How to make a Stretch Mark Balm

I made a balm to help with stretch marks this week. I’m 15 weeks pregnant and my tummy is beginning to expand, so this is to help ensure I am not left with stretch mark scars as my body changes. You can use this balm to help avoid stretch marks when gaining or losing weight for what ever reason, including during and after pregnancy. Since my breasts have also increased in size, I will be using it on them until the baby is born. If breast feeding, then only apply at times when there is space between your baby feeding as you don’t want them feeding on the balm, or being put off by it.

Stretch Mark Balm – Recipe for 50g Pot

  • Beeswax, 5g
  • Shea butter, 5g
  • Rosehip oil, 20g
  • Calendula oil*, 20g
  • Essential Oils (optional):
  • Caution: not all essential oils are safe to use in pregnancy, so check any safety advice if you want to tweak the recipe. Also, essential oils should be used at a much lower dose in pregnancy, as they can cross the placenta, so use around 0.25%.  I always imagine I’m choosing oils that will be safe for the baby if I’m making something for someone who is pregnant.
  • *You can replace the calendula oil with something else if you wish for example daisy oil, olive oil, apricot oil, safflower oil or camellia oil. You can also replace the rosehip oil, but this is particularly useful for scars.

Instructions:

  • Weigh out the beeswax and shea butter using the scale and weigh or measure out the base oil.
  • Use a bain marie or double boiler to melt the beeswax (do not heat directly), then add the base oil and continue to gently heat. Add the shea butter at the end so it is not heated longer than necessary. As soon as it’s completely melted remove from the heat.
  • Let it cool a little before adding essential oils, so they are not affected too much by the heat.  If it begins to solidify give the mixture a stir.
  • Pour the mixture into a clean, dry container and leave to cool and set before applying the lid and labelling so you don’t forget what’s inside.
  • The balm should last for 12-18 months, but if it smells rancid, it may have been contaminated and should not be used.

Click here for more details on making a Balm.

You can order a custom made massage balm for pregnancy, stretch marks, scars and many other health & wellbeing conditions here: Bespoke Blends.

How to make Soap, Hot Press Style – Workshop Notes

These notes are designed to follow on from my Soap Making Workshops. If you have not attended a workshop you can still read through the notes, then follow the recipe and instructions to make your own soap. Make sure you follow the recipe exactly, so all the caustic soda/ lye is used up and your soap is safe to use on your skin. Feel free to ask any questions if you’re unsure about anything.

Equipment
• Slow cooker or ‘crock pot’.

• Scales
• Bucket/suitable container for mixing.
• Measuring jugs
• A stick blender (immersion blender)
• Spatula
• Baking parchment paper
• Loaf tin or jelly moulds for soap shapes – silicone moulds are great.
• Optional Extras – essential oils to fragrance and flowers to decorate

Safety
• Wear professional safety equipment, to protect yourself when the sodium hydroxide is used – goggles, gloves and a mask are essential once you begin using the sodium hydroxide.
• Use solid stainless steel or polypropylene for mixing sodium hydroxide in.
• Ensure you are in a well ventilated space so you are not breathing in the fumes from the sodium hydroxide.
• Make the soap at a time where you will not be distracted and there are no children or pets around.
• Use the exact amounts in the recipe to ensure all the sodium hydroxide is used up when the soap is complete and ready to use (see below for how to tweak the recipe)*

Soap Recipe

  • Spring Water – 380g (do not use tap water)
  • Sodium hydroxide (caustic soda/ lye) – 137.40g
  • Olive oil – 650g (do not use pomice olive oil)
  • Shea butter – 80g (for creaminess)
  • Coconut oil (not fractionated) – 270g (for bubbles in your soap)
  • Orange essential oil – 30g
  • Calendula (marigold) petals – hand full.

Instructions
• Prepare the loaf tin or container by lining it with parchment paper – if you are using silicon moulds they won’t need lining.
• Weigh all the ingredients out.

• Put the oils & shea butter in the slow cooker first on a low heat so they gently melt.
• At this point make sure all your safety gear is on and there are no distractions, then in a separate container, add sodium hydroxide (caustic soda/ lye) to water, this causes an exothermic reaction, making the mixture heat up very quickly. Never add water to sodium hydroxide as it will be too concentrated initially and could bubble up. Because of the fumes that are produced, at this point, I often do it outside if there is a safe and suitable space. DO NOT GET THE MIXTURE ONTO YOU!
• Stir the sodium hydroxide and water, initially it appears cloudy, wait for it to become clear and then add it to the oils & shea butter in the slow cooker.
• Use the stick blender to blend everything until it leaves a ‘trace’. This means, when you drip the mixture you can still see the impression it leaves behind in the mixture.

