Today, you can find mint in a variety of beauty products from shampoos to cleansers and moisturizers, and for good reason. The benefits of mint have been long known throughout history. The ancient Egyptians and ancient Romans prized it for its pleasant aroma, using it to scent the air in homes and temples. During the Middle Ages, people used mint as a cleaning agent and a way to purify drinking water. The early colonists bringing herbs to America praised mint for its therapeutic benefits, using it to treat fevers and influenza .
If you take a look at the labels on beauty products, you may notice the words Mentha piperita or Mentha spicata in the ingredients. Mentha piperita is the Latin name for peppermint, and Mentha spicata is spearmint — two common kinds of mint. Although beauty products will most likely contain one of these two common types, there are more than 30 species in the mint family of plants.
In skin care products, mint is used in skin creams, toners, body lotions and face masks. Its leaves can be ground up to use as mint juice, pureed to make a paste and be made into mint oil. As a beauty treatment product, it’s often combined with other natural ingredients such as lavender, chamomile, jojoba and aloe vera.
Mint (mentha), whether one is referring to peppermint, spearmint, apple mint, pineapple mint, lemon balm, or any other variety, is a stimulating herb that is well known for its internal benefits (as a great digestive tonic and cure for indigestion, for example). But have you yet tried it externally in a skin care ritual?
For identification purposes, you can always recognize a mint by its square stem, though mints such as peppermint and spearmint are best known for their potent volatile, or essential, oils. Mint’s delightful aroma makes it even more appealing to use as a skin care treatment, because it provides some aromatherapy, stimulating & clearing the mind. In skin care, mint is used as a deodorizer, cleanser, and skin soother. The toner below is particularly grand for oily/acne-prone skin because the citrus peels are marvelously anti-septic and ideal for further astringing the skin.
Rule of thumb: Dried mint 1 Tbsp = 3 Tbsp Fresh.
Citrus Mint Toner
3 Tbsp fresh mint leaves (lemon balm would be quite wonderful!)
peel from 1 orange
Peel from 1/2 lemon (Meyer lemons are really lovely)
Peel from 1/3 grapefruit
1 cup boiling water
1 Tbsp witch hazel extract or 1/2 cup witch hazel distillate.
1. Place mint leaves in a bowl and bruise with a spoon in order to release their volatile oils.
2. Add citrus peels.
3. Pour boiling water over leaves and peel and allow to cool completely
4. Strain to remove solids.
5. Add witch hazel extract (tincture) or distillate.
6. Pour into a clean container
*NOTE: as an unpreserved toner, this is essentially a “fresh” product that must be kept refrigerated and used up in a week or so. Don’t store it in your warm bathroom! Also makes a wonderfully refreshing facial mist for a pick-me-up any time of day.