DIY Beauty: lemongrass infusions for hair and skin
So I mentioned that I am currently crazy about lemongrass and other than the commercial products, I’ve also bought fresh stalks from the supermarket to try out some DIY beauty recipes. Lemongrass is an aromatic herb with antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties; often used to normalize overactive oil glands, treat dandruff and minimize skin irritations. It is also benefiical when ingested, said to help with our digestive system such as increasing appetite. Well, think Thai soup ‘Tom Yum Goon’ and Thai green curry! While I like the taste of lemongrass in my food but today, I’m sharing what you can do with this herb for beauty.
Selection and usage
Lemongrass is easily obtainable in our supermarkets. Buy those that are tightly formed, and of a lemony-green color on the lower stalk near the bulb. You will need to peel away the outer layers with your fingers to uncover a softer stalk and this is where it is the most fragrant. Anyway, the first recipe I tried with lemongrass was to create a herbal rinse and hence, I only needed to peel away the outer layer and cut the bottom of the stalks.
For oily hair
Since I have oily hair, I figured that lemongrass would be great as a herbal hair rinse after shampoo and conditioning. Like the rosemary hair rinse, this is easy to prepare. Just peel the outer leaves, cut the bottom of the stalks, wash and boil in a pot of water. To infuse more of the smell into the water, I left the pot to cool for a good half a day before decanting to smaller bottles. Oh, I really love this because the lemongrass smell is really robust! And my hair is also less oily when I use this although I only use this up to twice a week. Going forward, I’ll probably alternate between this and the rosemary herbal rinse.
Ice cubes for toning
I also froze some of the lemongrass herbal water into ice cubes. These are great to use as a cooling pack. Lemongrass is actually antiseptic and good to close large pores. However, I wouldn’t advise these to be used daily but just once a week for a quick refreshing of the face if you like. I also suspect that lemongrass is photosensitive although some sources dispute that but to be safe, use this only in the evening to replace your usual toner before moisturizing. As lemongrass is great for oily skin and so I used this on my t-zone mostly.
Lemongrass infused oil
Okay, the one that got me all excited was to make a lemongrass infused oil. I read that there are two ways to infuse lemongrass and I tried both. One is to soak the cut lemongrass into a base of extra virgin olive oil and leave it by the window for some sunlight for about two weeks. The other is to heat using oil. Okay, the former is still in the works but what I found is that so far, I’m not really liking the smell. It comes across more sweet than citrus.
Heat infusing method
The heat infusing method is much more desirable and the lemongrass smell is very apparent. It’s not difficult to prepare; just a little troublesome if you factor in the washing bit. What you need to do is to get the chopped lemongrass into a pan of heated oil. Simmer really slowly to prevent the lemongrass from turning brown. Once you start smelling the lemongrass, you can turn off the fire and let it steep in the oil until it cools. You can then filter out the oil for storage and the oil can be used for other recipes such as body scrubs.
Use with caution
Like any other ingredients, please use your discretion when trying out these recipes I’ve recommended. Lemongrass is not known to be harmful but I understand that the essential oil should not be used internally by children, women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, or people with liver or kidney disease. Hence, these lemongrass infused water and oil should be used with caution if you have any medical conditions.
Check out the Viva Woman Facebook Page here for more pictures on the preparation process.