DIY Rosemary-Sage Skin Toner

Aug 17, 2013 | The Beautiful

herbal toner

Herbal toners are a simple way to balance and really deep-clean as well as treat your skin.  Some alcohol-heavy toners  (I’m thinking of the Sea Breeze toner of my childhood) can dry out your skin and create deficiencies that make your skin stressed. But, fresh herbal brews and less-caustic, more healing potions used as toner help create and support a glowing beauty regime.  Today, we are going to brew a Rosemary Sage toner.  It costs a few dollars, it takes a few minutes of work (and some waiting in between steps) and the results: astonishing! 

rosemary sage toner

(if you want to skip the DIY, you can get this herbal toner right HERE) 

When I first experienced homemade skin potion from Miscellaneum on Etsy, I was hooked.  When it’s founder and creative force Elisabeth Ladwig agreed to teach me how to make herbal toners myself, I was thrilled!  And, when she graciously allowed me to share her how-to for Rosemary Sage Toner, I was ecstatic.

rosemary sage toner

Elisabeth’s DIY Rosemary-Sage Skin Toner 

This toner is so refreshing and cooling for those hot summer days. Keep it in your bag and apply with a cotton ball whenever you need a quick cleanse, and enjoy the powerful aromatherapy for an amazing pick-me-up! Have fun and play with this recipe to suit your own needs!

Rosemary is one of the most common herbs used in skin care products. Known for its astringent, disinfectant, and antioxidant properties, it is great for combatting acne.

(Avoid high concentrations of rosemary if you have epilepsy, or if you are pregnant or nursing.)

Garden sage is antiseptic, antibiotic, anti-fungal and astringent. This incredible herb is naturally healing to the skin.

Icing on the cake! : Both rosemary and sage stimulate memory and concentration! Who doesn’t need that in this day and age?


Just like you would make tea, pour 1/2 cup just-boiling water over a mixture of 1.5 teaspoons rosemary and 1.5 teaspoons sage. Since you won’t be drinking it, you can cover and steep it longer than usual (I steep it 30-60 minutes) and strain. This allows more of the plants’ medicines to be released.

Ta-da! You have a perfectly lovely skin toner! Allow to cool, shake well and apply with a cotton ball. This can be refrigerated if desired. Follow up with your favorite moisturizer.

Or, take the recipe a few steps further by adding:

1 Tbsp witch hazel

Used for its astringent and antioxidant qualities, witch hazel is a classic ingredient in skin care, dating back even to Native American times. If you can, avoid the witch hazel sold at drug stores; it’s better if you can find one that has a higher witch hazel content and lower alcohol content. Witch hazel also acts as a natural preservative, so your toner will last much longer and won’t need refrigeration.

1/2 tsp vegetable glycerine

Vegetable glycerine is a natural emollient, so it will help counteract the sometimes drying effects of astringent ingredients. It also refreshes by pulling oxygen into the skin. Hooray for oxygen!

5 drops essential oil

For this recipe, I actually use 6 drops ~ 3 rosemary and 3 clary sage. You’ll love rosemary’s rejuvenating scent ~ it uplifts the spirit and can even help alleviate headaches. I use clary sage here instead of garden sage to take advantage of its ability to retain moisture in the skin, but it is also antibiotic, antibacterial, and anti-aging. Can’t argue with that! And its wonderful aroma takes credit for relieving depression and anxiety.

Really good essential oil (therapeutic quality) is expensive. If you can’t swing it, a diluted / natural fragrance oil can still be a wonderful addition, albeit not as medicinal and more oily-feeling. At the very least you’ll get the added aromatherapy, and the base oil is likely to be good for your skin.

House your herbals in dark bottles if at all possible, and store them in a cool, dark place. Heat and direct sunlight can cause them to go rancid.

Elisabeth recommends products from Mountain Rose Herbs and Young Living.


547547_10150936181243534_1857924289_nGraphic designer Elisabeth Ladwig is convinced that creativity, in all of its forms, can bring joy. After a dynamic career in the NYC music industry, designing albums for the likes of Liza Minnelli, Patrick Stewart, Broadway musicals and major motion pictures, she took a leap of faith and started her own practice, Elisabeth on Earth. “This planet is my home. Nature is the original source of all creative inspiration, from color and light to shape and perspective, stillness and motion, texture and depth, and the entire gamut of emotion. The Earth’s creativity is endless.”

Elisabeth uses her design work as a springboard for a veritable garden-variety of creative projects, including photography, poetry, business branding for spiritual women entrepreneurs, herbal remedies, and one-of-a-kind jewelry designs using vintage pieces. In 2009, she branded and launched her Etsy shop, The Miscellaneum.

Elisabeth’s studies stem from Parsons School of Design, McGill University, the NYC Open Center, and an apprenticeship in plant medicines. She also distributes two bi-monthly newsletters: “The Ins_ghtful Design,” which offers graphic design advice and tips, and “Color Me Happy!,” a source of creative inspiration in multiple contexts to improve one’s quality of life.

View Elisabeth’s portfolios here. 


  1. Jacqueline // Upon Wild Stars

    This is such a creative recipe! I am always looking for new ways to use essential oils (am slightly obsessed)…thanks so much for sharing 🙂 xo

  2. Madison Barras

    What a wonderfully useful DIY! Thank you for sharing! I’ll definitely be putting this together soon. So simple, just perfect.

  3. Ani

    Can you use dried rosemary and sage, or does it need to be fresh? Thanks! Can’t wait to try this out!:)

    • danaclaudat

      I have only done it fresh. I imagine that dried you would steep it like tea.

  4. D Smith

    Just a thought, but since alcohol has a lower boiling point than water, if you used one of the better store bought witch hazels containing only alcohol as an additive and steeped it in boiling water, wouldn’t much of the alcohol evaporate in the air with the water vapor leaving a mixture containing less alcohol?



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