This is the point that you would pour the soap if you were making cold pressed soap.

For hot pressed soap, you leave the mixture in the slow cooker, on a low heat with the lid on for 15-20 minutes.

Set a timer so you remember to return and check the mix.

When you return, the mixture looks like the fat has separated from the liquid. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to mix everything together again, and then leave it for another 15-20 minutes.

When you return this time, the mix looks like vaseline or apple sauce, and will have lots of air through it. Stir everything together again.

The mixture is still very hot so take care.

Turn off the heat on the slow cooker.

• You can now add in the essential oil** and blend  it evenly through the mixture (optional).
• Sprinkle calendula petals into the mixture and stir through evenly (optional) (calendula / marigold petals keep their colour when added to the mix, others usually turn brown).
• Pour into the loaf tin/ soap moulds. Decorate with dried petals (optional).
• Leave for 24 – 48 hours to allow the soap to set before cutting into slices or whatever shapes you want. If you have used silicon moulds pop the soap out.
• The soap is now ready to use.

The Science bit – the ingredients go through a chemical process called saponification to turn into soap. The acid (in this case the oils) mix with the sodium hydroxide. This usually takes between 24-48 hours but the hot process method speeds this up by keeping the mix heated and it is not necessary to cure for weeks, it is usually ready to use in 24 hours. During the saponification process glycerol is released from the fatty acids allowing them to combine with the hydroxide ions creating soap. The release of glycerol results in glycerin in the finished soap.

**Essential oils do not usually hold their therapeutic benefits in the soap making process, but they are a natural way to bring a fragrance to the soap. I usually use citrus or lavender essential oils in mine. Click to check out this interview with Robert Tisserand on what happens to essential oils in soap making.

*Recipe adjustments
If you want to adjust the recipe or design your own, then I recommend using the online tool:  Soap Calc** – this is because each ingredient has it’s own saponification value which means it will need a specific amount of sodium hydroxide in the soap. You can enter your recipe into the tool and it works out for you the correct ratio of ingredients to ensure all the sodium hydroxide is used up during the soap making process. For example if you want to replace the olive oil for apricot oil in the recipe above everything else will need adjusting to make sure the final product is safe for your skin.

Super Fat – if you hear this term, it means there is more fats and oils in the recipe than will be used in the saponification process, which means the final product leaves your skin feeling nourished and moisturised. This recipe has a super fat value, and you should notice that the soap does not dry your skin or leave it feeling stripped.

**Click here to check out this YouTube video on using the tool Soapcalc.

How to make a Lip Balm with Essential Oils

Lip Balm Recipe for 50g of product:

  • beeswax, 8g
  • shea butter, 8g
  • olive oil, 34g
  • essential oil, 3 – 5 drops
  • my favourites are:
    • peppermint (3 drops) – fresh & tingly,
    • orange (2 drops) & benzoin (2 drops) – delicious,
    • myrrh (2 drops) & mandarin (2 drops), healing,
    • spearmint (3 drops) & benzoin (1 drop) – fresh & yummy.

Equipment:

  • bain-marie or double boiler (this means a separate pan to put the butters in, on top of a pan of water, so that the oils are heated very gently by the steam from the water, rather than directly on the heat).
  • scales,
  • stirring spoon or chopstick,
  • lip balm pot or pots.

Instructions:

  • measure out the ingredients first,
  • melt the beeswax and oils in a bain-marie, add the shea butter once everything else is melted together so it doesn’t heat more than necessary.
  • add the essential oils & stir,
  • pour into a pot/pots and allow to set.
  • Secure the lid immediately to capture the volatile essential oils, and check after a while if any moisture collects in the lid, and wipe away with a tissue.

Use:

Tip: Dip your finger into the melting pot to test the consistency of the balm, it will cool and solidify very quickly so you can tell what the final product will be like. Add a little more beeswax to make a harder lip balm, and a little more liquid oil for a softer version.

