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8 forms of capital active hope agroecology agroforestry alder buckthorn Amazon anxiety apples arthritis back yard beans Bec Hellouin beech tree bees beneficial berries biochar biodigester biodiversity blackberries blackthorn book review brain brassica cage budget build building campesino capital card deck Celtic festivals change changes chemical-free chickens christmas circular clay pot cleansers cleansing milks climate change climate emergency climate grief climate solutions climbers climbing cob comfrey community compost compost teas connection consciousness conservation container cooking coppice coppicing cordial cosmology courgettes crafts crisis crop protection Cross Quarter Festival cultural emergence culture cut flowers cycles degraded design diary diversity DIY do it yourself dryland earth care Earth's energy ecoculture economics ecopoetry ecosystem ecosystem restoration camps ecosystems edges edible edible flowers education efficiency elder elderflowers elements elixir energy equinox ethics face mask fair shares Fairtrade farming feedback feminine ferns figs film firewood floristry flower essence flower garden flowers food food forest food garden footbath forage foraging forest garden forest gardening forests fruit fruit leather fruit trees fungi future future care gardening garlic gift economy gin Give Nature a voice Glennie Kindred global poverty glut grapes greenhouse grief groundcover grow grow food grow your own growing guilds habitat habits handcream harvest harvests hawthorn hazel hazelnut healing shrubs healing trees health healthy soil heart health hedgerow hedging herbal herbal remedies herbal teas herbalist herbs holistic holistic planned grazing home homeless homemade wine homestead hope Hugelkultur humanure hummus hungry gap IBC tanks Imbolc incense increase yields Indigenous inexpensive influence inspiration International Womens Day jam keyline kitchen garden lacto-fermentation Lammas land landscape landscapes life lifestyle limeflowers livelihood livestock living labs logs Looby Macnamara lotion low cost low-impact Lush Spring Prize macerations Manda Scott Mangwende Orphan Care Trust market garden market gardening marmalade marshmallow mass heater meadowsweet medicinal microbes microfarm Midwest Permaculture mimic mindset mitigation money Morag Gamble moringa Mother Earth mulch multifunctional mushrooms native plants natural natural building natural fertiliser natural skincare natural swimming pool nature nature connection nitrogen no dig no waste no-dig novel November nutrition nuts observe oca October off-grid oil cleansing orchard orchards organic organic flowers organic gardening outdoor shower oven oxymel oyster pallets pasture-fed patterns people people care peoplecare perennials permaculture permaculture design permaculture magazine award permaculutre permayouth pesto pests philippines pine tree pips pizza oven plant profile plants pollinators pollution polyculture polycultures preserving principles propagating protection pruning prunings psycho-spiritual awareness psychospiritual transformation rainforest rainwater raspberries recipe recipes reduce reed beds regeneration regenerative regenerative agriculture relative location relative matter remedy renewable renewable energy resources restoration reuse revolution rhythms rootstock rootstocks roundhouse roundwood runner beans sage salad salads salve Samhain schools Scotland scotts pine seasonal seasons seeds selfcare Sepp Holzer september septic tanks sewage treatment shade shamanism sheet mulching shrubs skincare sloes slugs small solutions small-scale smallholding social justice soil health solar solutions sowing spiritual spring squash stacking functions stock-free straw straw bale summer sustainable Sweet Bay syntropic systems temperate terraces thistles thrutopia timber timber framing tincture tonic toolkit tools transformation trees upcycle urban urban gardening veg garden vegan veganic vermicomposting vinegar walnuts waste water water cleansing watering weeds wellbeing wetland wild edges wild food wild garlic wildflower wildlife wine recipes wings winter winter greens winter salads wood stove woodburner woodland woodland management woodlands worms yarrow year round year-round food yield young people youth zai pits zone 00 zoning

