How to make a Room Spray with Essential Oils.

A very simple recipe for making a Room Spray using essential oils. Not only will using essential oils give your room an amazing botanical scent, it will also sanitise the atmosphere – all essential oils have an anti-microbial action to varying degrees, so this spray will really support you in your environment.

Recipe for 100ml

  • 99ml Distilled Water or Hydrolat/Floral Water – I prefer floral waters as they will have their own scent already and a slightly better shelf life depending on the quality of your source but are more expensive than just distilled water). Click here for a range of  Flower Waters by Essential Oils & You.
  • Half a Tea spoon of Emulsifier, this could be vegetable glycerin or castille soap (Mystic Moments sell organic versions of these) – this ingredient is essential to make the essential oil mix with the water, otherwise it will stay separated, floating on the top of the water and most likely go off within a few weeks.
  • 1ml Essential Oil(s) (30 drops approximately) – you can use one essential oil or a blend of several – see suggestions below*

Instructions: Mix all the ingredients into a spray bottle and shake well. Label and date the bottle so you don’t forget what it contains and allow around 6 months shelf life.

You can purchase a spray bottle from Baldwins: www.baldwins.co.uk – Alternatively, if you have purchased the flower water from my webshop, it will come in a glass spray bottle and you can just add the emulsifier and essential oils to that.

Use: Shake before use and spritz around the room as you feel to…

*Below are my suggestions for some essential oil blends to inspire you. If you would like to choose your own then check out my blog: A List of the most popular Essential Oils, their Uses and Cautions for more ideas. You can use one oil or blend as many as you like, but keep the total quantity in the recipe to 1ml (approx. 30 drops).

  • Citrus Sparkle – cleansing and invigorating
    • Lemongrass 10 drops
    • May Chang 10 drops
    • Lemon 10 drops
  • Herbalicious – cleansing and strongly anti-microbial
    • Rosemary 10 drops
    • Thyme 10 drops
    • Lavender 10 drops
  • Clean Green – cleansing and refreshing
    • Pine 10 drops
    • Eucalyptus 10 drops
    • Lime 10 drops
  • Sweet Harmony – cleansing and balancing
    • Geranium 10 drops
    • Orange 10 drops
    • Cardamom 10 drops

Click here to see the full range of essential oils on the webshop – use the voucher code ‘CHERISH’ at the check out for £5.00 off your purchase.

How to make Macerated Oils and Plant Infusions.

Macerating or infusing plant material in oil is a great way to capture the scent and/or medicinal qualities of a plant.

Calendula (marigold) petals & a few red rose petals infusing in apricot oil.

Infused oils can be made from many flowers and herbs, you can either grow your own, pick wild, or buy from a trusted supplier – the time of year and season is likely to play a part in your choice here. I always recommend using an organic, food grade source if you’re buying plant material, or be sure if you’re harvesting your own, that the plants have not been sprayed with chemicals. See some options for different plants to experiment with and suppliers  are listed below.

An infused oil is quite different from an essential oil which is made by steam distillation or solvent extractionThese methods require a huge amount of plant material, specialist equipment and are usually very expensive. Maceration is a much more practical way to make small amounts of scented oil or oils with plant medicinal properties when you don’t have vast fields of land to grow on. It is also a ready to use product that does not need diluting before using on the skin as with an essential oil.

The process of maceration involves leaving plant material in a carrier oil (e.g. almond oil) for a period of time until the oil takes on the scent or the quality of the plant. Have you ever had butter in your fridge, and an onion, and the butter ends up smelling of onion? The fat/oil naturally absorbs those fragrant molecules and others too.

Here are the details for making a maceration:

Ingredients:

  • Plant material – dried (see below for options)*
  • Base Oil – eg. olive or sunflower oil. Choose something that has little or no scent if you want to capture the scent of a flower. I like apricot or jojoba for this and they already feel lovely on the skin If you’re using a plant for its medicinal properties such as daisy or calendula, then the base oil doesn’t necessarily have to be without scent, you could use olive oil. Also, something cheap and refined is fine, as you will be enriching it with the plant. For more details on base oils see: A List of Carrier Oils and Base Products, their Uses and Qualities.

Equipment:

  • Container (Glass Jar with air tight lid).
  • Muslin Cloth, or fine sieve.
  • Label.
  • Option: Bain maire or double boiler (for the heated method outlined below).
Drying rose petals.

Instructions:
The slow method: If you’re buying dried plant material then it’s ready to use. If you’re picking your own, make sure you do so when the flowers/leaves are dry and there hasn’t been any rain for a few days preferably. You want to avoid any moisture getting into your mix at all costs as this can contaminate it.

