Clary sage has been used for thousands of years as an herbal remedy. The name “Clary” has its roots in the Latin “Clarus,” which means clear. What are its aromatic notes? Sweet, herbaceous, and lightly floral. What are its primary benefits? Harmonizing and heartening. What makes PURE Clary Sage superior? PURE Clary Sage is grown […]
Making your own vanilla infused jojoba is easy!
Add about a half of an ounce of vanilla oleoresin (1 tablespoon) to a gallon of jojoba (3.75 liters). After about two weeks, your jojoba will be infused with the rich aroma of the vanilla.
You can let this oleoresin sit in the gallon until you finish using the jojoba. I’ve refilled that same gallon jug with more jojoba, and the vanilla continues to do its magic!
If you don’t have the oleoresin, you can use about 10 fresh vanilla bean pods. After the two weeks of infusing, take the pods out of the gallon jug of jojoba. You’ll need new ones if you want to start the process again.
a delicious and soothing vanilla and citrus lip balm
10 drops distilled Lime (Citrus aurantifolia)
5 drops Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)
1 oz (28 gm) Beeswax (Cera alba)
1 oz (30 ml) Vanilla-infused jojoba wax (Simmondsia chinensis)
2 oz (56 gm) Coconut oil (Cocos nucifera)
Lip balm tubes (the size is about 5 ml)
Lip balm tray
- Melt 1 oz (28 gm) beeswax and 1 oz (30 ml) vanilla jojoba in a double boiler.
- Once melted, add 2 oz (56 gm) coconut oil.
- Once melted, take off the stove and add the Lime and Orange essential oils.
- Stir and pour immediately (or use a pipette or dropper) into lip balm tubes (this is easiest if you have a lip balm tray for holding the tubes while you pour).
For a double boiler, try a Pyrex measuring cup rested in a soup pot filled halfway with water. This recipe makes about 24 sticks if you use a 5 ml size tube. How many tubes you fill will vary according to how high you fill them, and how exact you (and your scale) are when you weigh your ingredients.
Vanilla and Lavender Salt Scrub
a skin soothing shower scrub
3 oz (84 gm) salts (I like 2 oz/56 gm of pink Himalayan salts mixed with 1 oz/28 gm of Epsom salts)
3 oz (90 ml) vanilla jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis)
1 oz (28 gm) dried organic lavender flowers
15 drops Lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
4 oz (120 ml) jar
- Grind all the salts and the lavender flowers in a small coffee grinder until they are a fine texture. (I have a separate grinder reserved for bath salts, as coffee tasting like vanilla and lavender bath salts can be a bummer first thing in the morning!)
- Add the vanilla jojoba to the salts and stir.
- Add your essential oils and mix.
I recommend making a fresh batch of salt scrub every few weeks.
It’s hard to mistake the familiar aroma of Sweet Orange essential oil!
I find myself smiling every time I breathe it in. Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis) has such a bright, fresh scent that reminds me of warm summer days, feeling happy and healthy and the sense that anything is possible.
In this Spotlight, I’ll share some of the many ways you can use Sweet Orange essential oil, including a recipe for kitchen and bathroom cleaner that actually makes cleaning fun . . . or at least more “sweet!”
1. Use Sweet Orange essential oil to ease tension.
Tension, both physical and emotional, just seems to melt away under Orange’s sunny glow. Got the blues? Use some Orange! It helps everything flow more smoothly. I love Orange in blends that encourage digestion, relaxation, optimistic energy, clear thoughts, and overall health and happiness.
Orange is a great reassuring sidekick. You can keep it with you all the time by making an Aromatherapy inhaler:
• 5 drops Orange (Citrus sinensis)
• 3 drops Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
• 2 drops Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana)
Another way Sweet Orange can help you relax is by helping you release muscle tension.
If you’ve been sitting too long at a desk and your shoulders and neck are tight, Sweet Orange would be the friend who comes up behind you to massage your shoulders.
One of my favorite massage oil recipes calls for vanilla infused jojoba—jojoba that’s been steeped with vanilla oleoresin. After a few weeks, the jojoba smells just like vanilla. It’s so decadent!
• 2 oz (60 ml) vanilla-infused Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis)
• 20 drops Orange essential oil (Citrus sinensis)
Blend the two oils in a 2 oz (60 ml) PET plastic bottle with a flip top. If you love this massage oil as much as I do, you can easily increase the recipe to make more. (I usually make 2 to 4 oz/120 ml each time.)
You can make your own vanilla infused jojoba at home.
2. Use Sweet Orange essential oil to support your immune system.
Natural cleaning products are one of the ways I use citrus essential oils in my daily life for immune support. Natural recipes help support my immunity in two ways:
- I am inhaling natural, pure oils as I clean.
- I am not inhaling toxic chemical cleaners!
Here’s a recipe that can clean all kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
Kitchen and Bathroom Cleaner
• 14 oz (420 ml) water
• 2 oz (60 ml) white vinegar
• 20 drops Lemon (Citrus limon)
• 20 drops Orange (Citrus sinensis)
• 20 drops Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi)
Blend your water, white vinegar, and essential oils in a 16 oz (1 pint) spray bottle. Spray freely and wipe with a towel or sponge. Please note that the shelf life of this cleanser is a few weeks.
