Farm-to-table we know, but farm-to-bathroom cabinet? That’s less familiar territory for us, but home turf for one local herbalist and aromatherapist. Jen Burney harnesses the powers of plants with Amber Blue, a skin care company she co-founded with her daughter. Using ingredients grown in her own Hudson-based family garden, which is currently expanding to a larger property, she creates chemical-free, plant-based products like a serum with lavender, primrose and chamomile oils, and a comfrey and fennel steam facial. “We don’t want to use anything that’s gimmicky,” Burney says. “What’s been used for hundreds or thousands of years works.” Below, Burney explains the effects of some of the flowers and herbs in her arsenal.
Though this plant is known for the stinging hairs on its leaves, the dried version works as a mineral-packed astringent. Burney, who brought the seeds over from Ireland, mixes the nettles with French green clay, peppermint and almonds to create the pistachio-hued Green Goddess mask.
Also known as a pot marigold, these orange flowers act as an anti-inflammatory treatment for sensitive skin, and can also jump-start tissue growth around wounds.
A member of the mint family, this herb is known to reduce anxiety and can be sipped as a relaxing tea. But it also soothes the skin, and Burney uses it in Amber Blue’s steam facial.
While this prize of Provence is known for its calming effect on the skin and the nervous system, lavender can also treat sunburns, insect bites, cuts, headaches, colds, flu and insomnia. “Lavender is my go-to,” Burney says.
“Chamomile is known for its calming and healing effect,” Burney says. “Peter Rabbit’s mother made chamomile tea to relax her baby rabbits.” Famed for their prominence in nighttime tea, these yellow, daisy-like buds can also help heal eczema, psoriasis and dry skin.