I love using nature’s essential oils in my DIY beauty care and pampering rituals. Essential oils are powerful gifts; aromatic essences from the world’s most therapeutic and fragrant plants and they perform many functions in health and skincare as well as affecting our moods via the sense of smell. There are thousands of essential oils in the world, most of these are used in perfumery, a few hundred are used in aromatherapy and of these a small handful are utilised within the cosmetic and natural skincare field. As an organic skincare designer and cosmetic formulation trainer I am most familiar with these ‘beauty oils’.
Essential oils have been used since before Egyptian times to provide medicine and sacred fragrance, incense makers, perfumers and ‘potion-makers’ were revered and employed by the ruling elite of the day. Aromatic herbs, spices and resins used to be so costly that only royalty could afford them, these days essential oils are easily obtainable by anyone – with a few high-cost exceptions such as Jasmine or Rose Otto. Essential oils can easily be blended at home into a carrier oil such as virgin coconut oil and applied to the face and body for a specific outcome, you can even just use one oil if you don’t yet have the confidence to make a blend of 3-5 oils.
Health & Safety
Pure natural essentials oils are generally safe but as they are concentrated they do need to be diluted. A 5% dilution is normal in cosmetic making and this is equal to 1 drop of oil for every 1ml of carrier oil/base product. For children (not babies) a 1-2% dilution is much more appropriate. Pregnant ladies need to check whether their selected oils are safe to use during this time.
Top ten essential oils for beauty
1. Lavender: Lavender oilis one of the very few that is safe to use undiluted on your skin. Lavender is one of the most versatile essential oils available, and has many uses. In skin-care, it is used to treat abscesses, acne, allergic reactions, athlete’s foot, blisters, boils, bruises, burns, dermatitis, eczema, inflammations, insect bites and stings, as an insect repellent, to treat lice, psoriasis, ringworm, sores of all types, sunburns, and cuts and wounds. It’s good for all skin types, lightens the appearance of age spots, and reduces scarring from burns and wounds if used during healing. Lavender is a skin cell regenerator so great to use for mature skins and those wishes to have an anti-ageing effect.
2. Geranium: Geranium has many uses in skin-care, being helpful in the treatment of acne, bruises, broken capillaries, burns, congested skin, cuts, dermatitis, eczema, lice, ringworm, ulcerated skin, and wounds. It’s excellent for oily or mature skin, tightens loose skin, and may help prevent varicose veins. It is superb for oxygenating facial skin especially where there are broken capillaries and veins. it balances the production of sebum in the skin, while keeping it supple and helping with the healing of wounds. Superb to clear congested skin, dermatitis and eczema. Works particularly well on oily and mature skin. It promotes the circulation and is a good lymphatic cleanser so helps with oedema and cellulite and can be used in creams, gels and body wraps.
3. Roman Chamomile: Useful in Skin Care such as gardeners hand creams or gels for areas of inflammation like sunburn. Use for chilblains and areas of neuralgia. Good for conditions like eczema and is known to be a skin-soother. Chamomile is a tonic that helps tone and firm the skin.
4. German Chamomile: is an excellent oil for treating skin conditions of many types. It is useful as part of your acne treatment, as well as for treating allergic reactions, boils, burns, cuts, dermatitis, eczema, inflammation, insect bites, rashes, sensitive skin, and wounds. Chamazulene, a natural chemical in german chamomile, is a powerful anti-inflammatory and helps soother and calm the skin.
5. Rose Otto: As rose tones the liver, it is automatically a good skin care oil for all skin types but especially helping with dry skin, mature skin, wrinkles and broken capillaries. It improves poor circulation and instils a sense of love and self-care that is very appropriate for creams, gels and lotions as well as eye and face serums and body butters.
6. Helichrysum: It clears liver congestion so automatically clears the skin as well. It is well known for its ability to heal scars and bruising and even speed the healing of broken bones. Effective on acne and skin wounds including rosacea, dermatitis and eczema. It is antifungal so ideal in a foot cream and as it helps neuralgia as well, good for tired and aching feet. Known as an anti-ageing/rejuvenating oil.
7. Frankincense: A very good choice for dry and mature skin to help keep wrinkles at bay in face and body products. Works well in creams, lotions, gels as well as wraps. Use as a base note in small amounts to cover the smell of other useful oils such as elemi and spikenard for eye area products.
8. Lemon: Lemon oil can be used in a cream or lotion to clear congested skin. The astringent properties are great for oily skin conditions. The antiseptic effect of lemon oil on the other hand, helps to treat any cuts, boils and minor wounds. The rubefacient action of the oil further helps to sort out cellulite, as well as helping with acne. It is also know as an anti-wrinkle oil. Lemon oil is a good remedy for the increasing the lustre of dull skin. It is astringent and detoxifying in nature, and rejuvenates dull skin. Its antiseptic properties help in treating pimples and various skin disorders.
9. Elemi: helps wounds and cuts to heal, encouraging the growth of new skin cells. Cools inflammation and is helpful in fungal infections (like athlete’s foot or candida). Has a rejuvenating effect. Balances sebum secretions and helps to normalize both oily and dry skin.
10. Patchouli: This is an excellent oil for aging skin. It promotes new cell growth and smoothes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Patchouli is also useful when used in cellulite creams and lotions. Because it promotes healing and has antiseptic, antifungal and antibacterial properties it can be helpful when treating skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis and acne. Patchouli essential oil regulates oily skin, rejuvenates and can also prevent scarring. Non-irritating it can be used on even the most sensitive skin.
To make your own blends pick 3 oils from the list above which match the outcome you want to achieve and add a drop of each to the end of a strip of absorbent paper. Waft the strip rapidly about an inch or 2 from your nose and breathe in the fragrance. Do you like it? It is just as important to enjoy the smell as it is to harness the therapeutic properties of the oils. Try a few different blends using this method and make notes on the overall smell and how you feel, this will help you to pick which blend is right for you. Some oils mix better than others – resins like frankincense and elemi mix well with floral oils and heavy oils like patchouli. Citrus blends well with florals and herby oils like chamomile. The florals all blend nicely together (Rose, Lavender, Geranium etc).
Blending oils is a personal experience as we all have our own unique preferences when it comes to smell, so go with your intuition as much as on the data of each oil and be guided by your inner perfumier. Have fun, close your eyes and enjoy those beautiful aromas.
If you wish to learn the art and science of ‘aroma-cosmetology’ and creating delightful 100% natural and organic skincare products for home, gifts or even to sell to the public – have a look at my brand new exciting 10 week self-study program:
Star is the author of The Holistic Beauty Book and is Director & Course Developer for School of Holistic Cosmetology – Europe’s only professional training school for organic 100% natural skincare formulation.
Every single skin cell is built and maintained by the materials you supply in your diet. Are you choosing beauty foods?