Three Quick and Easy Aromatherapy Recipes for Skincare

Posted on: March 2nd, 2015 by
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Aromatherapy Recipes for Skincare: Photo Credit, Fotolia

Aromatherapy Recipes for Skincare: Photo Credit, Fotolia

Spring is just around the corner, and it won’t be long before you will be exposing parts of your skin to the elements, after a cozy winter beneath layers of clothing! Make sure that your skin is ready for the season ahead with these three quick and easy aromatherapy recipes. Enjoy!

Spring-Ready Moisturizing Balm for Lips

Lips often need protection from the elements all year long; winter-drying winds and summer sun can cause damage to unprotected lips. Although sunscreen is always recommended for any prolonged period of exposure to the sun, this moisturizing balm can help to keep lips kissable and ready-to-go at any time!

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz beeswax

  • 0.5 oz cocoa butter

  • 0.5 oz shea butter

  • 1 oz jojoba oil

  • 60 drops of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil

  • Recipe makes 20 x 0.15 oz lip balm (tubes)

Instructions for Making:

  • Melt the beeswax, cocoa butter, and shea butter in a Pyrex container on the stove, using the bain marie method

  • Add jojoba oil

  • Stir

  • Take off the heat

  • Add essential oil

  • Stir

  • Pour into lip balm tubes and allow to set before using.

More extensive instructions and information on each ingredient can be found in the Sedona Aromatherapie Basic Butters, Balms, Creams, and Lotions Course and the Sedona Aromatherapie Certification in Professional Aromatherapy Course.

Moisturizing Cream for the Face

Your face is exposed to the weather all year long, but if you are suffering from “winter skin,” here is a quick recipe that will add a little bit of extra moisture.

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz unscented cream base*

  • 7 drops geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) essential oil

  • 9 drops palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii var. martinii) essential oil

* use an unscented cream base from a reputable aromatherapy supplier – or make your own with the Sedona Aromatherapie Basic Butters, Balms, Creams, and Lotions Course and the Sedona Aromatherapie Certification in Professional Aromatherapy Course.

  • Recipe makes 4 oz moisturizing cream: Dilution is kept very low for use on the face and those with skin sensitivities. Individual circumstances may dictate a different dilution.

Instructions for Making:

  • Add the essential oils to the unscented cream base and mix together.

Summer-Ready Aromatherapy Foot Scrub

Late spring and early summer is usually the first time your feet have seen the outdoor elements for many months. Get the skin on your feet ready for exposure with this aromatherapy foot scrub!

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 oz demerara sugar

  • 0.5 oz Dead Sea salts

  • 0.5 oz Himalayan pink salts (fine grain)

  • 0.5 oz pomegranate seed oil

  • 12 drops spearmint (Mentha spicata) essential oil

  • 10 drops lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil

  • 7 drops jasmine (Jasminum officinale) essential oil

  • Recipe makes 4 oz scrub

  • Combine the sugar with the salts

  • Stir in the pomegranate seed oil

  • Add the essential oils and stir

  • Store in a water-proof container.

More extensive instructions and information on each ingredient can be found in the Sedona Aromatherapie Certification in Professional Aromatherapy Course.

Note on Essential Oil Safety

The essential oils used in the above recipes are generally safe to use with a healthy adult. However, individual circumstances vary. In addition, consult a certified aromatherapist for use with babies and children, in pregnancy, with the elderly, and with certain health conditions BEFORE using. Do not apply essential oils undiluted to the skin in any circumstances. Check dilution rates for your specific circumstances.

These are just a few of the general guidelines associated with essential oil safety; consult a certified aromatherapist for more advice.

Learn How to Make Aromatherapy Products with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn how to make these aromatherapy products, and more, consider taking one of the home study Sedona Aromatherapie aromatherapy courses. Visit the courses home page to learn more!

References:

  • Author is a UK-certified aromatherapist, an aromatherapy business owner, a NAHA approved aromatherapy educator, published aromatherapy author, and Chief Editor of the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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What is a Distilled Mix of Essential Oils?

Posted on: February 23rd, 2015 by
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Distilled Mix Essential Oils: Photo Credit, Fotolia

Distilled Mix Essential Oils: Photo Credit, Fotolia

As any aromatherapist knows, sourcing good quality essential oils can be difficult, given the number of essential oil suppliers. There are many different terms used, most of which are simply marketing terms. However, one term that you may come across in your search for essential oils is distilled mix. What is a distilled mix of essential oils – and are the essential oils unadulterated? Here’s a quick look at what an essential oil supplier means by this term.

