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Essential Oils Blog

Tag Archives: Education

Natural Skincare Routine – Dry Skin

In this installment of our Natural Skincare Routine series we will discuss using essential oils, hydrosols, and carrier oils for dry skin.

Many are plagued by dry skin, especially during the cold, harsh winter months. Dry skin is characterized by having nearly invisible pores, red patches, a dull and rough complexion, visible lines, and a lack of elasticity. This skin type can be prone to cracks, irritation, and inflammation and can be made worse by harsh cleansers, hormones, indoor heating, and weather changes. Using a natural skincare routine that utilizes products with humectant and emollient properties can be very beneficial.

Products for Dry Skin

Carrier Oils: Almond, Apricot Kernel, Argan OrganicAvocado, Evening Primrose, Jojoba, Meadowfoam, Rosehip , Sunflower Organic, Tamanu.

Carrier Oil Blends: DermiSoothe and Near Perfection  

Oil Cleanser: Oil Cleanser for Normal/Dry Skin

Hydrosols: Helichrysum Organic, Lavender Organic, and Rose Organic.

Essential Oils: Bergamot, Carrot Seed, Frankincense Frereana, Geranium, German Chamomile, Lavender, Neroli, Palmarosa, Patchouli, Petitgrain, Roman Chamomile, Rose Absolute, Sandalwood.

Cleansers

Using the wrong cleanser can easily create chaos for your skin and it can take weeks to calm the irritation and roughness after using such a product. To help our customers that tend to be dry, Plant Therapy created our Oil Cleanser for Normal/Dry Skin. To use this cleanser rub four to six drops into dry hands and apply evenly over dry face. Wet the face and massage gently. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water and pat dry with a towel. Avoid the eye area when washing the face or using as a moisturizer.

Many essential oil users also like to use the Oil Cleanse Method which you can read more about here. If you do attempt to use this method I would recommend reducing the amount of castor oil as it can be very drying to already parched skin.

We recommend cleansing the face twice daily, once in the morning and once before bedtime.

Toners

Toners are often used after washing your face to help finish the cleansing process and help with the appearance of pores. Hydrosols are great options to use as toners but it is important to choose the right ones for your skin type. As noted above we recommend Helichrysum, Lavender, and Rose for dry skin. Try the following blend for a well balanced toner:

Dry Skin Toner

What you’ll need:

2 ounces Rose Hydrosol

1 ounce Lavender Hydrosol

1 ounce Helichrysum Hydrosol

What you’ll do:

Mix together in a 4 ounce bottle and spritz the face after cleansing. Refrigerate between uses.

Moisturizers

While both the cleansers and toners listed above offer some emollient properties, it is important to also use a moisturizing agent for dry skin after cleansing. Both our DermiSoothe and Near Perfection carrier oil blends are great choices and can be applied right after the cleansing process.

For severely dry skin you can create this helpful DIY Moisturizing Cream:

What you’ll need:

2 ounces Shea Butter Refined

2 ounces DermiSoothe Carrier Oil Blend

4 ounce bottle

What you’ll do:

Measure ingredients and mix together using a hand mixer. You can then transfer the lotion from the mixing bowl to the empty bottle (I use a frosting bag). Apply directly to parched, irritated skin.

Masks

Once a week it is good practice to apply a moisturizing mask to the skin. Here are two of my favorite DIY masks for dry skin:

Oatmeal Mask

What you’ll need:

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup cooked oatmeal

1 teaspoon Almond

1 teaspoon Avocado

3 drops Roman Chamomile

2 drops Frankincense Frereana

1 drop Rose absolute

What you’ll do:

Mix ingredients together and gently apply to the face, avoiding the eye area. Let the mask sit for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off the mask with cold water and gently pat dry. Follow up with a moisturizer.

Soothing Shea Mask

What you’ll need:

1 tablespoon Shea Butter

1 Tablespoon Jojoba

1 Tablespoon Aloe Vera Jelly

3 drops Bergamot

2 drops Sandalwood

1 drop Chamomile German

What you’ll do:

Add the essential oils to a tablespoon of Jojoba and then combine with the rest of the ingredients. Apply the mask and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off the mask with cold water and gently pat dry. Follow up with a moisturizer.

If you are diligent with following this routine you can drastically improve the appearance and bring moisture back to your skin.

 

What products do you use in your daily skincare routine?

 

1] The Complete Aromatherapy and Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness by Nerys Purchon and Lora Cantele

2] The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood

3] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-skin/symptoms-causes/syc-20353885

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

 

Castile Soap DIY’s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients: Saponified Organic Cocos Nucifera (Coconut Oil), Saponified Organic Otea Europaea (Olive Oil), Saponified Organic Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba Oil), Rosemary Extract, Organic Aloe Vera.

 

Now that Plant Therapy has added Castile Soap to our line of products, I went in search of different ways to use it. To my surprise, there are hundreds of uses for it! While I am testing out and tweaking these recipes I thought I would share a few of my favorites.

