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Native American Skincare Rituals

“Native American women have always possessed a natural beauty that has relied more on their spiritual nature. There were many plants and fruits commonly used to give extra shine to their hair, and protect their skin.

For these women, plants were foremost seen as sources of healing and rejuvenation, and not so much as cosmetics as we tend to think of them today.

The Native American culture has always been seriously underestimated when the subject of the pure and effective power delivered by their ancient wisdom and connection to so many botanicals.

They had to develop their own medicines and beauty products, and what they were unable to concoct, they simply did without.

Through these restrictions, they were able to come up with many amazingly effective remedies and health-giving mixtures that are still thought of as highly valuable as ingredients in today’s beauty industry.”

Blue Corn


Many Native Americans used ground corn to cleanse and purify the skin. It was rubbed onto the skin before ceremonies to rid the body of impurities. Ground corn also acts as an exfoliator, ridding the skin of dead cells thus encouraging cell renewal.



These bright yellow and orange flowers were highly praised by Native Americans, who utilized its skin nourishing and moisturizing power to heal chapped, irritated and dry skin. With anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties, marigolds, also known as calendula, is soothing, and brings out the skin’s luminescence.

native aloe plant


Native Americans used aloe vera to soothe and heal the skin, as well as to hydrate and protect it from extreme climates in areas like dry deserts. It was also used to treat sunburn and for soap. Today, the ingredient is included in many skin-soothing formulas from after sun cream to face masks and moisturizers.


Bearberry is a remedy for an itchy scalp. A tea was made from this evergreen shrub and mixed with grease and boiled cattle hoofs to use as a salve for an itchy, scaly scalp, baby rashes, and skin sores

pink fireweed


Winter skin protection. The inner stem of the root was dried and powdered and rubbed onto the hands and face in winter to protect the skin from the cold. (It was also used to waterproof rawhide.)


Cactus for skin hydration. An anti-inflammatory, the leaves of the prickly pear were used to make a moisturizer for protecting the skin from the sun. It also speeds up cellular turnover, leading to improved skin texture and appearance.


Wild Mint for hair and skin. The Cheyenne Indians in Montana used a coction of wild mint plant as hair oil. The Thompson Indians of British Columbia used the whole plant soaked in warm water to make a solution that was used in hair dressing. Mint was also used in bath water to alleviate itchy skin.


A mash of rose hips was made for skin problems. Now cosmetic companies use rose hips oil in creams and lotions to soothe the skin, as well as in anti-aging face creams, because it is thought that rose hips oil can reverse wrinkle formation.

Leave a comment below if you have ever tried any of these plants in your skin/hair care routine!

We still have much to learn from our predecessors in America.

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