Face Oil Beauty Rituals

This week I tweaked my beauty ritual and have started to use just pure, organic, cold pressed seed oils on my face and I’m so surprised at how amazing my skin feels – I can’t stop touching it.

In the morning, after a bath or shower, I apply a few drops of raspberry seed oil to my face and neck. It smells a little like cucumber which I find fresh and pleasing and it sinks straight in -there is no shine or oily-ness left behind and my skin still feels so soft and silky, even at the end of the day. I haven’t even wanted to put foundation on my skin afterwards because it feels too good.

In the evenings I’ve been using black currant seed oil (after cleansing with a little coconut oil and a few drops of lavender and water in the basin). The scent is just like black currants, which is unusual for the seed oil to smell like the fruit, but very delicious.

I’m feeling so precious when I spend this time nurturing my skin and appreciating it when I touch my face throughout the day. It has made me consider how many more daily acts of self care there are that I can bring a deeper awareness, appreciation and simplicity to. Things like washing my hands, dressingpreparing a meal – there can be so much joy in it.

Do you have a daily self care task that becomes a precious moment because you cherish yourself as you do it?

There are many other nourishing oils that can be used as a face oil, including jojoba, apricot and sea buckthorn, click here to see the full range available from Essential Oils and You. Alternatively you can get in touch to request a Bespoke Blend of oils designed especially for you.

For more tips and inspiration on Self Care click here.

A List of Carrier Oils and their Uses

A List of Carrier Oils (also known as vegetable or base oils) and their Uses (in alphabetical order):

base oil vegetable oil massage oil

Carrier oils,  also known as base oils or vegetable oils, are a great medium to use to blend essential oils with since they have their own nourishing properties. They can be used on their own for massage and in the bath, and are essential ingredients in skin care products. Essential oils should always be diluted before use on skin*.

To help you choose which base oils to use, here is a list with some of their most useful properties.

Almond ~ a great general use oil, not too rich or light, and full of nutrients. Caution – avoid with nut allergies.

almond

Apricot ~ A very gentle light oil that I like to use with children, and people with sensitive skin.

Apricot oil

Avocado ~ Very rich and nourishing but still absorbs well into skin, great for dry & mature skin.

Avocado oil

Borage / Star flower ~ a lovely light oil that is particularly good for eczema and those with delicate skin.

borage star flower

Calendula / Marigold oil (marigold flowers macerated in olive oil) ~ if I could only use one base oil then this would be it, the olive oil is rich and full of nutrients and further enhanced with the healing properties of calendula flowers, great for all skin types, especially useful for problem or damaged skin. Watch out for my new blog on how to make your own ~ coming soon!

marigold flowers

Coconut ~ I love this oil as it is so versatile, it is great for skin, hair, and even in food. It is solid at room temperature, but very easily melts in warm hands, if it’s a hot day, or you live in a tropical country, it is likely to melt and be in a liquid state. It has a very greasy feel to it, which makes it perfect for use as a cleanser as it easily removes dirt, grime, and makeup. It’s particularly good for removing eye makeup as it’s so greasy, so there is no pull on the delicate skin around the eyes. If you don’t like the strong smell of coconut, you can choose a deodorised version.

coconut oil

Macadamia ~ Very rich and nourishing but still absorbs well into skin, great for dry skin. If you buy the un-refined version the smell is incredibly delicious. Caution – avoid with nut allergies.

macadamia nut oil

Rosehip ~ this is the best oil I know for helping to heal scars and improving their appearance, a great oil to enrich any blend for skin care.

rosehip

Sea buckthorn ~ I’ve been experimenting with this oil recently on my face, on its own as a night oil and as an ingredient in my creams. It really makes the skin glow and feels lovely.

For more details on carrier oils (including jojoba, blackcurrant seed, raspberry seed & sea buckthorn oil) CLICK HERE to see the range of oils supplied here with details on their uses and properties.

For more help choosing base oils, see my blog on ‘What quality of base oils to choose‘.

