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Essential Oils Blog

Tag Archives: Carrier oils

Natural Skincare Routine – Determining Your Skin Type

Plant Therapy recently launched our new  Oil Facial Cleansers for Oily and Normal/Dry Skin. Many of you have asked which cleansers the Aromatherapists use and what other products we add to our natural skincare routine. Here’s the thing, the skincare routine that I use for my sensitive skin, won’t work for everyone. When choosing essential oils, carrier oils, and hydrosols it is important to be aware of your skin type and choose the products that are best suited for it.

Since this is such a frequently asked question I wanted to address it here on the blog in order to help as many people as possible. Before I can make recommendations for products based on skin types, it is important to first determine yours. There are several ways to determine skin type. Today we are going to discuss three of those ways. To perform these tests you will need a mild cleanser, blotting sheets, and your beautiful face!

 

 

Blotting Sheet Method

The first method I would like to discuss is the blotting sheet method. To perform this test take the blotting paper and lightly dab the different areas on your face. Upon completion examine the sheet by holding it up to a source of light. If you find that little to no oil is present then it is mostly likely that you have dry skin. If the sheet has a light amount of oil from the forehead and nose area then you typically have normal/combination skin. If upon examination you find that the blotting paper is covered with oil then you have oily skin.

 

Bare-Faced Method

The next method that can be used to determine your skin type is called the bare-faced method. To perform this test gently cleanse and dry your face. Do not use any moisturizing agents or toners. After an hour evaluate your skin and check for shine. If your skin is tight and parched then you have dry skin. If your t-zone is shiny but your cheeks are not then you have normal/combination skin. If the shine covers your forehead, nose, and cheeks it is most likely that you have oily skin.

 

Pore Size Method

The last method I would like to discuss is the pore size method. After cleansing your face take a look at your pores in the mirror. If you can’t see your pores it is likely that you have dry skin. Those with normal skin will be able to see their pores but they won’t be large. If you can still see your pores after taking a few steps back from the mirror it is most likely that you have oily skin.

 

Sensitive Skin

These methods help us to determine whether we have dry, normal/combination, or oily skin but what about sensitive skin? It may not come as a surprise but if you have sensitive skin, you most likely know it. Those who have sensitive skin have had an adverse reaction to a skincare or cosmetic product at some point in their lives and often times it is difficult to find a product that doesn’t cause irritation and redness.  The good news is using natural skin care products such as carrier oils, certain essential oils, and hydrosols can reduce your likelihood of having an adverse reaction.

 

Over the next few weeks we will address each skin type and provide recommendations that are specific for your specific concern. In the meantime, if you have questions about choosing the right products for you, be sure to email an Aromatherapist at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com.

 

[1] https://www.tatcha.com/tatcha-institute/how-to-determine-your-skin-type/

[2] http://www.wikihow.com/Determine-Your-Skin-Type

 

Carrier oils – The Other Part of the Equation

Carrier oils have become so exciting to me! I used to think of them as just oils used to dilute essential oils. But in reality, there is much more to them than that. Did you know that Argan Carrier Oil can help with scars and with the skin’s elasticity as well as to nourish the hair? Camellia Carrier Oil is great for mature skin, and to help when you’ve experienced sun damage…Rosehip Carrier Oil is rejuvenating to the skin, can be used on minor burns and wounds, and can be helpful for other skin issues. Some carrier oils like Jojoba (which is really a wax) and Meadowfoam can actually extend the shelf life of other carrier oils. Jojoba is also most like our natural sebum and is well received by our skin and rich in Vitamin E. Tamanu is one of the newest carrier oils that we have and one we are very excited about. This shimmery, thicker carrier oil  is amazing at helping with skin issues, irritations, and minor wounds.  It is best used in a blend because of it’s viscosity and strong scent.

We must remember that these carriers come from plants as well and have their own constituents. Although they are not concentrated like essential oils (which makes them very safe), they do have properties and characteristics of their own. They can determine how fast an essential oil will penetrate, depending on the viscosity of the carrier and how many Omega 9’s that they contain. Carrier oils can be blended as well, to create a synergy of their own and be helpful in adding to the benefits of an essential oil, when combined.