 

Foaming Hand Soap

Here’s what you ‘ll need:

Here’s what you’ll do:

  1. Add the water to the foaming pump dispenser
  2. Add Castile Soap
  3. Add  Optiphen +
  4. Add essential oil
  5. Replace cap, shake well

 

Multi-Purpose Spray

What you’ll need:

  • 5 ounces water
  • 3 ounces white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Castile Soap
  • 1/2 teaspoon Polysorbate 20
  • 25-30 drops essential oil (I use Germ Destroyer or Germ Fighter in most batches )
  • Spray Bottle

What you’ll do:

  1.  Add all ingredients to the spray bottle and shake well.
  2. Spray and wipe.

 

Body Wash

What you’ll need;

What you’ll do;

  1. Measure all ingredients.
  2. Pour into bottle.
  3. Shake well.
  4. Store in your bathroom and use as you would a traditional body wash.

 

Fruit and Veggie Wash

What you’ll need:

A bowl of cool water (approximately 2 quarts)

5-6 drops Castile Soap

2 drops Lemon Essential Oil

Mix together and that’s it! There is no need to rinse your fruit and veggies, they are ready to go. If you are not using them right away, just drain and store in the fridge.

 

KidSafe Shampoo

What you’ll Need:

4 ounces Castile Soap

1 tablespoon Carrier Oil of choice

4 oz plastic bottle

18 drops of KidSafe Synergy or KidSafe Single Essential Oil of choice.  (Lavender, Tea Tree or Get “Em Gone are great options).

What you’ll do;

  1. Measure ingredients.
  2. Pour into bottle.
  3. Shake well.
  4. Store in your bathroom and use as you would a traditional body wash.

 

Bubbling Bath Salts

What you’ll need:

What you’ll do:

  1. Measure Epsom salt, pour into medium bowl and set aside
  2. Measure 1 TBSP coconut oil, into small dish or beaker, set aside
  3. Measure 2 mL essential oil with graduated cylinder {or drop 40-45 drops}. Pour into coconut oil
  4. Measure body wash
  5. Add carrier/essential oils mixture to the body wash, stirring well. Mixture will turn opaque and thicken slightly as you stir
  6. Add carrier/essential oil/body wash mixture to Epsom salt
  7. Stir well
  8. Package in a container of your choice, but do be sure it’s airtight!

To use, run about 1/4 cup under your warm water as you fill the tub. This is the perfect way to send yourself or your little one, or yourself, off to bed all calm and snuggly!

 

Plant Therapy’s Castile Soap is unscented making it safe for kids and adults alike to use for effective and safe cleaning. This soap is perfect for hand, body, and face washing, as well as for dishes, mopping, and other household chores. This green, nontoxic soap base is perfect because of its many, many uses. We will be sharing more of these many uses with you soon!

 

How do you like to use Castile Soap?

 

 

Essential Oil Education – Copaiba Balsam

By Kimberly Daun, Certified Aromatherapist

Copaiba Balsam is a an Oleoresin obtained by tapping a tree for its resin.  Plant Therapy currently sources its Copaiba Balsam from both Brazil and El Salvador,  and since we provide batch specific GC/MS reports it will be easy for you to figure out where your bottle is from.  Its aroma is smooth like milk chocolate, and has a gently wooded scent.

Copaiba is primarily from deep in the majestic Amazon rain forests.  The Amazons’ alone produce 500 tons of oil-resin each year. [1]  It has a 2-3 year shelf life when stored in a cool and dark environment, giving you plenty of time to use this oil.

It has a unique chemical constituent; Beta-Caryophyllene.  You’re probably asking yourself, B what?!  Don’t worry, I’ll break it down!  Beta-caryophyllene is a sesquiterpene also found in significant amounts in Black Pepper,   Beta-caryophyllene is a major constituent credited with targeting parts of the brain which help minimize feelings of nervousness and worry.  It is also credited with easing feelings of sadness and discouragement. The specific findings of this study were published online in the journal Physiology & Behavior. [2]  This main constituent is also credited with minimizing the perception of inflammation and discomfort. It is  excellent at giving you an immune boost and helping you avoid  seasonal threats. [3]

It’s important to keep in mind that it’s the synergy of all constituents that really gives an essential oil its power.  Knowing about the individual constituents gives you a better basis for blending for a specific purpose.  Copaiba Balsam is made up of more than 85% constituents in the sesquiterpene family, making it highly sought after to help reduce the perception of inflammation, help you to feel grounded, and assist in healing broken skin.

