Lady’s mantle has a long history of tightening skin. Nowadays you sometimes find it in anti wrinkle face creams, but it really comes into its own on all the droopy, saggy bits that come with getting older!
I also make a body lotion from lady’s mantle to tighten loose skin after losing weight. This is perfectly easy to do at home.
Infuse the oil: Firstly, put chopped lady’s mantle leaves into a jam jar and cover the leaves, so all are submerged, with sunflower or sweet almond oil. These are light oils that are not too heavy for the skin and are relatively inexpensive. Leave this to infuse for a month. The oil will turn a lovely vibrant shade of green. After the month, strain off and discard the leaves, keeping the oil.
You then have various options:
Body oil: You can use the oil just as it is to massage into your skin. Or put a spoonful in the bath to make a bath oil. The advantage is the oil will have a high concentration of Lady’s mantle. The disadvantage is that an oily belly and thighs under clothes during the day can make you feel hot and sticky. To rectify this you could add up to 30% EcoSilkMB from Aromantic which will make it smoother.
Body Butter: Body butter is lighter and less greasy than a body oil. As it doesn’t contain water you don’t need to add a preservative.
50g shea butter
15g cocoa butter
30ml infused lady’s mantle oil
15g cornstarch or arrowroot starch powder
7g kaolin clay or French green clay (montmorillonite)
Melt the two butters in a glass bowl bain marie (double boiler). Remove from the heat and add the lady’s mantle oil. Allow it to cool to room temperature then pop it in the fridge for 15 minutes. It will start to set. Combine the two powders together separately. Start to whip the butter with a whisk while slowly sifting in the powders. If you want to add a fragrance, add a few drops before the powders go in (sweet orange, tangerine or mandarin essential oils are cheap and nice). Whisk until you like the consistency, then put into a sterilised jar. You can omit the powders by using 10% EcoSilkMB from Aromantic.
Body Cream: Creams are trickier to make and the easier way is to buy cold cream. Cold cream is a thick, unscented conditioning cream. Whisk in as much lady’s mantle oil as it will hold, until the consistency is a lighter smoother cream. That’s generally around 30% but will vary according to how thick your original cream is. If you can’t find a cold cream use a thick base cream such as those from Aromantic here.
Seaweed and Lady’s Mantle Body Lotion: This is my favourite as it also leaves your skin silky smooth but does require a bit of cooking!
1 tight handful of dried carragheen seaweed
600ml of cold water
600ml hot water
Lady’s mantle oil
A few drops essential oil
1% preservative e.g. Aromantic’s Preservative 12 or keep it in the fridge
Soak the carragheen in the cold water for 15 to 20 minutes. Then strain off the water keeping the carragheen. Put the carragheen into a medium sized saucepan with the hot water which should just cover it. Bring it to the boil, then reduce the heat so that is simmers for 20 to 30 minutes. Do not put the saucepan lid fully on as it may suddenly boil over! At this stage you should notice that the texture has changed and the water has now become a bit gloopy. If you put some drops on a cold plate you’ll notice a gel forming. If it’s still very watery after 30 minutes, remove the lid completely and boil vigorously for another 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool to around 45-50C so you can handle it. Line a sieve with a large square of muslin or a jelly bag, and pour your mix into it. Once most of the liquid has drained through, and wearing thick rubber gloves to protect your hands from the heat, pull up the corners of the muslin so that the mix forms a ball within the cloth. You can move the sieve away at this point. Keep hold of the top of the bag with one hand, and gently massage and squeeze the bag (as if milking a cow) until all the thicker gel comes out. Keep moving it around so that all the gel inside gets to come to the surface and is squeezed out. Stop if you’re starting to squeeze bits of seaweed through the cloth. Discard the seaweed into your compost and rinse the cloth straightaway. Do not put seaweed down the sink unless you’re married to a plumber!
Once the gel is lukewarm (35C or under), take off two tablespoons of gel (30ml) for each jar of lotion you want to make. (The rest can be kept in the fridge for a bit, used to make more cream, or reheated and combined with heated milk and cream to make a delicious panna cotta.) Put the gel into a whisking bowl.
Start whisking and gently start to drizzle in the lady’s mantle oil, as if you were making mayonnaise. Add about 45ml in total (150% of the gel). If using preservative 12, add it to the oil before adding it to the cream to improve solubility. (If using a different preservative read the instructions carefully before adding it to the water phase (gel stage) or oil phase as directed.)
Once you have finished whisking you should have a light lotion. This will set further over a few hours or if you put it in the fridge. It will leave your skin silky soft, nourished and firmer! If you have lost a lot of collagen and the skin is a bit crepey, consider adding some chopped comfrey leaf to your original oil infusion.