. The lemon peel? It’s packed with a gentle living vitamin C dually healing blemishes in younger skin and lightening and brightening older skin. I’ve swapped the castile for coconut and other essential fatty acids and have never looked back. When ready, softly massage face with a warm damp washcloth until clean. Follow with a few spritzes of rose water and a thin layer of raw coconut oil.

*Other petals to consider seasonally are elderflower, chamomile, calendula, and olive flower.

A native of Virginia, Alison Steele lives with her family in Boulder Creek where she raises quail, chickens, fruit trees, vegetables, and herbs. Alison plays banjo and sings in Sugar by the Pound.


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