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Skin Care Hints
Hints, tips, and client feedback from past issues of our newsletter. Sign up for your own copy and read past issues here.
Another bit of feedback, from Samia, in New Hampshire:
Now, I wouldn't have thought of that, but Hope, my assistant swears by Melissa for just making the oil in her skin "disappear." So, apparently, Melissa Hydrosol becomes one of the hydrosols of choice for the above skin problems.
I had a long chat with one of my oldest clients yesterday, Nicole, in North Carolina (who used to be Nicole in Washington, but that's another story!). Nicole has a new baby, and shared the diaper wipe recipe she has been using with me. She uses a 4 ounce cobalt bottle of distilled water, to which she adds 4 or 5 drops of French Lavender, 4 or 5 drops of Bulgarian Lavender, and 2 drops of Sandalwood. She says the baby had a dreadful diaper rash, and since she has started using this mixture to clean her daughter's diaper area (using the round cotton pads that are available through most beauty supply shops as "wipers") her daughter's bottom has healed and stayed fresh and clean and comfortable. Since there is no alcohol or other solubilizer in this recipe, the bottle needs to be wellshaken before each use. (November 2000)
From my friend Janice Sheplar, soap and toiletries maker extraordinaire (and the creator of our wonderful baby powder, from My Grandmother's Garden). For those of you who want to make something to soften your skin but are afraid or don't want to go the cream/lotion route which involves water and preservatives.
A basic salve starts with:
Melt all ingredients together. When melted, blend thoroughly, let cool to about lukewarm, add essential oil and then cool completely. Your personal choice of oils will determine the end product (for dry flaky skin, oily skin, damaged skin, normal skin, etc.).
A basic balm is simply a choice of hard and liquid oils whipped together. I also add cornstarch to give it a "dryer" feel.
Combine the oils and beat on high in your mixer or with hand beater until light and creamy looking. Start adding cornstarch and beat in thoroughly.
I keep mine at room temperature and it is fine. It appears to melt into your skin and feels like velvet.
(I thank Janice for sharing her secret balm recipe. I make a lot of salves, and they DO tend to leave your hands a bit greasy feeling. She's right; the balm leaves a wonderful soft velvety feeling behind it. I've experienced it in some wonderful solid perfumes that Janice has shared.)
And if you want to create a smaller amount of the balm:
Mix using the same procedure as above.
A reminder that June is for brides...and orange blossom is also for brides. Wouldn't this intensely aromatic body butter be a wonderful gift for the bridesmaids? Or a day before luxury treat for the bride herself:
Let the Shea Butter warm to room temperature, cut in small pieces in the bowl of an electric mixer. Start beating and beat until fluffy.
Meanwhile, warm the VCO and the Orange Blossom Wax together over very low heat (or in a double boiler!) just until the wax is melted. Try not to over heat this! When the wax is melted pour the mixture into the whipping shea butter. Add optional drops of Neroli and ontinue beating until light and fluffy.
Note, if whipped shea, alone, is a bit too greasy for you, you may sift one or two tablespoonsful of cornstarch over the mixture and beat in thoroughly. The shea and coconut are available on our carrier oils page. The Orange Blossom Wax may be found on our Floral Waxes page. (May 2004)
Basic lip balm recipe: melt together one ounce (by weight, not volume) of beeswax preferably grated (it will melt faster), a "solid" fat...shea butter, mango butter, coconut oil, etc. and one ounce of a rich liquid oil (I like to use avocado oil or kukui nut oil for this).
This makes a basic soothing balm or salve that can be divided into smaller portions and/or enriched in innumerable ways. Use herbal infused oils (infused chamomile or calendula) for skin soothing. Add the essential oils of your choice...a drop of peppermint or steam-distilled lime for lip balms. Lavender and German chamomile for healing baby's diaper rash. Patchouli or frankincense for badly chapped hands. Less beeswax or more of the liquid oil makes a softer balm, more beeswax makes a firm "stick"that can be rubbed on.
Did you know that Melissa is the specific for cold sores (which are caused by a form of the herpes virus)?
Tammy Wytrychowski recently wrote: "I have made the Melissa Lip Balms and so far none of the people using them have had a recurrence with the cold sores!!"