How to make Soap, Cold Press Style – Workshop Notes

These notes are designed to follow on from my Soap Making Workshops. If you have not attended a workshop you can still read through the notes, then follow the recipe and instructions to make your own soap. Make sure you follow the recipe exactly, so all the caustic soda/ lye is used up and your soap is safe to use on your skin. Feel free to ask any questions if you’re unsure about anything. Please note that using the cold press method means you will have to wait 6 weeks for your soap to be ready to use. Click here for the Hot Press method which means you can use your soap within 48 hours.

Equipment
• Scales
• Bucket
• Measuring jugs
• A stick blender (immersion blender)
• Spatula
• Baking parchment paper.
• Loaf tin or jelly moulds for soap shapes – silicone moulds are great.
• Optional Extras – essential oils and flowers to decorate

Safety
• Wear professional safety equipment, to protect yourself when the sodium hydroxide (caustic soda/ lye)  is used – goggles, gloves and a mask are essential once you begin using the sodium hydroxide.
• Use solid stainless steel or polypropylene for mixing sodium hydroxide in.
• Ensure you are in a well ventilated space so you are not breathing in the fumes from the sodium hydroxide.
• Make the soap at a time where you will not be distracted and there are no children or pets around.
• Use the exact amounts in the recipe to ensure all the sodium hydroxide is used up when the soap is complete and ready to use (see below for how to tweak the recipe)*

Soap Recipe Ingredients (use exact measurements shown):

  • Spring Water – 330g (do not use tap water)
  • Sodium hydroxide (caustic soda/ lye) – 137.40g
  • Olive oil – 650g (do not use pomice olive oil)
  • Shea butter – 80g (for creaminess)
  • Coconut oil (not fractionated) – 270g (for bubbles in your soap)
  • Orange essential oil – 30g
  • Calendula (marigold) petals – hand full.

Instructions:
• Prepare the loaf tin or container by lining it with parchment paper – if you are using silicone moulds they won’t need lining.
• Weigh all the ingredients out.
• Mix the oil and butter ingredients first (melt the coconut & shea butter in a double boiler first, this means a separate pan with the butters in, on top of a pan of water, so that they are heated very gently by the steam from the water, rather than directly on the heat).
• At this point make sure all your safety gear is on and there are no distractions, then add sodium hydroxide to water and stir, this causes an exothermic reaction, making the mixture heat up very quickly. Never add water to sodium hydroxide as it will be too concentrated initially and could bubble up. Because of the fumes that are produced, at this point, I often do it outside if there is a safe and suitable space. DO NOT GET THE MIXTURE ONTO YOU!
• Initially the mix of sodium hydroxide and water is cloudy, wait for about 5 minutes for it to become clear and then combine it with the oils & shea butter.
• Blend with the stick blender to blend everything until it leaves a ‘trace’. This means, when you drip the mixture you can still see the impression it leaves behind in the mixture. Ensure you dunk the blender fully into the mix, so it doesn’t splash anywhere.
• At this point add in the essential oil** and blend a little more (optional).
• Sprinkle calendula petals into the mixture and stir through evenly (optional) (calendula / marigold petals keep their colour when added to the mix, others usually turn brown).
• Pour into the loaf tin/ soap moulds. Decorate with dried flower petals (optional).
• Leave for 24 – 48 hours to allow the soap to set before cutting into slices or whatever shapes you want. If you have used silicone moulds pop the soap out.
• Store the soap in a cool, dark, well ventilated place so it is exposed to the air and wait for 6 weeks before using. Use the Hot Press Soap Making Notes to make a soap that is ready to use in 24 hours.

The Science bit – the ingredients go through a chemical process called saponification to turn into soap. The acid (in this case the oils) mix with the sodium hydroxide. This usually takes between 24-48 hours. During the saponification process glycerol is released from the fatty acids allowing them to combine with the hydroxide ions creating soap. The release of glycerol results in glycerin in the finished soap. The soap is then left for 6 weeks to ‘cure’.

**Essential oils do not usually hold their therapeutic benefits in the soap making process, but they are a natural way to bring a fragrance to the soap. I usually use citrus or lavender essential oils in mine.

*Recipe adjustments:
If you want to adjust the recipe or design your own, then I recommend using the online tool:  Soap Calc*** – this is because each ingredient has its own saponification value which means it will need a specific amount of sodium hydroxide in the soap. You can enter your recipe into the tool and it works out for you the correct ratio of ingredients to ensure all the sodium hydroxide is used up during the soap making process. For example if you want to replace the olive oil for apricot oil in the recipe above, everything else will need adjusting to make sure the final product is safe for your skin.