 

My top 5 uses for Copaiba Balsam are:
  1. Ease Joint Discomfort

1 ounce carrier oil, 6 drops Copaiba Balsam, 6 drops Marjoram, 6 drops Frankincense Serrata

  1. Upper Respiratory Support

Diffuse 3 drops Copaiba Balsam, 3 drops Eucalyptus Globulus, 2 drops Fir Needle

  1. Emotionally Grouding

Diffuse 3 drops Copaiba Balsam, 2 drops Frankincense Carteri, 4 drops Sweet Orange

  1. Assist in healing cuts and scrapes

1 ounce carrier oil, 6 drops Copaiba Balsam, 8 drops Lavender, 4 drops Helichrysum Italicum

  1. Sooth Sore Throat

1 ounce carrier oil, 18 drops Copaiba Balsam

 

[1] Wikipedia, “Copaiba,” [Online]. Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copaiba. [Accessed 5 January 2017].
[2] Leaf Science, “β-Caryophyllene: A Terpene For Anxiety and Depression?,” [Online]. Available: http://www.leafscience.com/2014/07/08/b-caryophyllene-terpene-anxiety-depression/. [Accessed 6 January 2017].
[3] Aromahead Institute, “Therapeutic Components List,” Aromahead Institute, [Online]. Available: https://www.aromahead.com/online-course/aromatherapy-certification-program/reference/general-reference/therapeutic-component-list. [Accessed 7 January 2017].

 

*This statement has not be evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Plant Therapy and its representatives are not intending to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

 

Top Three Uses For Lavender Infused Vinegar!

In Pregnancy and Nursing Safety – Part 1 we learned that essential oils should only be used sparingly while pregnant and often times it is best to limit oil usage to relieving unpleasant pregnancy symptoms. In Essential Oils and Babies – What the Research Shows we also learned that although not completely restricted, exercising caution with the use of essential oils with babies and small children is paramount.

As an expecting Mom, who wants to lessen the amount of harsh chemicals used in my home, such as chlorine and bleach, these guidelines left me in a bit of a pickle. While I love to use essential oils in homemade cleaning products, I want to limit my growing baby’s exposure both while in the womb and once he arrives. After doing some research, I stumbled upon the wonderful cleaning properties of infused vinegar. Lucky for me, I even had dried lavender on hand to create lavender infused vinegar. I can’t tell you guys how much I love this stuff!

 

 

To create lavender infused vinegar add 1 cup of lavender buds to 3 cups of vinegar. Let the mixture infuse for 2-6 weeks. I went with 4 weeks and it was just perfect!

Here are a few ways I have used it so far:

Surface Cleaner

1 part lavender infused vinegar

2 parts water

Add to a spray bottle, shake well, and get to work! I use this as a cleaner for counters, windows, mirrors, etc.

Fabric Softener

Add ¼ a cup of lavender infused vinegar to your washers final rinse cycle. Not only does this make your laundry smell great but it really softens!

Soothing Bath

Add one tablespoon of lavender infused vinegar to a warm bath to soothe away worries and nourish the skin.

 

If you have children under the age of two and would like to use essential oils in cleaning products, we would encourage you to use them while your little ones are in a different room. Once the area has cleared for 30-60 minutes your babies can return to the area.

For additional DIY cleaning products be sure to check out our blog post The Best Homemade Cleaning Products

My Top Five Workhorse Oils

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


Welcome back to Essential Education. I hope you are finding this series is encouraging greater confidence toward exploration of your essential oils by distilling down some basic information. At the same time, we want to encourage you to continue your education through reputable books and classes. This is just a start to help support you on your way.

So far, we have discussed:

Aromatherapy – The Wonderful Wide World of Aromatherapy

Learning Your Essential Oils – Welcome to Essential Education

Choosing for Your Concerns – Getting to Know  Your Essential Oils — Part 2

Basic Blending – Beginning Blending, 1, 2 3

With that under our belts, I now want to address another question we are often asked. As aromatherapists, folks want to know our list of favorite oils. This is actually a hard question to answer for a few reasons.

First, ask a bunch of aromatherapists the same question, and you very likely will not ever get the same two lists. Maybe some overlap, but that’s it. Even if you limit the sample group to the Plant Therapy aromatherapy team and the essential oils Plant Therapy stocks you likely will get some shared oils, but the not the same two lists.

Why?

  • First, because choosing essential oils is a very personal choice. Look at patchouli for example. Goodness! Talk about a polarizing oil based on scent. The patchouli lovers will sing its praises while the patchouli haters will be running for the hills. It doesn’t matter how wonderfully patchouli works for various wellness concerns, you won’t get a patchouli hater on board.
  • Second, choosing essential oils must be matched to the concern and the unique needs for whom you are choosing it. What you choose to ease soreness and stiffness at bedtime in an adult might be very different that what you choose for a child during the day. And, there are very often multiple choices. Added to that, see #1 above.

What that means is that, while there are multiple choices of essential oils available within the world of aromatherapy, the best are those that match the unique needs of each individual. Once you distill this down, the lists become shorter and varied, not only from person to person, but even for the same individual at different times.

So, when you ask us about our list of favorites, it is really just that. A list of favorites that we love because we are drawn to them and they suit our personal needs.

What you really might want to know is why certain oils have made our favorites list(s).