 

Correct storage is important with carrier oils because they are made up of fats, which can go rancid.  Most carrier oils, should be stored in the refrigerator.  The shelf life is much shorter than essential oils, so by all means use them up! Don’t save them for a special occasion or you’ll be missing out daily on the benefits of these great oils. If your oil is approaching a year in age, and you still have a full bottle then try using it as a cleanser or moisturizer. Then you can see which carrier oils agree with your skin type. Many have found the the Oil Cleanse Method to be beneficial for them.

It’s a personal decision whether to buy an expeller pressed, which is extracted by steam method, or a cold pressed carrier oil.  While cold pressed does retain more of the beneficial oils, there are benefits to steam distilling too. These beneficial properties can be acquired that didn’t exist without steam distillation, as in the case of fractionated coconut oil; fractionated coconut oil will gain more caprylic acid through steam distillation and in other carrier oils it will decrease the fatty acids.

We’ve created a chart that will be an easy reference for the single carrier oils that we currently carry.  It can help with the basic questions about carriers and will be helpful for a quick comparison regarding different common issues.

 

At Plant Therapy, we have an extensive, lovely selection of carrier oils.  Here is a list of the single carrier oils that we carry:

Amond Carrier Oil (Virgin, Sweet)

Apricot Kernel Oil

Argan Carrier Oil (Organic)

Avocado Carrier Oil

Camellia Seed Carrier Oil

Coconut (Fractionated) Carrier Oil

Evening Primrose Carrier Oil

Grapeseend carrier Oil

 Hazelnut Carrier Oil 

Hemp Seed Carrier Oil

Hemp Seed Carrier Oil  (Organic)

Jojoba (Golden) Carrier Oil

Meadowfoam Carrier Oil

Sunflower Carrier Oil (organic)

Tamanu Carrier Oil

 

Download Carrier Oil Chart HERE:

Carrier oil preferences are an individual choice and everyone has different skin types. We hope that you will explore carrier oils and their benefits.

 

Which carrier oil is your favorite?

 

References:

Price, Len and Shirley.  Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy and Massage. 

Worword, Valerie Ann.   The Complete Book of Essential oils and Aromatherapy.

Dandelion Infused Carrier Oil DIY

Spring is in the air and the Dandelions are once again popping their bright yellow heads out of the ground. Up until recently I have never looked at these pesky lawn ornaments as beneficial-only as the usual weed that I struggle to banish from my perfectly groomed lawn. But boy does my heart melt every single time my toddler brings me her gorgeous bouquet of freshly picked dandelions. I don’t dare throw them out and break her little heart – so random cups of water, with yellow blossoms floating in them litter my kitchen all summer long.

So what’s so great about these bouts of infestation consuming my luscious green grass? Fresh dandelions are beneficial for a variety of reasons. To my surprise, every part of a dandelion is useful including the flower, stem, roots and leaves. Dandelions are extremely beneficial for fighting bacteria and helping to heal wounds. They have been considered a natural food source for so long due to having a very high vitamin and mineral content (even higher than vegetables) and are used to decorate salads or to be eaten raw in many countries. You can boil them, or dip them in batter and fry them. Due to the fact that dandelions are such a sustainable plant and they are easily grown, they can be used year-round for a multitude of medicinal purposes.

The dandelion dates back to the early 1800’s and is said to originate in Europe, where they used to rid their lawn of the grass in order to make more room for dandelions and other “weeds.” The name “Dandelion” is an English corruption of the French name for this plant: “dent de lion” meaning “lion’s tooth”, a reference to the tooth-like serrations on the plant’s leaves.” (Ehrlich, 2015)

As for therapeutic properties, they are gentle, calming, and have pain relieving qualities that can be beneficial for muscle rubs and over-exertion balms. Dandelion infused carrier oil is perfect for beauty products or for topical applications due to its healing properties. It can also help reduce feelings of worry and is skin moisturizing. Dandelions are chock full of vitamins A, B, C, and D, are an appetite stimulant, and are great for upset stomach. Dandelions can also help with digestion and help fight inflammation.

Next let’s talk about how to make a Dandelion Infused Carrier Oil. First of all, there are different infusion methods you can use to extract the medicinal benefits of the Dandelion. There is the Solar-infused method, cold infusion method, and double-boiler method. This recipe is going to be for the cold infusion method.