Super Fat – if you hear this term, it means there is more fats and oils in the recipe than will be used in the saponification process, which means the final product leaves your skin feeling nourished and moisturised. This recipe has a super fat value, and you should notice that the soap does not dry your skin or leave it feeling stripped.

Click here to check my events page to view up and coming workshops, or get in touch to request a new workshop.

***Click here to check out this YouTube video on using the tool Soapcalc.

How to Make Your Own Natural Oil Perfume and Aromatherapy Blend

Here are the notes from my Natural Perfume & Aromatherapy Workshop, for those of you who would like to make your own unique, natural fragrance, but are unable to make the workshop in person.

Introduction – It’s actually very simple to make your own natural perfume as there is no need to use any alcohol, fixers or preservatives, you can just use natural essential oils for the scent, and a nut or seed oil as the base. It really is that simple, and the rest is just play time.

So this workshop/ blog post is really about introducing you to the endless array of possibilities involved in making your own natural perfume and to let you experiment and get confident with the ingredients. There are so many amazing essential oils to choose from and the real beauty is that they actually have a huge array of benefits, way beyond the scent that you create -which in itself can have dramatic effects on the way you feel.

 

How to make your own natural perfume blend

Container ~you can make your perfume blend in any container you like, there are lots of lovely bottles to play with, I’m often searching for old vintage perfume bottles in antique shops, or waiting for friends to finish there branded fragrance so i can use the bottle but I find using a ‘rolette’ bottle (as pictured) is very practical. It comprises of a small glass bottle (10 or 15ml), a roller ball top (that releases a little oil across the skin when you pass it over), and a cap.

Lasting effect ~Natural perfume does not have the same staying power as an alcohol based fragrance, so you can carry these little bottles around in your handbag or pocket and retouch the scent throughout the day.

Recipe – for a 5% blend strength for 10ml bottle

  • 10ml base oil e.g. apricot or jojoba ~you can choose just one or blend as many as you like.
  • 0.5ml essential oils (10 drops) ~you can choose just one or combine as many as you like (see below for how to choose essential oils).

Essential oils are very concentrated and a 5% blend strength should be plenty strong enough. However, if you have sensitive skin or are making a blend for children or someone with fragile skin, then I would drop the percentage to 1% or 2.5% (2 or 5 drops in 10ml).

Instructions

perfume bottles

Measure the quantities of base oil (eg. olive or almond) and pour directly into the bottle, then drop approximately 10 drops of essential oils directly into the bottle, fix the roller ball cap and lid and give it a shake to disperse the oils evenly. If you’re using resinous essential oils like myrrh or benzoin, you will need give the bottle a shake each time you use it as they can sink to the bottom.

Make a label for the bottle so you don’t forget what it contains.

Ingredients

Essential oils and base oils have a multitude of health and wellbeing benefits, so you can either design your perfume with the focus completely on the fragrance you want and then check out the added health benefits, or vice versa: choose oils for their properties and let the scent come together that way.

Choosing Base oils

Apricot oil

I like to use cold pressed vegetable oils as they are more natural with more nutrients but they can have varying degrees of smell to them so I go for something with a light scent so as not to interfere too much with the fragrance. I would recommend almond, apricot or jojoba. You can use ‘refined’ oils which have usually been heat treated to high temperatures to remove the scent, in this case olive oil would be just great.

For help choosing a base oil click here for my webshop.

Choosing your blend

To make your unique fragrance, you need to choose the essential oils you want and the number of drops of each to use. Use some ‘scent tester strips‘ or unscented tissues to put a drop of the oils you like on, and then see how they smell together. To avoid wasting too many drops of precious oils, use separate strips or tissues for each oil you try and write the name of the oil on them, then put the strips together under your nose to see if you like the combination. If you add an oil that you don’t like with the others, you take out the strip, and try something else, rather than have to start again.

Now the play time really takes off, you might find that you put 3 oils together eg. rose, lavender & myrrh, you like the smell of the lavender and rose  but you can’t really smell the myrrh, in this case you could try 2 or 3 drops of myrrh as it is more subtle in scent compared to the others.
It pays to be organised here, so that when you have your perfume ready on the strips, you know which oils you want and how many drops of each to add to the bottle. Depending on your ratio you can go a couple over or a couple under the 10 drops, the drops sizes can vary anyway so it is just a guide.

If you only have one or a few essential oils to play around with, then this is not a disadvantage, start with a couple of your favourites and build from there.