If we can frame it this way, then, you can explore if the choices others make might match your needs as well. This is really important when you are reading a recipe, getting a recommendation, or reviewing a list of possible essential oil choices.

 

Within this framework, I am going offer My Top Five Workhorse Oils, and I am going to tell you why. My intention is that by sharing some insight about why they made my list, it will provide inspiration to build your own, much like you would take inspiration for home decor, or fashion from design pages in a magazine. If some of these essential oils suit your personal needs and preferences, great! If not, I hope it will give you a boost to build your own list!

So, what do I mean by workhorse oils? I mean these little powerhouses can pack a punch by pretty much covering all the basic bases. They are well rounded in their application with very few safety concerns. If could only choose five to cover my needs, these would be it.

Here they are and here is why.

 

BergamotCitrus bergamia

This is an all-around favorite essential oil for it’s many uses, its uplifting scent, and it’s ability to infuse a joyful spirit into any blend. 

Bergamot can be used for relaxing the mind, relaxing the body, releasing tight knots and tension, lifting the mood and spirit, helping to balance the nervous system,  supporting the digestive distress, soothing the skin, and as support during times of seasonal threats.

Cautions: I choose bergamot that is bergapten-free so it is sun safe and Kidsafe. Bergamot that contains bergapten is highly phototoxic.

  • Calming to the mind
  • Relaxing before bedtime
  • Eases worries
  • Relieves nervous tension
  • Eases sadness and grief
  • Uplifts the spirit
  • Supports a balanced nervous system
  • Powerful support for smoothing tight knots in the body
  • Excellent at reducing muscle tension, tightness and soreness
  • Soothing to digestive distress
  • Calms oily skin issues and eruptions
  • Cleanses and clears the air
  • Supports the immune system during seasonal illness

 

 Chamomile, Roman Chamaemelum nobile

This is one of the most powerful, yet gentle, essential oils for relaxing mind and body.

Roman Chamomile is strongly supportive for easing into sleep and for easing tight knots in the muscles. It is very soothing to the nervous system for children and adults, alike. Wonderful for easing tension around the head and neck, especially if the feeling is intensive enough to make you feel unwell. Wonderful for soothing the skin, especially if you’ve experienced too much sun, have reddened or irritated conditions,  or have itching or stinging from bug bites.

Cautions: None known. KidSafe.

  • Cleansing and clearing
  • Calming and relaxing
  • Provides a powerful assist before bedtime
  • Strongly supportive in reducing intense worrying
  • Soothes nervous tension
  • One of the best at smoothing tight muscle contractions
  • Helps to soothe discomfort of the head and neck.
  • Eases tired, tight and aching muscles and joints
  • Soothing to the skin, especially for reddened, irritated and itching conditions, including bug bites and stings

 

FragoniaAgonis fragrans

Cautions: None Known. KidSafe

This is, by far, my favorite nurturing go-to. This is a sweet little powerhouse with an amazingly wide range of potential uses due to a uniquely balanced composition. 

Fragonia  recently replaced both tea tree and eucalyptus on my short-list of workhorse oils for its comparable applications, but with a more gentle approach and softer scent.  This is my go-to for all things respiratory during times of seasonal illness, whether I’ve been exposed, or the yuckies have already boarded. It is also my go-to for tired and overworked muscles that need some support to relax. It is wonderfully relaxing before bed and emotionally supportive.

  • Broad-spectrum support for clearing and cleansing
  • Powerful support for respiratory health for seasonal pollen or illness
  • Promotes clear breathing when congested
  • Supports the immune system, especially during convalescence
  • Soothing to irritated skin and eruptions
  • Helps to alleviate discomfort for overexertion of muscles and aging joints
  • Balancing to the nervous system
  • Promotes relaxation before sleep
  • Helps to reduce worrying and nervous tension
  • Uplifting to mood, especially during times of sadness and grief

 

 

LavenderLavandula angustifolia

This oil has been revered for years as the workhorse of all workhorses. 

Oh my goodness. For many of us, lavender is what drew us in. It might not be the most powerful in some situations, but it covers the bases and is a supporting oil in many blends. Balancing to the nervous system for a wide range of distress, soothing before slumber, a workhorse for all things related to discomfort of the muscles and soft tissue discomfort and distress, and broad-spectrum applications for supporting the skin.

Cautions: None known. KidSafe

  • Promotes calm
  • Helps to reduce nervous tension
  • Helps to reduce worry and fear
  • Soothing before slumber
  • Balancing to the nervous system
  • Helps to soothe aches, discomfort and stiffness of muscles and joints
  • Helps to smooth tight knots in the tissues
  • Helps to soothe discomfort with tension around the head and neck
  • Helps to soothe digestive distress
  • Soothing to the skin after sun exposure, minor burns and bug bites.
  • Reduce the appearance of scars and bruises
  • Soothes red, irritated or itching skin
  • Uplifts the spirits

 

 

PeppermintMentha x piperita

This powerhouse packs a potent punch whether you need to calm down problems in the body, or stimulate the mind. It can be either warming or cooling topically depending on how it is applied.

