Cinnamon Oil; Benefits For Healthy Looking Skin and Hair

Cinnamon Oil is derived from a tree that is recognized by two botanical names – Cinnamomum zeylanicum and Cinnamomum vervun – both of which refer to the same tree. This is the species considered to be true Cinnamon. The English name for this spice is rooted in the term “amomon,” or “qinnamon,” the Arabic and Hebraic word for “fragrant spice plant.” Harvested and processed as both a spice and essential oil, it is cultivated and exported globally. Cinnamon was also given the Early Modern English names of “canel” and “canella,” which were rooted in the Latin word for “tube,” due to the inner bark’s tendency to naturally form a tube shape as it dries and retracts into itself. Cinnamon Essential Oil may be obtained from either the tree’s outer bark or its leaves, hence the two main varieties are Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil and Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil.

Cinnamon is thought to be one of the world’s oldest and most valuable spices. Since the time of Ancient Egyptians and for thousands of years afterward, it has continued to be used, even becoming a staple in Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. Today, it continues to be used in the forms of spices, herbs, powders, and teas to address emotional and physical ailments, such as depression, respiratory and digestive problems, colds, flu, weight gain, diarrhea, yeast infections, heavy menstruation, menstrual cramps, arthritis, and skin infections. According to a 7th century BCE Greek poem, it was believed that Cinnamon grew in Arabia, along with Myrrh, Labdanum, and incense, and that these plants were so respected that they were shielded by winged snakes.

Throughout history, Cinnamon has demonstrated a diverse range of uses in culinary applications, having been used as a spice and flavor additive in mulled wines, hot beverages, bread, snack foods, cereals, savory entrées, and desserts. As a whole, the plant has come to symbolize and attract good fortune, such as wealth. It has been associated with protection, as 15th-century grave robbers were known to use Cinnamon in their oil blends that were meant to protect them against the plague. Cinnamon Oil was also used as a sedative during birth.

In Ancient Egypt, Cinnamon was imported as early as 2000 BCE. At the time, an individual in possession of Cinnamon was considered to be wealthy, as historical records indicate that Cinnamon’s value might have been considered equivalent to or higher than that of gold. In Egyptian society, Cinnamon was preferable for use in embalming, in witchcraft practices as an ingredient in love potions, and it was deemed valuable enough to offer as a gift to monarchs and gods. It was often used as an ingredient in Kyphi, an incense that was burned for both religious and medicinal purposes.

In the Middle Ages, Europeans also viewed Cinnamon as a symbol of high ranking social status, due to the fact that only the wealthy class was able to afford this transoceanic spice imported from the East and reputed to have remedial qualities that made it ideal for treating indigestion and other such discomforts. Additionally, Cinnamon was essential for use in concealing or eliminating the unpleasant odor of cured meats, especially when they began to spoil. According to an account given by Pliny the Elder, a Roman pound of Cinnamon could potentially cost the same as the wage earned after fifty months of labor. Due to its high price, Cinnamon was not commonly burnt on funeral pyres in Rome, but when it was, it was meant to mask the unpleasant smell of burning flesh. In spite of this, it is believed that, at his wife’s funeral in AD 65, Emperor Nero burned a year’s worth of the city’s stock of Cinnamon.

Although some of these applications of Cinnamon Essential Oil exist today, there are several other natural applications that will be highlighted in this article.

BENEFITS OF CINNAMON OIL

The main chemical constituents of Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil and Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oils, albeit in varying amounts, are Cinnamaldehyde, Cinnamyl Acetate, Eugenol, and Eugenol Acetate.

CINNAMALDEHYDE is known to:

  • Be responsible for Cinnamon’s characteristic warming and comforting scent
  • Exhibit anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-microbial properties

CINNAMYL ACETATE is known to:

  • Be a fragrance agent
  • Have the sweet, peppery, balsamic, spicy, and floral scent that is characteristic of Cinnamon
  • Be commonly used as a fixative in manufactured perfumes
  • Repel and prevent insect infestations
  • Enhance circulation, thereby allowing the body and hair to receive the required amounts of oxygen, vitamins, and minerals to sustain the health of each

EUGENOL is known to:

  • Soothe ulcers and related pain
  • Address gastric pain
  • Reduce the chances of developing sores
  • Exhibit anti-septic, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties
  • Eliminate bacteria
  • Prevent the growth of many fungi

EUGENOL ACETATE is known to:

  • Exhibit anti-oxidant properties
  • Have a sweet, fruity, balsamic scent that is reminiscent of Cloves

Used in aromatherapy applications, Cinnamon Essential Oil is known to diminish the feelings of depression, faintness, and exhaustion. It is reputed to relax the body enough to stimulate the libido, making it an effective natural aphrodisiac. Its anti-rheumatic qualities address joint and muscle pain, and it is known to be advantageous for strengthening immunity and thereby reducing the symptoms of colds and the flu. Its ability to enhance circulation helps reduce the pain associated with headaches and makes it beneficial for enhancing the function of the digestive system. When diffused throughout the home or other indoor environments, its scent freshens and deodorizes while emitting its characteristic warm, uplifting, and relaxing fragrance that is known to have a therapeutic grounding and soothing effect. Furthermore, Cinnamon is known to have calming and tonic effects on the mind that are reputed to result in an improved cognitive function. Its ability to reduce nervous tension helps advance information retention, extends the attention span, enhances the memory and reduces the risk of memory loss.

Used cosmetically or topically in general, Cinnamon Essential Oil is reputed to calm dry skin and to effectively alleviate aches, pains, and stiffness experienced in the muscles and joints and in the digestive system. Its antibacterial properties make it ideal for use in addressing acne, rashes, and infections. Its anti-oxidant properties help to slow the look of aging.

Used medicinally, Cinnamon Essential Oil is reputed to effectively reduce inflammation, eliminate viruses, and boost immunity. Its ability to enhance circulation facilitates pain relief while improving the function of the metabolism. When applied to cuts, it is known to exhibit coagulant properties that help stem the flow of blood from cuts, thereby assisting the healing process. Cinnamon Oil is known to benefit the respiratory system by reducing the symptoms of colds and the flu, such as a sore throat, nasal congestion, and headaches. Its carminative properties make it ideal for use in alleviating digestive discomforts such as gas.

Cinnamon Essential Oil is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:

  • COSMETIC: Cleansing, Astringent, Stimulant, Antioxidant.
  • ODOROUS: Aphrodisiac, Stimulant, Anti-depressant, Expectorant, Immunostimulant, Warming, Stimulating, Energizing, Metabolism-Boosting.
  • MEDICINAL: Anti-parasitic, Analgesic, Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-viral, Immune-Boosting, Anti-bacterial, Anti-fungal, Anti-microbial, Astringent, Anti-septic, Anti-spasmodic, Carminative, Emmenagogue, Stomachic, Tonic, Vermifuge, Anti-Rheumatic, Detoxifying, Immunostimulant, Antioxidant.

CULTIVATING AND HARVESTING QUALITY CINNAMON OIL

Cinnamomum zeylanicum – also known as “True” Cinnamon – originates in Sri Lanka and is the Cinnamon variety considered to be of the highest quality. Also cultivated in Brazil, the Caribbean, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, and Indonesia, the Cinnamomum zeylanicum tree thrives in tropical regions with heavy rainfall and temperatures between 27-30°C (80°-86°F). Sometimes reaching a height of up to 45 feet if allowed to grow freely, this Cinnamon botanical is characterized by its glossy, leathery, oval-shaped leaves, its thick, rust-colored bark that rolls itself into tubes when dried, and for its small, white flowers, all of which are deeply aromatic. The tree is also known to grow deep purple berry fruits.

Cinnamon can be cultivated on a range of soils, ranging from fine silver sand to loam to gravelly soils. The highest grade of Cinnamon, however, is grown in sandy white soils that are rich in silica. To flourish, Cinnamon trees need the soil to be highly acidic with a pH level between 4.5 to 5.5 and adequate draining, as their roots will rot if kept in the extremely wetland. Conversely, it cannot withstand prolonged dry periods either.

Cinnamon may be propagated by planting either cuttings from young shoots or seeds, the latter being the most common method. For optimal growth, the most promising seeds will be from a pest- and disease-resistant plant that has an erect stem with a smooth bark that can be easily peeled. This kind of plant generally has vigorous growth and yields a high amount of oil. Ripe seeds are derived from berries that are amassed and kept in a shaded area for 2-4 days, after which time the fruit pulp typically turns black and comes apart. Next, the seeds inside are removed, washed, and dried, once again in the shade. 7-10 days after they are collected, the seeds can be planted, ideally in an area with full exposure to the sun.

The Cinnamon botanical is typically considered to be mature and ready for harvest 2-3 years after being planted, around which time the bark will be brown, the leaves will be hard, and the overall height of the tree will be approximately 1.5-2.0 m (5.0-6.5 feet). The harvest months for Cinnamon are usually between May-August and in November, but this depends on the rainfall and soil fertility; the prime time to harvest Cinnamon bark is during a rainy season when it can be easily peeled off; however, this is usually not done while the soil is drenched with water.

Cinnamon may sometimes be harvested twice or thrice a year by cutting the stems at the level of the soil. During the following year, new shoots sprout to replace the roots that were cut; accordingly, after the first cutting, approximately 5-6 shoots or branches can be harvested every second year. By cutting the shoots down to the ground, this promotes the growth of more side shoots, and thus increases the yield, making for easier harvesting.