This list will continue to expand, if there are any oils that do not yet appear or that you would like more details on, please contact me or make a ‘comment’ and I will add them.

*It is generally accepted that lavender and tea tree essential oils are safe to use neat on skin.

How to Choose Quality Carrier Oils

Screenshot 2015-06-21 09.30.02

What to consider when choosing and buying carrier oils:

rose gold oil

Carrier oils or base oils are very different to essential oils, they are fatty, usually made from nuts, seeds & fruits of plants and work well as a base to dilute essential oils in. They have many nourishing and nutritional properties in their own right and can be used on the skin with out essential oils, e.g. as a massage, bath or cleansing oil. They are also particularly enjoyable drizzled on salads, and incorporated into foods. Olive oil is a great example, and it is one that I often use in my blends as it’s so nourishing.

cold pressed

I usually use cold pressed, un-refined base oils, which means that they are mechanically pressed (literally squashed) from the seed, fruit or nut of the plant, and undergo no further treatment. Many oils, especially in skin care products, can be refined to remove any scent, sediments, colours or individualities that they naturally contain -usually because manufacturers want to make each product and batch identical, which is not the way nature works -scents, colours and nutritional values can vary from harvest to harvest, and from various locations depending on environmental factors and production methods. Oils are often heat treated to deodorise them which destroys many if not all of the nutrients.

I much prefer oils in their natural cold pressed state as you get so much more out of them. They are usually left with a light nutty or seedy scent, which I really enjoy, but note that it can have an impact on the smell of your blend, especially things like macadamia nut or coconut oil which have very familiar scents which could overpower the smell of any essential oils you are using. So, there are occasions when you might prefer to use a deodorised version.

organic

I also prefer to use organic oils, although lately I have noticed a huge lack of integrity around organic products and especially the use of the word organic.  Growing something organically works in harmony with nature and considers the impact it has on the environment. Unfortunately there are many loops to jump through to become certified and often that is just not practical or possible for many small businesses who can often feel much more caring and passionate about their products than big corporations who have no problem ticking the organic boxes.

As with everything, there are many factors to consider and there is no right or wrong, only to allow yourself the space to choose what feels right for you, and be aware that it can change all the time.

Check out for my blog: A list of Carrier Oils & their Uses , covering a range of popular base oils and their benefits…

Apricot oil

How to Use Essential Oils in Hand and Nail Care

How to take care of your hands and nails with essential oils and carrier oils and make your own nurturing nail oil.

I had the most divine manicure and pedicure recently with Shami Duffy from ‘Beauty With Shami‘. I’ve only had two in my life, and the other was with my 6 year old niece, both left me smiling every time I looked at my nails, which is quite often with regards to the ones on my fingers, and so a constant reminder of the really gorgeous time spent together.

I had spoken with Shami about 3 months previously about using vegetable oils and essential oils on the nails as they can be very nourishing and support healthy nails.  It was very inspiring as I had never really considered using oils on my nails, although I had always recommended almond oil to people if they wanted to use something, I hadn’t actually used oils for that purpose myself. I always cut my nails down to the absolute minimum since I had had eczema in the past and wanted to avoid scratch damage, it was also recommended to keep them short when I was studying massage. So, when Shami mentioned how much more delicate you naturally became with longer nails, I decided to experiment and grow my nails a little.  I became much more aware when using my fingers in various ways, for example, shutting doors, lifting things, opening cans etc., and I became more delicate in the way I did these things, which really felt gorgeous.  If I was rough with my hands then it would be more obvious and show me I wasn’t being so delicate, I flipped my nails back a few times which really stopped me in my tracks.

Be delicate, tender and gentle with your hands.
During the treatment she used a gentle exfoliating cream, using palm grains, which are very fine, so there was no rough feeling on the skin.  My hands looked stunningly bright afterwards (I will post a recipe shortly…).  She then used a massage cream with arnica, lavender and chamomile in to massage my hands and feet, completely divine.  Next was a heat treatment which involved painting my hands and feet with a blend of melted beeswax and macadamia oil with a few drops of frankincense essential oil, which quickly solidified and was left on with some heated socks and mitts for intensive moisturising.  At this point I was so relaxed I was almost sleeping. When the masks were removed she painted my nails and I had the most amazing feeling hands and feet.

