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Calendula Cooling Eye Mask Review

Sugar and Pith, cross hatching a piece of aloe vera leaf

I’m squeezing this post in a little bit late but I didn’t want you to miss a fun little recipe my sister and I tried out for an eye mask from the book Natural Beauty by Susan Curtis, Fran Johnson, and Pat Thomas. This book is one of my favorite reference books for natural beauty information and recipes. My sister and I decided to try their recipe for their cooling eye mask that uses the calendula tincture I just made. This eye mask recipe is supposed to cool, tone, and smooth puffy lines around your eyes.

Ingredients:

2 tsp witch hazel

1 tsp aloe vera juice

1 tsp glycerin

1 tsp calendula tincture

First of all, we didn’t use store bought aloe juice because we have several large aloe plants in the garden. Milking an aloe leaf for its juice is surprisingly challenging! We split the leaf in half and scored the flesh and then squeezed the viscous juice which, being viscous, hung from the leaf in a slimy glop that refused to actually fall into the teacup. We resorted to scraping the juice off with the measuring spoon which proved equally difficult. There are worse things for your hands to be completely covered with than fresh aloe leaf juice. I don’t regret it.

Suagar and Pith, measuring out calendula tincture into tea cup

Next we poured the rest of the ingredients in the tea cup and gave it a really good stir. This eye mask is that easy to put together. Once it seemed about as mixed as it would ever get, we applied the mask generously to the area under our eyes (being careful not to get it IN our eyes) and to our brow bones.

The instructions say to let it sit for five minutes. Being very thorough people, my sister and I waited for ten and just to make the experience extra zen, we practiced breathing slowly and deeply. It was a lovely warm late morning so we did all of this on my front porch looking out at the garden.

Sugar and Pith, antique tea cup and silver spoon filled with eye mask ingredients

Then we removed gently, as instructed, with a cotton pad.

Was it cooling? Kind of. Was it toning? Maybe. Did it smooth puffy lines? Not even a tiny bit. I’ll tell you what it DID do, though. For the rest of the day the skin under my eyes felt really soft and hydrated. As a middle aged person with “mature” skin that’s a plus in my book. I really didn’t experience the astringent qualities of the mask that do the toning and it’s my suspicion that that’s because of the glycerine. If I do this eye mask again I’ll leave out the glycerin. Aloe, witch hazel, and calendula tincture without glycerin would feel more cooling and toning. However, if you want to try this and the skin under your eyes is especially sensitive, you may want to leave it in. That’s your call.

What was really nice about making this recipe is that my sister and I sat down together and took care of our faces while hanging out. I firmly believe that half of the benefit of doing spa treatments is that you stop rushing around, you stop fretting, and you feel more peaceful. This is an incredibly important act of self care, the little things we do every day that feed our body in some way while slowing us down and helping us be mindful.

Go ahead and give this cooling eye mask a try and see what you think.

Calendula Tincture: How to Make Your Own

 

Sugar and Pith, picture from top looking into jar of unfiltered calendula tincture

Calendula tincture isn’t called for all that often in herbal medicine but there are a few good uses to which you can put it. You can add it to mouthwash recipes as calendula is good for reducing gum inflammation, healing mouth ulcers, and inhibiting bacterial growth. You can use it in topical skin applications where you want a more concentrated amount of its medicinal properties. And you can also take it internally to sooth stomach aches.

How to Make a Calendula Tincture:

Fill a pint jar about half full of dried calendula and then cover it with 100 proof alcohol.

It’s important that you use 100 proof because the solvent range for extracting the medicinal constituents from calendula flowers is between 50-80%. If you can’t get your hands on 100 proof, see if you can find a source for grain aclohcol (between 150-153 proof).

Label your jar with the date you started the batch and put it somewhere where you won’t forget about it.

Shake it vigorously every day for two to four weeks.

Shaking it every day is important because it helps break down the cell walls of the plant material.

Sugar and Pith, jar pouring calendula infused alcohol through a filter into a jar

Next, get a fresh clean jar fitted either with a strainer or (as I’ve done here) with a wide mouthed funnel fitted with an unbleached coffee filter and pour the liquid through it. Alternatively, you can use cheese cloth or muslin. Shake the plant material into the filter or cheese cloth and squeeze as much of the liquid out of it as you can.

Sugar and Pith, pouring calendula tincture through funnel into an amber round bottle

Decant your tincture into a dark bottle and label it. Store in a cool dark cupboard to maintain the best quality.

Sugar and Pith, dropper full of calendula tincture poised above shot glass

Your tincture is ready to be used in whatever recipe you like! Calendula is a safe herb to use but I recommend that if you decide to take it internally you do so with the dosage advice of an herbalist or naturopathic doctor.

The next Herb of the Month post will feature an experiment with a recipe for an eye mask that uses this calendula tincture. So be sure to check back in soon!