Any carrier oil can be used for this recipe, the only thing you should keep in mind is the shelf life of the carrier oil – this will determine how long your dandelion infused carrier oil will last. I chose to use a blend of Camellia Seed Carrier Oil (12-18 months) and Fractionated Coconut Carrier Oil (2 years). Some excellent alternatives are Almond Carrier Oil, Argan Carrier Oil  or Jojoba Carrier Oil (which will extend the shelf life of the carrier oil).

Before you begin picking, always make sure the dandelions you are picking are free of pesticides and chemicals. When you go out to pick your dandelions make sure it is a bright sunny day and late enough in the afternoon that all the dew has evaporated. You want to pick enough of them to fill up your mason jar. Shake each individual flower head gently to evacuate any small inhabitants that may be living in them.

Once the jar is full, fill your mason jar with your choice of carrier oil until it covers the dandelions completely. You do not want your dandelions to be sticking out of the oil because the air and moisture can inhibit bacteria growth and lead to molding. Once they are completely submerged in the oil, stir gently to ensure all the air bubbles have been removed and place in a sunny window. You can cover the oil with a breathable mesh such as cheesecloth or a coffee filter to be sure no foreign objects fall into the oil while it is infusing.

 Let the oil sit, stirring every few days, for 2-3 weeks. Dandelions can be left in the window for up to 4 weeks if you choose to make the carrier oil more aromatic, but any longer could result in bacteria growth and mold. This method of infusion is called the “cold infusion method” because you do not use heat to extract the properties from the dandelion. Once the 2-3 weeks has elapsed, use a slotted spoon to remove the dandelion heads, then strain through a cheesecloth or fine mesh cloth to remove any small particles. Also, you will want to store the oil in a cool, dark place as you would any other carrier oil.  To calculate the shelf life of your dandelion infused oil take average of the shelf life your carrier oils have; for this particular recipe, it would be about 21 months.

When the oil is finished there are so many different DIY products you could use it for. It can be used to create an oil blend, salve, or butter for pain associated with age and over-exertion. It can be added to a lotion which would be beneficial for dry chapped skin. Making a facial toner is a great option as well, due to the inflammation and healing properties of the dandelions. Don’t forget that the carrier oil alone has added therapeutic properties, so making this dandelion infusion then becomes a powerhouse for therapeutic benefits.

Helpful Hints:
  • Always make sure the dandelions you are picking are free of pesticides and chemicals.
  • Only pick dandelions once the dew has evaporated on a warm sunny day.
  • Shake/tap gently to remove inhabitants.
  • Check your carrier oil for mold growth and air bubbles every couple of days while it is in the sunny window. (If you get a small patch of mold on one of the flower heads it should still be fine, but if there is too much you may consider throwing it out and beginning again.)
  • Store your dandelion infused carrier oil in a cool, dark place.
  • Label your container with the infusion date to ensure accurate shelf life.
  • Be sure to use clean, dry containers and utensils when preparing your dandelions for infusion.

 

“When you look at a field of dandelions you can either see a hundred weeds or a hundred wishes.”

– Unknown

 

References:

Ehrlich, S. D. (2015, June 22). University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved from Dandelion: http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/dandelion

 

What do you like to infuse your carrier oils with?

Dill Weed Essential Oil

By Kimberly Daun, Certified Aromatherapist

 

I was super blessed to have had 4 enjoyable pregnancies, outside of the awful first trimester.  That first trimester I was constantly nauseous.  I know people crave odd foods when they’re pregnant, for me, the only thing I could keep down was pickles!  I remember one day when I was taking my 2 and 3 year olds to playgroup, I was sick but so hungry at the same time.  The thought of pickles made me salivate so I took a little detour and got the biggest jar of pickles the grocery store had.  I then sat in the car and proceeded to eat every single pickle, even drinking some of the juice!  I remember how shocked I was that not only did I keep it all down, but it helped to settle my stomach.  As I began learning about herbs and essential oils it made so much sense to find out that Dill Weed is one of the most recommended essential oils for an upset stomach.