3. Sweet Orange essential oil brings summer warmth during winter months.
Sweet Orange essential oil has such a bright, summery aroma . . . and I love using it in the winter. (Of course, you can use it any time of year)!
One of my favorite winter moisturizer blends is made with Sweet Orange and Cardamom essential oils in a base of coconut oil. The aroma is spicy, warm, sweet, and tropical. This is such a comforting, cozy, uplifting blend (perfect for this time of year).
Sweet Orange Winter Moisturizer
• 1 oz (28 g) coconut oil (Cocos nucifera)
• 6 drops Sweet Orange essential oil (Citrus sinensis)
• 6 drops Cardamom essential oil (Elettaria cardamomum)
Just put your coconut oil in a PET plastic jar or bottle, then stir in your essential oils. You’re done!
I use raw, unrefined coconut oil, which helps to relieve dryness, itching, and irritated skin (including chronic conditions).
A little bit of this moisturizer goes a long way! Dab a bit on your finger, and you’ll see it spreads almost all over one arm. You can also use a bit as a protective hair moisturizer, but be sure to start small—if you use too much, you’ll have to wash your hair all over again.
4. Use Sweet Orange essential oil to uplift and relax, all at the same time.
Orange essential oil is special in that it is both uplifting and relaxing at the same time. It’s right at home in blends meant to perk you up, and equally comfortable in blends that help you slip off to sleep.
I use it in room sprays and linen sprays. It brightens and opens rooms, and wraps warmly around me in bed.
Sweet Orange Essential Room and Linen Spray
• 1 oz (30 ml) water
• 5 drops Orange (Citrus sinensis)
• 5 drops Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
• 2 drops Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara)
I call this a linen spray, but there are so many ways you can use it! Here are a few ideas:
• Spray your sheets with it before bed. (Cuddling up in sheets spritzed with essential oils is so luxurious!)
• Take it with you when you travel. Spritz the hotel room and bed with it—it makes a hotel room so much more comforting.
• Use it as an upholstery, curtain, and even a carpet spray to freshen up the scent and add some ambiance to any room.
Get to know Sweet Orange.
I hope this Essential Oil Spotlight has given you a great introduction to the power of Sweet Orange essential oil and all the sweetness it can bring to your life!
Another linen spray recipe. This one’s a current favorite and I take it with me traveling!
In a 2 oz (60 ml) spray bottle combine:
2 oz (60 ml) Vetiver hydrosol
5 drops Vetiver essential oil (Vetiveria zizanoides)
3 drops Orange essential oil (Citrus sinensis)
5 drops Lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
I recommend making this product fresh every few weeks, as it does not have a preservative in it.
Along with the aroma sending me right off to sleep, the oils offer immune support.
Palmarosa is a very skin-protective essential oil.
In “The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy,” Salvatore Battaglia says that it hydrates skin, has antiseptic properties, balances all skin types regulates sebum production (the oil that your skin produces) and can stimulate cellular regeneration.
Palmarosa essential oil is also deeply supportive of restoring strength, opening your heart, and boosting immunity. It’s perfect for massage sessions and warm baths right before bed (when its soothing influence on the nervous system help you slip off to sleep).
Here are a few Palmarosa blends that can help you get to know this essential oil like a friend.
Use Palmarosa essential oil in a natural bug spray.
Going for walks, spending time outside with friends, or working in your garden can be so relaxing . . . assuming you don’t get eaten alive by bugs!
That’s where Palmarosa essential oil can help. It’s very protective of your personal space and repels insects that might bite or sting your skin. I like to use it in natural bug repellent.
Here’s one of my favorite recipes. Combine these ingredients in a 4 oz (120 ml) spray bottle:
- 4 oz (120 ml) German Chamomile hydrosol (Matricaria recutita)
- 8 drops Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini motia)
- 8 drops Spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi)
- 4 drops Patchouli (Pogostemom cablin)
- 6 drops Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana)
This blend smells amazing! It has no harsh scents that can sometimes “repel” people from bug repellents. I recommend making a fresh bottle of it every few weeks since it’s not made with a preservative.
Add Palmarosa to soothing massage blends and bath oils.
Have you ever had a massage and felt so relaxed, reassured, and healthy afterward—but found yourself wishing for another massage a few days later?
One way to re-inspire that sense of comfort is to use the same aroma in a bath salt that was used during your massage. Scent affects the limbic system (the seat of our emotions), so our bodies respond to it quickly.
I’d like to share an essential oil blend that you can use in a base of jojoba massage oil as well as bath salts:
- 6 drops Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini motia)
- 4 drops Patchouli (Pogostemom cablin)
You can blend those oils into a base of either:
- For massage oil: 1 oz (30 ml) jojoba wax (Simmondsia chinensis)
- For a bath salt: 1 oz (30 ml) natural salts (I like pink Himalayan salts) and 1 tablespoon of jojoba wax
To make your massage oil, add the essential oils and jojoba to a 1 oz (30 ml) glass jar, close the lid, and shake.