Once you’ve harvested your flowers/herbs lay them out to dry. Avoid putting them in the light or sun, you can purchase an ‘air dryer’ or lay them on a tray and keep in an airing cupboard. An afternoon should be enough to lose the water in the petals, although I sometimes leave my air dryer out for days and the scent in my home is heavenly.

Collect the petals/leaves carefully and put them in the jar, you will naturally leave behind little bits of dust or grit as you pick them up, and there might be some you want to discard, any creepy crawlies should have crawled away by then.

Dried lawn daisies in a glass jar, ready for the base oil (sunflower) to be poured over…

Fill the jar to the top with the dry plant material, and then pour in the carrier oil. If you don’t have enough plants to fill the jar, use a smaller one, you want to just cover them with oil, and not leave any space for air. Check after a few hours to see if the jar needs topping up with oil, as the plants will start absorbing oil and may sink down into the jar, or any air trapped will have risen to the top and made space.

Seal the lid tightly and leave for 3-6 weeks in a warm cupboard, away from light or sunshine (airing cupboard is perfect), shake the jar every now and then, when you remember in case any more air bubbles form. I also label and date the jar, so I don’t forget what’s in it or when I need to strain it.

After at least 2 weeks, strain the spent plant material through some muslin cloth, or a very fine sieve, into a container (bowl, jug etc). You will notice the plant material has lost its colour and likely the oil has changed colour – depending on what plant you’re infusing. Squeeze as much oil as you can from the plant pulp and you are left with the enriched macerated oil. You may need to run the oil through the cloth twice to avoid any tiny bits of plants left in the oil, leaving them in could mean they start growing mould.

Double boiler or bain marie for gently heating the oil & plant infusion.

The fast method with heat: If you want to make your infused oil to use immediately, then you speed up the process by gently heating the flowers/herbs and oil. Instead of adding the dried plant material directly to a jar to keep, put them in a double boiler, bain marie or just a glass bowl that can fit over a pan – the aim is to let the steam from water in the bottom pan very gently heat the top pan or bowl (as if you were melting chocolate). Pour enough oil on so that all the plants are covered and saturated in oil and gently heat for 2 hours. Do not let the mixture heat too much, the gentlest of simmers if that! Do not leave the oil unattended as it is potentially flammable, but you will want to be around to enjoy the delicious aroma anyway and to ensure it doesn’t over heat. After the 2 hours is complete, remove from heat, allow to cool, and then strain through muslin cloth as with the above method.

For a more intense version you can repeat this whole process by adding more plant material to infuse the same oil with (for both methods).

The macerated oil is a useful ingredient for enriching the following products:

*Flowers & Herbs to try infusing, either for scent, medicinal qualities or both:

  • Roses – if you want to capture the scent of roses in particular check out my blog on Rose Scented Oil – How To Make Your Own – with instructions specifically tailored to making rose infused oil.
  • Calendula or Marigold petals, a great skin treat, that helps scars and skincare.
  • Lavender flowers – a fresh scent with anti-microbial effects, soothes and calms skin.
  • Chamomile flowers – calming soothing, helpful for eczema and sensitive skin.
  • Daisy flowers – similar to arnica in action, so use for bumps and bruises, aches and pains.
  • Rosemary leaves and stalks, invigorating, great for muscles aches and pains.
  • Scented pelargonium leaves for the scent.
  • Orange blossom for the scent and soothing properties.
  • Violets – for the scent.
  • Chickweed – very soothing and cooling for the skin, ideal for eczema and skin conditions.

*Growing your own – if you want to grow your own plants to use for this, remember you need to avoid spraying chemicals like insecticides or fungicides to use them for making skin care products. If you’re buying new plants, make sure you use a reputable supplier, and that the Latin name of the plant is available as common names can be confusing or misleading. And by the way, I only have a balcony, and still manage to harvest enough plant material to keep me busy – calendula is super easy, as are pelargoniums (geraniums), rosemary, chamomile, thyme, roses are a bit more effort but well worth it. It depends on your environment of course but there is a whole world of fun to be had, as well as providing some love for bees and other insects and wildlife!

Daisies infusing in apricot oil, ready to put into a warm cupboard for a few weeks…

CAUTIONS:

  • Wether you’re growing your own or picking from the wild, you must be 110% sure that the plant you’re using is what you think it is. Never guess!  There are highly poisonous garden plants and wild plants out there that could result in serious injury and even death, so you want to be absolutely sure that what you’re infusing in oil is suitable to moisturise your skin with.  A good rule to follow is if it’s edible, and you would use it in food or as a herbal tea, it will be fine to put on your skin – although some plants like chilli or garlic would not be appropriate for obvious reasons. Even if you buy plants to grow at home, check the ‘botanical’ name, garden centers are notorious for selling common name plants that might not be the same as the botanical species you intended. If you have any doubt, then don’t use it.
  • Don’t use plants that have been sprayed with insecticides, or fungicides, as the oil will absorb these too.
  • Make sure the plants you pick are clean, as you are not able to wash them, due to needing to avoid moisture, avoid picking plants from popular dog walking areas and pay attention to what you’re picking – you don’t want anything unintended sneaking in with your harvest.