The 10% dilution would be ideal to add to lip balms or salves. (November 2000)
Our adaptation of a recipe of Donna Maria's to end winter's chapped lips, or leave your lips soft and smooth for photographs or special occasions:
Procedure: Measure clay and set aside. Measure rose hydrosol, honey, and oil and warm in a custard cup in a pan of HOT water for two minutes, until "baby bottle warm." Stir the liquid ingredients together until smooth. Add the clay and stir until smooth and lump-free.
Apply to lips and let dry for two minutes. No talking or laughing!
Rinse with warm water, blot dry gently and apply your favorite lip balm.
Thanks for the idea, Donna Maria!
Louise, from the Netherlands, recently wrote that she was having some oral surgery, and her doctor told her to anticipate severe bruising from the various injections. She wrote:
I later wrote asking how it went, and for permission to quote her experience...and she replied:
More feedback, from my friend Lisa, about a chemical burn and how she treated it:
Thanks, Lisa...I love hearing how people are using our oils!
My friend Ravenna in Australia shared this delightful facial cleanser:
Honey gently softens and cleanses the skin. This is a mild cleanser that works well for dry skin types. It is wonderful, leaving your skin so soft and moist! It's not at all sticky and can be used as either a facial cleanser or bath gel. I fill empty honey squeeze bottles with this cleanser. Makes a nice gift.
Mix together all ingredients and pour into a clean squeezy bottle. Remember to use non-breakable containers if you are going to be using it in the tub or shower. (October 2001)
And speaking of hydrosols, my friend Mari in South Florida has been experimenting with our neroli hydrosol. She writes that she has been using it as a toner for her rather sun-damaged skin, and is noticing that after a month's use, her "thread veins" are disappearing. NOT a result I'd have expected from neroli but I'm certainly not about to argue with success.
My friend Janice recently had surgery, so we sent her some Helichrysum in Rose Hip Seed Oil. She has been raving about its effect on the scar from her surgery on another mail list. But she also shared that she's been using it to fade under eye circles...and that it's working amazingly well. That one felt like a "DUH...why didn't I think of that?" As effective as Helichrysum is at healing bruises, it stands to reason that it might well be useful for the dark circles some of us (especially me!) get under our eyes. I don't think the Rose Hip Seed Oil is an essential part of that combination...it would be the Helichrysum italicuum that would do the work, so you could dilute it in the carrier of your choice. Please dilute it well, and, as always, be VERY careful using any essential oil around the eyes! (February 2002)
Penelope C. wrote:
We asked her for permission to use her experiences online, and she replied with the following:
We really appreciate it when our clients first of all share their experiences with our products, and even more when they give us permission to share with others. That way we can all learn from each other!
Blend 1/2 cup non-instant oatmeal in your blender until finely powdered. Mix with an equal amount of dried milk. Moisten a scant handful of this blend with a few spritzes of your favorite hydrosol. Gently scrub your face, paying special attention to the T-zone. Rinse well, and follow with your favorite hydrosol, and a few drops of your favorite moisturizing carrier oil. (February 2005)
Jane Eliza shared her secret formula for dry skin for hands, face, wherever:
That's a bit heavy on the essential oils for my taste. For two ounces of the carrier oil blend, I'd use perhaps 15 drops of Carrot Seed, one or two drops of Rose Otto, and about five drops of Frankincense. If I added the Myrrh, I'd probably keep it down to a drop or two. (In fact, I'm off to try blending some of this for myself; not sure why I had never tried it before!) March 2005
(And, years later, there's another precursor for our Cleopatra's Secret!)
Gail Rice wrote today ordering more Roman Chamomile Hydrosol...a LOT more Roman Chamo Hydrosol. It seems ...well, I'll quote her feedback (with her permission):
I'd be tempted to use a compress, but try getting a 13-year-old to be still for 15 minutes! (February 2002)
I can’t remember the source of this…
4 oz Jojoba Oil
Another note about eczema…we have had a couple of mother’s using our Lavender Bliss Bath for their children’s eczema and dry skin. They rave about results.
Penelope, from South Carolina says that she used to suffer terribly from Weeping Eczema. Because she loves the scent of Sandalwood, she started putting our Sandalwood Shave Soother on it, and saw rapid improvement. (She also made a LOT of diet and lifestyle changes at the same time, which I think had more to do with the improvement, but she swears the Shave Soother helped.) Perhaps it's the calendula we've incorporated into the formula? Read about and order our Shave Soother with our other Skin Care products (it's at the very bottom of the page).