Adulterated Essential Oils

An adulterated essential oil is an essential oil that has been altered from its natural state, after it has been extracted from the plant. Adulteration of an essential oil may include the introduction of an alcohol, a solvent (not to be confused with solvent extraction), a synthetic product, or a substitution of a different or cheaper oil (passed off as a more expensive essential oil).

The adulteration of an essential oil changes, or reduces, the therapeutic properties of an essential oil – and can produce unwanted side effects when used, such as irritation and nausea.

A distilled mix of essential oils is not an adulterated essential oil.

Methods of Extractions of Essential Oils

Essential oils are extracted in a number of ways, depending upon the plant species. Methods include:

  • cold expression – usually used for the extraction of citrus essential oils

  • steam distilled (and water distilled ) – the most common method of extraction for essential oils

  • carbon dioxide (CO2) extraction – a newer method of extracting essential oils from plants but growing more in popularity

  • solvent extraction – used to extract essential oils from plants that are difficult to extract, or produce little essential oil; used mainly for perfumery purposes.

Distilled Essential Oils

Extracting essential oils from some plants takes a lot of effort – with minimum results; for example, rose (Rosa x damascena) and neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara flos). For this reason, the essential oil produced is highly priced (or sometimes adulterated).

Note: rose also produces an absolute, in addition to the distilled essential oil.

Examples of Distilled Mix Essential Oils

A distilled mix of essential oils is simply a combination of two essential oils – that have been purely extracted, and not adulterated. The reasons for doing this include:

  • a greater synergy/combination of therapeutic properties of the two essential oils

  • affordability

  • different aroma.

Two of my favorite distilled mix essential oils are rose geranium and petitgrain sur fleurs.

Rose geranium is a distilled mix of rose(Rosa x damascena) essential oil and geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) essential oil. The scent of this distilled mix essential oil is reminiscent of rose, but a lighter aroma; geranium also has a rose-like aroma, making this an affordable “rose” combination, with the complimentary therapeutic properties of both essential oils.

Petitgrain sur fleurs – translated from the French language as Petitgrain over flowers – is a distilled mix of petitgrain (Citrus aurantium var. amara fol) essential oil and neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara flos) essential oil. The scent of this distilled mix essential oil is reminiscent of neroli, but with a lighter aroma; the petitgrain essential oil in the mix confirms the citrus-y aroma. I find that this option is more affordable for clients looking for a hint of neroli but who can’t afford the high price of neroli in a blend. It also offers complimentary therapeutic properties of both essential oils. However, personally, nothing can replace the true aroma of neroli for me!

Both distilled mixes of these essential oils are flower and leaf combinations.

Learn More About Essential Oils with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn more about essential oils and their use in aromatherapy, consider taking one of the Sedona Aromatherapie home study courses. Visit the courses home page to learn more!

References:

  • Author is a UK-certified aromatherapist with her own aromatherapy business, a published author in aromatherapy, Chief Editor for the NAHA Journal, and an approved education provider for NAHA

  • Penny Price Aromatherapy

  • Lawless, Julia, 1999, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, UK: Thorsons

  • Price, Shirley, Price, Len, 2012, Aromatherapy for Health Professionals, UK: Churchill Livingstone

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Three Ways to Use Carrier Oils in Your Facial Skincare Routine

Posted on: February 9th, 2015 by
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Carrier Oils for Skincare, Photo Credit: Fotolia

Carrier Oils for Skincare, Photo Credit: Fotolia

Carrier oils have traditionally been used as a medium in massage for blending essential oils. However, the choice of carrier oils is not only becoming wider, but the use of a carrier oil in a skincare product can add a variety of different benefits to the product. But you don’t have to start complicated; here are three simple ways in which you can use carrier oils in your facial skincare routine and get your face ready for spring!

What are Carrier Oils?

Carrier oils are often thought of as secondary to essential oils; in fact, carrier oils are the primary basis of aromatherapy blends and are needed to effectively, and safely, use the majority of essential oils. Carrier oils have many properties, in their own right, in addition to the essential oil properties in an aromatherapy blend.