Keep it simple. There are so many possibilities and different essential oils to choose from that it can feel a bit overwhelming, don’t make it complicated. Try using 3 oils to begin with and pick a top, middle & base note, this is a good formula used in perfumery to give a well rounded scent (see my previous blog for details on top middle & base notes). If you start to get confused get some fresh air, and come back to it.

Don’t aim for perfection, the magic of using these natural ingredients means the blend will change with time, different people will pick up different scent notes, and when you wear it on your skin it will unfold throughout the day, so just trust when you’ve put something together that it will be great.

The following blogs will help you to choose which essential oils to put into your fragrance:

The Art of Blending Essential Oils

A List of the most popular Essential Oils, their Uses and Cautions

Blending Essential Oils using Top, Middle and Base Notes.

 

Workshop

If you would like to attend a Natural Perfume Making Workshop in person, or arrange one for a group then click here for further details including up and coming dates.

natural perfume making workshop      IMG_4026

Recipe inspirations and practical uses for the ‘rolette’ bottle:

You can use this exact same principle to make oils for health related purposes that  still smell amazing. I have used the 5% blend strength in the recipes, but if you are using on children, people with a delicate disposition or sensitive skin I would use 2.5% (5 drops in total).

See if you can spot the top, middle & base notes in these examples:

Nail oil ~apply on the skin just before the nails begin to grow, this area supports healthy nail growth, as it is where the new nail is being formed.

nail oil

Nail oil recipe, this for a 5% blend strength (10 drops of essential oil in 10ml base oil).

Ingredients

  • 5ml organic macadamia oil*
  • 5ml organic almond oil*
  • 4 drops of myrrh essential oil (helps to heal dry, hard and cracked skin)
  • 3 drops of rose essential oil (deeply nurturing, nourishing and hydrating)
  • 3 drops of mandarin essential oil (great for the skin and gives the scent a lift)

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

 

Anxiety, stress, panic attacks ~with a soothing, calming blend you can roll across your wrists or even under your nose as a preventative or when you feel symptoms coming on.

Ingredients

  • 10ml organic olive oil
  • 4 drops of neroli essential oil (soothes & calms nervous system)
  • 3 drops of lavender essential oil (relaxing, clearing & calming)
  • 3 drop of frankincense essential oil (supports breathing gently)

Hay fever ~ with a soothing, calming blend you can roll across your chest or even under your nose as a preventative or when you feel symptoms.

Chamomile

Ingredients

  • 10ml organic apricot oil
  • 5 drops of benzoin essential oil (soothing, comforting)
  • 2 drops of chamomile essential oil (anti-allergy, anti-inflammatory, soothing, calming, helps with itching)
  • 3 drop of orange essential oil (to give the scent a lift)

Nausea, morning sickness ~ with a soothing, calming blend you can roll across your wrists, tummy or even under your nose as a preventative or when you feel symptoms. The recipe here is for a 2% blend strength which is suitable in pregnancy, but you can increase it to 5% if it is for perfume use.

Ingredients

  • 10ml organic apricot or olive oil
  • 2 drops of neroli essential oil (soothing, relaxing, calms nervous tension)
  • 1 drops of cardamom essential oil (refreshing, soothing, calming)
  • 1 drop of spearmint essential oil (refreshing, soothes feelings of nausea)

Colds & sinus problems ~with a blend of powerfully clearing respiratory oils you can inhale the blend or roll across your chest & neck, e.g. eucalyptus, peppermint, thyme.

IMG_4499

Ingredients

  • 10ml organic olive oil
  • 4 drops of eucalyptus essential oil (clears respiratory system, very anti-microbial)
  • 2 drops of peppermint essential oil (clearing & calming)
  • 4 drops of thyme essential oil (powerful anti-microbial, clears mucus and great for chesty coughs)

Yarrow Essential Oil and How to make a Balm

FullSizeRender-32

Many people are unaware that yarrow, Achillea millifolium, a common plant growing abundantly in British country side, actually produces a very powerful, useful and rather beautiful essential oil.

It’s an oil that stands out when you see its striking, ink blue colour, which is very unusual for an essential oil. The plant itself is made up of an umbrella of little white flowers, sometimes pink, but during the production of the essential oil a chemical called chamazulene is produced during steam distillation which gives yarrow essential oils its bright blue colour.

Most essential oils come in tinted glass bottles as they are sensitive to light, so it’s rare to see such amazing colours as in the below photo.