After the shoots are cut, the outer bark is stripped and discarded. While it is still wet, the inner bark is peeled off in meter-long strips, which are then laid out to dry in warm sunlight with proper ventilation. The bark takes between 4 and 6 hours to dry thoroughly, during which time they naturally roll themselves up into “tubes” or “pipes” and become Quills, which are the curled stick formations that most commonly characterize the Cinnamon spice. To prevent their shapes from becoming distorted, the quills are dried either mechanically or naturally, either in the shade or in subdued sunlight. Cinnamon leaves, on the other hand, are clipped off from the trees when their color turns dark green. Afterward, they are dried over a period of several days.

The quills are cut down to shorter lengths that are sorted based on their uses and characteristics. Pieces of inner bark scraped from small twigs and stalks are called Quillings. This name is also given to fragmented pieces of all types of Cinnamon quills. Pieces of inner bark made up of shavings and small left-over bark are called Featherings. Rough Cinnamon cuttings that are comprised of both the outer and the inner bark, due to their inability to separate from each other, are called Chips.

HOW IS CINNAMON OIL EXTRACTED?

Cinnamon Leaf Oil and Cinnamon Bark Oil are both derived from the steam distillation of each of these respective parts. Before extracting the oil from the bark, Cinnamon sticks are mashed or broken into small pieces and placed inside the distillation flask, which is connected to the steam generator and to a condenser, where oil condenses. From there, it passes through a separator where it is collected.

Although they share similarities, their benefits are diverse and they are thus best suited to different applications. The extract from the bark is reputed to have a robust and perfume-like aroma that is reminiscent of ground Cinnamon’s aroma. Its color generally ranges in color from a clear yellow to a deep reddish-brown that is characteristic of the spice itself. This variety is believed to be the more potent of the two. Conversely, the extract from the leaves is known to have an aroma that is spicy and musky. It is generally lighter in color and often appears to be a brownish-yellow.

CINNAMON OIL USES

The uses for Cinnamon Essential Oil are abundant, ranging from medicinal and odorous to cosmetic. Its many forms include massage oils and gels, face creams, lotions, soaps, shampoos, hair oils, room sprays, perfumes, and candles.

Used in aromatherapy applications, Cinnamon’s scent can be diffused to address lethargy, irritability, unhealthy cravings, and a tendency to overindulge when eating, as it is reputed to facilitate the sensation of being full. Furthermore, it is known to relieve symptoms of colds, severe coughs, and sneezing. For an invigorating Cinnamon Oil blend that boosts immunity, eases congestion, and relieves stress, diffuse a blend of 1 drop Cinnamon Essential Oil (Bark or Leaf), 1 drop Rosemary Essential Oil, 1 drop Eucalyptus Essential Oil, 1 drop Clove Essential Oil, and 1 drop Orange Essential Oil. Alternatively, Cinnamon Oil may be combined with Tea Tree or Lemon essential oils for a blend that boosts the mood and energy levels.

Used in cosmetic applications, Cinnamon Oil is known to effectively soothe dry skin. For a Cinnamon formulation that functions as a therapeutic and rejuvenating moisturizer, mix 1 drop of Cinnamon Oil into regular face cream and massage a small amount of the mixture into the skin at night before bedtime. If the cream is not fast-absorbing, continue massaging it into the skin until it is completely absorbed. Excess cream can be wiped off with a cotton pad. This regimen can be continued nightly to diminish the appearance of aging.

For a Cinnamon shampoo that is reputed to stimulate hair growth and to address dandruff, thinning hair, and hair fall, combine 5-6 drops of Cinnamon Essential Oil with 5 Tbsp. Olive Carrier Oil and massage this blend into the scalp. Allow it to soak in for 45 minutes before washing it out with a natural shampoo. This shampoo regimen may be repeated up to 3 times a week to cleanse hair and stimulate healthier and stronger growth. Alternatively, a drop of Cinnamon Oil may be added to a regular shampoo to maintain hair health, add luster to dull strands, and to work as a preventative measure against head lice.

Cinnamon Oil is a beneficial ingredient for a natural face wash intended to enhance skin health by reducing inflammation, redness, and swelling while also eliminating harmful bacteria, preventing acne, and soothing infections. In a bowl, simply combine 1 Tbsp. Organic Coconut Carrier Oil, 3 Tbsp. Raw Honey, 1 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar, 20 drops Cinnamon Essential Oil and 2 capsules of live probiotics. With a hand blender, mix all the ingredients together thoroughly, then pour the mixture into a convenient bottle or dispenser. Store this Honey and Cinnamon Oil Facial Cleanser in a cool place when it is not being used. Apply this cleanser to the face in the method of a usual face wash.

Used in medicinal applications, Cinnamon Oil’s warming properties make it ideal for soothing skin and muscles that are sore and tender. It can be included in an anti-septic massage blend to address arthritis, bronchitis, diarrhea, chills, flu, colds, indigestion, spasms, nausea, and infection. For a pain-relieving massage blend, dilute 3 drops of Cinnamon Essential Oil in 2 Tbsp. of a Carrier Oil such as Olive and massage it into the affected area. Regularly applying this massage blend is known to soothe inflammation, stiffness, muscle knots, and back pain. Massaging this oil blend into the abdomen for 5 minutes can help tone the digestive system, facilitate the release of excess gas, and ease bloating.

For a massage blend that combines other beneficial oils that relieve sore joints, combine 6 drops of Cinnamon Essential Oil, 4 drops of Clove Bud Essential Oil, 3 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil, 3 drops of Cedarwood Essential Oil, 2 drops of Neroli Essential Oil, 1 drop of Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil, 1 drop of Thyme Essential Oil, 60 ml (2 oz.) of a Carrier Oil of personal preference. This blend can be massaged into the affected areas daily until the pain subsides.

Cinnamon Oil can be diluted and used for an aromatic bath with a sweet and spicy scent. For a Cinnamon Bath Salt Soak, combine 3 ½ cups Epsom salts, 1-2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon and 5-10 drops Cinnamon Essential Oil in a large bowl, then thoroughly mix all the ingredients. Store the blend in an air-tight container until it is time to use it. In the bathtub, toss a handful of the salts under running tap water to ensure that the salts are properly dispersed. Ensure that they dissolve completely in the water before entering the tub. Alternatively, a bath salt blend can be made with 2 cups of salts, 1 cup of Baking Soda, 10 drops of Cinnamon Essential Oil, 5 drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil, 5 drops Rosemary Essential Oil, 5 drops Lavender Essential Oil, 5 drops Peppermint Essential Oil, and 1 Tbsp. Carrier Oil.

Cinnamon Oil can be used to relieve the pain of menstrual cramps and to potentially reduce heavy menstrual flow when used in a hot compress. The generated heat will address pain and soreness while boosting circulation, thereby prompting the body’s anti-inflammatory response. Heat also promotes the dilation of pores, which facilitates the oil’s arrival at the affected area. To make a Cinnamon Oil hot compress, first, immerse a clean cloth or small towel entirely into a bowl of lukewarm water, then wring the towel to remove excess water. Heat this wet towel in the microwave for 20-30 seconds and apply it to the affected area.

A GUIDE TO CINNAMON OIL VARIETIES & ITS BENEFITS

CINNAMON BARK ESSENTIAL OIL (MADAGASCAR) & ORGANIC

Botanical Name: Cinnamomum zeylanicum

Country of Origin: Madagascar

Believed to:

  • Be a clear, yellow to brownish liquid
  • Have the warm, spicy scent characteristic of the Cinnamon spice
  • Have a pleasant aroma that, when used in small amounts, makes a lovely, spicy fragrance agent in creams, lotions, and soaps
  • Be ideal for those seeking the characteristic scent of Cinnamon for their products

CINNAMON LEAF ESSENTIAL OIL & ORGANIC

Botanical Name: Cinnamomum zeylanicum

Country of Origin: Sri Lanka

Believed to:

  • Be a brownish-yellow or dark-colored liquid with a medium consistency
  • Have a warm, spicy scent reminiscent of Clove, and has herbaceous notes that are not sweet
  • Have a strong aroma

CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR CINNAMON OIL

As per NAHA guidelines, I do not recommend the ingestion of essential oils. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using Cinnamon Essential Oil for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Cinnamon Essential Oil without the medical advice of a physician, as this oil has emmenagogue properties and may cause embryotoxicity. Those taking prescription drugs or undergoing major surgery are also advised to seek medical consultation prior to use. The oil should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.

Prior to using Cinnamon Oil, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by diluting 1 drop of the essential oil in 4 drops of a Carrier Oil and applying a dime-size amount of this blend to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Cinnamon Oil must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin.

Potential side effects of Cinnamon Essential Oil include dizziness, itching, skin irritation or sensitization, mucous membrane irritation, fatigue, rashes, burning, nausea, headache, diarrhea, contact dermatitis, digestive issues, inhibited blood clotting, and stomach pain. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use. Those with health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease or other heart-related ailments, peptic ulcers, liver damage, bleeding disorders such as hemophilia, or skin disorders are especially recommended to be advised. Cinnamon Oil may potentially react with certain medications, such as diabetes medication or anticoagulant medication, and may cause dyspnea.

Those seeking medical care to manage moods, behaviors, or disorders should treat this essential oil as a complementary remedy rather than a replacement for any medicinal treatments or prescriptions. It is recommended that direct sunlight be avoided for up to 12 hours after using this essential oil.

