Simple Cucumber & Aloe Toner
The great thing about this simple and quick recipe is that you can either use it as a toner by pouring it on a cotton ball and sweeping it directly on your face, or you can use it as a toning mist and put it in a spray bottle to use as a quick skin refresher on a hot summer day.
1 aloe leaf
5 drops of peppermint essential oil or 8 fresh peppermint leaves (optional)
In a blender (I use my bullet) blend together one whole cucumber, one aloe vera leaf and the fresh peppermint leaves if you are using them. If you do not own an aloe vera plant, you can substitute this with some 100% aloe vera gel or juice from the store--just make sure it is 100% aloe vera. I always use a leaf because I have copious amounts of aloe--it is (in my opinion) the most useful plant to have handy.
If you are going to put the whole aloe leaf in the blender, remember to wash the outside skin (same with the cucumber). Or, you can always open up the aloe by cutting the leaf and scooping out the middle. I usually don't do this simply because it's messy and, since I know where my aloe came from, I know the skin is safe. I also use fresh peppermint because I grow that as well. Make sure to wash the leaves so that they are free of dirt.
Once all the ingredients are well-blended, take a funnel, bottle or jar and some cheesecloth or a coffee filter and strain the mixture into the bottle or jar.
Now, if you are planning on using this as a toner, you can bottle it up and put it in the fridge to sweep over your face morning and/or night.
If you are planning on using this recipe as a refreshing face mist, then you will need to let the aloe and cucumber sit in the bottle for about 30-60 minutes, or until the thicker solids settle to the bottom, and then strain it through a cheesecloth or coffee filter again, this time into a spray bottle.
If you only strain the mixture once, chances are it will clog up your spray bottle. (Trust me, I know from experience!)
Once the mixture has been strained you can add 5 drops of peppermint oil (if you want and have not already used fresh peppermint leaves). This will add to the cooling effect of the cucumber and aloe.
Last step is to store your toner in the refrigerator! Keeping it in the fridge will ensure that it is always cool when you want to use it, and it will extend the shelf life of the toner.
This is the ultimate hot summer refreshing toner. The cucumber and aloe are both soothing, hydrating and cooling. The peppermint is cooling and refreshing, and keeping it in the fridge ensures that it will always be nice and cold, providing some relief on one of the 100 degree California (or wherever you are) days.
Cucumber: Cucumbers contain antioxidants, silica, sulfur, ascorbic acid--all which are beneficial for skin. Cucumbers have the ability to fade scars and hyper-pigmentation, reduce swelling, inflammation and redness, sooth a sunburn, tighten pores, refine your complexion, improve skin texture and moisturize all at the same time.
Aloe Vera: Aloe vera, we all know, is moisturizing and sooths irritated skin which is why it's used in all those after-sun and sunburn relief products you see. That's not all it's good for though. Aloe vera also treats acne and is anti-aging. Aloe stimulates cell growth, promotes healing and is a mild antibacterial which makes it great for acne and blemish-prone skin. It's also great for oily skin helping to moisturize without an oily residue. As for it's anti-aging properties, aloe leaves contain a plethora of antioxidants including, beta carotene and vitamins C and E which help improve skin's firmness. Aloe contains tons of nutrients including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, sugars, anthraquinones or phenolic compounds, lignin, saponins, sterols, amino acids and salicylic acid. Crazy right? Have I convinced you to go out and get your own aloe plant yet?
Peppermint and Peppermint EO: Peppermint strengthens skin tissue, banishes oil (great for a hot summer day), and soothes skin. Ever seen a sun burn relief product in the store that is "aloe vera with menthe"? Yep, the menthe is mint. It's an incredible anti-inflammatory which calms the skin and can be used for anything from acne to bug bites. Mint is a natural astringent and source for salicylic acid which prevents pores from clogging and also helps to dry up pimples. You can get the peppermint essential oil brand that I buy here.