IMG_2100
Bright blue yarrow essential oil.

Chamazulene is also the particular component that makes yarrow so useful as it is anti-inflammatory in effect and therefore useful for any condition where inflammation is present, for example:

  • arthritis,
  • allergies,
  • bumps & bruises,
  • breaks,
  • gout,
  • skin rashes,
  • strains & sprains.

Even conditions such as period pain and back ache can be helped by using yarrow because of the presence of inflammation.

Yarrow & Lavender Balm Recipe – for pain and inflammation.

A balm is a very practical method of application for areas of inflammation. I would recommend applying this simple balm, made with yarrow and lavender essential oil, twice daily. Massage in very gentle anti-clockwise circles to the affected area, if the area is too tender to touch, or is an open wound then apply the balm as close to the site as is comfortable.

IMG_2184

Ingredients ~ to make 100 ml pot:

  • 10g beeswax
  • 10g shea butter
  • 80g or ml of base oil, e.g. Olive oil or Almond oil
  • yarrow essential oil – 40 drops (2ml)
  • lavender essential oil – 60 drops (3ml)
  • vitamin E (optional)

Caution ~ yarrow can contain a varying amount of camphor in it, which means it is advisable to avoid with epilepsy, in pregnancy, and could cause sensitisation in ragweed allergy sufferers.

See my blog on ‘How to make a Massage or Body Balm’ for full recipe instructions.

Blue chamomile essential oil, Matricaria recutita (also known as German chamomile) also appears blue in colour, it contains the same anti-inflammatory agent chamazulene and would be suitable for all of the above inflammatory conditions. Click here to purchase this essential oil.

See my blog on Lavender & Chamomile for Hay fever for more details.

How to use Cooling Peppermint Essential Oil for Sun Burn and After Sun Care.

sun burn treatment after sun gelI once had a peppermint bath, ‘once’ being the appropriate word here: it was at a friends house and there was a bottle of bubble bath in her bathroom that had peppermint essential oil listed as an ingredient, happy to have found an essential oil bubble bath, I poured some in and lay down into the bubbles. A very strange sensation then came over me. My skin was cool and tingling, even though the water was hot. It felt really weird, a bit unpleasant and I haven’t used peppermint essential oil in a bath blend since.

However, this cooling effect of peppermint essential oil is extremely useful in many other circumstances, it’s refreshing in tooth pastes, and tingling in lip balms but it really stands out as an effective ingredient in aftersun lotion and for treating sun burn.

This is a simple recipe for a very effective, cooling gel for sun burn. It is blended with lavender, which is very effective for treating serious burns and pain relieving (it is actually used in hospital burns units), as well as German chamomile which has a powerful anti-inflammatory action. These three essential oils blended in a base of aloe vera gel which is hydrating, soothing & helps heal wounds, make for a powerful treatment for sunburn.

After Sun & Sun Burn Gel (2.5% blend strength)

peppermint essential oil for sun burn and after sun

Ingredients:

50ml aloe vera gel

5 drops peppermint essential oil*

15 drops lavender essential oil

5 drops German/blue chamomile essential oil – you can leave this out if it’s just for after-sun, and replace it with Roman chamomile essential oil which is more gentle, the scent is more pleasing and less intense.

Instructions: mix them all together and apply to the affected area.

Cooling Foot Gel

That cooling sensation is also really welcome for tired & weary feet,  you can use the same recipe above as a cooling foot gel.

Refreshing Shower Gel

For a cool, refreshing shower, just add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to your shower gel – see my blog: Blending everyday products with Essential Oils for how many drops to use.

It’s also a great digestive essential oil but I will talk about that in another post… in the mean time enjoy the cooling effects of peppermint oil.

*Caution ~ Do not use peppermint essential oil if you have cardiac fibrillation. Maximum blend strength 3%. Avoid use with babies.

You may also like to read A Pot of Fresh Mint Tea with the benefits of Essential Oils and Soothing Chamomile for Skin Conditions.

How to use Essential Oils on Holiday

essential oils on holidayInspired by the sprinkling of sunshine over the UK this week, it’s time to share some summertime essential oils, essential for taking on holiday.

Essential oils come in very small bottles so they are a practical addition to your luggage, even if you’re only taking cabin bags. However, it’s still worth considering which are the most useful ones to take with you, so this blog is to help you weedle it down to just a few essentials that will come in most handy.