Dill is such a great addition to any garden as it attracts ladybugs, who eat aphids, making it wonderful tool for organic gardening.  You can also harvest Dill leaves at any point during the year. I do container gardening yeararound (I often bring the containers inside during the winter) and my boys just love being able to pick off, eat, and enjoy the plants all year.  It helps to keep their digestive system balanced.  I also keep a roller bottle of Tummy All Better (which has a main ingredient of Dill Weed) for the upset stomach that often accompanies seasonal illness.  In ancient Greek and Roman Cultures, Dill was seen as a sign of wealth.  Soldiers would apply it to their wounds to help promote healing.  The Conqueror Charlemagne used to provide Dill on his tables to help those guests who may have indulged in a bit too much food at his banquets. [1]

To get the essential oil all aerial parts of the plant are steam distilled.  Plant Therapy currently sources our Dill Weed Essential Oil right here in the USA.  Although it is best known for digestive support there are many other uses.  It is helpful with head tension, ease symptoms associated with a normal menstrual cycle, and encourage restful sleep. [2]  Dill helps to calm, balance emotions, ground, and promote emotional harmony. [3]  My top five uses for Dill are:

Digestion

1 ounce Carrier Oil, 18 drops Dill Weed (massage on abdomen)

Massage on abdomenal area.

Sleep Diffuser Blend

2 drops Frankincense Serrata, 1 drop Dill Weed, 1 drop Lavender, 1 drop

Roman Chamomile

Head Tension

1 ounce carrier oil, 8 drops Peppermint, 6 drops Dill Weed

Massage on temples and down the back of the neck.

Menstrual Issues

Diffuse –  3 drops Palmarosa, 2 drops Dill Weed, 2 drops Ylang Ylang Extra  

Grounding Diffuser Blend

3 drops Cardamom, 2 drops Cedarwood Himalayan, 2 drops Dill Weed, 1 drop Patchouli

 

 

What do you use Dill Weed  Essential Oil for?

 

 

[1] World Healthies Foods, “Dill,” [Online]. Available: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=71. [Accessed 27 December 2016].
[2] V. A. Worwood, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, Novato: New World Library, 2016.
[3] J. K. &. R. Bull, Aromatherapy & Subtle Energy Techniques, CreateSpace, 2015.

 

 

Benefits of Almond Oil

Let's Get Creative-900x200


Carrier oils provide the backbone for many DIY creations. Choosing one that suits you best may seem intimidating, but I promise it’s worth the effort. The right carrier can make the difference between a newly made product that is good and one that is AMAZING. We’ve done a few posts previously on the benefits of various carrier oils, which you can find here:

This time we thought we could focus on the benefits of just Almond oil, as well as provide a few ideas for how you can make the most of the various uses for Almond oil. We all know how important it is to choose a carrier oil that is suitable for your skin type. Almond oil can be a wonderful choice for nearly everyone, making it the perfect option for those who want a great multi-purpose carrier to use in their projects and for blending. Almond oil is a light carrier oil that absorbs easily and doesn’t leave a greasy feeling on the skin. This spotlight (below) can be clicked and printed so you can add it to your essential oil binder!

AlmondCarrierOil

Now, let’s take a closer look at what Almond oil is! Almond oil, as you might have guessed, is cold-pressed from the almond kernel. Native to Europe, the Mediterranean and California, the oil can range in color from colorless to pale yellow and has almost no scent of its own. Almond oil can be used as the sole or base carrier for your blends, meaning it doesn’t need to be mixed in conjunction with others. Why is Almond oil so great for your skin? It contains oleic acid , essential unsaturated fatty acids, sterolins and even  vitamin E.  Why is this important? Let’s examine what these compounds can do for you & your skin:

  • Oleic Acid Oleic acid is a fatty acid that occurs naturally in some vegetable and animal oils. It is a mono-unsaturated fat, making it a great choice for individuals who have skin prone to dryness, eruptions or redness. Oleic acid allows the skin to stay soft & supple by leaving a protective layer to fortify the skin against outside damage.
  • Unsaturated Fatty Acids  For amazing skin, unsaturated fatty acids provide elasticity and help to rejuvenate skin’s appearance. 
  • Sterolins Sterolins are skin-softening agents, useful to improve the appearance of skin and maintain a youthful glow. 
  • Vitamin E Often misrepresented as a preservative, in fact Vitamin E is an antioxidant which can extend the shelf life of products, but can not be relied upon to prevent bacterial growth. However, this is rarely a concern in oil-based products. Only with the introduction of water or water-based  items should there be a concern for bacterial growth. (Parker, 2015).

