This toning facial astringent for face–made from zinnia flowers–was inspired by my mother-in-law’s garden, which was lined with zinnias. Enjoy the recipe!
Note: Also check out our homemade face wash recipe.
This past weekend while visiting my mother-in-law we noticed her amazing flower bed! Most notable in the bed by the driveway was a large border of zinnias, overflowing their boundaries.
It inspired me to look into the story behind these beauties and to think of many ways the flower can be used. One simple use for the zinnia flowers is a homemade astringent for face washing.
Astringent for Face from Zinnia Flowers
- fresh zinnia flowers
- distilled water (enough to cover flowers)
- Bring water to a boil.
- Pour hot water over fresh zinnia flowers. Steep for 10-15 minutes.
- Strain out flowers and discard or compost.
- Allow to cool completely.
- Transfer to a spritzer bottle or squirt bottle and label well. When kept refrigerated, it will keep for up to three days.
Splash this astringent for face on as a soapless cleanser, or spritz it on after your usual routine and used as a toner to close pores.
The Zinnia Flower
There are over 200 species in the Zinnia genus, so named for the man who first described the group, Johann Gottfried Zinn. At the time of his writing, He thought the flower was related to black-eyed Susans. While the two plants are in the same sunflower family, they are very different!
There is a long cultural history regarding the genus in the American Southwest and Northern parts of South America. Some Pueblo tribes encouraged children to eat the blooms hoping they would impart wisdom. In shamanic traditions, the leaves are placed on the head during a ceremony to cure madness.
Zinnias bloom from spring through fall, though I feel like I am only now taking notice of them. Their bright colors look so good in the fall sunlight against a crisp, blue sky. The most common garden zinnia is the Zinnia elegans, a species that you will readily find in garden seed catalogs.
More Ways to Use & Enjoy the Benefits of Zinnias
Here are more reasons to plant and enjoy zinnias:
1. Zinnia flowers are astringent for face. Make them into a facial wash for tightening the pores. (See recipe and instructions above!)
2. They are edible!
3. The flowers ha ave mild activity that may improve cholesterol levels when taken internally. (Make the flowers into a tea, tincture, capsule, vinegar, cookie, add them to food, etc.)
4. The flowers may work as a tonic for the liver when taken internally. (See #3 for ideas on taking them internally.)
5. Add the flowers to healing oils for their anti-fungal properties. (Learn How to Make an Easy Herbal Oil Infusion with these flowers.)
6. You can make a flower essence out of these blooms on a bright, clear day. Their effects are to encourage a childlike playfulness and curiosity, as well as to support a strong sense of humor. They are good for those who take themselves too seriously, who may be considered a work-aholic, or lack spontaneity. (Learn How to Make and Use Your Own Flower Essences.)
7. They make a great cut flower. Their flowers appear on long stems that are easy to make into bouquets. They are easy to sell if you have a farmer’s market stand!
8. The zinnia plant is well-known for its phytoremediation, meaning that it can be used to pull toxic elements out of the soil. In this case, the plants are specialists at pulling up lead.
9. Endless variety! Zinnias easily cross-pollinate, so variation in color and pattern is assured if you are a seed saver.
10. Zinnias are both a food source and a nursery for monarch butterflies.
11. As a companion plant, zinnias deter cucumber beetles and tomato worms.
12. Zinnias attract hummingbirds and beneficial insects.
Planning for Next Year
Next year I’ll be trying one or two of the many zinnia varieties in my garden. I’ll start by taking home some seeds from my mother-in-law’s patch. When they come up next year I’ll think of her and remember how her garden inspired me to become better acquainted with these beautiful flowers.
Have you ever grown zinnias? If so, do you have any interesting uses for them?