Hibiscus; an alternative to apple cider vinegar used in cosmetics

hibiskus-kosmetiikassa

Hibiscus; an alternative to apple cider vinegar used in cosmetics

29.9.2021


Vinegar, especially apple cider vinegar, is already a legend in homemade cosmetics. Apple cider vinegar is a multi-purpose product that is effective in everything you can think of. So many people love apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar can be found in every home and is considered to be a fairly safe product for the skin as well. However, the scent of vinegar does not please everyone and therefore many people are looking for alternative product to vinegar.

I started to examine easy and natural alternatives to cosmetic acids. Surprisingly, I found plenty of natural and acidic raw materials suitable for cosmetics. This time I’m going to tell you about an incredibly antioxidant-rich hibiscus.

hibiskus-kosmetiikassa
Hibiscus is used to make a delicious drink called roselle.

Acidic ingredients are part of skin care

The skin’s natural acidity, known as pH -value, is acidic. Normally, the pH of the skin is between 5 and 6. If the skin is strained with soap or some other very alkaline ingredients, such as clay or baking soda, the skin may be irritated. It is then necessary to restore the skin’s pH back to normal. The easiest way to treat it is with home-made cider vinegar.

In commercially made cosmetics, other acids are used instead of apple cider vinegar. Vinegar gives the product a strong scent that many do not like at all. That is why the cosmetics industry uses highly processed cosmetic acids in their products. The most popular acids in skin care are fruit acids. Fruit acids, or alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), are all plant-derived acids.

  • Lactic acid
  • Citric acid
  • Glycolic acid
  • Malic acid
  • Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid, also known as BHA

In industrial cosmetics, fruit-derived acids are used in purified and processed form. The same acids are available in online stores that sell ingredients for homemade cosmetics.

However, the use of cosmetic acids requires quite good skills and equipment. You need a good quality pH meter to ensure the safety of your product as well as information on the use of acids on the skin. Especially for beginners, the use of cosmetic acids can be very challenging.

Hibiscus aka Roselle brew is a safe alternative to homemade cosmetics.

Hibiscus, China rose or Roselle is a natural plant living in the Far East, which is imported to Europa as a houseplant. The INCI name of the hibiscus is Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract.

Hibiscus belongs to the mallow plants such as the marshmallow. Hibiscus has stunning, large, purple flowers. Flowers are by no means used for hibiscus infusion, but flower calyxes or flower bases. All hibiscus does not produce bright red flower bases. So, you should buy dried hibiscus from an herbalist or ethnic stores.

Hibiscus is used as an infusion in cosmetics. The dried flower beds are boiled in water for a while so that the plant releases its active ingredients. Hibiscus calyxes are very intensely red and sour. Hibiscus calyxes are rich in malic acid, an alpha-hydroxide acid (AHA). The pH of the hibiscus infusion depends on the strength of the infusion. The finished infusion can and usually should be diluted to get suitable pH.

The benefits of hibiscus in skincare

Hibiscus is very sour plant

Acids play an important role in cosmetics. Acids balance the pH of the skin. The acidity of the product can also affect the performance of preservatives and emulsifiers. Hibiscus broth of normal strength has the same acidity as apple cider vinegar. I recommend using pH strips to determine acidity. They give a sufficiently accurate result to determine the pH -value.

Hibiscus is a natural alternative to Botox

Botox is familiar to many, at least as a concept. The idea of Botox injections is to fade out facial imperfections and aging-related phenomena such as wrinkles. Taking Botox injections is not a very safe method although it is very effective. Why is hibiscus called a Botox plant? Hibiscus is a very effective herb to prevent the signs of skin aging. It has the ability to tighten up your skin and make the connective tissues firmer. Hibiscus is one of the most popular non-surgical products against skin aging. Of course, you can’t stop aging, but you can control the signs. Hibiscus is a very effective herb in controlling skin aging.

Hibiscus is rich in antioxidants.

The most important antioxidant in hibiscus is anthocyanins, the same antioxidants as in our super-healthy forest blueberries. Anthocyanins are particularly strong antioxidants that help fight free radicals that age the skin. Free radicals make the skin look lifeless, grey and tired. Anthocyanins also shrink pores, making the skin smoother. The astringent effect is, of course, only momentary.

