Aromatherapy: Peppermint for Beauty and Home

Peppermint Mist Skin Freshener

This delightful mist spray can help cool your skin on hot summer days. It's especially suitable for oily to combination skins. Ideally, use the freshener straight from the fridge.

Make a cup of peppermint tea - use a tea bag or put 2tsp of dried peppermint into a teacup and top with boiling water. If using fresh peppermint you will need 3-4tsp of chopped leaves. Allow the peppermint to infuse for 10 minutes before removing the teabag, or pouring through a tea strainer. Let the yea cool, then pour it into an atomiser, or cosmetic bottle with a fine spray and use as required.

Peppermint Compress for Tired Eyes

Save used peppermint tea bags and apply them as eye compresses to lessen redness from fatigue and eye strain. The treatment is also good for puffy eyes. The tea bags will keep fresh for up to 24 hours (store in a sealed food container in the fridge). To apply, lie down, then place a cool, damp tea bag to each eye, leaving for 10-15 minutes.

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Foot Soak

3 tbsp fresh mint
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp epsom salts
2 drops peppermint oil
2 drops lemon oil

Put the mint leaves and water in a saucepan and simmer for 3 minutes. Strain and stir in the sea and epsom salts to dissolve. When the liquid is bearably hot, pour into a large bowl. Add the essential oils and soak your feet for at least 10 minutes.

Foot Lotion

A tingly foot lotion to apply to tired feet. Luxury in hot weather.

30ml unperfumed body lotion
4 drops peppermint oil
3 drop cypress oil
3 drops lavender oil

Put the lotion into a clean glass pot, add the essential oils and stir well.

Minty Cleansing Bar

aromatherapy soaps

This is a refreshing cleansing bar for oily, combination or acne-prone skin. It has a gentler effect than commercial 'medicated' soaps. These often contain harsh chemicals such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, which can cause skin flaking and irritation when used regularly. The green olive oil soap used in this recipe comes originally from France, but can be found in health stores.

Witch hazel is a gentle astringent and is available from chemists.

150g soft olive oil soap
25ml witch hazel
25ml distilled water
6 drops peppermint oil
10 drops lavender oil
1 tsp almond or grapeseed oil

Chop the olive oil soap into very small pieces, or use a coarse grater. Place the soap in a small saucepan and melt over a moderate heat. In a jig, mix together the witch hazel and distilled water, then gradually add them to the melted soap, beating continuously with a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the essential oils.

Press the soap mixture into greased moulds and smooth the top with a knife. The soap will take several hours to harden. Remove it with a sharp knife and wrap in tissue paper if not being used straight away.

Revitalising Shower Gel

30ml unperfumed shower gel
2 drops peppermint oil
3 drops rosemary oil
4 drops lemon oil

Mix the gel and oils together. Step into a shower, pour a little of the gel onto a sponge and massage onto the skin.

Peppermint Mask

This is a cooling, revitalising mask for oily skin. Cucumber is astringent and is also high in silicone and sulphur which promote healthy skin. Green clay has a clarifying, deep-cleansing and tightening effect. But it at chemists and shops specialising in herbs and natural remedies.

face mask

1/4 of a cucumber (with skin)
5ml Carrier oil
1 drop peppermint oil
4 tsp green clay

Chop the cucumber and toss into a blender with the oil. Blend until smooth and pour into a bowl. Stir in enough green clay to make a paste, apply to your face and neck and leave for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off with tepid water and pat dry.

Growing Tips

Mint likes all types of soil and can be grown in shade or open. However, although it will grow anywhere - it's useful for filling round pavings and patios - the flavour is enhanced if it's planted in moist, rich soil in a sunny patch.

If the plant's tangle of creeping roots system is left unchecked it can take over the garden, so it's really ideal for container planting. If you do want to plant mint in a bed, plant the roots in a large pot or bottomless bucket, then bury this in the bed.

All mints are perennials that die back in winter. From late summer for mid-autumn, spikes of pinkish or mauve flowers are borne at the tips of long stems. Pick the leaves just before flowering time for the best flavour.