Tips:

  • You could also try mixing different flowers for a blended fragrance or effect, although making separate infusions still leaves you open to blending at a later stage.
  • You can use macerated oils on foods too,  things like chilli, garlic, rosemary, thyme, even lemon peel in olive or sunflower oil and use it to drizzle on salads. You can just place the plant in the bottle of oil ready to use, as long as there is no water or moisture on it, it should keep for the duration of use.

Recommended Suppliers:

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 & protecting.
    • myrrh (2 drops) & mandarin (2 drops), healing,
    • spearmint (3 drops) & benzoin (1 drop) – protecting, 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.

Click here to order a Custom Designed Lip Balm.

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 – 397g (do not use tap water)
  • Sodium hydroxide (caustic soda/ lye) – 166g
  • Olive oil – 775g (do not use pomice olive oil)
  • Shea butter – 75g (for creaminess)
  • Coconut oil (not fractionated) – 350g (for bubbles in your soap)
  • Orange essential oil – 22g
  • 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 Bath Salts with Essential Oils


First of all, it’s really important to know that essential oils are hydrophobic, meaning they don’t mix with water. Because essential oils are extremely concentrated, they should never be used undiluted on the skin, even if you just want to add a few drops of essential oil to the bath, they need to be diluted first (check out How to Use Essential Oils in the Bath for full details).

The same principle goes for making bath salts, the essential oils must be diluted first. Adding them to salt is not enough because when you add the mix to the bath water, the salt ‘melts’, leaving undiluted essential oils floating on top of the bath water and in direct contact with your skin. So, first add the essential oils to a fatty base oil such as olive or almond oil, this can then be mixed in with the bath salts – when added to the bath the salt will melt and you will be left with essential oils dispersed in the base oil, which will give the added benefit of nourishing your skin*.

Bath Salt Recipe (the basic components that you can tweak to your taste):

  • Salt – 200 grams,
  • Base/Carrier Oil – 10 grams (or ml if simpler to measure) of any nut/seed/fruit oil e.g. almond/sunflower/olive oil,
  • Essential Oil – 5 drops (choose 1 or several essential oils to use but ensure the ‘total’ number of drops is 5).
    • pour the base oil into a jug, then add the drops of essential oil and stir,
    • pour the salt into a large bowl, add the blend of base and essential oil and mix thoroughly,
    • add a hand full of the salt mix to the bath, do so once the water is run and you are ready to step in (if you add it while the water is still running, the essential oils in the mix will evaporate with the steam).

Muscle Relaxing Bath Salt Recipe:

  • Epsom Salt** – 200 grams,
  • Oil – 10 grams – arnica (macerated in olive oil),
  • Essential Oil – 5 drops – lavender, black pepper &/or chamomile.

Skin Soothing Bath Salt Recipe:

  • Dead Sea Salt** – 200 grams,
  • Base Oil – 10 grams – calendula (macerated in olive oil), apricot &/or. camellia,
  • Essential Oil – 5 drops – chamomile, lavender &/or neroli (orange blossom).

Refreshing Bath Salt Recipe:

  • Salt (your choice, see below**) – 200 grams,
  • Oil – 10 grams – your choice eg. olive, almond, apricot oil,
  • Essential Oil – 5 drops – rosemary, mandarin &/or coriander seed.

Tip: If you want to add flowers & petals to your bath salts, (e.g. rose, lavender, chamomile) sprinkle a few spoonfuls into the mix, enough for your desired visual effect. Note, that it can make the bath more difficult to clean afterwards, so wrapping all the salts/flowers/oils into a muslin cloth and tying them up with string will mean you don’t need to collect all the petals after your bath.

* Caution, due to the base oil the bath can be slippery so be careful not to slip!

** Epsom Salt is more suitable for muscle aches & pains. Dead Sea Salt is more suitable for soothing the skin – I usually use a mix of both in my blends to get the benefits of both.

Plant to Perfume – Natural Perfume and Aromatherapy Workshops

Natural Perfume Making Workshops, make your own unique & completely natural, organic roll-on oil perfume, with the finest quality essential oils.

Stop, breathe gently, smile and appreciate.

There are so many beautiful scents in the air to appreciate, especially in summer, walking down the street or through the park, the air is perfumed every now and then by some flower or other coming into bloom. It always makes me stop, breathe gently, smile and connect back to my body and how I’m feeling… nature has such a sweet way of reminding us of simplicity, joy and bringing us back to the present moment.

