A regular column on Treading Lightly Upon The Earth

Lay down in a darkened room and refresh your eyes with a cool slice of cucumber on each eyelid.

This natural soother is well known but there are many other natural treatments that promote well-being.

Whether you use the internet or the nearest lending library as a source of information, you will find plenty of effective and natural recipes in existence to cleanse, tone, and moisturise skin, nails, and hair.

Some of those potions have been in use for hundreds of years.

Once you have experimented to discover which basic items are best for your skin, you can devise your own variations, safe in the knowledge that nothing is a by-product of the petrochemical industry.

It’s worth bearing in mind, too, that an oil (petroleum) based lip balm, for example, will temporarily soften the lips but, in the long term, the product can only dry the skin because that is what mineral oil does.

Making your own lip balm with a beeswax base will provide you with a much more effective solution to cracked or sunburnt lips.

Just as studying the labels on certain food items can provide a few shocks, so can reading the labels on shampoo and skin creams.

Yes, it’s simpler and quicker to reach for a proprietary brand of moisturiser on the supermarket shelf, but it’s a lot more fulfilling to make your own and the production process does not generate poisonous effluent.

Most of us are spending a lot of time out of doors, tending livestock, fixing fences, and weeding vegetables, and whether we are dodging the hot sun or wrapping up against icy winds, our hands and faces need daily moisturizing to prevent premature ageing.

With the help of oatmeal, basil, lanolin, lemon, egg, beeswax, yarrow, honey, and a long list of other natural substances, it is possible to control some of the signs of ageing without breaking the bank, and without falling for the claims of glitzy advertising.

You’ll also need other items like a nylon sieve, a double boiler, rose water, sterilised jars, and distilled water.

As no preservatives are used when you make your own shampoos and skin care treatments, home-made products will not have a very long shelf life, but they make perfect gifts for family and friends, as long as you warn the recipients that their new moisturiser will last no longer than a few weeks.

Frankly, I’m happier using something fresh than some gunk that has been sitting on a shop shelf or in the bathroom for three years, especially when you consider that skin is the body’s largest organ and that it absorbs up to 60 percent of everything that is put on it.

Turn your back on those temples of hedonism in the department store, leave the famous brands in their over-packaged glory on the shelf in the shop, and instead turn to nature’s own, unadulterated raw materials, just as our sisters did centuries ago.