To make your bath salt, simply put the salt in a 1 oz (30 ml) container, and drop the oils and jojoba right into the salt, stirring as you go. This makes enough for two baths (I use about 5 drops of essential oil per bath), but if you like the blend you can increase the recipe. The bath salt doesn’t include a preservative, so if you do increase the recipe just be sure to make a fresh jar every few weeks.
Dust mites don’t like Palmarosa!
Dust mites. Nobody wants to talk about them because nobody feels like they can do anything about them.
Dust mites live on dust, which is easily collected by your bed linens (and upholstery, and carpet, and all over your house!). They cause a lot of allergies.
Fortunately, there are natural ways to reduce dust mite infestations. The Mayo Clinic has a great list of tips.
In 2008, a study published in the Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology demonstrated that dust mites do not like geraniol, a naturally occurring component in many essential oils. Spray geraniol on a piece of linen, and dust mites will vacate the area.
Palmarosa essential oil has a very high concentration of geraniol. So guess what you can use it for?
Here’s an excellent linen spray recipe that helps keep those dust mites away!
- 8 oz (240 ml) water in a spray bottle
- 60 drops Palmarosa essential oil (Cymbopogon martini motia)
- 20 drops Lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
To get the most out of your linen spray, first, wash your linens in very hot water. Then use the spray several times a day. The ingredients are very skin-friendly and relaxing, so it’s nice to wrap yourself up in the sheets at the end of the day.
I recommend making a fresh bottle of this blend every few weeks since it’s not made with a preservative.
Four cooling summer blends with Palmarosa essential oil.
Palmarosa is a great essential oil to use for summer Aromatherapy blends! It’s cooling and soothing, can repel insects (and those smaller “bugs”—microbes), and supports immunity.
So I’ve got four suggestions for blends you can make with Palmarosa to get a head start on summer.
- A jojoba massage oil (Simmondsia chinensis)
- A body cream to help you sleep (You can use your favorite unscented natural cream.)
- A bedtime bath salt (I like pink Himalayan salt.)
- A linen spray (1 oz/30 ml of water is a great base.)
Now I’m going to share a few great essential oils to use together in these carriers, and let you get creative with coming up with your own aromas. Try Palmarosa with Sandalwood in the massage oil, or Palmarosa and Patchouli in the bath salt. Just add one drop at a time to each blend, to be sure you like the aroma you’re creating.
- Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini motia)
- Sandalwood (Santalum paniculatum)
- Patchouli (Pogostemom cablin)
- Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
The rule of thumb when blending for children is to use about 5 to 6 drops of essential oil for every 1 oz (30 ml) of the carrier.
For adults, you can use 10 to 15 drops for every 1 oz (30 ml) of the carrier.
For the body cream and linen spray, I suggest making your blends fresh every few weeks, since they are not made with preservatives.
Palmarosa is a great ingredient for natural soaps.
One of Palmarosa essential oil’s main components is geraniol, which makes it especially cooling, antifungal, and destructive to viruses and bacteria.
Does it sound like a great ingredient for natural homemade soap? (It is!)
Here’s a recipe for luxurious foam soap you can use in your office or bathroom. It also makes a great travel soap.
- 40 ml castile soap
- 10 drops Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini motia)
- 10 drops Lemon (Citrus limon)
- 2 drops Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)
You can make this blend in a 50 ml foam soap pump (which I like to get at Aromatics International). Once you pour the castile soap into the bottle, you’ll see there’s a little room left—that’s intentional because when you screw on the lid, the liquid will rise (you don’t want it to spill over).
This foam soap is especially reliable if you’ve got any cuts or scrapes on your hands. Its anti-inflammatory and bacteria reducing effects are gentle, yet effective.
Get to know Palmarosa.
Palmarosa essential oil’s gentle effect on skin, combined with its strong actions against germs and microbes, makes it a wonderful go-to oil for a wide variety of potent yet nourishing blends. And it smells amazing!
Elemi essential oil is distilled from a resin, is very skin-loving, and is great for the respiratory system.
Elemi has a lot in common with Frankincense.
But while Frankincense resin is produced in response to a wound in a plant’s trunk, Elemi resin is produced when the Canarium luzonicum tree sprouts leaves. When the resin makes contact with air, the tree produces a soft aromatic oleoresin that can be distilled for the essential oil.
Here are a few recipes that highlight Elemi’s talents!
Elemi is excellent for respiratory support.
I use Elemi for respiratory infections accompanied by a lot of mucus—such as colds or sinus infections. It’s especially helpful in blends for children because it’s so gentle.
I use Elemi in a chest rub blend for kids over five years old. You can make it in a 1 oz (30 ml) bottle.
Resin Chest Rub
- 1 oz (30 ml) jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis)
- 2 drops Elemi (Canarium luzonicum)
- 1 drop Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
- 1 drop Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)
- 2 drops Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana)
Just combine your ingredients in the 1 oz (30 ml) bottle. Rub a bit on the child’s chest two or three times a day.
For kids under five, you can diffuse the essential oils instead of applying them topically. Run the diffuser for about an hour several times during the day. Before bedtime, run it for half an hour in the child’s room, then turn off the diffuser when it’s time to go to sleep.