Nail oil

Just before I left, she applied a blend of macadamia oil with a few drops of rose essential oil, around the nails and on the skin just before the nails begin to grow. Applying it to this area supports healthy nail growth, as this is where the new nail is being formed.

It is very simple to make your own up and I use something called a ‘roulette’ bottle to dispense the oil, which works in the same way as a roll on deodorant.  It comprises of a small glass bottle, a roller ball top (that releases a little oil across the skin when you pass it over), and a cap.

rolette parts

They usually come in 10ml bottles, and the recipe below is for a 2.5% blend strength, but you can adjust the recipe if needed using the charts on my previous blog post ‘How many drops should I use?’:

Ingredients

5ml organic macadamia oil*

5ml organic almond oil*

2 drops of myrrh essential oil (helps to heal dry, hard and cracked skin)

2 drops of rose essential oil (deeply nurturing, nourishing and hydrating)

1 drop of orange essential oil (to give the scent a lift)

*If you can’t use nut oils due to allergies then I would suggest using organic apricot oil instead.

Instructions

Measure the quantities of base oil (macadamia and almond) and pour directly into the bottle, then drop essential oils directly into the bottle, fix the roller ball cap and lid and give it a shake to disperse the oils evenly.  Myrrh is quite thick and gloopy, so you may see the drop of oil sink to the bottom, so you will need to shake it well to ensure it has mixed through. Roll the oil just under the nails each day, and enjoy. Ensure you put a label on the bottle so you don’t forget what it contains.

Ingredients to make your own nail oil blend are available to order from my webshop or Click here if you would like to order a ready made nurturing nail oil blend.

Beauty With Shami

Shami Duffy works in Frome, Somerset, and you can contact her using the following email address if you would like to book a session for your hands and feet: beautywithshami@gmail.com

It is a truly nurturing experience, and well worth making the trip, so if you’re not local then I can recommend staying  at the Lighthouse bed & breakfast in Tytherington, near Frome, Somerset: Tel: 01373 453585 Web: www.lighthouse-uk.com

How To Make Your Own Natural Face and Body Cream

rose creams

Below are the notes from one of the workshops I regularly run, with instruction on how to make your own completely natural face and body cream, with out any chemicals, emulsifiers or preservatives. Please ask any questions as these notes are designed to go with a practical session, but they should be clear enough for you to re-create your own version of this yummy cream yourself…

Organic Face and Body Cream, Workshop Notes

Introduction

During the workshop we will go through the process together of making your own completely  organic, natural face and body cream, without using any chemicals, emulsifiers or preservatives.

cream 3

When the cream is ready, and you have your own pot to take away, you can choose to mix in essential oils or not, and if so, you can choose one or a few different essential oils to mix in, and a blend strength that suits its intended use (up to 1% for the face, and up to 5% for the body). See blend strength chart in my previous blog for more details.

If you decide to make your own cream after the workshop, then you can follow the recipe used, but you may like to vary the ingredients a little according to your skin type, or to get a specific effect.

Just be aware that you need to keep the ratios of different types of products the same -so keep the amount of water, oil, butter and wax products used the same.  There is room for a little variation here, you just need to be aware that if you use more water products, the cream will have a thinner consistency, and if you use more solids then it will be thicker in consistency, so you can tailor this to your desire too.

The recipe we will use is for a simple cream involving no chemical emulsifier.  Most cosmetic creams will use an emulsifier of some kind -usually emulsifying wax.  This is because to make a cream, you need to mix oil and water together, two substances that don’t like to mix with each other.  An emulsifier kind of thickens the two and makes them like each other.  They are made from chemicals, and cannot be natural or organic. So this recipe is a little tricky, as it involves mixing the ingredients carefully so they don’t split.  But, with patience and care, it is possible (it is in fact similar to how mayonnaise is made).  You will need to use a fairly good blender, whereas with an emulsifying wax you can usually just whisk the ingredients. The recipe does include beeswax, and this has some naturally emulsifying properties which helps the process.

