Grow all the cosmetics you need right in your backyard or garden

Hibiscus

This flowering shrub (red variety) that grows to about 5 to 8 feet in height can be raised in pots in a balcony, on the terrace or on ground. Indian women have traditionally used its leaves (which produce lather when crushed with a few drops of water) as a herbal shampoo, while the hibiscus petals can be powdered and added to shikakai nut powder for a conditioning rinse. It is easy to grow hibiscus plants from stem cuttings.

Turmeric

It is easy to harvest the rhizomes of this herb when the plant reaches the height of about a metre. Pure turmeric, when applied on the skin in a mixture of curd, milk and cream, rejuvenates the skin, clears blemishes and wards away pimples. The mild yellow tone on the skin is temporary and this skin tonic is well worth the trouble. Dry it and powder it, or use these rhizomes fresh.

Aloe Vera

This succulent plant is so hardy, easy to grow and allows itself to be repeatedly cut. The clear transparent gel from this plant can be used as a massage cream or moisturiser after washing it to remove the yellow juice. Remove a lower leaf and slice it open for the gel. Aloe plants keep produce baby shoots all around them, so you’ll end up with many plants very soon.

Neem

This hardy tree is ideal to have in the backyard, space permitting. Chewing its tender young leaves once in a while has great effects on the body’s metabolism and helps to keep the skin clear. Neem leaves have antibacterial and antioxidant properties too and can be included in face packs. Boil the leaves in water and use the strained liquid in bath water to clear skin of acne etc.