Elemi’s emotional and mental effects are also similar to those of Frankincense, so this blend is very calming and centering. Perfect for bedtime!
Make Elemi bath salts for relaxation.
Relaxation is so important for the nervous system and overall health, yet relaxing doesn’t come easily for a lot of people.
Back when I was a Massage Therapist, I made a lot of blends to encourage relaxation. One of my favorite ingredients was (and is!) Elemi essential oil. Elemi centers your mind and reassures your heart. It lets stress, over-thinking, and circuitous thoughts just fall away.
So I have a bath salt recipe that’s great for before bed!
Elemi Let Me Relax
- 4 oz (112 g) Himalayan salts
- 10 drops Elemi (Canarium luzonicum)
- 2 drops Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides)
- 2 drops Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)
- 6 drops Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
Just put your salts in a wide-mouth 4 oz (120 ml) jar. Drop your essential oils into the salt as you stir gently. This recipe makes enough for four baths, with about 5 drops of essential oil per bath. (This dilution is very skin-friendly!)
If your muscles are sore, you can add Epsom salts to this recipe. Just add a half-cup of Epsom salts right to your bath water.
I suggest making this blend fresh every few weeks, as opposed to keeping it in storage, since it’s not made with a preservative.
Elemi is great for reducing scars.
Resin-based oils, including Frankincense and Elemi, are good at reducing scars and supporting healthy tissue re-growth. What I take away from the way Elemi resin is produced—so gently and naturally when the tree sprouts leaves—is that it can heal old wounds while encouraging new, healthy growth.
I thought it would be great to have this healing effect in a body butter for scars! So here is my recipe. It’s good for both old and new scars.
Scar Reducer Body Butter
This makes 6 oz (180 ml) of body butter. I like to make it in three 2 oz (60 ml) glass jars. You can also use an 8 oz (240 ml) jar, and just have space left over in the jar.
- 1 oz (28 g) Beeswax (Cera Alba)
- 2 oz (56 g) coconut oil (Cocos nucifera)
- 2 oz (56 g) cocoa butter (Theobroma cacao)
- 1 oz (28 g) shea butter (Butyrospermum parkii)
- 60 drops Elemi (Canarium luzonicum)
- 16 drops Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum)
- Melt the beeswax in a Pyrex measuring cup over the stove. (Use the “double boiler method”—putting the Pyrex in a soup pot that’s about ¼ full of boiling water.
- Add the coconut oil and melt.
- Add the cocoa butter and melt.
- Add the shea butter last, and stir gently until all the shea is melted.
- Remove the blend from heat.
- Add the essential oils, stirring gently.
- Pour your liquid body butter into the jars, place the lids over the tops (so the essential oil won’t evaporate), and let them cool for several hours.
You can use this body butter all over, but it’s especially healing for areas that are scarred or have been wounded, so go ahead and massage those places with extra special care!
Some of my favorite homemade perfumes include Elemi essential oil.
Elemi is a resin-based oil. It’s a base note and has a warm, peppery, piney, lemony aroma that can ground the other scents in a blend and harmonize them with one another. I have a true love for the incredible aroma of the essential oil.
Here’s a current favorite blend I’d like to share. I make it in a base of beeswax and vanilla-infused jojoba, winding up with a smooth, silky balm. The essential oils I use are:
- 1 oz (28 g) Beeswax (Cera Alba)
- 2 oz (60 ml) vanilla-infused Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis)
- 25 drops Elemi (Canarium luzonicum)
- 15 drops Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
- First set up the Stovetop Melting Method. Place a Pyrex measuring cup in a soup pot ¼ full of gently simmering water.
- Melt the beeswax in the Pyrex.
- Add the vanilla-infused jojoba and remelt, stirring gently with a glass stirring rod or the handle of a stainless steel spoon.
- Remove the blend from heat and add the essential oils, stirring gently.
- Pour the blend into three 1 oz (30 ml) glass jars or metal salve tins.
Apply your perfume on your wrists, neck, and anywhere you’d like to smell good!
I can’t end this essential oil Spotlight without saying something about vanilla-infused jojoba! It’s just jojoba wax that has been infused with vanilla oleoresin. And it has such a rich, decadent scent! It’s the perfect background for Elemi and Frankincense. You can buy ready-made vanilla-infused jojoba, or make your own!
Get to know Elemi.
While Elemi fits right in with the other oils produced from resins (like Frankincense and Myrrh), it definitely has a unique personality that helps it stand out . . . and can help your blends stand out, too!
Frankincense is a special sap from the Boswellia tree and it’s had a wide array of cultural applications for over 5000 years. Boswellia trees are hardy trees that yield the valuable resin when the bark is “striped”, or slashed open. It’s a process that’s done by hand to ensure the highest quality resin. Frankincense originated in Africa, India, and the Middle East, with most of the supply coming from the nation of Oman. Trade grew extensive and frankincense eventually became so prized that it was one of the three gifts presented in the Christian Nativity story.
Frankincense has been used in a myriad of ways and, in present times, it’s a popular ingredient in topical skincare products. In this article, we will explore some of the historical uses of this valuable resin, as well as its role in skin care. But first, let’s answer a simple question.