How can you incorporate Almond oil into your aromatherapy routine? Well, very simply, you can reach for it first when creating a new blend that requires dilution. Or check out one of these ideas for other great ways to use Almond oil:

  1. When used as a massage oil, Almond oil can be amazing in reducing muscle fatigue and tension. Since it is a protein-rich oil, it quickly rejuvenates tired muscles and gets you back on your feet faster after that tough workout or anytime you’ve over done it! Try this recipe for your sore muscles: To 1/3 ounce, or 10 mL of Almond Oil, add 1 drop Lemon, 3 drops Marjoram and 5 drops Frankincense Carteri.
  2. For use in your Oil Cleanse Method – massage into the skin of the face for several minutes, cover with a warm, damp face cloth for a minute or so, then wipe away residual oil. You can combine with essential oils if you wish, or simply leave it plain.
  3. Nothing is nicer than having a warm bath and leaving with silky soft skin! Add 3 drops Roman Chamomile and 10 drops Lavender to an ounce of Almond Oil, and add a 1/2 teaspoon to your bath along with a handful of Pink Himalayan Salt for seriously soft and scented skin!

It’s important to note that if you have (or suspect) a nut allergy, you should probably avoid the use of Almond Oil or do a patch test to be certain it’s the right choice for you.

We’d love to hear how YOU benefit from Almond Oil. Share with us by leaving a comment here or contacting us via email at Aromatherapist@planttherapy.com. We also have a lively and FUN Facebook group for you to join over at Safe Essential Oil Recipes. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Resources:

Parker, S. M. (2015). Power of the seed: Your guide to oils for health & beauty. United States: Process Media.

DIY Cayenne Salve

Let's Get Creative-900x200


I often like to highlight the other products, aside from essential oils, that Plant Therapy has to offer. Our beeswax is awesome, since it comes in this easy-to-measure pellet form. I just love the smell, it reminds me of being outside after the hay has been mowed! Our carrier oils are fabulous, and whatever one you choose it’s sure to be a winner. Finally, these awesome round, twist-up tubes! They all come together in this lovely balm that can be used for your sore muscles or aching back after a long day on the sports field or in the garden! No need to rub it in, the tube does all the work!

 

DIY CayenneSalve

What you’ll need:

What you’ll do: 

  1. Measure 1/2 cup carrier oil of choice into saucepan
  2. Add 2 tsp of cayenne powder to the carrier oil
  3. Warm over low heat for about 30 minutes, then turn off and allow to cool
  4. Strain to remove the cayenne solids from the oil
  5. Return the oil (now a beautiful orange) to heat and re-warm
  6. Weigh, then set aside, 1 ounce of beeswax (approx. 2-3 TBSP)
  7. Once oil is warm, add beeswax and allow to melt
  8. Pour into tubes, allow to cool until solid

Next time I make this for myself, I am considering using 1 tsp cayenne and 1 tsp ground ginger to infuse my oil. Rub this lovely balm into your skin to soothe any minor discomfort you may have! The tube provides great application without worry of getting it onto your hands (and later in or near your eyes, ouch!). If you do get some on your hands, be sure to wash well!

As always, we want to hear from you! Contact us by emailing Aromatherapist@planttherapy.com for any questions, concerns or comments you may have. You can join our Facebook group Safe Essential Oil Recipes and participate in lively conversation with other essential oils users. We have your safety in mind – so come hang out with us to learn even more! We look forward to seeing you there!

DIY Cuticle Balm

Let's get CREATIVE...-3


Recently I have discovered that I don’t take very good care of my nails. So in a concerted effort to do better, I wanted to create an easy cuticle balm to keep my ragged cuticles looking their best. We focus a lot on essential oils at Plant Therapy! But many don’t realize we offer a variety of other items to help you make the MOST of your essential oils. Let’s take a look at some of the other great products Plant Therapy offers. I want to showcase two of my favorites today in this simple DIY.