Peppermint is my power tool of workhorse oils for the boost it brings blended into synergies for the mind and body. Powerfully stimulating and focusing to the mind, powerfully supportive for digestive distress, powerfully supportive for a congested respiratory system, and powerfully relieving for an achy and weary body, or tension around the head and neck.

Cautions: Do not apply near the face of infants or children. Maximum dilution of 5% for topical applicationsIf you want to use a KidSafe oil, you can replace with Spearmint (mentha spicata) from the same family, which provides more gentle, but similar actions. 

  • Eases discomfort and aches in the muscles and joints
  • Powerful support in reducing muscular contractions
  • Reduces tension around the head and neck
  • Soothes spastic digestive distress, a queasy stomach and general upset
  • Helps to clear congested breathing during seasonal illness
  • Cooling when feeling overheated, or in hot weather.
  • Mentally stimulating.
  • Supports alertness and concentration
  • Uplifting to the spirit

 

So, now that I have provided some information about why I have chosen my Top Five Workhorse Oils, I am hoping you will take inspiration for the following challenges should you choose to accept the mission:

 

  1.  Create your own list of Top Five Workhorse Oils.
  2. Practice some simple blending from the last Essential Education Blog, Beginning Blending 1, 2, 3. (Using this list or your own).
  3. Compare notes by sharing what you have crafted and why.

 

Looking forward to seeing what you create!

 


Sources:

Shutes, Jade. The Dynamics of Blending: A Guide to Aromatic Medicine Making. Willow Springs, NC: NW College for Herbal and Aromatic Studies, 2011. Print.

Lawless, Julia. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Aromatic Oils in Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Health & Well-being. London: HarperThorsons, 2014. Print.

Worwood, Valerie Ann. Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: Over 800 Natural, Nontoxic, and Fragrant … Recipes to Create Health, Beauty, and Safe Home an. Place of Publication Not Identified: New World Library, 2016. Print.

 

 

 

Beginning Blending 1, 2, 3

By: Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


By now, I hope you have had the opportunity to review the following information, especially if you are new to essential oils.

The next step is beginning to explore blending your essential oils.

Here a some baseline concepts before we begin:

 

Blending 1, 2, 3 is just a beginning:

The intention of this Essential Education series is to help instill some confidence with basic information to help you move from memorization to exploration. The method described here is just one method of blending, with some basic parameters to help keep things simple, yet effective. Once you learn more, you will find what works best for your style and needs as an aromatherapy enthusiast.

 

Blending varies by type of aromatherapy practiced:

 As you begin to explore more, you will see many different methods to blending. For example:

  • By chemistry/constituents – often used in clinical aromatherapy
  • By scent/notes – often used in perfumery
  • By therapeutic action – using historically known applications for a remedy of a wellness concern of body, mind or spirit.

For most home enthusiasts, blending by therapeutic action most often suits personal aromatherapy concerns. You will find many of the home reference books written in this way.

 

Blending is an art:

As you study more about blending you will see, even within areas of specialty, aromatherapists have their own way of going about it. Aromatherapy is indeed a natural healing art, and blending is a big part of the art.

 

A blend of undiluted essential oils is called a synergy:

The concept of an essential oil synergy is that the outcome of the blended oils is going to have greater value than the essential oils working alone. If you blend more quantity than for a single use, you will also see the synergy referred to as a master blend, or a stock blend.

Ok, ready to get started?

 

Step 1: Planning Your Blend

Before we begin blending, it is important to know what you are seeking to accomplish by answering some key questions. This list is not all inclusive, but is outlined to give you some idea of the planning needed before you even begin to prepare your blend.

What concern are you looking to support?

  • It is best to address one primary thing at a time.
  • Your blend can have some supporting effects, which we will address.

For whom is this blend being made?

  • A healthy adult?
  • Child?
  • Someone who is pregnant or nursing?

How is this blend going to be used?

  • Inhalation?
  • Topically?
  • Short-term?
  • Longer-term?

Are there any safety concerns?

  • Does it need to be KidSafe?
  • Are the oils phototoxic?
  • Maximum dermal applications?
  • Health concerns?
  • Potential medication interactions?

Other considerations?

  • Time of day to be used?
  • Scent preferences or aversions?

 

Step 2: Choosing Your Essential Oils

Now that you have answered questions such as those above, you can begin to choose your essential oils. There may be a variety of choices, but some oils work better together either synergistically, and/or how they smell.

This is where being familiar with your oils (what they do, how they smell, what their safety considerations are), as well as which oils best address your concern may be. If you need help with this, please review Welcome to Essential Education and Getting to Know Your Essential Oils – Part 2.

 

To begin, we are going to keep blending simple. And, we are going to blend by therapeutic action as a starting point for this exercise.