What Is Frankincense?
Frankincense is an aromatic, hardened tree resin. It contains several unique compounds, most importantly boswellic acid. The hard frankincense resin can be refined into an essential oil that offers remarkable health benefits, including boosting the immune system. The regional composition of frankincense is so distinctive that you can trace the source resin by analyzing the oil.
Traditional Uses of Frankincense and Frankincense Oil
Some of the most common uses for frankincense have been cultural or religious in nature. Because of its pleasant aroma, frankincense has been used as incense for centuries. The first recorded use of incense was in Fifth Dynasty Egypt (2345 – 2494 BC). Frankincense was also used in religious ceremonies in the Roman Empire and Ancient Greece. Eventually, its use spread to countries like China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Frankincense saw cultural use in Taoism, Buddhism, and Shinto. Frankincense became popular in Europe and its use was adopted by the Christian faith, particularly Catholicism.
Modern Uses of Frankincense
As the use of frankincense evolved, it became popular as an ingredient in many cosmetic and skin care products. In some areas, frankincense is found in deodorant and toothpaste. Frankincense is used to create natural household cleaning products and is one of the most common oils used in aromatherapy. You can find it in many cosmetic and skin care products as frankincense is frequently added to soaps, shampoos, lotions, and facial creams.
Its popularity is not simply because of its aroma; frankincense actually helps promote youthful, healthy skin. Mixing the essential oil with liquids (especially distilled water) can yield a fragrant, spray-on skin toner. You can combine frankincense oil can with other products to impart its health-supporting properties. Frankincense has a unique chemical composition and proven skin-strengthening abilities. That’s why, after thousands of years, it still remains an important part of natural skin care.
Let’s take a look at why this is so important.
Why Is Natural Skin Care Important?
Skin is the largest organ in the human body. It is constantly exposed to the external environment and all its challenges. One of the primary responsibilities of your skin is to act as [thin] armor for your internal organs, muscles, skeleton, and more. It’s important to take care of your skin so it stays healthy. And, many of the best natural skin care products use frankincense to help achieve this goal.
Don’t underestimate the importance of using natural ingredients when it comes to skin care. If you wouldn’t put toxic substances in your mouth, why would you want to rub them on your skin? Unfortunately, that’s exactly what many people do, as lesser products contain toxic ingredients that can be absorbed through the skin.
8 Skin Care Product Ingredients to Avoid
Eight common skin ingredients that should be avoided include…
- Parabens: commonly used preservatives found in many cosmetic products.
- Triethanolamine: used in herbicides and petroleum demulsifiers.
- Butylene Glycol: humectant that has been traced to contact allergens.
- Diethanolamine: can lead to skin irritation but commonly found in soaps, shampoos, cleaners, polishers, and other cosmetics.
- DMDM Hydantoin: harsh chemical preservative.
- Ethanolamine: listed as a chemical hazard by American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: widely used synthetic detergent with known side effects.
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate: shown to be a skin irritant.
This is by no means a complete list of harmful cosmetic additives. There are plenty more, and finding a safe skin care product may seem like an arduous task. That’s why choosing a product with natural ingredients, like frankincense, is so important.
How to Choose the Right Skin Care Product
Many people go out of their way to eat healthy, natural foods. That’s great! Unfortunately, not everyone puts the same thought into choosing the best skin care products. Your skin is not impermeable. Any substance you put on your skin could be absorbed into your bloodstream and dispersed throughout your body.
I suggest limiting yourself to skin care products made with natural ingredients like frankincense. Parfait Visage® is a premium, luxury face cream that was designed to help promote fresh, radiant skin. It’s made with all-natural ingredients, including organic Indian frankincense oil. It’s the perfect skin care product for keeping your face looking its best.
There are some great natural and non-invasive ways to boost collagen, but there are also several myths surrounding it. People may want to find out about the many options to boost their collagen before adding any sort of collagen treatment to their personal routines.
What is collagen?
The body produces less collagen as people age, causing wrinkles and stiff joints.
Collagen is the most common and abundant form of protein in the body. It is found in many tissues of the muscles, bones, tendons, blood vessels, and the digestive system. However, when people talk about the importance of collagen, they are generally referring to its benefits for the skin.
What does collagen do for the skin?
As a person ages, their body produces less collagen. This lack of collagen results in the common signs of aging. Wrinkles, sagging skin that has lost its elasticity, and stiff joints are all signs that the body is producing less collagen.
When collagen levels are high, the skin is soft, smooth, and firm. Collagen helps the skin cells renew and repair themselves. Collagen also helps keep the skin moist. This is why collagen has been seen as a very important ingredient for skin care over the years.
Ways to boost collagen
There are many ways to boost collagen levels. A person can simply add a different food to their diet, take a supplement, or add a new practice to their daily routine.
Hyaluronic acid is an important compound for collagen in the skin. It is found in foods rich in amino acids, such as beans, root vegetables, and soy. Adding hyaluronic acid to the diet through food can easily help to boost collagen levels. Hyaluronic acid is also available as a supplement.
Vitamin C is one of the best-known vitamins. The human body cannot make vitamin C, so it is very important to get it from the diet.