In aromatherapy practice, the most common carrier oils are vegetable oils. Today, in addition to the common carrier oils of almond, sunflower and olive oil, you can find such oils as pomegranate, hemp seed oil, and kukui nut oil.

A Carrier Oil as a Makeup Remover

Instead of using a commercial makeup remover, try just using a carrier oil! A carrier oil such as jojoba (Simmondsia sinensis) or olive (Olea europaea) is a great starting point. Simply dab a small amount of your chosen carrier oil onto a cotton ball or cotton bud and gently remove your makeup. Avoid getting into the eyes.

A Carrier Oil as a Facial Serum

Facial serums can be made in several different ways and the term is used to describe several types of facial products. Facial serums may be made with hydrosols, essential oils, and hyaluronic acid. However, a more simple facial “serum” can be made with a carrier oil – with or without the addition of essential oils. Put simply, this is an oil to be used in place of a face cream or lotion – and is perfect for dry, winter or summer skin.

I recommend a carrier oil such as pomegranate seed(Punica granatum), rose hip seed (Rosa rubiginosa), or sweet almond (Prunis dulcis) for starters. Add appropriate essential oils if desired.

Carrier Oils for Acne

Those with acne have been found to have low levels of linoleic acid in their skin surface lipids (PubMed.gov). Therefore, if you suffer from acne, you might try to improve the condition of your skin by using a carrier oil that is high in linoleic acid; choices include:

  • evening primrose (Oenthera biennis) – 65 – 75 %

  • hemp seed (Cannabis sativa) – 55%

  • grape seed (Vitis vinifera) – 58 – 81%

  • rose hip seed (Rosa rubiginosa) – 43.6%

(Source: Price, Len, 1999)

Combine the carrier oil with an essential oil such as tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) or lemon (Citrus limon) for greater effect. Use a 1% dilution for the face, until you know how your skin will react; in addition, pay attention to any other contra-indications for use.

Learn More About Carrier Oils with Sedona Aromatherapie Home Study Courses

If you would like to learn more about using carrier oils safely and effectively in aromatherapy products, consider one of the Sedona Aromatherapie home study courses. Visit the courses home page to learn more!

References:

  • Price, Len, 1999, Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy and Massage, UK: Riverhead

  • Pubmed.gov website, 1986, Essential Fatty Acids and Acne, Downing DT, Stewart ME, Wertz PW, Strauss JS, accessed February 2015

  • Author is a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author, aromatherapy educator, and aromatherapy business owner

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The Different Types of Marigold Oil

Posted on: February 2nd, 2015 by
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Tagetes or Marigold Oil? Photo Credit: Fotolia

Tagetes or Marigold Oil? Photo Credit: Fotolia

You will often hear the term marigold oil used in aromatherapy practice. However, marigold may refer to different types of oils – and sometimes the name is used incorrectly to refer to a particular oil. Marigold oil may refer to tagetes essential oil, calendula infused (carrier) oil, or marigold/calendula essential oil. Here’s more information.

Botanical Similarities Between Tagetes and Calendula

Although these two plants belong to the same plant family, Asteraceae, tagetes (Tagetes minuta) is a different genus and species to that of calendula (Calendula officinalis). They share many of the Asteraceae plant family characteristics, including the easy-to-recognize daisy-like flowers. Both plants are also herbs and have similar golden-colored (yellow-orange) flowers. Calendula, however, tends to grow slightly taller than tagetes.

Tagetes is also referred to by the synonyms marigold, Mexican marigold, tagette, taget, and calendula oil (although this last synonym is incorrect); calendula (oil) is referred to as calendula (infused) oil, calendula essential oil, marigold oil (another incorrect synonym), and marigold essential oil. The plant calendula is commonly known as pot marigold.

Tagetes Essential Oil

Tagetes essential oil is extracted by steam distillation of the fresh flowers of the plant; an absolute and concrete are also obtained by solvent extraction. However, it is the former oil that is used in therapeutic aromatherapy practice; the latter may be used in perfumery. Tagetes essential oil has a warm, green, herb-like aroma. Traditionally, it was used for colds, colic, whooping cough, and mumps. Today, tagetes essential oil is commonly used for skin care problems.