I learned my preferred process for choosing my oils to blend from Jade Shutes, an aromatherapy educator, and author.  When you are ready for more complexity, I highly recommend her manual “The Dynamics of Blending,” for learning blending in far more detail and depth .  Jade advocates a three-step approach to choosing your oils, summarized below:

  • First Oil/Primary – addresses primary concern
  • Second Oil/Supporting – supports the first oil for the primary concern
  • Third Oil/Enhancing – brings the blend together and enhances the effects of the synergy

A few more additional oils could be added to enhance the overall synergy, but let’s start with the basics. I have created many effective blends using simply three oils. Once you get going and gain your confidence and more education, you could certainly begin to branch out to more complex methods and synergies.

 

Step 3: Creating Your Blend

 To help get you started, you will find a worksheet below to help record your progress and process:

 

Download and Print Blending 1, 2, 3 Worksheet Here

  

 

1)     Choose Your Essential Oils for the Synergy

Select Your First Oil  — to address your primary concern, ensuring it meets the criteria in the planning phase.

Select a Second Oilto support your primary concern and to support the first oil.

Take the caps off the two bottles and hold them together. Gently waft the caps together under your nose (note: you don’t want to touch your nose or take a big sniff. Just a gentle inhale as it passes by).

How is the scent? Is it generally pleasing?  If you like it, proceed. If not choose another oil you want to go with your first choice oil and start again.

Select a Third Oilto bring together the overall blend

What enhancing effect do you want to add to your blend? Do you want to enhance the scent? Do you want to enhance the overall action? Do you want to add a supporting action? All the above?

Hold the cap of the third oil with the caps of other two oils and do the wafting experiment again. Is the scent generally pleasing? Are you happy with the combination of the three in general? If so, then you are ready to proceed.

 

2)      Make Your Blend

For this you will need:

  • Cotton balls or fragrance test strips
  • Scratch paper and a pen or pencil
  • It is also good practice to wear gloves

 

Try This 3 Oils + 5 Drops Method

This method keeps things simple, and it makes for a blend that is easy to use immediately, or to scale up or down with minimal math.

For example, with a 5-drop mini-master blend, you could easily add the following within safe and appropriate guidelines:

  • 5 drops in a diffuser (per 100 ml)
  • 5 drops on a cotton ball at your bedside, or desk (this is what I do with my tester samples)
  • 5 drops (mixed with appropriate carriers) in a bath
  • 15 drops in a personal inhaler
  • 1 drop x 5 uses in aroma jewelry
  • 20-40 drops per ml for a master blend stock bottle.

 

Choose the Ratio of Oils

  • Grab your scratch paper and a pencil.
  • Write down the name of each oil you have chosen.
  • Add one drop of the first oil to your cotton ball or scent strip.
  • Mark down a hatch mark next to that oil written on your paper.
  • Add one drop of the second oil and record it.
  • Add one drop of the third oil and record it.

(Trust me, marking each drop immediately is critical. If you think you will remember what you did when you are done, ask me how many times I have lost my place with which oil I just dropped, or how many recipes I have forgotten by the time I finished dropping and smelling my oils!)

  • Now, take a smell of what you have so far. How do you like it? What would you like to increase or mute?
  • Add one drop of the next oil you choose. It can be any of the three. Don’t forget to write it down.
  • Smell again.
  • Add the final drop of any of the three oils you choose and smell. How do you like it? Love it? Great! You have your blend. Don’t love it? Start again, adjusting the choice of which oils to bring out more in the blend and which ones you want to stay in the background.

 

3)    Record your Recipe

  • Once you are finished, be sure to write down your synergy recipe and store in a safe place.
  • Recipes are written in descending order of volume (which oil you used most first, and then, alphabetically.
  • It is good practice to also include the Latin names, so you remember which variety you used.
  • Be sure to write down the purpose of the blend.
  • If you created a synergy that is larger in volume than for single use, be sure to label the bottle.
  • If you created a master or stock blend, also be sure to date it. Your shelf life will be determined by the essential oil in the synergy with the shortest shelf life when stored properly.

 

Examples of sample blends using the 3 Oil/5 Drop Method

These are all mini-master blends to sample if you are looking for some inspiration to get started.  Feel free to change the amount of each oil in the synergy suited to your own personal sense and needs should you wish. If you have gotten to know your oils, you can even play with making substitutions that better suit you.

 

Australian Awesomeness 

 2 drops Kunzea (kunzea ambigua)

2 drops Blue Cypress (callitris intratropica)

1 drop Fragonia (agonis fragrans)

This is soothing to aching muscles and joints. Soothing to mind and spirit. Helps to release blocked pain and emotional scars to the spirit.

 

Sensationally Soothing

 2 drops Ho Wood (cinnamomum camphora)

2 drops Rose Otto 10% (rosa damascena)

1 drop Lavender Fine (lavandula angustifolia)

This is a sweet soother to the mind, body and spirit when needing to significantly relax nervous tension on all levels.