IN ESSENCE…

    • Cinnamon Oil is derived from a tree that is recognized by two botanical names: Cinnamomum zeylanicum and Cinnamomum vervun. Both names refer to the same tree, which is considered to be “True Cinnamon.”
    • Cinnamon Essential Oil may be obtained from either the tree’s outer bark or its leaves, hence the two main varieties are Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil and Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil
    • Used in aromatherapy applications, Cinnamon Essential Oil is known to diminish the feelings of depression, faintness, and exhaustion, to stimulate the libido, and to strengthen immunity.
    • Used cosmetically or topically in general, Cinnamon Essential Oil is reputed to calm dry skin, effectively alleviate aches, pains, and stiffness in the muscles and joints, address acne, rashes, and infections, enhance circulation, nourish the skin, slow the look of aging, and revive the skin tone.
  • Used medicinally, Cinnamon Essential Oil is reputed to reduce inflammation, eliminate viruses, boost immunity, facilitate pain relief, and improve metabolic function.

ESSENTIAL OILS & THEIR BENEFITS

CATEGORIES OF ESSENTIAL OILS & THEIR BENEFITS

Whether they’re being used to unwind for improved sleep quality, to uplift the mood, or to create the precise ambiance, Essential Oil aromas have the potential to enhance the mind, body, and atmosphere. While it can be confusing to make a selection when faced with the vast number of Essential Oil options due to their limitless benefits, it can be easier to make a choice by narrowing down the options based on the characteristics of their “aroma families.” Each Essential Oil aroma family exhibits a primary aromatic trait by which it is easily recognized (citrusy, floral, minty, etc.) and a corresponding effect (calming, grounding, cooling, energizing, clarifying, etc), which can help to readily identify the ideal application for it.

This article mainly highlights the core aroma families, as families also have offshoots or sub-groupings in which several categories of Essential Oils overlap. One example is the “Balsamic” aroma family. Essential Oils in this group can be described as having soft, sweet, warm, earthy aromas with spicy and floral undertones. They are reminiscent of resins and exude the scent of the forest and especially of Balsam trees. Inhaling the scent of balsamic essential oils can produce a peaceful, soothing, and grounding effect. Another example of a complex aroma family is “Coniferous” oils, which exude a woody and earthy pine scent, as they are generally distilled from cone-bearing trees. Their scents are characterized as sharp, biting, camphoraceous, and energizing, reminiscent of fresh outdoor air. Based on these descriptions, Essential Oils in these sub-groupings can fall into several of the eight main aroma families. The sub-group of “lemony” oils, too, can encompass not only oils with “Lemon” in their names – Lemongrass, Lemon Balm, Lemon Eucalyptus – but also oils like Ginger, Citronella, and Palmarosa.

An oil’s aroma can also change from one batch to another, often for reasons based in nature, such as the source botanical’s growing conditions. Thus, due to the complexity and subjectivity of scent profiles, this article focuses on the commonly-accepted and widely-recognized classes of aromas or “aroma families.”

3 ESSENTIAL OIL AROMA NOTES

Aroma families can also be distinguished by their primary “notes.” An Essential Oil’s aroma “note” is the feature that distinguishes how long its scent will last. Notes are categorized as Top, Middle, or Base notes. Some oils can have multiple notes, which can give them a deep, full-bodied, and seemingly luxurious quality; however, oils are largely characterized by a sole defining note that overrides the others.

The reason that an oil blend changes over time, sometimes even over a short period of time, such as from the morning to the afternoon, is because the Essential Oils that it comprises each have varying degrees of volatility, meaning they all have diverse rates of evaporation, and it is the evaporation of each oil in its own time that causes a fluctuation in the strength of the scent…

In an Essential Oil blend, the oils with the smallest molecules – the essential oils that are the most volatile – are the first to evaporate. These are the Top notes. They are the first scent to be detected and the first to dissipate.

The oils with the largest and thus the heaviest molecules are the slowest or last to evaporate, thus they impart the longer-lasting scents. These are Base notes.

Other Essential Oils – the majority – reveal their scents gradually and help to integrate the Top and Base notes for a harmonious fragrance, which is what makes them Middle notes.

The following chart may help to further illustrate:

NOTES & CHARACTERISTICS NDA OILS IN THIS CATEGORY
Top

This is the initial perceptible scent in an aroma blend and is usually the one fragrance that stands out to give the scent its distinctive essence. Despite the powerful and intense quality that makes it the first detected smell, it is also the first to quickly fade.

  • Bright
  • Refreshing
  • Cheery
  • Clarifying
  • Inspiring and heartening
  • Energizing
Bay

Cardamom

Citrus oils

Cypress

Eucalyptus

Hyssop

Mint oils

Petitgrain

Pine

Ravensara

Rosemary

Sage

Tagetes

Vanilla Oleoresin (10 Fold)

Yarrow

Middle
(aka “Body,” “Heart,” or “Bouquet”)
These notes become noticeable just as Top notes fade. Smooth and soft, Middle notes unify the Top and Base notes, helping to reduce the intensity of any disagreeable or piercing scents and to promote a roundedness to aromas, making them softer. These notes are generally more enduring than Top notes, lasting up to an hour after the blend has been applied.

  • Balancing
  • Warming
  • Grounding
Black Pepper

Cajeput
Cedarwood

Chamomile

Cinnamon

Clove Bud

Geranium

Ho Wood

Jasmine

Juniper Berry

Marjoram

Myrtle

Myrrh

Niaouli

Nutmeg

Palmarosa

Rose Absolute

Base 
(aka “Fixative”)

 

Not to be mistaken for a Base Oil, which is meant to dilute an Essential Oil, a Base note emerges after the Heart note and is the longest-lasting scent in a blend. Base notes often have strong, provocative aromas with earthy nuances and ascend gradually, remaining for a longer time than the other notes, all the while helping to reduce the rate of the other oils’ evaporation and subsequently enabling the fragrance of the blend to persist.

 

  • Calming
  • Emotionally grounding and soothing
  • Relaxing
  • Lend a richer aroma to blends
Copaiba Balsam

Frankincense

Patchouli (Light & Organic)

Sandalwood

Spikenard

Valerian

Vetiver


 

8 ESSENTIAL OIL AROMA FAMILIES

The chart below depicts the most popular groupings of Essential Oils; however, keep in mind that many oils have more than one prevailing aroma and note.

AROMA FAMILY ESSENTIAL OILS NOTE REPUTED BENEFITS
CITRUS

These light oils often have fruity scents that are characteristic of the rinds from which they are extracted. They can be described as tangy or tart, fresh, clean, vibrant, invigorating, exciting, energizing, and uplifting.

Lemon

Orange

Grapefruit Bergamot

Lime

Tangerine

Citronella

Lemongrass

Mandarin

Litsea Cubeba

Tagetes

Most often top notes
  • Energizing
  • Uplifting
  • Emotionally balancing to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety
  • Deodorizing
  • Cleansing; popular addition to antibacterial oil blends
  • Refreshing
  • Stimulating for mental and spiritual vigor
FLORAL

These scents are often reminiscent of the flowers from which they are extracted and can be described as being feminine, powdery, subtle, modest, romantic, and even poetic. They are often sweet-smelling and create a feeling of cheerfulness. Floral scents are considered to be classic and timeless.

Chamomile

Geranium

Jasmine

Lavender

Neroli

Rose

Rosewood

Ylang-Ylang

Petitgrain

Most often middle notes
  • Comforting
  • Promotes rest
  • Sometimes sleep-inducing
  • Mood balancing
HERBACEOUS

Essential Oils that have herbaceous scents can be further described as smelling green or grassy. These Essential Oils often have mild floral yet invigorating spring-like scents that are associated with lush, wet foliage. They are reminiscent of the aroma of fresh leaves, moss, mown grass, herbs, and trees.

Chamomile

Angelica Root

Clary Sage

Eucalyptus Radiata

Fennel

Hyssop

Marjoram

Melissa

Rosemary

Thyme

Oregano

Bay Laurel

Catnip

Sage Dalmatian

Parsley

Tea Tree

Yarrow

Most often middle notes
  • Calming
  • Promotes positivity
  • Encouraging
  • Emotionally balancing
  • Grounding
CAMPHORACEOUS

These Essential Oils have strong scents and are known to be beneficial for clearing the respiratory system due to their clarifying, penetrating, energizing, purifying, and almost medicinal aromas.

Camphor

Cajeput

Eucalyptus

Pennyroyal

Laurel Leaf

Lavandin

Most often middle notes
  • Stimulating
  • Refreshing
  • Focus-enhancing
MINTY

Essential Oils with a minty scent are strong-scented and are distinctly known for their bracing, fresh fragrances. They are reputed to be clearing and cooling when used in aromatherapy and topical applications.

Spearmint

Wintergreen

Peppermint

Can be top, middle, or base Notes
  • Motivating
  • Cooling
  • Invigorating
  • Mentally clarifying
SPICY

These Essential Oils have exotic, warm, intense aromas that are often reminiscent of baking and other warm memories. With strong scents, they are commonly used to stimulate energy and focus.

Aniseed

Basil

Black Pepper

Cardamom

Cinnamon

Coriander

Cumin

Ginger

Nutmeg

Allspice

Cassia

Clove Bud

Middle or base notes
  • Bracing
  • Rousing
  • Crisp and penetrating
  • Lively
RESINOUS/MUSKY

These Essential Oils exude deep, rich scents that are smoky, woody, earthy, sweet, leather-like, and warm. Their mellow, alluring, and long-lasting fragrances lend a reassuring quality that makes them ideal for use in spiritual practices.