Topics

8 forms of capital active hope agroecology agroforestry alder buckthorn Amazon anxiety apples arthritis back yard beans Bec Hellouin beech tree bees beneficial berries biochar biodigester biodiversity blackberries blackthorn book review brain brassica cage budget build building campesino capital card deck Celtic festivals change changes chemical-free chickens christmas circular clay pot cleansers cleansing milks climate change climate emergency climate grief climate solutions climbers climbing cob comfrey community compost compost teas connection consciousness conservation container cooking coppice coppicing cordial cosmology courgettes crafts crisis crop protection Cross Quarter Festival cultural emergence culture cut flowers cycles degraded design diary diversity DIY do it yourself dryland earth care Earth's energy ecoculture economics ecopoetry ecosystem ecosystem restoration camps ecosystems edges edible edible flowers education efficiency elder elderflowers elements elixir energy equinox ethics face mask fair shares Fairtrade farming feedback feminine ferns figs film firewood floristry flower essence flower garden flowers food food forest food garden footbath forage foraging forest garden forest gardening forests fruit fruit leather fruit trees fungi future future care gardening garlic gift economy gin Give Nature a voice Glennie Kindred global poverty glut grapes greenhouse grief groundcover grow grow food grow your own growing guilds habitat habits handcream harvest harvests hawthorn hazel hazelnut healing shrubs healing trees health healthy soil heart health hedgerow hedging herbal herbal remedies herbal teas herbalist herbs holistic holistic planned grazing home homeless homemade wine homestead hope Hugelkultur humanure hummus hungry gap IBC tanks Imbolc incense increase yields Indigenous inexpensive influence inspiration International Womens Day jam keyline kitchen garden lacto-fermentation Lammas land landscape landscapes life lifestyle limeflowers livelihood livestock living labs logs Looby Macnamara lotion low cost low-impact Lush Spring Prize macerations Manda Scott Mangwende Orphan Care Trust market garden market gardening marmalade marshmallow mass heater meadowsweet medicinal microbes microfarm Midwest Permaculture mimic mindset mitigation money Morag Gamble moringa Mother Earth mulch multifunctional mushrooms native plants natural natural building natural fertiliser natural skincare natural swimming pool nature nature connection nitrogen no dig no waste no-dig novel November nutrition nuts observe oca October off-grid oil cleansing orchard orchards organic organic flowers organic gardening outdoor shower oven oxymel oyster pallets pasture-fed patterns people people care peoplecare perennials permaculture permaculture design permaculture magazine award permaculutre permayouth pesto pests philippines pine tree pips pizza oven plant profile plants pollinators pollution polyculture polycultures preserving principles propagating protection pruning prunings psycho-spiritual awareness psychospiritual transformation rainforest rainwater raspberries recipe recipes reduce reed beds regeneration regenerative regenerative agriculture relative location relative matter remedy renewable renewable energy resources restoration reuse revolution rhythms rootstock rootstocks roundhouse roundwood runner beans sage salad salads salve Samhain schools Scotland scotts pine seasonal seasons seeds selfcare Sepp Holzer september septic tanks sewage treatment shade shamanism sheet mulching shrubs skincare sloes slugs small solutions small-scale smallholding social justice soil health solar solutions sowing spiritual spring squash stacking functions stock-free straw straw bale summer sustainable Sweet Bay syntropic systems temperate terraces thistles thrutopia timber timber framing tincture tonic toolkit tools transformation trees upcycle urban urban gardening veg garden vegan veganic vermicomposting vinegar walnuts waste water water cleansing watering weeds wellbeing wetland wild edges wild food wild garlic wildflower wildlife wine recipes wings winter winter greens winter salads wood stove woodburner woodland woodland management woodlands worms yarrow year round year-round food yield young people youth zai pits zone 00 zoning

Vital Skincare

Laura Pardoe
'Vital Skincare: Natural Healthy Skin in Just 5 Minutes a Day' is a mix of science, history, creativity, spiritual and cultural connections awareness, and also an instruction manual.

I was really pleased to be asked to review Vital Skincare by Laura Pardoe. It’s not actually a title I’d personally pick up by choice, though I’m always keen to expand my knowledge. Although I love to learn about and use plants in different areas of my life, the only connection I’ve really had with the care of the largest organ of the human body, has been through a medical perspective in my work as a nurse.

To me, at its core, Vital Skincare is about creating our own skincare products, enabling us to move away from commercially available ones, many of which, alongside their packaging, have been found to be harmful both to the environment and our human health. Connecting skincare choices, routines and rituals to patterns in nature is also central to this work. 

Laura lives and works in England, and much of the information she shares with us about plants and cycles in nature are Northern Europe based. However lots of her ideas will also adapt well to other bioregions.

Vital Skincare is a mix of science, history, creativity, spiritual and cultural connections awareness, and also an instruction manual. In over 200 pages, Laura shares her extensive wisdom through a stunning mix of accessible text, photos, quotes, tables and lists. As someone who currently has reduced cognitive functioning through illness, I was really pleased that this mix of creative presentation enabled me to connect with the contents easily and enjoyably.

The book is divided into five different sections: Part 1, physiology and functions of our skin. Why looking after our skin is beneficial to us. Part 2, the history of skincare products. Societal attitudes towards skin and its care. Part 3, many diverse recipes (and ingredients). Part 4, how to make the recipes (methods/techniques). Part 5, more detailed focus on seed oils, flowers and herbs, skincare rituals and local foraging for plants (my favourite chapter). There’s also further ‘how to’ instructions for using these foraged plants in homemade products. Each section has its own clear summary, followed by several detailed chapters.

It is perhaps inevitable that there are some aspects of a book about beauty and skincare – albeit making your own far healthier, cheaper products – that are challenging to me as a permaculture practitioner. An alarming number of people in the world are living in absolute poverty where basic human rights of enough food to eat and safe shelter are not being achieved. To those millions of people, obtaining enough food of whatever quality, and having a living space that is safe, is ‘vital’, and skincare in that context clearly is not. We need to be mindful of the privilege implicit in natural skincare and aware of those who may not, due to poverty, illness, disability, and other reasons for exclusion, have access to this form of health. I would love to see Laura writing further about privilege and access to healthy skincare, perhaps in a future book or a post on her blog?

Whilst acknowledging this limitation in Vital Skincare, I do recommend Laura’s book as a great resource for people who are interested in learning more about the skin. And then the knowledge about how plants can help us to promote skin health, followed by clear ideas and instructions about how to put this into practice. In my opinion, the aesthetic beauty of this book means it will also make a really lovely gift. Laura’s work fully embraces the permaculture ethics of Earth Care and People Care. Getting immersed in this new, very beautiful and comprehensive resource has been very effective in widening and deepening my knowledge ‘edge’ around how we care for our skin. And I’m now feeling inspired to start putting some of this into practice in my life.

Further Resources

Watch

Make Your Own Natural Skincare

Articles

5 Natural Cures for Eczema

About the Author

Kt Shepherd is a permaculture educator, artist and no dig gardener. She also writes for Permaculture magazine.