Vitamin C is an important part of a healthful diet and can be found in foods like citrus fruits and leafy green vegetables.
Research from the Indian Dermatology Online Journal suggests that vitamin C also plays an important role in protecting the skin and creating more collagen in the body.
Many skin care companies add vitamin C to their protective creams for good reason.
Vitamin C can be taken as a supplement or added to the skin and is found in many foods. Citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, papaya, strawberries, and broccoli are all rich in vitamin C.
Aloe vera gel
People often use aloe vera gel to treat the skin after sunburn or to ease a rash. But new research posted to Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology suggests that aloe vera may have more benefits. Rather than waiting for skin damage to appear and treating it with topical aloe vera, researchers gave people an extract of aloe called Aloe sterols to take orally.
The results showed that the production of hyaluronic acid and collagen almost doubled in the participants. There was also a significant reduction in facial wrinkles. It appears that aloe actually stimulates the correct cells to grow.
People may find it very beneficial to use skin care products that contain aloe. It can be used as a topical cream or taken as an oral supplement.
Ginseng has been used for centuries in traditional medicine. A study posted in the Journal of Ginseng Research in 2012 found that ginseng increases the amount of collagen in the bloodstream.
Ginseng also has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties. Researchers also noted that ginseng might have the potential to stop skin cells from aging. Ginseng is often found in the form of tea, tinctures, and supplements.
Antioxidants are substances that help to protect the body from free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that can damage the body. Not all antioxidants will boost collagen production, but they will help the collagen that is present to do the best job it can.
There are many different types of antioxidants that can protect and rejuvenate the skin in various ways. Antioxidants can be found abundantly in nature and in food. According to research posted to Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, foods and drinks that contain antioxidants include:
Green tea contains antioxidants that may help collagen renew and rejuvenate the skin.
- green tea (or EGCG, its active component)
- yerba mate
- licorice extract
- mulberry extract
- pomegranate extract
- coffee extract
- basil, oregano, and thyme essential oils
Retinol is another type of antioxidant that is commonly used to boost collagen levels in the skin. It helps to increase the lifespan of collagen, as well as block certain enzymes that destroy collagen, making it a perfect addition to many skin care kits.
Red light therapy
Some skin treatments, such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and laser resurfacing can lead to complications. After these treatments, the skin needs a lot of time to recover.
According to a study in Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, red light therapy is a quick and safe way to increase collagen in the skin.
Red light therapy, or low-level laser light therapy (LLLT), has been shown to increase collagen growth and improve wrinkles and skin elasticity. Red light therapy is a non-invasive method of boosting collagen that has no side effects. Red light therapy kits are available over the counter, and people can do the treatment at home.
Protect the skin from the environment
Wearing sunscreen will help protect the skin from damaging sun exposure and UV rays.
Skin cells are always in a cycle of being created and destroyed. However, there are some factors, such as the environment, that make matters worse. Harsh weather, pollution, sun exposure, and even dust particles can damage the skin.
The damaged cells have to be replaced, which reduces collagen levels even more. An easy solution to this is to simply keep the skin clean. Washing and exfoliating daily can help to protect the collagen already in the skin.
On sunny days, people should always wear a good sunscreen. They should also protect their face with a hat whenever possible. On very bright days, sunglasses can help protect the delicate collagen around the eyes as well.
Myths about boosting collagen
One of the biggest myths about boosting collagen levels is that you can apply it directly to the skin. For many years, body creams, lotions, medicated ointments, and moisturizers containing collagen have claimed to boost collagen levels.
However, in truth, collagen molecules are too big to cross into the lower layers of the skin and are of no real use. This means that some of the creams on the market that contain collagen may be a waste of money.
Another myth surrounding collagen is the practice of adding collagen to a morning cup of coffee, so it serves as a supplement. Research posted to Drug Design, Development, and Therapy has found that caffeine actually has a negative effect on the aging process of the skin. This could mean that the collagen added to a cup of coffee may simply minimize the damage caused by the caffeine.
If collagen and skin health is a top concern, it may be best for people to avoid caffeine altogether.
A craft making revolution is underway. Crafting culture is elevating and expanding the traditional economy of handicrafts. The recent developments have been stimulated by online media sites like Pinterest, which provide interactive forums for learning and sharing thousands of creative projects, while e-commerce sites like Etsy provide a global market reach for what are still essentially small-scale, locally produced goods. A know-the-producer connection has sprung up from social media interaction via blogging, personal websites and Facebook. While the tradition of handicrafts is maintained, the newly transformed economy has made crafting a lot more viable and lucrative as a result of the burgeoning, internet-connected crafting movement.
Despite the modern developments in the crafting community, however, much of the same basic and traditional things still go into making crafts: a good idea that encompasses a made item that’s unique, beautiful and useful. Crafting has, and always will involve creativity, talent, time, and attention to details while fashioning the item. One of the most important elements in the mix are the interesting and unusual materials that crafters utilize to bring their vision to life and functionality. While ideas have the potential to be trendy, cycling in, then out of fashion, or even utility, one crafting material, in particular, seems only to be growing more popular with time: essential oils. Crafts that are imbued with the rare aromas of these oils have another dimension of appeal that can’t be attained with anything else.