Winter has been here long enough to affect our skin...some suggestions for face masks to revitalize winter clouded skin, taken from "Practical Aromatherapy," by Penny Rich.
Basic Face Masks
Moisturising Mask: 2 drops each Frankincense, Rose, and Neroli oils in 30ml (1fl oz/ 6 tsp) apricot oil with 1 tsp clear, melted honey, mixed with enough finely ground almond to make a soft paste.
Deep Cleansing Mask: 2 drops each Geranium and Lavender oil, 1 drop Lemon oil in 30ml (1fl oz/6tsp) hot water, mixed with enough kaolin clay to make a smooth paste.
Relaxing Mask: 2 drops each of Violet Leaf, Lavender, and Neroli oil in 30ml Sweet Almond Oil, with enough oatmeal to make a smooth paste.
Energising Mask: 2 drops each Ylang Ylang, Petitgrain, and Lemon in 30ml iced water, with enough ground almond to make a smooth paste.
Anti-Ageing Mask: 2 drops each Neroli, Mandarin, and Orange in 30ml Evening Primrose Oil with 1 teaspoon melted clear honey, mixed with enough ground almond to make a smooth paste.
Blend all ingredients well, adding more hydrosol if necessary to make a smooth, spreadable mixture. Tie your hair back out of the way. Apply to neck and face. Lie down and enjoy the wonderful aroma for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse well with tepid water, moisturize with your favorite carrier.
Note: I use Neroli and Frankincense in this because they are kind to my mature skin, and I love them both. You could omit the Frankincense, and use instead Rose Geranium Hydrosol and essential oil for combination skin, Melissa or Tea Tree Hydrosol and manuka or Lavender essential oil for problem or oily skin, Rose Hydrosol and essential oil for ANY skin. The possibilities are endless!
Adapted from The Herbal Home Spa, by Greta Breedlove.
Herbal hair conditioners help make hair more manageable and often impart a smoother and softer texture. They are especially good for those who use hot rollers, curling irons, and blow dryers.
1. In the top of a double boiler, gently warm the rose water.
Yield: 1 treatment for long hair (cut recipe in half for short hair)
Speaking of hair, and Rose Hydrosol, Anne O'Brien writes:
I just wanted to let you know that I find the above hydrosol great to untangle my hair after washing. I'm sure any of the hydrosols would work for this, but I especially love the aroma of this one. Also, it leaves my hair with a wonderful shine. I wasn't sure if I should use it at first, as my hair tends to be a little greasy, but I have no problems that way. (October 2001)
A soothing remedy for winter-weary skin (sent by a friend who forgets where she got this, so I can't credit the source):
Moisture Mask: Mix 2 tablespoons honey with 2 teaspoons whole milk. Smooth over face and throat. Leave on 10 minutes. Rinse off with warm water. (I love the way honey makes my skin feel!) Debbie says she wants to add a drop of Rose Oil to that mixture, and pour it into a warm bath for her "winter weary body." I think that sounds like a winner! (March 2002)
Martha Stewart recently shared a recipe for a foot soak for pregnant momma's on her show...to counteract swelling and achiness.
To make the foot soak, combine 1 1/4 cups of Epsom salts with an equal measure of kosher salt in a jar. (NOTE: I would use sea salt!) Add a 1/4 cup each of baking soda and cornstarch, up to 1/2 teaspoon of Lemon essential oil, and up to 1/4 teaspoon of Spearmint essential oil. Attach the lid, and shake the jar to combine. Pour the mixture into a bag, and use within a few weeks.
(My daughter-in-law says this doesn't sound anywhere near as good as having her legs rubbed with our Prenatal Massage Oil...but she might be both prejudiced and a wee bit spoiled.)
Start with a base of equal parts of Evening Primrose Oil and Rosehip Seed Oil.
For one ounce of carrier I would use:
This combination makes a wonderfully rich oil for treating hands that are showing their age.
If I were to use it as a facial oil, I would dilute it further by using a bit more of each base oil.
(Little did I know, when this was written in Novemeber 2004 that the blend above, with some tweaking, would become the basis of our amazing Cleopatra's Secret line of mature skin products!)
This is a frequent question, so I thought I'd share what I do.
Without a doubt, the BEST carrier oil for mature skin is Rose Hip Seed Oil. Some people love it as a base oil, and in the winter, so do I. But in Tennessee's summers, it is just too thick and heavy. So I came up with a substitute that works for me.