Calendula Infused Carrier Oil

Calendula oil is obtained by infusion or maceration. The flowers are soaked in a vegetable oil and left to infuse or macerate. The resulting calendula oil is used as a carrier oil in massage and aromatherapy practice. It is used for skin problems such as eczema, cracked skin, bruises, varicose veins, and cuts.

Calendula (Marigold) Essential Oil

Calendula essential oil is extracted by CO2 extraction of the fresh flowers of calendula. CO2 extraction is becoming more popular among the options offered by essential oil suppliers, although it is good to remember that CO2 extraction produces a slightly different essential oil to those traditionally steam distilled. However, some plants are now becoming available as a CO2 essential oil, whereas previously they were not available as a steam distilled essential oil.

The therapeutic properties of such essential oils have not been as well used, and “time-tested,” as more traditional oils and methods but they are usually similar.

Learn More About Plants with Sedona Aromatherapie

Sedona Aromatherapie offers a variety of different home study courses for further study into specific plants, in addition to full certification in aromatherapy. To learn more, visit the courses home page.

References:

  • Lawless, Julia, 1995, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, UK: Thorsons

  • Price, Len, 1999, Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy and Massage, UK: Riverhead

  • Ananda Apothecary website, Calendula Essential Oil, accessed February 2, 2015

  • Author is a certified aromatherapist, published author in aromatherapy, accredited provider for aromatherapy courses, aromatherapy business owner.

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Three Unusual Spice Essential Oils for Aromatherapy

Posted on: January 26th, 2015 by
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Allspice Essential Oil (Pimento Berry): Photo Credit, Fotolia

Allspice Essential Oil (Pimento Berry): Photo Credit, Fotolia

Spice essential oils are warming for the winter months. Essential oils such as ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon are commonly used for Holiday and winter blends but there are some “lesser-known” spice essential oils, too. Here’s a quick look at three spice essential oils that might not be as familiar as others.

Anise Star Essential Oil

Anise star (Illicium verum), also known as star anise, is becoming more popular in aromatherapy use. Anise star is an evergreen tree that is native to south-east China and Vietnam. It is the star-shaped fruit that the tree bears which gives the plant its common English name. The fruits are extracted by steam distillation to produce a spicy, aniseed-like essential oil.

Star anise has been used in traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years, in particular for digestive and respiratory problems. It is also a popular ingredient for perfumers. Aromatherapists use star anise essential oil for problems such as muscle pain, indigestion, colds, and rheumatism.

Do not use star anise essential oil in pregnancy, or in large doses.

Cubeb Essential Oil

Cubeb (Piper cubeba) belongs to the same plant family as black pepper (Piper nigrum), that of Piperaceae. Therefore, it is similar in plant characteristics to the black pepper plant: an evergreen, climbing vine with heart-shaped leaves. The unripe fruits of the cubeb plant are steam distilled to produce a warm, woody, spicy essential oil with a hint of camphoraceous aroma.

Cubeb has traditionally been used as a domestic spice, like its close relative black pepper. As with many spice essential oils, cubeb essential oil is used in aromatherapy practice for respiratory and digestive complaints.

Allspice Essential Oil

Allspice (Pimenta officinalis), also known as pimento berry, belongs to the Myrtaceae plant family and is related to myrtle (Myrtus communis) and the eucalytpus spp.. Pimento (berry) is an evergreen tree that is native to the West Indies (Caribbean islands) and possibly central/south America; female trees bear berries from which the essential oil is distilled.

The name pimento is derived from the Spanish word pimienta, meaning pepper or peppercorn; the alternative English name of allspice refers to the aroma of the berries, reminiscent of cinnamon, pepper, clove, (juniper berries) and nutmeg – essentially “one spice.”

Allspice is also traditionally used as a domestic spice. Therapeutic properties for aromatherapy use include as an analgesic, muscle relaxant, carminative, and for various digestive complaints.

Use allspice essential oil in low dilutions as the chemical component eugenol may irritate the mucous membranes and cause skin irritation.

Learn More About Essential Oils with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to study essential oils in aromatherapy practice and use in bath and body products, consider one of the Sedona Aromatherapie home study courses. Visit the courses home page to learn more.

References:

  • Lawless, Julia, 1999, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, UK: Thorsons

  • The University of the West Indies website, Department of Chemistry, Jamaican Pimento, accessed January 26, 2014

  • Author is a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author in aromatherapy, accredited aromatherapy educator, and aromatherapy business owner.

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