Benzoin

Elemi

Frankincense

Myrrh

Peru Balsam

Middle or base notes
  • Grounding
  • Promotes relaxation and sense of inner calm
  • Emotionally balancing
  • Uplifting
  • Known to be commonly used for intimacy enhancement
  • Tend to be associated with a casual feeling
WOODY/EARTHY

These Essential Oils have deep, warm, lingering scents.

Often described as smelling “brown,” these oils are reminiscent of the scents of a forest floor or damp soil. Their fragrances are soft, masculine, musky, and sensual. Their alluring, seductive, and hypnotic qualities create an atmosphere of mystery.

Cypress

Juniper Berry

Pine

Sandalwood

Fir

Cedarwood

(Atlas & Virginian)

Palo Santo

Rosewood

Patchouli

Vetiver

Valerian

Carrot Seed

Most often middle or base notes
  • Grounding
  • Uplifting
  • Emotionally balancing
  • Promote feelings of comfort, security, and well-being
  • Often considered to be aphrodisiacs

 

WHICH ESSENTIAL OILS SMELL GOOD TOGETHER?

Any Essential Oils can smell good together depending on the individual’s preferences! While oils in the same aroma family largely combine well, this is not a rule for how all blends should be made. The simplest way to select oils for a blend is to consider the individual oils that are preferred, the person it is for, the purpose, the method of application, and the ideal outcome. Generally, the best results are often from combinations of oils that have all 3 notes, which create balanced and harmonious aromas.

AROMA FAMILY BLENDS WELL WITH…

CITRUS

Most other aroma families

Floral

Minty

Spicy

Woody

FLORAL

Citrus

Spicy

Woody

HERBACEOUS

Minty

Woody

CAMPHORACEOUS

Citrus

Spicy

Woody/Earthy

Herbaceous

MINTY

Citrus

Woody

Herbaceous

Earthy

SPICY

Floral

Woody

Citrus

RESINOUS/MUSKY

Citrus

Floral

WOODY

Floral

Herbaceous

Minty

Spicy

Citrus

EARTHY

Woody

Minty


 

HOW TO MAKE A BALANCED ESSENTIAL OIL BLEND

The easiest way to create a well-rounded oil blend is to narrow down a list of preferred Essential Oils to a maximum of 5 Essential Oils:

  • 2 Top note oils
  • 2 Middle note oils
  • 1 Base note oil

When it comes to creating Essential Oil blends, there are no strict guidelines for oils that should or should not be combined, but the following standard can act as a guiding principle to help encourage a congruous blend, especially for a beginning strategy:

 

For 1 drop of a Base note,

add 2 drops of Middle note(s)

and

3 drops of Top note(s)

 

Alternatively, and more simply, combine each Essential Oil 1 drop at a time until the blend emits the preferred scent. When formulating new blends, the least wasteful approach to mixing is to limit the total amount of all combined Essential Oils to a minimum of 5 drops and a maximum of 25 drops. Begin by blending the Base and Middle notes. When the ideal scent is achieved with this mixture, add in the Top note. Continue to add 1 drop at a time of each type of oil until either the maximum number of drops is reached or until the ideal blend is attained.

To keep track of the oils and their amounts, it is helpful to make notes with each addition. Before using the final blend, it is recommended that they are allowed to sit or “rest” for 24 hours in order for the scent to develop, as it can potentially change within this time. Before creating or using any blends, ensure that all safety protocols are followed. When applying the blend topically, dilute first with a Carrier Oil.

Essential Oils are for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using these oils for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Essential Oils without the medical advice of a physician, as they may have effects on certain hormone secretions and it is unclear whether these effects are transferable to babies at these stages of development. These oils should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.

Those with the following health conditions are especially recommended to be advised by a physician: cancer, heart-related ailments, skin disorders or allergies, hormone-related ailments, or epilepsy. Individuals that are taking prescription drugs, undergoing major surgery, or who are at a greater risk of experiencing strokes, heart attacks, or atherosclerosis are also advised to seek medical consultation prior to use.

Prior to using any Essential Oil, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by diluting 1 drop of the Essential Oil in 4 drops of a Carrier Oil and applying a dime-size amount of this blend to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Essential Oils must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. Potential side effects of Essential Oils include redness, rash, hives, burning, bleeding disorders, decreased speed of healing, low blood pressure, dizziness, headache, nausea, diarrhea, convulsions, and rapid heartbeat. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the products and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.

THE IMPORTANCE OF PROPERLY STORING ESSENTIAL OILS

The shelf life, quality, beneficial properties, and safe use of an Essential Oil depends largely on the way in which it is stored. When kept in the proper vessel and at the proper temperature, an Essential Oil can achieve its maximum shelf life with a conservative estimate of at least one year. On the more liberal end of the scale, properly cared-for Essential Oils may even last for ten years or longer, depending on the type of oil and the storage conditions.

DO ESSENTIAL OILS EXPIRE?

Eventually, all Essential Oils will expire and become unsafe to use, thus correct storage and appropriate handling are advantageous to all oils. The quality of oil begins to progressively decline with the process of oxidation, which causes them to lose their aromas as well as their nourishing benefits. On a more encouraging note, Essential Oils do not all degrade at the same rate; while Essential Oils from citrus fruits are known to oxidize faster than all others – expiring and losing their scents and benefits as early as six months after being opened – Essential Oils with earthy or woody aromas, such as Patchouli and Sandalwood, tend to smell even better with maturity, taking much longer before beginning to weaken in potency and aroma; thus an oil’s lifespan may fluctuate greatly depending on the quality of the source botanical and the harvest, the extraction method and the conditions under which the oil is distilled, the batch/lot, storage and handling of the oil when it is first received by both the supplier and the customer, and the manner in which the supplier bottles, stores, and handles the oil.

HOW CAN YOU TELL IF ESSENTIAL OILS HAVE GONE BAD? WHAT DOES EXPIRED OIL SMELL AND LOOK LIKE?

There are four main ways to tell if an Essential Oil has deteriorated:

1) Its aroma has become stronger and likely unpleasant or it has weakened, depending on the oil

2) It has changed in color and has become darker, lighter, or even colorless, depending on the oil

3) It appears murky/foggy

4) It has thickened in consistency

There might be times when an oxidized Essential Oil will not exhibit the classic signs of deterioration, thus these are general guidelines. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that all oils be properly stored, handled, and used before they expire.

HOW LONG CAN YOU STORE OPENED ESSENTIAL OILS?

OIL TYPE MAIN CONSTITUENTS POPULAR ESSENTIAL OILS IN THIS CATEGORY LENGTH OF TIME
Citrus

Bright
Refreshing, 
Energizing

Monoterpenes (especially Limonene) Bergamot
Grapefruit
Lemon
Lime
Neroli
Orange
6 months-1 year
Fresh, Herbaceous, Warm, Slightly Spicy, Slightly Sweet, Softly Floral or Woody, Camphoraceous,

Stimulating, 
Uplifting, Deodorizing

Monoterpenes (especially Limonene)
Oxides
Angelica Root
Black Pepper
Cypress
Eucalyptus
Frankincense
Juniper Berry
Laurel Leaf
Lemongrass
Pine
Ravensara
Rosemary
Siberian Fir
Spruce
Tea Tree
1-3 Years
Herbaceous, Camphorous, Spicy, Sweet, Woody

Balancing, Strengthening, Purifying

Aldehydes
Ethers
Ketones
Monoterpenols
Oxides
Phenols
Basil
(Cedar Leaf) Thuja
Clary Sage
Geranium
Hyssop
Lavender
Mugwort
Palmarosa
Peppermint
Sage
Tea Tree
Thyme
Rose Absolute
Rosewood
2-6 years
Fruity, Floral, Spicy, Woody

Balancing, Inspiring, and Soothing

Esters
Phenols
Birch
Clove Bud
Helichrysum
Jasmine Absolute
Roman Chamomile
Wintergreen
3-7 years
Woody, Earthy, Balsamic, Warm, Spicy

Sedative, Centering, Grounding, Calming

Sesquiterpenes
Sesquiterpenols
Black Pepper
Cedarwood
Copaiba Balsam
German Chamomile
Ginger
Myrrh
Patchouli
Sandalwood
Spikenard
Vetiver
Ylang Ylang
4-15 years

CAN YOU STORE ESSENTIAL OILS IN THE REFRIGERATOR?

Yes, Essential Oils can be stored in the refrigerator. This option is especially ideal for those who use their oils infrequently – for example, a couple of times a year.

CAN YOU STORE ESSENTIAL OILS IN THE FREEZER? IS IT ACCEPTABLE FOR ESSENTIAL OILS TO FREEZE?

Yes, Essential Oils may be stored in the freezer. If they freeze or form crystals that cause its appearance to become foggy, simply allow them to naturally return to room temperature before using them. The time it takes to “thaw” will depend on the oil and can range from minutes to several hours. Some crystallized oils can begin to liquify as the bottle is held in the hand and others may benefit from a warm water “bath” (placing the bottle in a bowl of shallow warm water). Whichever method is used, ensure that the bottle’s cap is kept on loosely, otherwise, the valuable volatile constituents will quickly escape. If there is too little headspace in the bottle and the cap is left on tightly during heating, the Essential Oil will build up pressure in the bottle and, when the cap is removed, the oil will spray all over. Leaving the cap loosely on the bottle will help prevent this.