 

Refresh

2 drops Peppermint (mentha x piperita)

2 drops Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis ct 1,8-cineole)

1 drops Lime (citrus x aurantifolia)

An invigorating blend. Supports focus and clarity.

 


Source:

Shutes, Jade. “The Dynamics of Blending: A Guide to Blending and Reference Manual for Essential Oils and Base Materials.” N.p.: East-West School for Herbal and Aromatic Studies. N.d. Print.

March Oil of the Month – Palo Santo

Although Palo Santo, from South America, was and continues to be used in spiritual ceremonies and rituals, don’t feel that you have to save it for a special occasion! This essential oil, is loved by those who meditate, do yoga and by artists because it’s said to diminish negativity. You will feel calm, creative and focused when Palo Santo is near you.

Palo Santo, also known as “Holy Wood”, truly gives it’s all as the oil is collected from only old dead wood that has died a natural death. Some of the wood is used to create incense to ward off tiny outdoor nuisances.  Some of the wood is cut into small pieces for cleansing and ceremonies.  But some of the wood is used to create this calming essential oil that smells slightly of licorice and citrus.  After several years of lying on the forest floor decomposing, the essential oil forms and the wood gives a high yield through steam distillation.

This essential oil does indeed seem to be an “old soul”, because it has all the answers. It can be helpful for bumps, wounds, muscle and joint discomfort and of course emotional distress and uneasiness. It also addresses seasonal threats as well. Due to it’s superior absorption ability, it’s wonderful in a massage blend to help with soreness. When diluting it would go along with some carrier oils that also absorb well such as Almond,  Grapeseed , or Sunflower.

Palo Santo is rich in limonene, which is supportive to the immune sytem. It also helps with discomfort and swelling.  Enjoy this relative of Frankincense and Myrrh in a relaxing bath salt or in a meditation blend.

Here is a blend for reflecting, yoga or quiet time;

Meditative Forest Master Blend

12 drops  Palo Santo

10 drops Cedarwood Himalayan

4 drops Cardamom

4 drops Copaiba

3 drops Vetiver

Combine these essential oils .  Add 4-8 drops to a diffuser, dilute to 3% with a carrier oil and use topically for specific discomfort or dilute to 1% for an all over body massage.

 

Download Product Template Sheet Here.

Essential Oil Education – Cajeput

By: Kimberly Daun, Certified Aromatherapist

 

 

 

 

Legend has it that when Captain Cook explored Asia he brought with him seeds that floated to the shores of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam, and that is how the Cajeput tree came to be in Southern Asia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes when I smell my essential oils I like to close my eyes and picture myself surrounded by the plants in their native environments.  Fortunately, I have an incredible imagination and with my eyes closed and the essential oil bottle close, I can transport myself to far off lands.  Every so often I get lucky and come across a documentary of someone enjoying in person, what I have only had the pleasure of enjoying in my mind.  Watching these documentaries gives me such an accurate look into what my dreams turned into reality would look like.

Cajeput was one such plant that I found a great documentary on. It took me deep into forests filled with majestic Cajeput.  I learned so much about where Cajeput originates, its incredible resiliency, and the preservation efforts in Vietnam.

My current batch of Cajeput was sourced by Plant Therapy from Indonesia.  The leaves and twigs are steam distilled to get the essential oil known as Melaleuca cajuputi.  This is the same family as Tea Tree, also known as Melaleuca alternifolia; although similar, each has its own unique properties.  Cajeput contains higher concentrations of 1,8 Cineole making it a better choice for upper respiratory support.  It also contains a higher percentage of limonene making it helpful with digestive issues, outdoor annoyances, and cleaning products.  [1]

 

My top 5 uses for Cajeput are:

  1. Digestive Support

1 ounce carrier oil, 6 drops Cajeput, 6 drops Ginger Root, 6 drops Cardamom

  1. Respiratory Support

In a steam bowl place 2 drops of Cajeput and inhale deeply

  1. Bug Bites

1 ounce carrier oil, 8 drops Cajeput, 8 drops Peppermint

  1. Lip Sores

1 ounce coconut oil, 5 drops Cajeput, 4 drops Ravensara, 2 drops Melissa, 2 drops Sandalwood

  1. Joint Discomfort

1 ounce carrier oil, 6 drops Cajeput, 4 drops Rosemary, 4 drops Clove Bud, 4 drops Black Pepper

 

[1] A. Deckard, “14 Uses for Cajeput Essential Oil,” Healthy Focus, 13 May 2015. [Online]. Available: https://healthyfocus.org/12-uses-for-cajeput-essential-oil/. [Accessed 21 December 2016].

 

 

 

Can Pre-Blended Synergies Be Used for Other Purposes?