Essential oils are the extracted essences of various flowers, leaves, woods, etc. These are being employed in handcrafted home and body care products as well as in the alternative practice of aromatherapy. For crafters, essential oils offer a kind of powerful aromatic DNA signature to the crafting process, adding another aesthetic dimension and point of creative inspiration beyond the usual ideas or materials.
Getting Started with DIY Body Care
I love to create easy, effective products to use in my body care routines at home. I infuse homemade body butter or deodorant with essential oils for their specific aroma and effect. I make nutrient dense facial masks and moisturizers with organic, single ingredient skin care oils, raw foods and clay powders to have a deeper connection to what comes directly from the earth. And I take the time to really consider what I put on my skin and in my body because I know it all has a greater effect on my whole sense of wellness.
This is part of my self-care, but what does this type of care truly mean? For me, self-care is a deep belief that embodies many small rituals and practices I try to incorporate in my daily life to achieve an overall state of balance and vibrant health. Every aspect of my life is part of my understanding and practice of self-care because I know that each element has an influence on the next. With that mindset, I have spent several years improving on what I put on my body to make the most out of the practice of body care.
Ultimately, true self-care is a practice in mindfulness. The beautiful thing I have learned over the years from experimentation with making products on my own at home is that once the basics of DIY creation are understood, the practice of creating something very specific to my own needs is fun, engaging, meditative and empowering. Here are some things I incorporate into my practice of homemade body care, which may help you get started down this path as well.
1. Know that you are the expert of YOU
For years, I chose the wrong facial products because I listened to other people tell me about my skin. When I started paying attention to what my skin actually needs and stopped treating my skin as a whole, I was able to take better care of my skin. My skin changes with the weather, climate, location, time of month/year, etc. and I cannot use the same product on it day in and day out and expect to glow every day. If I use argan oil as a moisturizer in the winter (which I do) it is the right fit for me. But in the summer, it feels too heavy and I adjust it or use a lighter fatty oil that doesn’t leave my skin feeling oily in the summer heat.
2. Take time to create something at home to save time and money in the store
I don’t need a product designed to sit in a warehouse or on a shelf for years to take care of my skin. If I spend a little time researching organic or raw ingredients and following simple recipes, I am sacrificing the convenience of a finished product. But I am giving up on a high product price by creating something very specific to what I need right in my own kitchen. This creates more space in my life for quality time at home doing what I love where I love to do it rather than chasing down the next quick fix product.
3. Keep the ingredients clean and simple
Many of the elements we crave in our skin care routines are found in foods and simple ingredients. From fresh avocado to lavender essential oil, I know that using just one or two elements at a time is often all I need to create something meaningful, useful and effective for my skin.
5 reasons to create your own body care products
Creating your own body care products can be very rewarding for a variety of reasons. From having control over what goes in them, to customizing according to your preferences, to reducing waste, saving money and more.
1. You decide what goes in them
When you make your own DIY body care products, you know exactly what’s in them. If you choose to reduce your exposure to the common preservatives, fragrance and color chemicals found in many commercial body care products, then you can when you DIY.
2. You can customize according to your needs and preferences
DIY body care products let you customize the aroma, batch size and benefit from your own personal preferences and needs. Need a relaxing massage? Just mix a small amount of skin care oil with your choice of a gentle essential oil. Want a soap-free hand gel with a purifying benefit? Mix aloe vera gel with tea tree essential oil.
3. You can reduce waste
DIY body care products help you reduce waste because you’ll throw the less unused product away while reusing your own custom containers. Amber glass is the premium container for your DIY products because it’s recyclable, dishwasher safe and provides great protection against light degradation. Cut down on plastic waste by using your amber glass bottles over and over again.
4. You can save money
Yes, in addition to other great reasons, DIY body care products can save you money because you can buy ingredients in bulk and make just the amount you need. Aura Cacia skin care oils, for example, come in a variety of sizes so for instance, you could buy a 16-ounce container of sweet almond oil and fill a single 2-ounce amber glass bottle with a sweet almond oil based bath, body or massage oil 8 times over rather than buying the products 8 times.
5. Engage in simplicity and mindfulness
Finally, when you engage in the practice of making your own DIY body care products, you engage in simplicity and mindfulness. The process can be approachable for anyone who cares to be creative, cares about what they put on their body and cares about the impact those products have in the world. You don’t need to be a cosmetic formulator with a technical degree in product development when so many easy-to-make recipes are available and you have access to ingredients.
Quick tips for DIY hair care
Finding the right products to highlight the best aspects of my hair has been challenging, to say the least. After being told far too often as a child that my hair was ‘difficult’ and a myriad of bad salon experiences in my young life, I was left with some angry follicular issues as I moved into adulthood.
A trial and error approach
As I learned more about myself and my hair, it became clear to me that the solution was within my grasp. I figured out that I couldn’t wash my hair as often as my friends because my fine, tight curls are also very delicate and both dry out and break off easily. I discovered that I needed a whole lot more moisture and way fewer drying agents. It was a true trial and error process.