Hibiscus is a moisturizing ingredient

Because hibiscus is a mallow plant, it is also very moisturizing. All mallows have moisturizing properties. That’s why you should try hibiscus toner for dry, tired and stressed skin. Hibiscus gives your face more moisture and a youthful glow.

Hibiscus contains a cleansing saponin.

Saponins are natural surfactants that deeply cleanse your skin. The saponins and malic acid in hibiscus work together to remove dead skin cells. Therefore, hibiscus is also particularly suitable for skin cleansing products such as shampoos and cleansers. Some people have also used hibiscus-infused oil in soap making. Hibiscus gives the soap a beautiful colour.

What can hibiscus infusion be used for?

Hibiscus is used as an infusion in homemade cosmetics. The active ingredients in hibiscus are water soluble   when dried flower calyxes are boiled.

Hibiscus is especially suitable for acid rinsing of dark hair. It slightly emphasizes the cold redness of the hair and at the same time gives a wonderful shine. For blond hair, I do not recommend hibiscus as it changes the colour of the hair. If you want to use hibiscus infusion for skin and hair care, the appropriate acidity is 5.5-7. Do not use too acidic hair rinse as it will dry your hair.

Also use hibiscus for toners and as an aqueous phase for lotions. Hibiscus is highly antioxidant and thus slows down the skin aging process. Measure the pH with appropriate acidity strips.

Hibiscus broth has a beautiful deep red colour. It is also used as a dye. If you want beautiful, reddish toner, try hibiscus.

Prepare a moisturizing, antioxidant-containing hibiscus spray this way

  • Measure 5-7 dried hibiscus calyxes into a pot
  • Pour in 5 decilitres of water and boil
  • Let the pot boiling for about 10 minutes
  • Cool down and filter hibiscus calyxes from the liquid
  • For a stronger hibiscus broth, increase the amount of hibiscus
  • Bottled hibiscus broth stays usable in the refrigerator for about a week, maybe even longer, as it is particularly antioxidant-rich.
  • Hibiscus broth is also well suited for drinking like juice, either as it is heated or cold with ice and lemon or lime. Hibiscus is called the healthiest drink in the world because of its antioxidants. That is, if you don’t use everything from hibiscus to cosmetics, you can enjoy a healthy and delicious juice internally. Add some sweetening if desired.

Hibiscus broth is suitable, for example, for hair rinses and lotions

You can use the diluted hibiscus infusion as a hair rinse. The acidity of the infusion is almost the same level as that of wine- or apple cider vinegar. Therefore, always dilute the broth before use. A suitable dosage for a hair rinse is 1 decilitre hibiscus broth and 1 litre of water. If necessary, measure the acidity with pH strips. The right acidity depends on your hair. For oily, thick hair, you can use a more acidic rinse. For thin, dry and brittle hair, an almost neutral rinse is enough. The hair rinse does not have to be very acidic to work. Slightly less than 7 is often quite appropriate acidity.

Diluted hibiscus broth is excellent for toners. It is just the right moisturizer to use under an anhydrous cream. A suitable acidity for toner is pH 5.5. Therefore, dilute the hibiscus broth with water or another neutral liquid suitable for toner. You can combine your favourite hydrolats with the hibiscus in your toner. A small amount of allantoin is also suitable for toner. Remember that aqueous toner always needs a reliable preservative. If the product contains water, it will only be preserved for a few days. Even then, it should be stored in the refrigerator.

Hibiscus is an easy and versatile cosmetic ingredient

hibiskus-kosmetiikassa
Hibiscus flower beds can be bought dried

Hibiscus is a tropical herb that is well suited for us living up North as well. Hibiscus has so many benefits in skin and hair care that it is definitely worth trying. That’s why I recommend you try if hibiscus works on your own skin. In the past, tea bags were sold under the name “rose hip”. They were by no means a drink made from rosehip but 100% hibiscus. I would think there are still hibiscus tea bags for sale. So, it is worth asking hibiscus health food stores.

Have you already tried hibiscus in cosmetics?

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