The main issues or symptoms that are commonly experienced when travelling are: around the journey itself; skin care; insects and first aid, so here I have listed some specific symptoms, some appropriate essential oils and simple, practical ways to use them.

essential oils on holiday

TRAVEL

Travel sickness -cardamom, spearmint, chamomile (roman*)

Jetlag – peppermint, lavender

Anxiety (fear of flying) – neroli, lavender

How to use – make a blend in a ‘rolette’ bottle (see how below) to roll across your wrists and tummy, or sprinkle a couple of drops on a tissue to keep in a pocket or in your bag and gently breathe in as a preventative measure or at the time of feeling the symptoms.

SKIN CARE

After sun skin care – lavender, palmarosa, chamomile (roman*)

Sun burn – lavender, chamomile (german/blue*), peppermint

How to use – blend in a base of aloe vera gel or add to your aftersun lotion, see my previous blog for Blending every day products – how many drops should I use?

INSECTS

Insect repellent – lemongrass, citronella, geranium, lavender or tea tree -use one or a combination of those you like the most.

How to use – blend in a base of aloe vera gel, add to your aftersun lotion, (see my previous blog for How many drops should I use?) or make a blend in a rolette bottle (see how below). Some of these essential oils combined would double as a perfume – I like geranium, lavender & lemongrass.

Insect bites – chamomile (german/blue*), lavender

How to use – apply directly to the affected area or as a blend in a ‘rolette’ bottle (see how below).

FIRST AID – Lavender

If you only take one essential oil on holiday make it lavender, it’s the most useful essential oil for most minor first aid situations.

It’s antiseptic, anti microbial & cleansing so ideal for first aid, it is particularly effective on burns, so great for skin care and after sun, it’s ‘insecticidal’ so will deter insects and is very relaxing and calming so it helps with easing travel sickness and tension.

It’s also nice to sprinkle a little in hotel rooms if they don’t smell lovely, especially on the pillow.

For more details on how to use lavender essential oil, see my previous blog on ‘Lavender, Essential First Aid’ .

rolette bottle

Rolette Bottles – here’s how to prepare a rolette bottle:

Using a ‘rolette’ bottle (as pictured) is very practical as you can keep it in a pocket or handbag and it is easy to use. It comprises of a small glass bottle (10 or 15ml), a roller ball top (that releases a little oil across the skin when you pass it over), and a cap.

Instructions

Fill the bottle with a base oil eg. olive oil, then drop appropriate essential oils directly into the bottle, if you have a 10ml bottle, then you will need between 2 and 10 drops of essential oil, see my previous blog for more details on How many drops should I use? Fix the roller ball cap and lid and give it a shake to disperse the oils evenly.  Make a label for the bottle so you don’t forget what it contains.

chamomile & blends

Holiday tip: Rather than take bottles of essential oils you could prepare the blends that you are likely to need in rolette bottles and take these with you instead.

* Chamomile roman or blue/german – There are two types of chamomile essential oil: roman chamomile is more gentle, and german/blue chamomile, which is deep blue in colour, is more powerfully anti-inflammatory in action. I have recommended the german/blue chamomile for sunburn and insect bites, but the roman chamomile is also suitable in each instance.

Click here to order bespoke blends of essential oils ready made for your holiday requirements.

Travel Tips: here’s a blog to help you in general with how to pack your suitcase: ‘Travel Suitcase – What to Pack?

How to make a Massage or Body Balm

A balm is a great way to use essential oils on the skin, it’s simple to make, easy to apply and feels lovely. It can also be used in a variety of ways, I have included recipes for ‘chest’, ‘pain’, ‘cleansing’ and ‘beauty’  balms below but you can tailor the essential oils in the recipe to suit you personally, (see my webshop for tips on essential oil properties and uses for help choosing).

The following recipe makes a good consistency for general use.  It is fairly soft, so ideal for massaging into the skin on your face and body as a nourishing treatment and as a massage balm to lubricate the skin and nourish during massage.

Recipe for a basic Balm – to make 100g  (for 2 x 50ml pots).

  • 10g Beeswax
  • 10g Shea butter
  • 80g or ml of base oil, e.g. Olive oil or Almond oil
  • Essential oil(s) of your choice (up to 2.5ml, see below for inspirations and how many drops to use)
  • Vitamin E, 5 drops (optional)

About the ingredients:

As well giving the balm it’s consistency, beeswax gives a protective and nourishing feel.  Shea butter gives it a creamy smoothness. And then there are the base oils, I usually use almond, apricot or olive oil, which all give it a lovely nourishing feel, but feel free to substitute with what ever you have handy or to experiment with various types, (see my shop for carrier oil properties & uses for help choosing). Vitamin E is a natural preservative so will help your balm last longer (approx.18 months), I use a soy (GMO free) derived version.