This is one of the many reasons I love to run my events at beautiful, nature filled venues, so that participants get to appreciate the magic of the plants that yield the essential oils we then use in perfume making, and the perfumes more likely to support in the same way nature does.

Some of the amazing places I run workshops, courses and retreats are as follows:

Glasgow Botanic Gardens, Scotland, an absolutely stunning venue in the centre of Glasgow. The workshops usually take place inside the South Wing of Kibble Palace glass house which has a ‘Canary Island’ theme, so the temperature is kept at 18 degrees. I find it gets too hot in Summer and too cold in Winter, so workshops are usually in Spring or Autumn, although there is an indoor venue on site too which can be used. The Botanic Gardens are free to enter all year round. For more details on the beautiful venue see the website: www.glasgowbotanicgardens.com

Royal Horticulture Society (RHS) Gardens, currently I run workshops at RHS Rosemoor in Devon and at RHS Wisley in Surrey. They are usually day workshops, which include lunch and refreshments, and allow you some time to enjoy the exquisite gardens. I usually run them in July, when the rose gardens are still in full bloom.

Upper Vobster Farmin Somerset – Plant to Perfume is part of the weekend retreat I run at this heavenly space in North Somerset. It is possible to come for the morning of the retreat for this workshop only, but I would recommend giving yourself the whole weekend to enjoy the alchemy on offer. Upper Vobster Farm is a beautiful country property lovingly restored and created to help you take a rest from the stresses of life, somewhere where you can allow yourself to have a moment to be yourself again. They have 60 acres of land, including a 6 acre wood, which is a nature conservation area and preservation area for birds of prey. Nature, the woods and the sounds of the birds will make you stop in your tracks and feel the magic around. As well as the buzzards you may well see the resident kingfishers on the stream or by one of the ponds, or hear the woodpecker at work in the ancient oak tree. Tricia Nicholson, the owner of the farm with her husband Michael, has a fondness for roses, as do I, so this retreat takes place early in July, to catch the final bloom of the many roses planted all over the farm. In fact, this event was set to offer an alternative to the Rose Retreat I run in Bulgaria, as I know not everyone is able to travel or make that investment.

Lavender Perfume Workshop

Mayfield Lavender Farm, in Surrey, just outside London. The scent at this venue will be obvious before you even arrive at the farm, as the fresh, floral smell is carried in the air beyond the field. You will also be blessed with the truly stunning sight of the iridescent lavender as well as the gentle humming sound of bees. It is a truly inspiring setting for learning about essential oils and making your own unique perfumes, in the midst of the beautiful purple flowers under the gazebo featured in this image.

Seckford Hall in Suffolk – with its enchanting history & glorious gardens, a 16th-century listed country house with a unique combination of comfort & luxury, completely steeped in Tudor charm & history, located in 34 acres of Suffolk countryside. This place  is bound to bring a sense of the past into your perfume.

Borde Hill Garden in West Sussex – the workshops here have a focus on health & wellbeing and include a short walk through the gardens covering how the aromatic plants were used in Tudor times, with specific reference to the physician from Borde Hill who treated Henry VIII. As well as a stunning Italian Garden with aromatic herbs it also has rose gardens with over 750 David Austin Roses.

Kate Langdale’s Flower Studio in Brighton, Sussex – my absolute favourite florist. The reason I’m so in love with this place is because of the unusual scented varieties of many plants and flowers she supplies, many of which yield their own essential oil. Not only does she have some incredibly beautiful scented roses (quite rare in florist these days) but I’ve manage to purchase pink peppercorns, chamomile and scented geranium leaves in the past. It is a joy to be surrounded by such a gorgeous array of seasonal flowers when making our bespoke perfume blends. The flower studio is usually a venue available for workshops by request, and only during Spring, Summer and Autumn seasons at Winter can be a little chilly.

Field Studies Council – I run a series of workshops and courses all over the United Kingdom, in association with the Fields Studies Council, they have 28 centres all based in and around stunningly beautiful natural environments, some with accommodation on site. Dates for 2021 will be announced soon. There are also online courses available. Click here for more details on my work with the Fields Studies Council and workshops held at Field Study Centres around the UK including Devon and Suffolk.

Click here for full details on up and coming Plant to Perfume workshops and other Aromatherapy Events. Spaces are limited so please book early to avoid disappointment.

For more information on what happens at a Plant to Perfume workshop, read my blog post on Natural Perfume Making – it also gives you instructions on how to make your own perfume with essential oils.

I also run Plant to Perfume workshops for private groups and parties by request, they are a really lovely opportunity to be with friends, family and even colleagues while enjoying making your own beautifully scented perfume to take away. I am always happy to arrange events at new locations or suggest some in your area.

For a little inspiration on breathing gently and appreciation, check out the free meditations on Unimed Living health & wellbeing website.

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

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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.