To one fluid ounce of your favorite carrier oil (and mine changes from month to month. I love the texture of Apricot Kernel Oil, sometimes I will choose Macadamia Nut Oil, when my skin feels really parched and dry I might reach for Avocado...(visit our Carrier Oil page for suggestions for various skin types). To this one ounce of base oil I add a mixture of 1 ml Sea Buckthorn Berry CO2 Extract, and 1/2 ml Rose Hip Seed CO2 Extract. I feel that this gives me the advantages of the Rose Hip Seed Oil without the heaviness. If, on the other hand, you don't like the color of the Rose Hip Extract, then perhaps 1/4 oz of Rose Hip Oil (cold-pressed) would be the better addition to your basic carrier blend.
Having blended the base oils and extracts, it's time to add the best essential oils for mature skin: Carrot Seed, Neroli, and Frankincense. For one ounce (or a bit more) of carrier oils, you will not want to use more than 15 to 20 drops of essential oils. The most helpful, but the least appealing from an aromatic stand point is Carrot Seed Oil, which has wonderful regenerative powers. If you enjoy its scent, then perhaps the Carrot Seed is all you'll need. If not, I'd suggest a blend of perhaps 4 drops each, Carrot Seed, Neroli, and Frankincense frereana essential oils. This is a wonderful blend for mature skin care, with an uplifting aroma.
Courtney snipped the following from a list she’s on. She didn't save the poster, so I haven't a clue…but if you have forgotten your SkeeterBeater…and gotten "bit"…this may be the solution.
Two hydrosols that help: My friend Alice buys a LOT of Witch Hazel Hydrosol, I asked what she is using it for:
Now, Hope, my daugher in law, uses Melissa Hydrosol for her oily skin problems, but for those who don't like the scent of Melissa (are there such people?) the Witch Hazel Hydrosol provides an equally gently alternative. (Please don't use "drug store witch hazel." The alcohol content will overdry your skin causing it to react by producing more oil!)
A friend recently shared her formula for the commercial Origins Salt Scrub:
Basically it calls for one cup of sea salt, 1/2 cup of a mixture of rich and exotic carrier oils (you could use whatever oils you have on hand that suit your skin type) and the scent blend:
We tested the blend in the pouring room, and it was bright and invigorating. This would be great in a morning shower. (You might want to do a double batch and package it in our PET bale jars, the same ones Origins uses for their scrub!) (May 2003)
From Granny Ev: I'm not sure if I've seen any reports like this .... I get poison ivy every year and it doesn't matter what steps I take to prevent it. To some people it's just a minor annoyance but I usually have to get a prescription to relieve the intense itch and dry it up. Sure nuff - broke out this week all over my hands - fingers, palms, wrist. Since I now try lavender first for most things I decided to try it on the poison . . . I swear I was amazed. It relieves the itch—for hours and has started drying the blisters in only 4 days! I used the Bulgarian Lavender, tried some French Lavender but it didn't work nearly as well.
From my friend Lisa Wong:
BTW, I used some Sea Buckthorn Berry Extract in kukui oil on a 3 day-old rash that had broken out on my face, and it quickly got rid of the scaly skin. I've also been spraying with your chamomile hydrosol before I apply the Sea Buckthorn, and it looks like it's healing quite nicely; much faster than if I had left it alone.
We are getting excellent feedback from people who have been using the Helichrysum hydrosol for rosacea, by the way. Really seems to tone down the redness that is often associated with it.
This is more of a "put together" than a real recipe:
In an unbreakable container (you're going to use this in the shower, after all!) pour approximately two cups of sea salt (or UNiodized table salt.) Add enough Jojoba Oil to thoroughly moisten, what we are aiming at here is the texture of sandcastle building sand. One small squirt of Liquid Castile Soap is a possible addition, not necessary, but it helps keep the tub from being slick from the oils. You may add a few drops of your favorite soothing essential oil, but that is truly optional.
Now, into the shower, rinse off to leave your skin wet, and turn the shower off. Grab a handful of the salt glow mixture, and, starting with your feet, massage into the skin. Pay more attention to rought or calloused areas, and avoid broken skin (this will sting broken skin!). Always massage toward the heart, avoiding your face, and delicate tissues.
When you are finished, shower off the excess and towel dry. Your skin will be left soft, smooth, and silken.
