Liz Earle’s Beauty Garden

It’s official – you can grow your own skincare in the comfort of your back garden, yard or on a balcony, and it’s super simple. This summer, Kate went to visit Liz Earle, legendary wellbeing expert, at her studio oasis in south London, and learned about the remarkable benefits of live culture kefir on skin conditions like psoriasis. Philippa then asked Liz to share her favourite home grown great skin ingredients and recipes.



    “Traditionally used to make scented lawns, chamomile is a low-growing, ground-covering herb with so many practical uses – from a nerve-calming tea using dried flower heads to a skin soothing bath soak. There are many varieties, but Matricaria chamomilla, or German chamomile, produces a highly prized blue oil and delicious scent. The secrets to this plant’s success are substances called azulenes, which have skin-calming and anti-inflammatory properties.”

    Dried chamomile flowers can be picked and stored year-long to use as a compress to help soothe sore, irritated skin.


    “In a pot or window box at pretty much anytime, but if planting outside, wait for the spring as it’ll be easier to establish in your garden from plants or divisions than from seeds. Chamomile grows best in cool conditions and should be planted in part shade, but will also grow in full sun if the soil is kept fairly dry.”


    “Dried chamomile flowers can be picked and stored year-long to use as a compress to help soothe sore, irritated skin. Simply steep a flannel in a strong infusion of the flowers and apply to the skin.”



    “A popular herb in Britain for centuries, the use of this purple-flowered spiky perennial dates back to the late sixteenth-century. The essential oil is unusual in that it can be used in small amounts neat on the skin to help heal burns and minor wounds. Its balancing, calming and toning properties make lavender suitable for most skin types and its sedative effect make it an excellent oil for the bath before bedtime.”


    “Lavender is best planted between April and May as the soil is warming up. It thrives in any poor or moderately fertile, free-draining soils in full sun, and is ideal for chalky or alkaline soils. Once established, it grows pretty much anywhere well-drained, is drought-tolerant and works well for coastal planting and gravel gardens. Alternatively, plant in well-drained pots using a base of pebbles and sand.”


    “‘As well as being a must-have for the first aid box, a few drops of lavender oil mixed with a little witch hazel and rosewater makes an excellent skin tonic and blemish-buster.”

A few drops of lavender oil mixed with a little witch hazel and rosewater makes for an excellent skin tonic.



    “One of the most useful botanical skincare extracts is calendula oil, extracted from the petals of the pretty marigold flower by steeping them for a fortnight in almond or olive oil. This golden skin elixir contains natural steroid substances called sterols, which can be helpful in soothing mild rosacea and eczema. It also makes a deliciously skin-smoothing massage oil.”


    “Marigolds like to grow in well-drained soil in full sun. Sow from March to May and they will reward you with cheerful orange flowers from summer to autumn. You can also grow pot marigolds year-round to reap their beauty benefits.”


    “A half and half mixture of calendula oil and St. John’s wort oil is an especially effective remedy for helping to repair scarred or damaged skin. This natural flower petal maceration is also a rich source of beta-carotene, helpful for encouraging healthy skin tissues. The juice from a handful of marigold petals can also be squeezed from flower heads and used neat on spots and insect bites.”

The juice from a handful of marigold petals can be used neat on spots and insect bites.

3 Beauty recipes
straight from your garden

1. Skin-Soothing Chamomile Cleanser
  • “Melt the cocoa butter in a small saucepan over a low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the almond oil. Whisk in the chamomile essential oil. Pour into a clean, airtight jar. Use on dry skin, removing with a warm damp flannel or cotton pads.”

    40g cocoa butter
    75ml almond oil
    A few drops chamomile essential oil

2. Nettle Skin-Saver Soup

“No – not a weed! Nettles are packed with skin-boosting goodness and are rich in iron, calcium and blood-pressure lowering potassium, as well as a range of natural nutrients. Just don’t forget to wear gloves when picking! The good news is that nettles lose their sting when cooked – and taste delicious.”

  • “Saute the leek and garlic in the coconut oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. When softened, add in the potato and stock and let it simmer for around 15 minutes before adding in the spinach and nettles for a further 1-2 minutes. Season and blend immediately, then reheat before serving. Fry a few nettle leaves in a little oil as a crispy garnish.”

    Serves 4
    1 tbsp coconut or olive oil
    1 large leek, finely sliced
    4 garlic cloves, crushed
    1 potato, peeled and diced
    1 litre vegetable stock
    100g fresh spinach
    500g nettles
    Fried nettle leaves, to garnish

3. Echinacea Skin Soak
  • “Gently warm the water (bottled or filtered water to ensure no traces of chlorine) before adding the drops of Echinacea tincture and geranium essential oil. Soak the muslin cloth in the liquid, lightly wring and place over a freshly cleansed face and neck. Lie down and relax for 10-15 minutes. To help seal in body heat, place a small hand-sized towel over the top, leaving a gap for breathing. Remove and gently pat the skin dry, retaining the beneficial residues on the skin.”

    150ml warm water
    20 drops Echinacea tincture
    2 drops geranium essential oil

The latest edition of Liz Earle Wellbeing – wellness wisdom you can trust – is available online from and leading news outlets. Legology Lift Off readers will receive 40% off an annual subscription to this gorgeous glossy for two weeks from 18 September. Add the code LIZEARLE40 at checkout for subscriptions and get ready for a year’s worth of wellbeing advice and inspiration from a much-loved and respected wellness expert.