During refreshment breaks at my events, I like to serve tea and snacks made with scented botanical ingredients. For ‘Plant to Perfume‘ workshops at Glasgow Botanic Gardens, I have a friend make ‘nut balls’ flavoured with my orange essential oil, here is the really simple recipe if you would like to make them:
A List of Carrier Oils (also known as vegetable or base oils) and their Uses (in alphabetical order):
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.
Apricot ~ A very gentle light oil that I like to use with children, and people with sensitive skin.
Avocado ~ Very rich and nourishing but still absorbs well into skin, great for dry & mature skin.
Borage / Star flower ~ a lovely light oil that is particularly good for eczema and those with delicate skin.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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 a ‘roller’ 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.
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?’:
*If you can’t use nut oils due to allergies then I would suggest using organic apricot oil instead.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 Lighthousebed & breakfast in Tytherington, near Frome, Somerset: Tel: 01373 453585 Web: www.lighthouse-uk.com