Ingredients:

  • 200g Floral Waters/ Herbal Infusions –  or blend of both.
  • 70g Butters/ Wax – I like to use 35g of Shea Butter & 35g of Coconut Oil.
  • 130g Base/Carier/Vegetable Oil – I use a blend of different oils including Olive, Apricot, Avocado, Macadamia, Rosehip (see my range of carrier oils for inspiration).
  • 10g beeswax

Optional Extras

About the ingredients:

Waters:

Floral waters

There are 2 versions of floral water, you can use the water that is produced during distillation of an essential oil, or you can use a handmade version, which is spring water mixed with an essential oil, left for a week or 2 and shaken intermittently, and then filtered.  They are similar in action to essential oils but much gentler. Rose water is available to buy from my webshop.

Infusions

An infusion is just like making a cup of herbal tea (a proper cup of herbal tea that is not made from a dried up old bag of dust).  You place your choice of herbs in a tea pot (or cup) and pour boiling water over the herbs (make sure the water is ‘spring water’ and not from the tap to avoid contaminating the cream).  One heaped teaspoon (double the amount if using fresh material rather than dried) to 175ml of water is a standard therapeutic infusion. If using a cup, make sure you cover it to keep the volatile oils from escaping with the steam. Leave to steep for 10 minutes, and strain before use (any little bits of plant material will contaminate the cream).

Oils:

Carrier Oils (base oils)

These are cold pressed from the fruit nut or seed of a plant, for example olive (fruit), almond (nut) or sunflower (seed).  Make sure you use good quality oil that has not been refined, as the refinement process will have destroyed many of the nutritious qualities of the oil.

These are some of my favourite base oils to use on the face:

  • Avocado ~ rich, nourishing, hydrating.
  • Rosehip ~ one of the best base oils for helping scars to heal.
  • Apricot ~ gentle & suitable for all skin types.
  • Macadamia ~ rich, nourishing –has a gorgeous nutty scent.

Macerated oils

An infused oil is carrier oil that has been ‘infused’ with the goodness of a herb or flower for example marigold/calendula or St. Johns wort. Generally the plant material is immersed into a carrier oil e.g. olive or almond oil, and either left naturally to heat in the sun over a period of weeks, or heated gently in a bain-marie for a couple of hours.  The oil absorbs many of the plants properties and the leached plant material is strained out of the oil.

Butters

Again, these have been cold pressed from part of the plant, and include Cocoa, Coconut, Mango, and Shea.  They are solid at room temperature, and bring a creamy effect to the product and have a nourishing effect on the skin, usually high in vitamins and fatty acids.

Beeswax

This is what helps the cream to emulsify, try to find a good quality and trustworthy source.  It is also an emollient, very soothing and protecting for the skin.

Vitamin E – optional

This is a great natural preservative.

Essential oils – optional

Essential oils are normally steam distilled from various parts of plants such as flower, leaves, fruit, roots and bark. With citrus oils it is usually just pressed from the peel, and for some delicate plant material (usually flowers and blossoms) will use a solvent to gently extract the oil.  They have a strong scent to them, so are a lovely way to personalise your blend, but also have very potent healing properties that affect the body on a physical level as well as the way we feel.  Even though the cream is complete on its own, the essential oils will bring another dimension to the effect.

These are some of my favourite essential oils to use on the face:

  • Rose ~ hydrating, nourishing and deeply nurturing.
  • Lavender ~ cleansing, clearing, gentle, antimicrobial (see my blog post on Lavender for more details).
  • Benzoin ~ protective.
  • Chamomile (Roman chamomile)~ soothing, calming, delicate, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergy, (see my blog post on chamomile for more details).
  • Myrrh ~ deeply healing, great for scars.
  • Mandarin ~ gentle, toning, light.
  • Geranium ~ balancing, feminine, supports hormones.
  • Neroli (orange blossom) ~ calming, gentle, soothing.

