Wednesday 4 June 2014

Potter's Hands

I like to get my hands dirty. If I am not in my atelier being creative with clay, you will probably find me working in my garden or playing in my son’s small sandpit. Either way, my hands are covered with mud a lot.

Having my hands wet for hours destroys a protective layer of natural grease of the skin. So after a day in clay my hands get rough and dry. In winter I even get painful, chapped hands.

Those of you who know me are probably guessing that what comes next is some miraculous homemade skin remedy of mine. You are absolutely right. I do not like to use readymade skin care products because of all these doubtful chemicals that may slide in.

So for years I have been making my own marigold (calendula officinalis) oil which does wonders to my skin. Now that I have a garden, I grow my own marigold, but years back when I was living in the city, I was using dried marigold petals that I bought in a pharmacy.

There is a very simple procedure which requires just two ingredients and a lot of sun. The result is golden and gentle beauty-infusion that softens and nourishes your skin. Here is how to make your own sun infused calendula oil.

Put a handful of fresh or dried marigold petals in a jar and pour high-quality cold-pressed olive or almond oil on it. Stir the mixture until all the air bubbles are gone and cover the jar with a piece of cheesecloth. The petals should be completely covered with oil or they'll go bad. Place the jar on a sunny windowsill.

As the petals sink to the bottom of the jar, you may add more freshly picked ones. Ideally you should stir the mixture once a day for the first two weeks and then let it infuse in the sun for another four weeks.

After six weeks, strain the oil with a cheesecloth. Once the infused oil is ready, I like to keep it in the fridge because it should last a year until the next calendula season. I also like that the cold-pressed oil stiffens in the cold which makes it is easier to use.

You can use the marigold oil not only to soothe your tired and chapped potter hands, but also for sunburn and to treat the acne. This oil soaks quickly into the skin, but sometimes if my hands are too oily, I give my hair tips a marigold oil treatment to avoid the hair splits.

Who says you can't be artistic and beautiful?