How to use essential oils 200%
Does the thought of synthetic chemical ingredients in perfumes and air fresheners disturb you? Do you want to avoid using personal care products that contain synthetic fragrances? Have you tried finding alternatives to nasty things like that? Do you feel intimidated by the thought of figuring out how to use essential oils properly?
I’m interested in using essential oils because I like that they're all-natural, smell great, and have therapeutic qualities. But I’m worried because I’ve seen lots of articles warning readers about the side effects caused by using them carelessly...
You might be overwhelmed if you search for natural oils, as there are many kinds of oils that fall under that umbrella -- carrier oils, essential oils, fragrance oils, aroma oils… When you read materials about how to use them, it might be too much and make you want to stick with user-friendly commercial products. But then, there are many harmful effects of synthetic chemical ingredients in personal care products. Which way can you turn? In this blog, we’ll take a look at essential oils that have a divine natural scent and are a stress-free way to switch from synthetic commercial products.
Essential oils, carrier oils, fragrance oils???
Let’s start from botanical extracts. We can extract juices, water, oils, waxes and butters from plants. The oils can be categorised separately as carrier oils and essential oils.
- Carrier oils: most of them are non-fragranced oils. They have their own fabulous functions such as anti-oxidant, skin-repairing, SPF (Sun Protect Factor) and so on. You can use those carrier oils directly on the skin without dilution. Also they help to deliver essential oils benefits into skin cells safely. That role makes their nickname ‘cell-communicators’. For example, olive oil, jojoba oil, camellia oil, etc.
- Essential oils: they are naturally produced from plants and have their own unique, volatile aroma. You may be confused, especially, what are essential oils and fragrance oils. As sometimes, essential oils are also called ‘fragranced oils’ or ‘aroma oils’. However, it means actually ‘essential oils that have aroma’. They work through the blood stream inside of our body. Sounds very therapeutic, right? They should be used in dilution with carrier oils not used directly on the skin. Remember! Dilution is the point when you use essential oil on your skin! For example, peppermint oil, lavender oil, tea tree oil, etc.
- Fragrance oils: we’ve already discussed about these ingredients on the last blog ‘Scent of danger - Harmful chemicals in your perfume’. They are synthetically made from bi-petroleum materials only to imitate the aroma of natural essential oils. The tricky thing of these fragrance oils is they don’t have obligations to list ingredients on the label because they are closely guarded as trade secrets of fragrance companies. So, we don’t have any ideas what ingredients are in there…
What are the benefits and cautions about using essential oils in skincare?
Essential oils are expressed, extracted and distillated from plant parts such as flowers, fruit, grasses, seeds, bark, wood, roots, leaves, resin, etc. You should select and use them carefully as they have the ability to work both medicinally and therapeutically. They work through the blood stream inside of our body and in synergy with your skincare products’ formulations. They have been chosen for their beneficial roles on the skin such as transdermal penetration, potency, natural antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and fungicidal properties, anti-aging and wound healing, oil dissolving and improvement in circulation. Why don’t you add those synergic effects in your skincare?
However, there are ‘contra-indicated’ essential oils. Contra-indicated means a substance that is negatively indicated, or should be avoided, for use under certain conditions. The reason for avoiding certain essential oils is related to the physiological effects they can have within the body, and their likely ability to cross the placental membrane. In general, it is best to avoid some classes of essential oils in a product intended for pregnant women. Not all essential oils need to be avoid during pregnancy period, but there’s no clinically proven results when to be used for pregnant women. Also, if you have sensitive skin, it is recommended to consult with specialist before use them.
How to use essential oils 200%
Have you ever bought any essential oils? You can use them in a variety ways down to the last drop! :)
- Aromatherapy: don’t take it all too seriously. That's the best way to enjoy essential oils safely. For example, try this: Add a few drops of essential oil to hot water in a wide bowl and hold your face over the steam. This is a common and effortless way to can get the skincare benefits of essential oils! Also, make a hot or cold compress by soaking a towel in water, add a little bit of essential oils, and then apply to the desired area.
- Bathing: add a few drops of essential oils to a warm bath. Your skin, the largest organ in your body and definitely one of the most difficult to care for, will naturally absorb the benefits of the oils in an easy and highly relaxing way.
- Eliminating odour: when you want to neutralize any unpleasant cooking smells, put some hot water in your sink and add a few drops of essential oils that have antibacterial effects. It will not only help remove the unwelcome smells but also help sanitize and clean your sink!
- Wardrobe and shoe rack: if you put moisture absorber or newspaper inside your wardrobe or shoe rack, simply drop a bit of essential oils on the paper. The scent will spruce up your clothes, and whenever you open the doors it will make you feel good.
- Making ‘your own’ perfume: blend a carrier oil to an essential oil at a 9:1 ratio. But be careful! If the amount of essential oil is too much it can irritate your skin. Perfume is activated by body heat. The pulse points on your body (that is, the spots where your heart rate can be felt) are the best spots to apply scent because the higher rate of blood flow is warmer. So try applying perfume to spots like behind your ears, at the bottom of your neck where it meets your chest, on your wrists, inside your elbows, and behind your knees. It works as perfume, a skincare product, and aromatherapy all at once! But be alert: If you use citrus series essential oils and are exposed to sunlight, it might cause a photosensitive irritation on your skin.
- Toilet spray: do you want to make ‘after-poo’ manner spray for your bathroom without toxic chemicals? Please refer The Brown Bottle’s last blog ‘DIY all natural air freshener’.
- Add in your moisturiser: I’d like to share one final tip! If you use unscented lotions or moisturisers because you are concerned about toxic fragrance additives, why not add 3 to 5 drops (per 100ml product) to your moisturisers? And try changing up your essential oils from time to time; you can get different therapeutic skincare effects from each oil! :D
To avoid deterioration and protect the aromatic and therapeutic properties of your essential oils, store them in amber bottles. Dark glass such as amber helps to keep out deteriorating sunlight. That’s why The Brown Bottle loves brown containers. :)