One of the simplest and easiest recipes in Donna Maria's book (a wonderful after shower oil!):
Add 3 drops of Orange (or Mandarine, my thought!), 1 drop Rose, 2 drops Sandalwood to 1/2 ounce of your favorite massage base oil, and envelop yourself in the Sandalwood Body Envelope...or better yet, have someone else envelope you in it! © 2000 Donna Maria, shared with permission. I highly recommend it!
Comments and feedback from one of our readers, Ellen Ray, an aromatherapist in North Carolina. Not long ago she called and asked me to express mail some Helichrysum Italicuum and rose hip seed oil to her. She recently sent this, with permission to share it with you:
I love it when the medical profession has to sit up and take notice...and I love it when these oils can make a real difference in someone's life!
Speaking of SkeeterBeater... we have had feedback from friends who have been adding the synergy to Aloe Vera Gel (commercial, the brand of your choice). They say it is lighter and cooler feeling than an oil-based dilution, but lasts far longer than a water-based spray. We've not tried it yet, but wanted to pass the idea along. (July 2003)
(June 2005 update to the above. Nature's Gift now offers SkeeterBeater Gel for those not interested in "do it yourself." Order it here.)
Shared by John Kerr, of Aromatherapy Today Magazine, in Australia: 10 drops each Tea Tree, Spearmint, and Myrrh added to 20 grams of commercial Aloe Vera Gel. (July 2004)
First aid tip from one of our client's, an email just received from Lisa:
Fun indeed! and good to know. Thanks, Lisa, for letting me share it.
Janice Brady writes:
Salt scrubs are just too rough and abrasive for me. My arms and legs have a lot of scratches on them and the salt hurts, but I want to really get rid of dead skin.
Our reply? Try a soothing brown sugar scrub for gentle exfoliation. A generous scoop of brown sugar (light or dark will work equally well), enough of your favorite carrier oil to gently moisten, and one or two drops of Sandalwood oil...soothing to the skin, and the aroma just sweetens the brown sugar. Gently scrub away winterdull skin, without the sting of salt. (May 2002)
From my friend Karla, who writes:
(She explained that she got badly sunburned, working all day in a friend's garden with no sunscreen.) As soon as she realized she had been burned, she added some lavender to some generic drugstore hand lotion and slathered it on. The pain went away. Then she made the following blend for use after every bath until it's all better.
Karla, thanks for sharing that one with us! (The rose is obviously optional there.)
A friend was badly sunburned last week. By the next morning she was scarlet, and blistered. I mixed up a blend of equal parts jojoba and aloe vera gel. Added some of our French high altitude lavender and Sea Buckthorn Berry Extract (my first opportunity to try the Sea Buckthorn for sunburn...).
After applying the blend, she was totally pain-free in no time. By the next morning (with frequent applications) the blisters had subsided, and the burn much less angry looking. It seems to be turning tan, with very little peeling so far. Just a thought if you or yours overdo the sun.
From my friend Susan Bratty:
Mix together, shake well. I put it in a squeeze bottle and keep it in the refrigerator. Works wonders :-)
If you insist on risking sun damage, this blend will hasten a tan and provide antioxidant protection:
For extra protection, blend the oils with a higher SPF commercial sun screen product.
(Again, from Danielle Sims)
Mix all ingredients and shake well before each use.
(from Danielle Sims)
Mix all ingredients in your bottle of choice and shake vigorously before each use. You may use a cotton ball to apply your toner after cleansing and spritz throughout the day. (An alternative would be to add a bit of the vinegar to a blend of Rose and Roman Chamomile Hydrosols.)
(I think I clipped this from the Canadian "Less Toxic Products Guide" site, but I can't connect to their server right now to verify the source.)
Mix essential oils with Witch Hazel in a glass bottle. Then add hydrosol.
I am guessing that they are using the "drug store witch hazel" since its alcohol content would dissolve the essential oils more readily. Deep blue Yarrow essential oil is a soothing anti-inflammatory...this sounds wonderful to me. (August 2004)
Lynda Sorenson (a licensed esthetician and certified aromatherapist who uses the oils in her practice) recently wrote:
Nature’s Gift Disclaimer: The statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration). Our products are not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. If a condition persists, please contact your physician or health care provider. The information provided by this website or this company is not a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with a health care provider, and should not be construed as individual medical advice. The testimonials on this website are from individuals and do not guarantee or imply the same results.
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