Beauty Bloom
Femina Salon and Spa|November 2018
Beauty Bloom

Transform your beauty cabinet into an apothecary by harnessing the goodness of dried flowers. Anuja Premika shows you how.

Anuja Premika

Walk through the aisles of any beauty store and you’ll notice an array of floral essence-infused products for every need under the sun. The beauty realm’s obsession with flowers is well-founded, with the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Chinese being known to use flowers for adornment as well as decoration of spaces. The Egyptians, however, were the first to see the merit of using flowers beyond mere ornamentation. They found that flowers could be put to various therapeutic and medicinal uses.

Manufacturers today fully recognise the healing and beautifying potential of flowers with favourites such as rose, lavender, patchouli, calendula and violets being employed for their potential to moisturise, tone, treat acne, prevent ageing, and more.

WHY DRY?

The process of drying flowers has been practiced across cultures for millennia, as a method to preserve the beauty of freshly-picked blooms. The Egyptians used dried instead of fresh flowers to make cosmetics and perfumes. Their beauty benefits are many, as they retain all the goodness of fresh flowers, and come with the added benefit of a significantly longer shelf life. They can also be powdered, making them easier to store and use.

While it’s easy to dismiss them as a luxury reserved for the Pinterest fueled aesthete, dried flowers are fairly easy to make at home, and still easier to work into your daily skin- and hair care regimen.

CHOOSING RIGHT

Processes to dry flowers, while many, all serve one main purpose—to drain the flower of its moisture content. All flowers can be dried, although the extent of colour and shape retention can vary. Should you choose to work with store-bought blooms, make sure they are organic and free of preservatives, pesticides and synthetic growth aids. If you would rather play florist, harvest blossoms that haven’t started to show any signs of wilting. Flowers are best plucked late in the morning when dew has naturally evaporated from the leaves and petals.

There are several different methods to dry flowers, each with its own set of pros and cons. The results can vary based on factors such as the type of flower, weather, and humidity levels, so it may take a few attempts before you perfect the right technique for your needs.

1. Pressing

What you’ll need: Blotting paper or newsprint paper, a book or heavy board

Method: This is the easiest and most goof-proof of flower drying methods. Place each flower head between sheets of paper, alternating the layers of flowers and papers. Place a weight over it when the stack is three to four flowers tall. Make sure the weight is heavy enough to visibly flatten the flowers. Continue to stack in the same manner. Your flowers should be completely dry within two weeks.

The downside: While easy to carry out, this method only works if you are working with a small batch. Additionally, the shape of the flower is completely lost in the drying process. Although this has no measurable effect on the potency of the flower as a beauty ingredient, it takes away from the visual appeal.

2. Air drying

What you’ll need: Rubber bands, twine, hangers, a well-ventilated space with no direct sunlight

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November 2018