Spritzing the skin with cool herbal liquids is a delightful and sensual experience. On the hottest summer day, you can refresh mind, body, and spirit with just a few pumps of a mister bottle.
During the blistering days and sultry nights of nature’s peak season, maintaining your cool can be a challenge. What better way to cool off, calm down, or light up those hot summer nights than with an herbal spritzer made from nature’s own perfumes? Spritzers are like a breath of fresh, cool air and can be customized to revitalize scorched summer skin and alter your mood. Simple and fun to make, spritzers can be created by anyone with an ounce of adventurous spirit.
You don’t have to be a cosmetic chemist to formulate your own spritzers. All you need are a few guidelines, a bit of imagination, and simple ingredients such as aloe vera juice, a watery beverage made from the inner gel of the aloe vera leaf; herbal tinctures; or aromatic hydrolats, the recondensed steam-water left over after an essential oil has been distilled and separated. (Lavender, geranium, and many other floral waters are difficult to find and expensive, but rosewater and orange water are readily available at natural products stores and Middle Eastern delis.) Combined with the essential oils of fragrant herbs, flowers, resins, roots, and seeds, those liquids metamorphose into light, refreshing fragrances that can nurture both body and soul.
The skin, which is made up mostly of water, craves moisture to keep it young and supple. Arid climates, air conditioning, and plane travel dehydrate it, and constant washing depletes the combination of sebum and perspiration that helps seal in moisture. Provided that you’ve consumed enough water to feed the skin from the inside (one to two quarts per day, depending on your climate), misting the outside helps plump up skin with moisture to give it a youthful glow. You can mist your face as often as every 30 minutes in dry, hot weather if you wish.
Formulated slightly differently, room spritzers are a hot trend these days, popular in stores, spas, and hotel lobbies. Scented mists may be used to add fragrance to linens, clothing, even curtains. I have found that these spritzers are less allergenic and more appealing than many commercial plug-in fragrances and chemical aerosol sprays, and they can alter the mood in a room or other enclosed space. When spritzed in the car, they may even help soothe road rage in heavy traffic.
Mindy Green is an herbalist, aromatherapist, consultant to the natural products industry, and director of education at the Herb Research Foundation. This article is adapted in part from her book Natural Perfumes, published this year by Interweave Press.