PLACES WHERE ESSENTIAL OILS SHOULD NOT BE STORED

Do not store Essential Oils in hot, bright, or humid areas, such as in the bathroom, near a stove, on a window sill or other sunny area, and any places where constantly shifting room temperatures might potentially cause the quality of the oil to deteriorate faster.

WHICH FACTORS INFLUENCE AN OIL’S SHELF LIFE?

HEAT
Due to their flammable nature, Essential Oils should never be kept near open flames or any sources of heat or fire, such as sunlight, candles, and stoves. Leaving them vulnerable to high temperatures could lead to them reaching their unique flashpoints, which are the individual temperatures at which oils will ignite. Being frequently exposed often to heat will hasten an oil’s deterioration.

OXYGEN
When oils are exposed to air/oxygen, they become oxidized and their volatile constituents begin to fade, which means their fragrances – among other qualities – fade. This is largely caused by the oil’s bottle cap being left open for long periods of time. To prevent or slow the processes of oxidation and evaporation, it is important that bottles remain capped when Essential Oils are not in use. Oxidized oils, while not suggested for topical use or aromatherapy, can still be used for other applications, such as household cleaning.

LIGHT
When Essential Oils are kept in sunlit areas, their properties will be negatively impacted, and these include their aromas, appearances, and general effectiveness. For this reason, Essential Oils are sold and stored in darkly-colored bottles (most commonly amber, although dark blue, green, violet, and black have also become popular) to prevent UV radiation from penetrating the bottle. Regardless of the dark color of the bottle, it is still best to avoid placing oils in direct sunlight, as the recurrent heating and cooling will facilitate the oils’ oxidation.

MOISTURE
Moisture can enter oil bottles when they are left uncapped for an extended period, leaving the oils looking cloudy. The insides of the bottles will also form water beads. To reiterate, this can be prevented by keeping bottles capped.

HOW TO PROLONG SHELF LIFE AND KEEP TRACK OF OIL FRESHNESS

  1. Follow the oil company’s SDS documents or product pages, which outline handling and storage conditions.
  2. Do not store Essential Oils in direct sunlight; store them in cool, ambient areas.
  3. Prevent oxidation by displacing any oxygen in a bottle’s “head space” with Nitrogen, an inert gas that is heavier than oxygen and that does not react with any Essential Oil constituents.
  4. Make note of the date on which you buy an Essential Oil. This date can be marked on the product itself, either on the label or on the cap.
  5. Do not keep undiluted Essential Oils in dropper bottles, as the rubber will become gummy and spoil the quality of the oil.
  6. Ensure that the bottle cap is always screwed on tightly.
  7. Aim to keep Essential Oil bottles as full as possible; any empty space or “headspace” in the bottle is filled with oxygen, which can speed up the oxidation process. If necessary, transfer the oil into smaller containers that will be fuller.
  8. Do not insert any objects directly into the bottle; first, pour the necessary amount into/onto sterilized equipment, dilute, then apply as preferred.

THE BEST WAY TO STORE ESSENTIAL OILS

CAN YOU STORE ESSENTIAL OILS IN… YES/NO WHY?/WHY NOT?
Clear Glass Containers? Yes and No Although clear/colorless glass bottles will not cause damage to Essential Oils, they will also not prevent damaging UV radiation from influencing the quality of the oil. Darkly colored bottles (such as amber bottles) are recommended instead.
Aluminum Containers? Yes and No Aluminum bottles are suitable for storage if their interiors are lined with food-grade Epoxy lining.

They are a safe method for Essential Oil transportation and are ideal for short-term storage.

Metal or Stainless-Steel Containers? Yes Stainless-Steel is an ideal material for storing Essential Oils as well as for mixing Essential Oils when working with natural recipes; avoid plastic or wooden materials when working with Essential Oil-enhanced recipes.
Plastic Containers? No Storing Essential Oils in plastic containers causes paneling, and petrochemicals in the material may negatively react with the Essential Oils.

Plastic is also known to absorb Essential Oils, which poses a challenge when cleaning the container.

Blended or diluted products, such as moisturizers or massage oils, are relatively safe to store in plastic containers.

STORING ESSENTIAL OILS WHILE TRAVELLING

To properly and safely store Essential Oils on the go, travelers’ carrying cases are available to take favorite oils along for a trip, with some cases designed to carry more than forty oils at once.

WHAT ARE THE DANGERS OF USING EXPIRED ESSENTIAL OILS?

Spoiled Essential Oils are said to be harmful, and using them can be detrimental to one’s health. They are reputed to cause skin sensitization, irritation, peeling, rashes, inflammation, and burning, among various other potentially disagreeable results.

ESSENTIAL OILS SIDE EFFECTS

Essential Oils are for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using these oils for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Essential Oils without the medical advice of a physician, as they may have effects on certain hormone secretions and it is unclear whether these effects are transferable to babies at these stages of development. These oils should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.

Those with the following health conditions are especially recommended to be advised by a physician: cancer, heart-related ailments, skin disorders or allergies, hormone-related ailments, or epilepsy. Individuals that are taking prescription drugs, undergoing major surgery, or who are at a greater risk of experiencing strokes, heart attacks, or atherosclerosis are also advised to seek medical consultation prior to use.

Prior to using any Essential Oil, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by diluting 1 drop of the Essential Oil in 4 drops of a Carrier Oil and applying a dime-size amount of this blend to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Essential Oils must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. Potential side effects of Essential Oils include redness, rash, hives, burning, bleeding disorders, decreased speed of healing, low blood pressure, dizziness, headache, nausea, diarrhea, convulsions, and rapid heartbeat. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the products and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.

Grapefruit Essential Oil: A Fresh Scent, Home Remedy

Luscious, juicy, and pleasingly fragrant grapefruit shares the nutritional qualities of other citrus species, being high in vitamin C, plus delivering ample potassium, folic acid, beta-carotene (red fruits only), and capillary-strengthening flavonoids.  It has a stabilizing effect on blood sugar, enhances digestion, acts as a mild diuretic, diminishes the appetite, and offers valuable protection against infectious illnesses.  And – who can resist the delightfully uplifting scent of the freshly squeezed juice and peel?

Native to tropical Asia and the West Indies, grapefruit trees are now cultivated primarily in California, Florida, and Texas, as well as Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and Israel.  Much of the essential oil is produced in the United States by cold expression of the outer part of the fresh peel of the ripe fruit, yielding a yellow or yellowish-green liquid.  Oil that is distilled from the peel and remains of the fruit after making juice is of inferior quality for aromatherapeutic purposes. Grapefruit essential oil oxidizes quickly (as do all citrus oils), so use it within 1 year, or within 2 years if you keep it refrigerated and don’t open it often.

Grapefruit essential oil is one of my top picks to include in massage oil blends, often combined with ginger, cypress, and peppermint essential oils, to ease conditions of water retention, fatigue, heavy legs and feet, and general overall achiness.  Its astringent action also benefits oily skin and scalp.

This delightful medicinal oil offers an amazingly effective and aromatically pleasing cognitive boost that stokes your mental fires, enhancing concentration and mental clarity.  I’ve long adored both the fruit and the oil, as I find the fruit deliciously satisfying and it’s oil scent-sational.  It makes my mind and body smile!  Clients love it when my reflexology treatment room smells of grapefruit – clean and fresh.  I highly recommend adding grapefruit essential oil to spritzer recipes (room mists) to lighten and brighten the environment and mood of those in it. It blends well with other citrus essential oils as well as peppermint, spearmint, lavender, neroli, rose, geranium, rosemary, and ylang-ylang.

Psychological Benefits:  Grapefruit lifts the spirits, being beneficial during times of overwhelming stress, depression, mental fatigue, and nervous exhaustion. It’s especially helpful for the PMS blues.  Like other citrus oils, it delivers a general feeling of well-being and builds your sense of humor.  A rather empowering oil, grapefruit helps improve your confidence and sense of self-worth.

Essential Properties In A Nutshell:   Anti-infectious; gently warming; very refreshing and cleansing; detoxifying; appetite suppressant and digestive aid; eases tension and digestive headaches; enhances circulation; astringent and diuretic; deodorizing; emotionally uplifting during times of great stress; antidepressant.

Safety Data & Usage Information:  Grapefruit essential oil is considered nontoxic, nonirritating, and generally nonsensitizing, with only a low risk of photosensitivity.Good to know:  Certain medications come with a warning against ingesting grapefruit juice while you are taking them.  Why?  Because grapefruit juice contains dihydroxybergamottin, a chemical compound that interferes with the effectiveness of many medications.  Grapefruit essential oil – expressed from the peel only – does not contain this compound, so it is safe to use in aromatherapy for individuals who are avoiding grapefruit juice because of their medication.

Always dilute essential oils properly – according to age, health, medication intake, and skin condition – prior to application.

The following oh-so-fragrant recipe highlights the therapeutic nature of grapefruit essential oil with regard to its gently stimulating, mentally clarifying properties.

“Sunshine-in-a-Bottle” Mist

By their very light, refreshing nature, most citrus oils tend to be rather uplifting to the psyche and particularly good at stimulating a sluggish mind and stagnant circulation, which is why I chose them for the basis of this sparkling, ultra-fresh formula.  I added rosemary essential oil for the sharp, energizing, mind-clearing properties that it lends.  A few spritzes around my home office with this mist is a sure-fire way to blast out the “mental cobwebs” after an afternoon spent working at my computer.

