Inside-out guest blog - Faye on the healing power of herbs

This month's Inside-out guest blog comes from the fabulous Faye Starr of Solstis Natural Skincare. Faye is another of my wonderous boat neighbours, and if you're local to Bishop's Stortford you might have spied the end of her boat (Mojo Hand) from the opposite river path, next to the Canoe Club at South Mill Lock. 

The two of us actually seem to have adjacent lives: she and her husband Dan got hitched about a month before we did; we've both had stalls at the 'April Art' handmade crafts fair we held in our little community last year; and we both love and are inspired by nature. Whilst I distill elements of it into pieces of unique jewellery, Faye makes truly remarkable skincare products from plants and herbs, many of which she forages and prepares herself (yes, completely free of SLS, parabens and their equally naughty friends). 

I don't know about you, but about now my hands start to feel really chapped and sore. So I asked her if she would join us for a guest blog about our best options are for skincare at this time of year, as the nights draw in, the wind whips past and the rain makes its presence felt on a daily basis. Over to Faye!

The healing power of nature and herbs

As the season turns once again and the last days of Autumn are approaching, I am amazed by the abundance of plants still available to harvest from the wild and make good use of in wonderful healing herbal remedies 

Rosehips are ripe to pick, always best after the first frost when they will be at their sweetest for teas and syrups, And perfect for rejuvenating skin oils and creams 

And due to the milder autumn, we have experienced this year Calendula, Comfrey and Borage are all still flowering by the side of our boat and self-seeding for another bumper crop next year. all of which have amazing health benefits. 

Faye's boat Mojo Hand with its dark blue and white paint work, flowers in front on the bank

As we approach the colder weather it’s a good time to begin making your winter skin saving salves. The harsher colder weather and the hot dry heat in the evenings from stoves and radiators leaves our skin dehydrated and dry, often it’s the hands, face and lips that suffer the most. 

Not only that, a walk in the woods or along the hedgerows foraging for herbs gives us that much needed boost of daylight that we lack in the winter months which in turn boosts our serotonin levels, increases vitamin D, levels, improves sleep and reduces stress. 

So where do you start? There are literally hundreds of recipes for tinctures, balms, infusions, and syrups that you can make and it’s always a good starting point to have a plant identifier book or app handy to insure you are foraging for the right thing. Herbs are powerful and can interact with prescription medicines and cause allergies there are a long list of herbs that are deemed unsafe during pregnancy or breast feeding so a good idea to research your choice of plant medicine before beginning. 

Always remember to forage respectfully, by leaving the animals and insects enough and plenty for next year’s growth. 

This time of year, I have my jars ready to infuse with oils and petals from the calendula flowers and from the bright rosehips and once made, these can be added to your normal skin creams as an added nourishment boost. 

Infusing oils with herbal materials allows you to extract the medicinal qualities for external use. 

Types of oil to use vary and all have their own benefits from sunflower oil, olive oil, almond oil and fractionated coconut oil, also adding 1 per cent of Vitamin E oil will act as a natural antioxidant and prevent your oil from turning rancid. 

I then use my infused oils and combine them with bees wax or for vegan option I use candelilla wax, coco butter or shea butter and a few essential oils to make a solid balm suitable for chapped lips, very dry hands, and a night-time rescue salve. 

A balm in this way can be made for aches and sprains, for cramp, bruises, bites, and stings or burns….the list goes on. 

Borage (starflower) and Comfrey growing by Faye's boat

Above: Borage (starflower) and Comfrey growing by Faye's boat 

Comfrey is good for reducing inflammation from sprains and broken bones and for reducing scar tissue. 

Calendula (marigold) helps inflammation, acne, eczema, infections, bites, burns, painful periods. 

Rosehip, fight signs of aging, sun damage, acne, scars, and rosacea. 

Borage will treat a variety of skin issues from inflammation, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, and rosacea. 

Calendula and Faye's harvested dried Calendula (marigold) ready to infuse with fractionated coconut oil

Above: Calendula and Faye's harvested dried Calendula (marigold) ready to infuse with fractionated coconut oil

I also combine a lot of other ingredients such as turmeric, activated charcoal, Aloe, and essential oils to create powerful healing balms. 

Faye's Bio 

Faye lives with her husband Dan on a riverboat in Bishop's Stortford. Mother of two teenage boys, a cat, dog and some chickens, By day she works in accounts but by night she studies and creates herbal apothecaries dreaming one day of working full time with her passion of creating natural skincare. You might find her at a festival or at pagan and spiritual craft fayres selling her products, you can visit her store at or find her on Facebook Solstis Skincare or Instagram @faye-at-solstis

Faye and Dan host a weekly radio show associated with the centre of wellbeing in Sawbridgeworth – tune in Fridays at 8pm to 9pm: TLC Radio | Tune In - Listen - Connect | Wellbeing Radio (

Information about Faye's products for Solstis Natural Skincare "handmade for you with love, light and intention"

I'm always looking for interesting new things and fabulous people, to focus in on. So, if you'd like to feature on the Found by Dawn blog, social media and inner circle monthly email, drop me an email today.

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  • Friday 19 July, 6pm-9pm at Ware Priory Artisan Craft Fair with Folk & Bespoke (free entry) as part of a curated showcase of 30 artists, crafters and makers
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