You can buy most of the ingredients from myself, except for the beeswax, which I buy from local bee keepers or honey sellers. I would recommend buying the beeswax in pellet form or sheets, as it’s easier to manage, solid blocks are difficult to break up and get the correct amount.

You can adjust the ingredients to suit you as you wish, if you want it softer (for a cleansing balm*), use less beeswax (5g), and if you want it harder (for a lip balm) then use more beeswax (15-20g).

Equipment

  • Scales
  • Measuring jug
  • Bain marie (a sauce pan for heating water with another pan on top so ingredients are heated gently by the steam to avoid heating ingredients directly).
  • Pots (2 x 50ml glass jars)
  • Chopstick for stirring and blending

Instructions

  • Sterilise the pots by putting boiling water in them for a few minutes, then empty and ensure they are completely dry. This is important as the balm can go rancid if mixed with water.
  • Weigh out the beeswax and shea butter using the scale and weigh or measure out the base oil.
  • Use a bain marie to melt the bees wax and shea butter, then add the base oil.  As soon as it’s completely melted remove from the heat.
  • Let it cool a little before adding essential oils and vitamin e, so they are not affected by the heat.  If it begins to solidify give the mixture a stir.
  • Pour the mixture into the containers and leave to cool and set.
  • TIP: I often pour the mix into the jars before adding essential oils, so I can make each pot a different flavour. Decide on which oils  and how many drops to add in advance, as the mix will solidify quickly once in the pots.

Useful Balm Recipes:

Here are some recipes for common uses,  just use the balm recipe above and add the following essential oils.

Chest Balm (to add to the 100ml balm recipe above) this recipe is not suitable in pregnancy, get in touch for a more gentle option.

  • 2.5% blend strength for application to chest to support colds, coughs and chest infections.
  • Thyme – 10 drops (0.5ml)
  • Eucaplyptus – 10 drops (0.5ml)
  • Lavender or Spike Lavender – 10 drops (0.5ml)
  • Myrrh – 20 drops (1ml)

Pain & Inflammation Balm (to add to the 100ml balm recipe above)

  • 2% blend strength for use on specific effected areas.
  • Chamomile (german) – 20 drops (1ml)
  • Lavender or Lavandin – 20 drops (1ml)

Cleansing Balm (to add to the 100ml balm recipe above)

  • 0.5% blend strength for use on the face
  • Lavender – 5 drops (0.25ml)
  • Lemon – 5 drops (0.25ml)

You can use this balm to cleanse your face, remove makeup and grime, just rinse with warm water or a warm cloth afterwards and your skin will be left feeling silky soft.

Beauty Balm (to add to the 100ml balm recipe above)

Use at 2.5% blend strength for stretch marks and scars, and 0.5% to use as a night time nourishing facial treatment.

  • Rose – 10 drops (2.5%) or 2 drops (0.5%)
  • Myrrh- 20 drops (2.5%) or 4 drops (0.5%)
  • Lavender- 20 drops (2.5%) or 4 drops (0.5%)

You can pick as many or as few oils as you like, but just ensure the total blend strength is appropriate (see blend strength charts below).

How much essential oil to use

1% Delicate blend strength (for face, damaged, sensitive skin & children)
Amount of base product No. of drops of essential oil to add
10ml 2
30ml 6
50ml 10
100ml 20
2.5% General blend strength
Amount of base product No. of drops of essential oil to add
10ml 5
30ml 15
50ml 25
100ml 50

*Coconut oil is also useful for a cleansing balm as it’s very greasy and lifts dirt and grime gently from your skin, it’s great to use on its own for removing eye make-up.

Essential Oils on Film

Sorry film footage is no longer available to view, hope to update soon…

‘Sunday Brunch’ Channel 4 TV show appearance, Sunday 2nd November, 2014.

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On live TV, sharing with presenters, Tim Lovejoy and Simon Rimmer, some useful information about using essential oils including:

How essential oils are made by steam distillation:

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How herb & spice oils support digestion,

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Why it’s important to enjoy the scent,

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Why rose essential oil is so expensive and how wintergreen essential oil is great for helping muscles to relax.