Jojoba oil is one of my favorite carriers. It’s actually a liquid wax and has an incredibly long shelf life. I love to infuse vanilla beans into mine to use in many of my DIY projects. I also really love it for  use on the skin since it’s so nourishing.

Beeswax is what holds many of my projects together. using a combination on butters, essential oils and carrier oils I have been able to replace most things I used to buy at the store with homemade (and better for me) versions. Not only does beeswax help keep lotions and creams together, but it is also very nourishing to the skin and can create a barrier to avoid moisture loss. Perfect for hands that are in the dishes quite a bit!

Cuticle

What you’ll need:

What you’ll do:

  1. Melt beeswax in a glass bowl over simmer water
  2. Add jojoba and stir. You’ll notice when you add the cooler jojoba oil, it may solidify slightly then remelt. This is fine.
  3. Add honey, stir to combine
  4. Pour into lip balm tubes.

 

This project makes 6-7 tubes so you can share with your friends or keep one in your purse and one on your night stand with extras!!

Of course, if you’d like to scent your cuticle balm you are welcome to add a few (4-5 drop) of an essential oil or essential oil blend. One I might recommend is Silky Soft – which is wonderful for skin! We hope that you enjoy this recipe and if you have any questions, please be in touch with us via email at Aromatherapist@planttherapy.com

Making the most of your carrier oils {how to infuse herbs}

Let's get CREATIVE...-3


Infusing herbs can be a great way to make the most of your carriers and compliment the use of essential oil in your homemade products. For example, arnica is great for sore muscles and stiff joints as well as being useful for bruising. Perfect for a muscle rub for high school or college sports players. When combined with marjoram, it can provide soothing relief for sore muscles. Another great example is comfrey which is excellent for bone health and can be useful when dealing with a break or fracture, combined with essential oils for pain management it’s a winning combination. Calendula is soothing for the skin, chamomile is wonderful for itching, irritated skin. The list is endless!

A great resource for all things herbal is The Herbal Academy of New England. I have taken the Intermediate Herbal Course through their on-line school. It’s a fantastic course and I really learned a lot. Of course, as with essential oils, learning about herbs is a lifelong pursuit. This is a great start! You can learn about different herbs that may boost the blends you are currently making or learn about something new!

Why don’t we take a closer look HOW to create herbal infusions.

Creating Herbal infusions is easy - just gather a few basic items and create your own herbal infused oils today!
Creating Herbal infusions is easy – just gather a few basic items and create your own herbal infused oils today!

What you’ll need:

  • Carrier Oil
  • Herb of choice
  • Glass jar, quart size is preferable
  • Lid for glass jar
  • Cheesecloth (not immediately, but necessary for straining later)
  • Additional, smaller, jar for storage

What you’ll do:

  1. Add herb of choice to your quart jar
  2. Pour carrier oil over your herbs until they are covered
  3. Choose method below to complete the process
  4. Use this infused carrier to boost the benefits in your essential oils blends!

 

There are two different methods you may use cold (or solar) infusion and heat infusion.

The first method, you simply add the herbs and oil to your jar and allow to sit in a warm place for approximately 6 weeks. Strain, bottle and store in a cool dark place until ready for use.

For the second method, add herbs and oil to your jar then place in a heatproof pan in the oven. TO prepare your oven, heat to 250 degrees then turn it off when you place the jar inside. Allow the jar to remain in the oven, closed, for 24 hours. Remove the jar, strain and store in a cool dark place. Additionally, you may add the oil and herbs directly to a pan on the stove, set to low) and warm that way. Be very careful not to overheat (or burn) your oils/herbs. Heat for approximately 45-60 minutes. Once cool, strain and store in a cool, dark place.

I hope you enjoyed learning a bit about herbal infusions. Herbal learning and essential oils go well together, and many times compliment each other beautifully. There are many benefits to using essential oils, but sometimes they simply aren’t the answer you need. For those times, we turn to herbs and food to be truly holistic and to live vibrantly!

If you have questions or concerns, please contact on of our on-staff aromatherapists at Aromatherapist@planttherapy.com


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