See my webshop for more essential oils that you may like to use.

Equipment

  • Scales
  • Bain marie/ double boiler
  • Measuring jug
  • A decent blender
  • Spatula
  • Pots or containers for finished product -make sure they are cleaned and sterilised by rinsing with some boiling water, and completely dry.

Instructions

Prepare the ingredient first, measure and weigh the amounts so they are ready to add in at the appropriate moment.

ingredients for cream

Melt all the solid oil base products by gently heating them in a bain marie or double boiler.  Then add the liquid oil products to this, you may need to heat it through a little more, as the cool liquids can cause the mixture to begin solidifying again.

When they are completely melted pour this mixture into a blender and let it cool down for a few minutes.  The melted mixture should become a little opaque in colour, but not to the point that it is beginning to solidify, see it has a buttery appearance:

buttery blending

Put the blender on a low setting and add just a little of the water based products at a time. You will see it become milky in appearance:

Milky blending

and eventually thickens to a cream:

Creamed

Take your time when adding the water and blending, as adding too much water initially will make it difficult to emulsify and it will be more likely to split.  If the cream splatters up the sides of the blender, use the spatula to get all the mixture in the bottom each time you add more water, so the entire mixture is evenly blended.

If you decide to add Vitamin E and essential oils to the cream, do this at the very end as you do not want to expose them to heat.  Pour the mixture into some little pots or jars.  Ensure they are clean and dry –I usually pour some boiling water into them to sterilize them first and then dry them.  Pour the cream as soon as it’s ready, as it will become thicker as it cools, and more difficult to get out.

As in the workshop, you can add essential oils at this point too–if you have several containers and you want to create different blends for each one, then it’s ideal.  I find it quite practical to use a chop stick to stir them through.

pot of cream

Shelf Life

Because this cream is very natural and does not contain chemicals or preservatives, it is likely to only last 2-3months.  I would recommend keeping it in a cool dark cupboard or in the fridge if you can.  It will usually only go off if it becomes contaminated somehow and this can often be due to bacteria in the water based ingredients.  Make sure you don’t use any water from the tap if making an infusion, use spring water. Ensure all equipment being used is sterilised.

Using your cream

Having made the cream from scratch, and knowing all the wonderful ingredients that go into it, it can help me to be a little more focused on my skin care routine, to be more appreciative of this time with myself.  It’s particularly lovely to massage gently around the jaw, and to take this time to let go of any tension held in this area.  In doing this I become more aware of the tension held in other areas in the face –including cheeks and eyes!  I also use the cream on my neck across the top of my chest, massaging just under the collar bones which delicately allows me to become more open around the chest area, I can feel the difference in my whole body especially my posture, when I do this. Basically, just enjoy and appreciate using it on any part of your body.

Here are some ingredient variations for inspiration when designing your own versions:

Rich, hydrating and nourishing, for dry and mature skin

  • Rose floral water
  • Avocado, macadamia
  • Coconut, shea
  • Rose, frankincense, myrrh

Gentle and soothing, for sensitive skin

  • Neroli floral water, chamomile infusion
  • Apricot, camellia oil
  • Coconut
  • Neroli, Chamomile, Mandarin

Eczema, delicate itchy and damaged skin

  • Lavender floral water, chamomile infusion
  • Evening Primrose, starflower/borage oil
  • Coconut oil, shea butter
  • Chamomile, lavender, benzoin

Light and balancing for young, oily, combination skin

  • Geranium floral water
  • Grape seed, apricot oil
  • Coconut oil, shea butter
  • Geranium, lemon

Creams for Sale

I make versions of these natural face and body creams at regular intervals, so if you would like to buy one CLICK HERE to view the bespoke products on the webshop.

Feel free to request specific ingredients, or preferred effects (eg. very hydrating or very gentle) as I am more than happy to design it to your requirements.