Dried botanical ingredients are becoming increasingly popular for DIY crafters. A wide range of dried flowers and herbs can be used to enhance your bath & body products. Botanicals are beautiful to look at, but many also have a pleasant natural aroma or therapeutic properties that make them desirable for body products. Botanical ingredients can be added to soap, bath bombs, wax melts, and a wide variety of other handmade products.
Using dried herbs and flowers is a great way to make your products stand out from the rest while also adding value. If you’re new to botanicals or want to try using dried natural ingredients in new ways, this post is filled with helpful information for getting you started.
What are dried botanicals used for?
Dried herbs and flowers are used in bath and body products for a number of reasons. The most common reason is simply that they’re pretty! Many botanical ingredients are brightly colored or add a pleasant texture to handmade products. A lot of crafters use dried herbs and flowers simply because of the aesthetic appeal that they add.
In addition to looking beautiful, many botanical ingredients also have a pleasant natural aroma. For this reason, botanicals can be used for aromatherapy or simply to add a nice, natural scent to your products. The intensity of the aroma will vary, with some botanicals smelling very strong and others having a very faint scent. Rose buds, for example, have a lovely natural rose scent. Cornflower petals, on the other hand, have little to no scent.
Some crafters also use botanicals because of their therapeutic or medicinal benefits. Prior to modern medicine, many therapeutic treatments used flowers and herbs with medicinal properties. While more scientific research is needed to prove the effectiveness of herbal remedies, there is a plethora of anecdotal evidence showing that herbal treatments can be beneficial.*
What types of botanicals can I use?
We carry a wide range of botanicals for body products, including floral, herbal, minty, and even savory botanicals. These can be combined together to create pleasing textures and aromas, or you can use botanical ingredients on their own.
If you want to add botanicals to your bath and body products, you can use essentially any herb or flower that is skin-safe and non-irritating. For example, you wouldn’t want to use things such as cinnamon, which can be irritating to the skin. Cinnamon is good in tea that you drink, but you wouldn’t want to bathe in a cinnamon tea bath.
When choosing botanicals, be sure to avoid ingredients that you might be allergic to as well. The herbs we sell are not common allergens, but some people may be sensitive to them. Always check before using a new herbal regimen.
Ways to Use Botanicals in Your Products
Dried flowers and herbs are super versatile for DIY projects. Here are just a few ways that you can incorporate botanicals into your bath and body products:
- Place a few dried petals into a bath bomb mold before pressing in your mixture. The dried petals will stick to the bath bomb after it is unmolded, giving it a beautiful floral decoration. Follow our Floral Bath Bomb Recipe to try this technique for yourself!
- Add flower petals to powdered milk and bath salt like we did in our Luxurious Rose Petal Milk Bath Recipe. This soothing blend smells amazing and looks beautiful for Valentine’s Day or other special occasions.
- Mix botanicals with Epsom salts and baking soda to create Floral Bath Shots. These bath salt tubes make a wonderful gift and they’re a super easy project anyone can do.
- Add some minty herbs such as Peppermint or Spearmint to a bath bomb recipe – like we did in our Matcha Green Tea Pedicure Bath Bombs. The natural minty smell is perfect for a foot soak!
- Use Bath Tea or dried flower petals to create a decorative topping for your soap bars. This looks wonderful when making soap in a loaf mold.
- Combine different botanicals together to create your own custom bath tea blends. Toss the ingredients into a muslin bag for a fragrant floral soak in the tub.
- Add dried petals to your soap recipe to make floral soap bars. Flower petals can look fantastic in soap recipes, such as our Calendula Petal Soap tutorial. Please note that some petals may discolor when added to soap (see tips below).
- Make a botanical facial steam by blending your favorite herbs and flowers together. To use, scoop a small amount into a bowl and add hot water. Sit with your face about 12 inches away from the bowl to enjoy the steam. To enhance the experience, drape a towel over your head to keep the steam contained (be sure to take a break if it’s too steamy to breathe comfortably).
- Make an infused oil with your favorite dried botanicals. There are several methods for making infused oils, but the easiest method is to fill a jar with botanicals and cover them with a carrier oil such as olive oil or fractionated coconut oil (which stays liquid at room temp). The herbs should be completely covered in oil or mold may grow. Once combined, leave the jar in a sunny window and shake it once per day. After 2-3 weeks, strain out the botanicals by using a cheesecloth and pour the oil into a glass bottle. If stored properly, infused oil may last up to one year.
Tips for Using Botanicals in Bath and Body Products
Before using botanicals in your DIY products, there are a few other helpful tips you might want to know. Read through these pointers before getting started with botanical products:
- Some botanical ingredients have a natural pigment, such as Calendula, Rose, and Hibiscus Petals. The natural pigment may affect your final product, which is something to keep in mind when formulating.
- Please be aware that some botanicals may brown over time or change color when used in bath and body recipes, especially if added to ingredients with a high pH. When making a recipe that contains dried herbs or flowers, we recommend making a small test batch to see how the botanicals behave. To ensure you like the final result, let your test batch sit for 2-4 weeks to gauge the final appearance.
- Fragrance oils and other oil products should not be added directly to botanical ingredients, as it may encourage mold growth. If you want to add scent to your botanical products, we recommend adding fragrance to the other ingredients and letting it dry before you add the botanicals. For example, when making floral bath salts, we recommend adding the fragrance to the Epsom salt first, and then adding your botanicals. As an exception, you can add oil to botanicals when making infused oils, as long as the petals are submerged in the oil and not exposed to air.
- Botanicals are very lightweight, which makes them difficult to measure by weight if you are using a small amount. Tools such as our ½ oz scoop can help you get accurate measurements.
- For the longest shelf life possible, store your botanicals in an airtight container that is kept in a cool, dark place. Keep in mind most plastic containers are not completely airtight. You will want to transfer your botanicals to a glass or HDPE plastic jar if you want to store them for a long time. Mylar bags can also prolong shelf life.
- We recommend using botanicals within a year of the purchase date. However, as long as botanicals are stored properly, they can last for a long time. Unused botanicals are unlikely to “go bad” when stored properly, but they may begin to lose their pigment and scent if they sit on a shelf for too long.
- We strongly discourage you from using dried botanicals in candles, as it poses a fire hazard. Please read this helpful article for more information.
Other Ways to Use Botanicals
Dried flowers and herbs are great for a wide variety of projects! Aside from bath and body products, here are a few other fun projects you can make:
- Make scented drawer sachets filled with your favorite botanical ingredients. Muslin drawstring bags or organza bags work great for holding scented botanicals.
- Use botanicals as a decorative topping on your wax melts. For best results, sprinkle botanicals while the top layer of wax is still liquid. This ensures the petals will stick. You can also melt the top layer with a heat gun before adding botanicals to your wax melts.
- Make your own DIY potpourri by combining your favorite botanicals with a little fragrance oil. To make the scent last longer, you’ll want to add a fixative. Orris root powder is the most commonly used fixative, but orange peel, mint leaves, and sage leaves can work too.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The information on this website is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. Please see a medical professional about any health concerns you have and before beginning any herbal regimen.
You are responsible for testing your products for safety and ingredient compatibility. NorthWood is not responsible for any products you make with our supplies, recipes, or informational resources.
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