By: Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


Ok! By now, I hope you are comfortable with your single essential oils and how they can help support your wellness concerns. If you are just now jumping in, here is where we are so far in this introductory series of Essential Education:

The Wonderful Wide World of Aromatherapy — How essential oils and aromatherapy support our wellbeing

Welcome to Essential Education — Getting to know our essential oils

Getting to Know Our Essential Oils – Part 2– Choosing the most appropriate oils for our concerns

Another question we often get asked is:

“Can pre-blended synergies be used for other purposes?”

 

The short answer is “it is possible.”

Once you are familiar with the effects of essential oils, and how to match those effects with your concerns, you can create a roadmap to your answer, ensuring it works with your unique needs.

I always start with the concern I want to address. So the question I ask is “what pre-blended synergies do I have on hand that could address this issue?” Yep! Even aromatherapists “cheat” now and then when you have some wonderfulness already in your arsenal for times of need.

Here is a real-life example from my recent experience.

Recently, very late into the night, the muscles of both legs were tight and aching. I also had a great deal of discomfort from some very tight knots in certain spots, and my low back was throbbing. I needed some relief and wanted to take a hot bath with a blend that would support relaxation of not only my body, but also my mind, so I could get in a good restorative sleep for the night.

I happened to have Calming the Child on hand and, after checking a few key things, I knew it was perfect as my “grab-and-go.”

Here’s the description of Calming the Child from the Plant Therapy website:

“Calming The Child is absolutely wonderful and a delight for little ones. Calming The Child was created to help promote a tranquil atmosphere during the day or before bedtime. Used by adults and children alike, Calming The Child can help anyone feel more calm.”

 The essential oils in this synergy were specifically chosen and blended for the purpose as described above, and it does an amazing job.

 

 But, remember, what I needed was a remedy to support relaxation of my body and mind so I could get some rest.

So, here is the checklist I went through to assess whether I could repurpose this-pre-blended synergy to suit my specific needs. You can use your worksheets from Welcome to Essential Education and Getting to Know Your Essential Oils – Part 2 as advance guides to map out potential multi-purposes for your blends when you are making purchasing decisions, or after they arrive. Even with a Plant Therapy blend, you may need to research through other reputable resources such as those recommended in Getting To Know Your Essential Oils – Part 2

 

What are the ingredients?

You can check:

  • The label (all reputable companies list the essential oils used)
  • The website (see the product details box, under “ingredients”); or
  • The product template sheet (open and/or download from the website)

Here are the essential oils used in the blend:

 

Do these essential oils address my concerns?

  • Lavender – relieves muscles tension, stiffness, aches and tight knots. Calming and soothing for restlessness. Relieves nervous tension.
  • Chamomile, Roman – powerful support for relieving tense muscles and tight knots. Soothing to the nervous system. Promotes calm and supports relaxation before bedtime.
  • Mandarin – Helps to soothe nervous tension. Eases the mind and body before bedtime. Mild support for tight knots and muscles.
  • Tangerine — Mild support for tight knots in the muscles. Helps to clear the mind and reduce nervous tension. Relaxes the mind before bedtime.

 

Are there any safety considerations?

We already know this synergy is:

  • KidSafe; (marked on the website and the label); and
  • Safe for topical use as well as inhalation (either by reading the product template sheet on the website, or because we can see the product also comes pre-blended for topical use).

 

Are there other considerations?

Since it was way past bedtime, anything stimulating would be no-go. It would be a bonus if the ingredients would to also help calm the mind and support sleep.

 

Bingo! Calming the Child met all of my needed criteria, plus the bonus round of supporting a good night’s rest. I was able to quickly mix Calming the Child into an epsom salt bath, soak, relax and crawl into bed. It worked beautifully for the much needed relief and the restorative night I required. With this awesome result, Calming the Child remains in my rotation for those nights when I need a “go -to” to “grab and go.”

 

Calming the Child Bath Soak

Soothing to Mind and Body

Mix Calming the Child with the body wash to completely disburse the essential oils. Add the epsom salts to the body wash and mix. Pour under running water for a warm bath. Soak, soothe, and sleep!

 

I hope this helps walk you through how to answer the question about whether your pre-blended synergies can be used for other purposes. The key is really knowing your essential oils and how they can best address your concerns. If the ingredients meet that criteria, in addition to safety and other considerations, it can be considered a go. You can explore and experience for yourself to determine whether your pre-blended synergy becomes a “go-to grab-and-go” for other purposes.

In our next blog, we will discuss some simple steps to creating our own blends.

 

 


Sources:

Lawless, Julia. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Aromatic Oils in Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Health, & Well Being. San Francisco, CA: Conari, 2013. Print.

Shutes, Jade. The Dynamics of Blending: A Guide to Blending and a Reference Manual for Essential Oils and Base Materials. N.p.: East-West School for Herbal and Aromatic Studies, n.d. Print.

Worwood, Valerie Ann. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: Over 800 Natural, Nontoxic, and Fragrant Recipes to Create Health, Beauty, and Safe Home and Work Environments. Novato, CA: New World Library, 2016. Print.

 

 


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