Contraindication:  DO NOT use this mist in small rooms or bedrooms with children under 2 years of age or in rooms with caged pets.

Essential Oils:

• 20 drops grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) essential oil
• 15 drops lemon (Citrus limon) essential oil
• 15 drops sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) essential oil
• 10 drops rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ct. cineole or non-chemotype specific) essential oil

Base:

• 1/2 cup plain, unflavored vodka (80- or 100-proof)
• 1/2 cup purified or distilled water

Container:

• 8-ounce plastic (PET or HDPE) or dark glass spritzer bottle

To Make The Mist: Pour the vodka and water into the bottle, then add the grapefruit, lemon, orange, and rosemary essential oils.  Screw the top on the bottle and shake vigorously to blend.  Label the bottle and allow the spray to synergize for 1 hour.  Store at room temperature, away from heat and light; use within 1 year.

To Use: Shake well before each use.  When in need of mental stimulation, lightly mist your surrounding area and breathe deeply.  Use as desired.

Yield:; 8 ounces (240 ml)

Bonus uses: The essential oils in this formula contain general antiseptic properties that will help keep your work area and home free of infectious nasties.  Spray throughout the house several times per day during cold and flu season.  You can also spray the blend on your hands after washing as an added layer of wellness protection.  I suggest placing a bottle by the kitchen sink and in each bathroom.

Spikenard and Sustainability – Tisserand Institute

Spikenard is at least as endangered as Rosewood, which is a slow-growing rainforest tree and is not easy to cultivate. It is important to source ethically.

Source: Spikenard and Sustainability – Tisserand Institute

MARKET REPORT APRIL 2019

The following report contains updates on the current trends in production and availability of the most in-demand Essential Oils, Carrier Oils, and Raw Materials sourced from around the globe.

Cardamom Oil

In India, Cardamom is harvested from October to February. The flooding in south India last year led to unfavorable growing conditions as well as damage to huge crops of Cardamom, resulting in a lower harvest yield. The decline in Cardamom Oil production throughout India has led to a steep demand for the oil. Market conditions are favorable for this product, and this year’s continuous increase in the prices of Cardamom fruits has placed pressure on the Indian market for the supply of the same. This year, prices are expected to further increase.

In Sri Lanka, Organic Cardamom is harvested from July to October. A drought has negatively affected this year’s crop, resulting in a low harvest yield, which is only ¼ from last year. Furthermore, prices are extremely high and are expected to remain the same for a few years. The current, significantly high demand cannot be met, due to the severe shortage of raw materials. Given this extremely limited supply, buyers are advised to cover their requirements for the next 6-8 months as early as possible.

Coriander Oil

In India, Coriander is harvested from February to March. While regular production was an estimated 4-500,000 MT, this year it is expected to decline. In India, most Coriander seeds are converted into powder with a lesser quantity being used for oil extraction. The major buyers of Coriander seeds are spice powder-making industries. The demand from spice-processing industries was expected to increase beginning in April, and it is expected to continue until June. Coriander prices rose previously, and there has been an upward trend in the prices due to a decline in production in 2018-19 (Oct-Sep) in key growing areas. From 2018-19, Coriander acreage across the country declined by 27%.

Camphor Oil

In China, the wood of the Camphor tree is harvested throughout the year in all four seasons. The current growing conditions are favorable; however, it is too soon to predict the harvest yield. There is a strong demand for this oil.

Sage Dalmatian Oil

In Albania, Sage is harvested between June and December. It is typically cultivated near mountains, where the soil and the climate are similar to wild grown Sage, and there are no current issues with cultivation. The harvest yield is projected to be the same as that of last year. The demand and market conditions depend on customer requests.

Pine Scotch Oil

In Hungary, Scotch Pine can be harvested throughout the year, thus there is no dedicated harvest month or period. This year’s harvest yield is projected to be lower than that of the previous year; however, demands are still high for this oil.

Raspberry Seed Oil

In Chile, Raspberries are harvested from December to February or March. The current growing conditions are favorable and the harvest yield is projected to be similar to or higher than that of the previous year. There is good demand for the product, and the market conditions are good with high-quality supply and competitive prices.

Sea Buckthorn Oil

In China, Sea Buckthorn berries are harvested from October to January. The current growing conditions are the same as before, and the harvest yield is projected to be slightly higher than that of last year. The demand is increasing in China and Southeast Asia.

D-Limonene

In Brazil, Citrus fruits are harvested from June to February. The current growing conditions are favorable; however, this year’s harvest yield is projected to be slightly lower than that of last year. The demand and market conditions are weak. Buyers are advised to cover only what is required at the moment.

It’s Spring Cleaning Time!

Essential Oils for Home Cleaning

Here in Utah, the first day of spring isn’t quite full yet of all the gardening we’d like to do, but it is full of the promise that soon enough we’ll be out there once again, digging in the dirt! In the meantime, we’re opening the windows, letting the fresh air in, and doing some spring cleaning.

Look to your pantry to naturally clean your clothes and your home. Adding essential oils contributes antibacterial properties to your homemade cleaning agents and gives that oh-so-fresh-and-clean scent. This basic blend of oils is antibacterial and it smells divine!

Once you’ve made up a batch of the Antibacterial Essential Oil Blend, add it to the other recipes included for cleaners or create your own. Once you start creating your own cleaning products, you’ll discover just how easy it is to make cleaners that are truly clean.

Happy Cleaning! 

Antibacterial
Essential Oil Blend 

Ingredients 
40 drops clove oil
35 drops lemon oil
30 drops cinnamon oil
25 drops eucalyptus oil
20 drops rosemary oil
15 drops lavender oil
10 drops tea tree oil
10 drops peppermint oil

Instructions: Combine all oils in a light-proof bottle.

Foaming All-Purpose Paste Cleaner 

Ingredients 
baking soda
liquid castile soap
the antibacterial essential oil blend

Instructions 
Make a paste of equal parts baking soda and your favorite liquid castile soap. Adjust the ratio to your liking. Add a few drops of the essential oil blend. The baking soda is abrasive, so take care when cleaning delicate surfaces.
 – – – – – – –

Foaming All-Purpose Spray Cleaner 

Ingredients 
2 cups of water
1 tablespoon borax
2 tablespoons liquid castile soap
1 cup vinegar
20 drops antibacterial essential oil blend

Instructions 
Heat water and borax, and stir until borax is dissolved. Stir in liquid castile soap, vinegar, and antibacterial essential oil blend. Store in a spray bottle. To use, spray and wipe clean. The vinegar smell will dissipate shortly.

 

 

We made it through another winter!! It’s getting warmer, the days are getting longer, flowers are starting to bloom, and you’ll start to see butterflies and bees buzzing around.

I don’t know about you, but Spring is without a doubt my favorite season! I love all the bright colors, warmer weather, and all the wonderful smells Spring brings.

To make Spring even better (I know, how is that even possible?!) we are introducing a NEW limited time blend!! Trust me, you won’t want to miss out on this one!!

Leg Cramps are No Big Deal for This Essential Oil

Saro essential oil heard you sometimes have leg cramps.

It knows that you said the pain is “no big deal,” and Saro’s response is . . . neither is soothing the cramp!

Saro studied Massage in Madagascar, and it learned that easing muscle cramps is no big deal. It knows how to calm spasms, reduce inflammation, and create a sweet cooling sensation that can help muscles release tension naturally. Saro even learned to ease emotional stress that comes along with physical pain—its fresh aroma has a relaxing, uplifting effect.

For this recipe, Saro teamed up with friends that share its talents at caring for muscles. (And the Lemon and Cypress essential oils in this blend have an additional skill . . . they’re good for varicose veins!)

Leg Cramps are No Big Deal Oil

  • 1 oz (30 ml) jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis)
  • 7 drops Saro (Cinnamosma fragrans)
  • 5 drops Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
  • 2 drops Lemon (Citrus limon)
  • 4 drops Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)

Make this blend in a 1 oz (30 ml) glass bottle. Combine the jojoba and essential oils, and shake gently. (So easy! Making this blend is no big deal . . . haha!)

Any time you get a leg cramp, you can Massage it with this oil to help your muscle relax. If you get leg cramps at night you can use this oil before you go to bed, and keep the bottle on your nightstand in case a cramp wakes you up.

Even though this blend is “technically” for leg cramps, you can try it on any sore muscles you have. It’s helpful for tight shoulders, necks that don’t want to turn, or anytime you overdo it a little at the gym and feel achy and sore.

If your leg pain shows up more in your knees than your muscles (or both!), I have a Knee Pain Gel that I think you will really like. You can find it here on YouTube.

Make Fragrant Essential Oils: Warrior’s Spirit for Courage

This Warrior’s Spirit blend promotes courage and protection as well as physical and emotional support.

• 12 drops lavender oil
• 6 drops carrot seed oil
• 3 drops black pepper oil
• 3 drops angelica oil
• 3 drops myrrh oil
• 2 drops sage oil

Natural Perfumery

Craft evocative personal scents using natural ingredients, which lend delicate nuances to fragrances and evolve over time.

Thanks to the art and science of aromatherapy, we now appreciate the profound links between aroma and health; scents are processed in the amygdala, the same area of the brain that processes emotions. Because of the integration of scent and emotional processing, making natural perfume can contribute to our well-being. Perfume creation, which involves active olfaction and a total focus on the sense of smell, has been compared to concentrative meditation — it can help eliminate stress and bring about a sense of calm and peace. Not to mention, making perfume gives you the opportunity to develop your sense of smell!