What I learned
My hair responds well to deep conditioning. Coconut oil and argan oil are mainstays in my weekly organic haircare regimen, along with a little help from rosemary essential oil and apple cider vinegar. I treat my hair as I treat my children – with a lot of love and care and respect. The result is that now, my hair once maligned by stylists for its difficulty is easy to manage and thrives without much shampooing. While I once spent hours straightening, spraying, gelling and mousing my curls into submission, I now run some argan oil through it while it is wet and I let it air dry. Easy, nourishing and authentic to the hair I have.
Try it for yourself
DIY hair care is all about learning what fits YOU. With the right amount of understanding of what your locks love, you can simplify your hair care regimen and feel good about what you put in your hair. Here are some tips I like to rely on with DIY hair care:
1. Know that if your hair is oily and thick, a coconut oil hair treatment, while trendy, isn’t the best fit for you. Stay true to your hair and pick the right oil to use in conditioning based on what your hair needs, not what your favorite blogger recommends.
2. Simple, naturally derived ingredients like clay powder, cornstarch, argan oil and avocado oil can go a long way in the creation of dry shampoos and homemade conditioners.
3. The right essential oils can help with the aroma of your DIY haircare product AND can contribute to a happy scalp.
4. Organic vegetable glycerin is an ideal swap for heavily formulated, silicone based frizz and flyaway serums. A couple of drops can tame flyaway hair with ease.
Homemade deodorant: The quest for a clean counter to body odor
For years I have searched for the perfect clean alternative to commercial deodorant. Perfect for me, that is. Not one to be overly concerned about sweat or perspiration (it is natural and healthy for the body to perspire, so why to suppress it?), I wanted something that was a good counter for body odor that was also effective — meaning, something that would last longer than an hour or two.
Before I explored homemade deodorant, I tried many naturally derived, store-bought deodorants, which have a bit of a bad rap. They aren’t as effective as the consumer wants them to be, often requiring reapplication throughout the day. In some cases, the ingredients in these deodorants aren’t as clean as we want them to be, which can also prove to be a challenge.
After a little bit of digging, I found a couple of recipes online that were quite simple to make in my own kitchen. I tweaked the recipes to create a formula that incorporated some of the best aromatic effects of the chosen essential oils and to give them a stronger odor fighting punch. Once all the ingredients were gathered, it took less than 15 minutes to create a cream deodorant that rivaled a natural version I paid a tidy sum for someone else to make for me. Never again with this recipe. I am happy to report it worked well — sometimes for a couple of days at a time, and didn’t leave permanent white streaks on my clothing.
What you need to make your own homemade deodorant:
1. Baking soda
A key ingredient in clean deodorant, baking soda can be used on its own for a simple deodorant as a paste made with water. It is a must-have in any homemade deodorant recipe, as it is free of harsh chemicals and very effective at keeping odor at bay.
2. Powdered clay
Another great component used to fight odor, clay comes in a lot of varieties. I like bentonite clay, but other powdered clays can be used as well. However, color rich clays are generally not recommended as they could cause discoloration to the skin.
3. Coconut oil
Great for fighting odor and for moisture, coconut oil was is the key binding ingredient for the dry powders.
4. Cornstarch or arrowroot powder
Either powder can be used to absorb moisture. This is great for keeping underarms dry.
5. Essential oils
Essential oils contribute the desired aroma to homemade deodorant. Choose gentle oils like bergamot (bergapten-free), lavender, coriander or geranium because the underarm is a sensitive area. Bergamot (bergapten-free) essential oil, in particular, is great because it is a terrific odor fighter with a fresh, light scent. Be sure to use a bergapten-free version because the bergapten in standard bergamot essential oil makes the skin susceptible to UV radiation should your skin be exposed to sunlight.
It’s important to know that these ingredients function primarily as deodorants and not antiperspirants. Perspiration, specifically underarm sweat, is a normal function of a healthy body. The body odor that sweating produces can be a nuisance, but fortunately, it can be controlled naturally through regular washing and the application of a deodorant. Unlike antiperspirants, which can be formulated with substances which plug and suppress the sweat gland, deodorants won’t interfere with the normal functioning of these glands. Deodorants can interrupt the formation of body odor by decreasing the bacteria that cause body odor, as well as helping to mask body odor when it does occur. Essential oils provide cleansing and purifying aroma benefits to the mix. Essential oils are easy to incorporate into completely natural DIY homemade deodorants which will feature less worrisome, more wholesome ingredients than conventional commercial versions which often rely on odor neutralizing chemicals, drying alcohol, bactericides, and synthesized fragrances.
Powder Deodorant with Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
- Total Time: 15 mins
- Hands-on Time: 15 mins
- Makes: 4 ounces
A deeply floral DIY powder deodorant made with baking soda, corn starch, rice, and ylang-ylang essential oil.
- 48 drops Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
- 4-ounce Amber Wide Mouth Jar with Writable Label
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 1 teaspoon uncooked rice
- cotton ball or powder puff
1. Into jar, measure baking soda.
2. Add ylang-ylang essential oil and stir until a damp powder form.
3. Add corn starch and rice and stir until well mixed.
4. To use, apply deodorant to under arms using a cotton ball or powder puff.