When I visited Alnwick in Northern England, Kara and I toured Alnwick Castle and Gardens. The castle was lovely; the sort of place you could only dream about living in. Gilded ceilings, richly coloured carpets, sweeping staircases, stunning furniture, and portrait after portrait of fairly normal looking people in heavily gilded frames. The gardens were equally beautiful. It was raining, so Kara and I were mostly alone in the park with our head-to-toe rain gear. We wandered up and down immaculate gravel pathways, admiring the incredible abundance of flowers, birdhouses, fountains, and vines.
So, months later, I am in the midst of the Canadian winter, dreaming about blooming flowers and sunshine. Roses, specifically. I am absolutely in love with the scent of roses these days. They are calming, rich, and luxurious, and they remind me of early June and sunshine, with bees buzzing about and the wind rustling through the trees.
I’m not the only one who loves the scent of roses—rose essential oil is highly prized, and has been for centuries. It’s also very expensive. 5mL of the essential oil will run you about $100, which is why I’m sticking with the dilutions and absolutes, which are a fraction of the price. It’s popular in skincare products and perfumes (especially luxury lines) for its rich scent and balancing properties.
I recently acquired a variety of new clays, including Zeolite Ultrafine. It’s a pricier clay ($19.74/500g), but I was intrigued its strong detoxifying properties and a few positive reviews. Its light colour and wonderfully smooth texture inspired me to make a luxurious face mask inspired by an English rose garden.
To start with I mixed the Zeolite clay with some French Green, and then added a teaspoon of bee pollen (which is loaded with vitamins!), a teensy pinch of vitamin C powder, and sprinkling of powdered honey (though you could easily use normal, non-dried honey).
For oils, I added a few drops of a 10% dilution of rose essential oil, one drop of geranium essential oil (to balance the skin), two drops of Roman chamomile (to calm the skin), and three drops of white grapefruit (for brightening the overall scent blend). A few drops of jojoba oil (USA / Canada) and some liquid bee propolis completed the recipe. Propolis is a really great ingredient—it’s a sticky resin that bees collect from trees and flowers. Bees use it for several things, including patching small holes in the hive, but I like it because it inhibits bacterial growth and is said to be excellent for treating infections, inflammation, and even allergies. Cool, eh?
Just a wee bit of warm water made a silky smooth mask that felt wonderful on my skin and smelled beautiful. Directly after I rinsed it off I applied argan oil (USA / Canada). My face was beautifully smooth and soft, and I felt quite calmed and content. Mmm, home spa weekends. Brilliant.
English Rose Garden Face Mask
2 tbsp Zeolite ultrafine clay
1 tbsp French green clay
1 tsp bee pollen
1/16th tsp vitamin C powder (optional)
½ tsp honey powder (or 1 tsp honey)
5 drops 10% dilution rose essential oil
1 drop geranium essential oil
2 drops Roman chamomile essential oil
3 drops white grapefruit essential oil
10 drops jojoba oil (USA / Canada)
5 drops liquid propolis
Warm water, as needed
Sift together the dry ingredients in a small glass mason jar. Add the essential oils, jojoba, and propolis, and about a teaspoon of water. Mix with your finger, slowly adding more water as needed to create a thick, creamy mask.