Creating your own fragrances isn’t difficult. Maybe you already know that you prefer a certain type of perfume — an aroma that you identify with and that makes you feel good. Maybe you’d like to make a perfume to comfort, to uplift your spirits, to promote self-confidence, or for meditation. Or maybe you’d like to wear perfumes that reflect the season or evoke a specific mood. The possibilities are endless, and trying new combinations is part of the fun.

Natural Perfume Components

Natural perfumes made with essential oils and absolutes won’t be the same as commercial, alcohol-based perfumes. Essential oils are extracted from aromatic plants by steam distillation, or by physical expression, as in the case of citrus oils. Absolutes are made by solvent extraction; they’re aromatically similar to the plant but are very concentrated and best appreciated when highly diluted. Rose, jasmine, and orange blossom are the most popular absolutes. They’re expensive so you could use an infusion in jojoba oil as a budget-friendly alternative.

In mainstream perfumery, synthetic aroma chemicals dominate. This means that when a modern synthetic fragrance is applied, the effect is often linear — the perfume doesn’t substantially change its character from application until it has faded from our perception. The scent of perfumes made with extracts from aromatic plants, however, will evolve on our skin after application; we’ll first sense the top notes, then the middle notes at the heart of the scent, and finally the lingering base notes. Commercial perfumes are constructed for their initial impact and presence, their persistence, and for sillage — the trail of fragrance left in the air when the wearer walks by. Oil or wax-based natural perfumes are more subtle, and will usually fade more quickly. However, what’s lost in bombastic impact is more than made up for by the gentleness and beauty of naturally derived ingredients, and by the mood benefits of the aroma.

Fragrant Harmonies

Natural perfume isn’t composed randomly. To create a successful perfume, you’ll need to understand the olfactory relationships between essential oils, their volatility (which determines which scents are top, middle, and base notes), their diffusiveness, and their odor intensity.

The scent of every essential oil is made up of many chemical components, each of which has its own olfactory characteristics, and the components’ relative proportions have a major impact on the overall aroma of the oil. For this reason, some essential oils, such as rose or jasmine, are complex enough to make good single-ingredient fragrances, which are instantly recognizable. If you combine three essential oils, you create a new odor sensation, although you’ll still be able to discern the presence of the individual oils. But by combining five or more oils, you’ll create a completely new scent, which we’ll struggle to discern the individual ingredients of because hundreds of chemicals will be constituents contributing to the aroma.

In perfume, the initial impact is given by the “top note,” or the aromatics that evaporate most quickly; the heart of the scent is composed of “middle note” aromatics, defining the theme of the perfume; and less volatile “base note” aromatics anchor or fix the scent, giving it persistence. The oil or wax base of a natural perfume will also decelerate evaporation to an extent, which is why a natural perfume takes a little longer to make its presence known. By contrast, alcohol-based conventional perfumes are highly volatile.

In addition to the broad top, middle, or base category a particular aromatic might belong to, aromatic connections will be running throughout the perfume, because many essential oils share aromatic constituents. These form what we might think of as aromatic bridges, which will bring cohesiveness and harmony to your blend; aromatic contrasts will add drama and excitement.

Choose a Theme

When crafting a personal scent, you might want to create a soliflore, where one floral fragrance dominates; or a more sophisticated bouquet, which might be floral, herbal, or based on fragrant woods, soothing balsams, citrus, or vanilla. Each of these ideas can be fused so you might choose a floral-balsamic composition or an herbal-woody-spicy scent.

You can also create a more abstract scent that reflects seasons, places, or feelings. Evoke a walk in the forest with conifer oils or a tropical garden with sumptuous ylang-ylang. You could even use vanilla and citrus to make a fragrance inspired by the aroma of cakes baking!

Follow Your Nose

Top notes: Citrus is commonly used as a top note, because of its high volatility. Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) has a fresh citrus top note and sweet citrus body, with lemony, floral, peppery, and lavender-like nuances — elements that can bridge with many other scents. Use the furanocoumarin-free (FCF) version to eliminate the risk of phototoxicity, which is a burning reaction from topically applied essential oils that are triggered by exposure to sunlight. Other citrus top notes include yellow grapefruit (C. paradisi) for sharpness, lime (C. aurantifolia) for lightness, mandarin (C. reticulata) for freshness, and yuzu peel (C. junos) if you like a stronger aromatic citrus presence. Many citrus essential oils and aromatics are phototoxic, though the risk is minimized by using steam-distilled essential oils; research the aromatic you plan to use before adding it to a scent.

Herbal top notes give freshness to a blend; try using bergamot mint (Mentha citrata), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), and petitgrain (C. aurantium).

Floral top notes include the green scent of neroli (steam-distilled C. aurantium var. amara) and damask rose (Rosa x damascena), which gives a gentle freshness, lift, and harmony.

Spicy top notes include black pepper (Piper nigrum) for light warmth and lift, and caraway seed (Carum carvi) for sweet warmth and intrigue. Versatile coriander seed (Coriandrum sativum), with sweet, spicy, woody, floral, and citrus notes, can act as a bridge.

Middle notes: Floral heart notes can be as defining or as subtle as you wish. Heady Jasminum grandiflorum absolute should be used sparingly for its intense, diffusive, warm floral fragrance. Like rose and orange blossom absolutes, it makes for a classic floral heart. Arabian jasmine (Jasminum sambac) is intensely sensual, and it makes a good soliflore. Rose absolute (Rosa x centifolia) will make a smooth, rich, sweet soliflore, or can be the dominant floral in a composition. In small amounts, its delicacy can transform fragrances. Orange blossom absolute (solvent-distilled from Citrus aurantium var. amara) is a rich and heavy floral that should be used sparingly. It can make an interesting soliflore with neroli as a top note. A little ylang-ylang extra (Cananga odorata var. genuina) goes a long way; it’s diffusive, sweet, rich, and tropical. In small amounts, it lifts and harmonizes blends.

For an herbal heart, try sweet, fresh lavender absolute; rose geranium (Pelargonium spp.); or sweet, diffusive Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) for its apple notes.

Citrus oils evaporate quickly, making them difficult to use in the heart of a scent. However, litsea (Litsea cubeba) is fresh, sweet, sharp, and lemony, and has reasonable tenacity.

Spicy oils make good partners for flowers and woods and can sit within the heart of a perfume. Clove Bud (Eugenia caryophyllata) is perfect for spicing up rose fragrances. Use it minimally; the scent is powerful, and the oil can irritate the skin. Cinnamon leaf (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) should also be used sparingly.

Woods and resins for heart notes include Italian cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), which imparts woody and smoky notes; Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana), which gives a mild “pencil shavings” aroma; and frankincense (Boswellia carterii), which offers a fresh, resinous effect. Both frankincense and Eastern red cedar reach the top notes while staying in the heart. Frankincense suffers from overharvesting for the essential oil trade, so be sure to seek out sustainably sourced oil if you wish to use it. Conifers usually make their presence felt in top notes, but are tenacious enough to stay in the heart.

Base notes: These oils all act as fixatives as well as fragrance elements. If you’re looking for a balsamic, ambery, rich effect, try the resin of rock rose (Cistus ladanifer) or myrrh (Commiphora myrrha).

Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) is distinctive and complex and will add character to blends with its persistent, earthy, herbaceous notes. Vetiver (Vetivera zizanoides) is a rich, sweet, woody, earthy aroma, with remarkably persistent musky notes.

Sandalwood (Santalum album) is the base of many traditional attars; blend it with rose or jasmine to create a simple, beautiful scent. The scent is sweetly woody and persistent, with balsamic and musky notes. Sandalwood is often overharvested in the wild; seek sustainable sources for this oil.

Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia) is sweet, rich, and warm, with woody and even tobacco notes. The solvent-extracted absolute is quite expensive, so the budget-friendly way to use it is to buy vanilla-infused jojoba oil, to which you can add your other ingredients.

The given recipes are only a few examples of perfumes you can create. Adapt them to suit what you have available — or what you prefer — and don’t be afraid to substitute fragrances or vary the proportions of aromatics. Enjoy; it’s your perfume!

Natural Oil-Based Roll-On Perfume Recipe

This oil-based roll-on perfume recipe is easy to adjust to your personal fragrance preferences, and fragrance-infused carrier oils expand the possibilities.

Yield: 0.35 ounces (10 milliliters) liquid perfume.

 

Pack your preferred personal scent into a roller ball bottle to have on hand throughout the day. Note that the provided measurements will give a concentration of around 5 percent essential oils. You shouldn’t use more than 2 drops of absolute per 0.35 ounces (10 milliliters) of carrier oil.

Ingredients:

  • 10 drops essential oils and absolutes (see “Oil-Based Perfume Variations,” below)
  • 0.35 ounces (10 milliliters) jojoba oil
  • A colored-glass roller-ball bottle

Instructions:

  1. Add your heart notes directly into the bottle, and smell as you go, in case you need to adjust.
  2. Next, add the base notes, and, again, remember to smell after every drop. You can always add more, but you can’t subtract.
  3. Finally, add your top notes.
  4. When you’re happy with the aroma, fill the bottle to the shoulder with jojoba oil, fit on the roller ball and lid, and invert the bottle gently several times to thoroughly distribute the oils in the jojoba.
  5. Give your composition a name, label the bottle, and note the formula.

Oil-Based Perfume Variations

Essential oils are extremely concentrated and must be sufficiently diluted in a carrier oil to be used safely on your skin. Don’t adjust the proportion of aromatics to carrier oil in these recipes. All the following quantities are calculated for 0.35 ounces (10 milliliters) of liquid perfume.


Tropical Flowers

Top: 2 drops lime

Heart: 3 drops ylang-ylang

Base: 5 drops sandalwood

Variation: Use vanilla-infused jojoba as the carrier for a creamy effect.


Herbal Bouquet

Top: 3 drops bergamot mint, 2 drops rose, and 2 drops lavender

Heart: 1 drop rose geranium, 1 drop Roman chamomile, and (optional) 1 drop lavender absolute

Base: 1 drop patchouli or vetiver


Meditation

Top: 2 drops Bergamot and 2 drops neroli

Heart: 2 drops frankincense

Base: 2 drops Myrrh and 2 drops sandalwood

Your Guide to Vegan Skin Care

Today it’s easier than ever to choose a lifestyle that aligns with your health goals and ethical choices. If you’re a vegetarian, you avoid meat and fish and opt instead for plant-based foods, dairy, and eggs. A vegan diet takes things a step further, eschewing all products associated with animals, including animal-derived ingredients like milk, eggs, and honey.

For homemade natural beauty recipes, which often use dairy as a base for creams and lotions, finding a non-animal option may seem tricky But we actually have quite a few plant-derived substances from which to choose, whether it’s agave, natural plant oils like olive or grape seed, or nut milk. These types of ingredients can help you maintain beautiful skin and healthy, shiny hair – without having to compromise your values. Here are a few all-natural, all- vegan recipes to get you started.

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Shea Butter Body Lotion

From the African shea tree {Vitellaria paradoxa, formerly Butyrospermum parkii}, shea butter is an ivory-colored natural fat used much like cocoa butter, with a mild, almost musty fragrance. In cosmetics, it acts as a moisturizer and emollient and also contains anti-inflammatory properties. It can treat all types of skin conditions, from scars to chapped lips, and it’s helpful in treating acne because it’s easily absorbed by the skin and leaves no sticky residue. It also provides mild UV protection from the sun {but should never serve as a replacement for your sunscreen}. You can find it in natural food stores in the skincare section.

1/2 cup distilled water

1/8 tsp borax powder

1/4 cup shea butter

1/2 cup almond oil

Bring water to a boil. Place borax powder in a clean, heat-proof bowl, and pour in the boiling water, stirring well. Set aside. In a microwave-safe bowl or saucepan, combine oil and shea butter and gently heat the mixture until melted, stirring to mix. Transfer this mixture into a blender or food processor and blend on low, slowly adding the hot water solution in a slow, steady stream. Then blend on high until well-mixed. You should have a milky-white lotion. Pour the mixture into a clean container to cool.

To Use Massage into skin. Yields: 6 ounces.

Plant-Based Lip Balm

Several plant oils and waxes work great as substitutes for beeswax or lanolin to soothe dry, cracked lips. The shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, and castor oil in this recipe provides lips with natural shine and protection against the element.

1/2 tsp castor oil

1 tsp coconut oil

1 tsp shea butter

1/2 tsp cocoa butter

1-2 drops peppermint essential oil for flavor {optional}

In a heat-resistant bowl or small saucepan, combine all ingredients and gently heat until melted. {This may be done in the microwave, but be careful not to boil the mixture.} Stir well and pour into a small container. Let cool completely.

To Use Spread on your lips with a clean fingertip. Yield: .75 ounce.

Coconut Oil Body Polish

This scrub is perfect for skin that needs some exfoliation, but also a bit of TLC. The raw sugar exfoliates the skin while the coconut oil helps deeply condition it. After using this treatment, your skin should feel softer and smoother.

1 cup of raw sugar

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 tsp vitamin E oil

2-3 drops essential oil {lavender, rosemary, peppermint} optional

In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients and stir well. Spoon into a clean container.

To Use: Standing in the tub or shower, massage the mixture into your skin. {Be careful: the oil can make the tub slippery.} Rinse with warm water and pat your skin dry. Yield: 8 ounces.

Easy Dry Shampoo

Dry shampoos have become a popular alternative to regular “wet” shampoos, proving especially helpful after a workout during the day or when traveling. But spray-on dry shampoos can contain a wealth of questionable ingredients, when, in fact, all you really need is one tablespoon of either baking soda, cornstarch, or rice powder. That’s it…

To Use: Simply massage the powder directly onto your scalp and through your hair. You may want to lean over a sink as you apply the powder. Leave it on for at least 10 minutes, and then, using a clean, dry brush, vigorously brush your hair, using long strokes, to remove all of the powder.

Reading the Labels

Our skin is our largest organ, and what you use on it does affect your overall health. One advantage of making your own cosmetic products and treatments is that it puts you in control of the ingredients you use and apply to your skin. Of course, you don’t always have time to make all of your skincare products from scratch. So, knowing how to accurately read the labels of store-bought products becomes important.

To start, the term “natural” on the label is meaningless – there’s no authority that monitors this claim. Therefore, you really need to take an eagle eye to the back of the product. Ingredients are listed in order of percentage: if the first ingredient is water, that means water is the most prominent ingredient. You may see a product that boasts a desirable ingredient on the front label, only to find that it’s the last ingredient listed.

Some ingredients such as “sodium chloride” may sound scary {at least to those who’ve long forgotten their chemistry lessons}, but are, in fact, completely natural {sodium chloride is table salt}. Manufacturers often use scientific or Latin names for basic ingredients, but a quick search online can reveal the common name and whether it’s an ingredient you want to put on your skin.

Vegans may not realize that some of their favorite products actually contain ingredients they wish to avoid. Here’s a quick list of animal-derived substances.

  • Aspic: an industry alternative to gelatin; made from clarified meat or fish
  • Casein: a protein derived from milk
  • Cod liver oil: found in lubricating creams and lotions
  • Collagen: taken from the bones and connective tissues of animals; used in cosmetics to help skin retain water and keep it supple
  • Elastin: similar use as collagen; derived from the neck ligaments and aorta of cows
  • Gelatin/Gelatine: for smooth skin and to add gloss to hair; obtained by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones from cows and pigs
  • Keratin: used for hair and as an anti-aging skin care ingredient; obtained from sheep wool or from the skin, hooves, and horns of animals
  • Lactose: a sugar derived from milk
  • Propolis: used for its antiviral and antimicrobial properties to treat breakouts and protect skin; created by bees in the construction of their hives
  • Royal Jelly: an anti-aging ingredient; comes from secretions of the throat gland of the honeybee
  • Shellac: found in hair lacquer; obtained from the bodies of the female scale insect, Tachardia lacca
  • Vitamin D3: found in creams, lotions, and other cosmetics; made from fish-liver oil
  • Whey: a byproduct of cheese making
  • Cochineal dye or carminic acid: adds red color; comes from the cochineal insect
  • Ambergris: adds scent and/or color; derived from whales

Garden Fresh Vegan Cologne

This fragrance uses fresh vegetable and herb leaves to create a light, summer-garden scent. Try it as an after-bath or after-shave splash – or anytime you need an aromatic boost.

4 Tbls fresh tomato leaves, chopped

1 Tbls fresh lemon zest

1 tsp fresh basil leaves

1 tsp fresh mint leaves

1 cup witch hazel

Place all of the fresh leaves and lemon zest inside a clean jar or bottle. Pour the witch hazel over; shake gently. Cover the bottle top and let it sit in a cool, dark spot for two weeks. Strain the liquid and discard any solids. Pour the liquid through a fine strainer or coffee filter into a clean bottle.

To Use: Apply as you would any cologne product. It’s especially refreshing on a hot summer day if kept in the refrigerator. Yield: 8 ounces.

Avocado Facial Mask

Fresh avocados are a classic facial mask ingredient full of natural fats and protein to help stimulate your skin’s own natural production of oil, helping to smooth out rough, dry skin. All skin types can benefit from an avocado facial. Make sure to save the pit; you can grind it up and use it in body scrub recipes, and if you live somewhere warm, you can plant it to have your own little avocado tree.

1/2 fresh avocado, mashed

1 Tbls fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and stir well until you have a smooth, creamy mixture.

To Use: Spread the mask on a clean face and neck and let sit for 15 minutes. {Take this moment to relax!} Rinse with warm water and gently pat your skin dry. Yield: 3 ounces, enough for one treatment.

Vegan Substitutions

Need to find a substitute for an ingredient in one of your beauty recipes? Several plant substances serve as effective replacements for some common ingredients derived from animals.

  • Beeswax: Heavy plant waxes, such as candelilla and carnauba, and oils like coconut can stand in for beeswax, which is used to thicken creams, lotions, and lip balms and help protect your skin. Cocoa and shea butters also work well.
  • Dairy: Today, you can find a wide variety of plant and nut milks to replace animal dairy called for in beauty recipes.
  • Egg white: This part of the egg provides astringent and cleansing qualities for oily skin types, but cucumber, chamomile tea, and aloe vera gel will work similarly.
  • Egg yolks: Full of lecithin, egg yolks help with dry skin conditions, but you can replace them with soy lecithin or use a rich oil such as coconut and olive instead.
  • Honey: In place of honey to cleanse and moisturize your skin look to molasses, maple syrup, or agave syrup.
  • Lanolin: Found in sheep’s wool, lanolin can be replaced with rich plant oils such as soy, almond, and avocado.