When you can’t see the Roses for the Weeds – Appreciation is the Key!

Last month, I had the absolute pleasure of working at Hever Castle, in Kent, during their summer event: ‘Hever In Bloom’ -it’s a week in their calendar when the gardens are in full bloom and I gave daily talks to visitors about essential oils as a prelude to my Natural Perfume & Aromatherapy Workshops running at Hever’s ‘Handmade and Homegrown‘ event in September.

I could not help but appreciate my surroundings here and every day I enjoyed a walk around the walled rose garden that smelled so heavenly in the warm sunshine. And here I was reminded of an anecdote on the importance of appreciation that Natalie Benhayon shared at a presentation for women earlier this year…

You have the most beautiful rose garden, you’ve put lots of work into it leading up to the summer and there is an entire rainbow of coloured flowers on show, delicious scents that make you swoon and an abundance of wild life enjoying the full blooms in all their glory. It’s a stunning sight and everyone that passes by is impressed and can’t help but enjoy it.

But – there has to be a ‘but’ – and that ‘but’ is a very small patch of weeds, tiny infact, just a few sprouts, but they’re really annoying you, so when anyone pays you a compliment about how beautiful your rose garden is, you respond with “Oh, but look at those weeds, I really need to get on top of them”, and when the person responds with “What weeds? I hadn’t noticed any.” all you can do is remain focused on the weeds: “Oh they’re all over the place, those darn weeds!”. And, yet, the garden is breath takingly beautiful. Yes, there are a few weeds to deal with, and if they were ignored they may begin to affect the beauty in the rose garden, but by bringing all the focus to them, you miss out on all the beauty and joy in the garden – When you can’t see the roses for the weeds, even a few weeds have taken over the show…

It’s worth considering how much we bring appreciation into our daily life. How often do we bat away a compliment by playing it down, ignoring it, completely denying it, or possibly admitting it with a ‘Yes, but…’ deflection. What would happen if we actually accepted that compliment and realised the importance of showing and sharing our natural, unique and lovely qualities? We are taught to not blow our own trumpet, but what if the more we blow our own trumpet, the more others will realise it’s ok to blow theirs and before long we’ll have a full blowing orchestra of people shining. The music is then enjoyed by many, just as the beauty of the rose garden is, and we too can enjoy and cherish ourselves with out holding back or playing small.

If it feels a little awkward to accept a compliment and enjoy the rose garden in full (while still taking care of the weeds) then we can start to bring appreciation into our daily life. This can be as simple as taking a moment in between the day’s tasks and recognising the completion before rushing onto the next task. We can easily get caught in the overwhelm of ‘things to do’ but if we were to appreciate each little step along the way, then the whole day doesn’t need to pass by under the pressure of trying to get a ‘to do’ list done, with a view to only appreciating and feeling satisfied if we complete it -which never happens as the ‘to do’ list is always never ending!

Appreciation can then begin to really bloom, with our rose garden showing the depth of the beauty that resides in us naturally, what ever kind of day we are having.

‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet’, but there is no trying to be sweet, the sweetness is just there, so take a moment to stop and enjoy it.

Click here if you would like to book a place at the Natural Perfume & Aromatherapy Workshops at Hever Castle.

If you enjoyed this post then you might like to check out details on a ‘Rose Retreat‘ in Bulgaria, May 2018 – an opportunity to deepen your understanding of appreciation in a place that will constantly reflect this. Click here for more details, bookings will be available in the Autumn.

   

 

Natural Perfume and Aromatherapy Workshops – Summer 2016

Natural Perfume Making Workshops this Summer, make your own unique & completely natural, organic perfume, with the finest quality essential oils.

Audrey Hepburn
Stop, breathe gently, smile and appreciate.

There are so many beautiful scents in the air at this time of year here in the UK, 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 appreciate… nature has such a sweet way of reminding us of simplicity, joy and bringing us back to the present moment.

I’m also appreciating the magical venues I have picked for my Natural Perfume Workshops this Summer; firstly there is Mayfield Lavender Farm just outside London. The scent at this venue will be obvious before you even arrive at the farm, as the fresh, lovely smell is carried in the air around 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:

Lavender Perfume Workshop
Mayfield Lavender – venue for Summer Perfume Workshop in Surrey on Saturday 23rd July, 2016.

The next venue for my Natural Perfume Making Workshop is at my favourite florist – Kate Langdale’s Flower Studio in Brighton. 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 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.

Kate Langdale Florist Brighton Workshop Venue Kate Langdale's Flower Studio - venue for Summer Perfume Workshop in Brighton
Kate Langdale’s Flower Studio – venue for Perfume Workshop in Brighton.

Here are the full details for the workshops this Summer, spaces are limited so please book early to avoid disappointment:

Mayfield Lavender Farm in Surrey on Saturday 23rd July, 2016 -10am -1pm

1 Carshalton Road, Banstead, SM7 3JA (15 miles from London).

Kate Langdale’s Flower Studio in Brighton -date to be confirmed (get in touch to set new dates to suit you).

84 Bath Street (just off Dyke Road), Seven Dials, Brighton BN1 3JD

  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Cost: £60*
  • Price includes
    • 2 x 10ml bespoke natural roll on perfumes to take home, made by you, using the best quality oils.

To book a place, please contact me by email at:

laura@essentialoilsandyou.co.uk or telephone 07828954020

For more information on this workshop read my blog post on Natural Perfume Making.

I also run perfume workshops for private groups and parties, 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.

Audrey Hepburn flowers

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

Make Your Own Natural Perfume and Aromatherapy Oil Blend

Here are the notes from my Natural Perfume Making 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 

~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

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.

perfume bottles

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 ‘smell strips’ (I get mine from a company on ebay called Scent Blotter 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 playing around 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 and 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)

The Beauty and Simplicity of a Hand Massage

Laura and Neave hand massage 2

I decided to write this blog on hand massage as it is such a simple thing to do with friends, family and even colleagues. It can be done anywhere, at a friends house, a coffee shop, even in bed, it’s a great thing to do if visiting some one in hospital or who is bed bound, and you can take as little or as long as you like, even 2 or 3 minutes on each hand would feel lovely. Although it’s such a simple exercise, it can be deeply relaxing, connecting and supportive as well as fun. So here are some tips on how to give a hand massage: Choose a cream, balm or oil blend to use with your partner, you can use my recipes in previous blog posts to make your own cream, balm or massage oil or just use a little olive oil or hand cream, what ever you have handy. Make sure your partner likes the scent of the product you are using, if you have a few options it’s great to get them involved in the choice as smelling the oils/cream already brings them in touch with their body and what they are feeling.

Preparation: The most important thing to prepare here is you! hm

Ensure that you are in a comfortable position that supports you, and does not compromise your body, ensure your partners position is the same.  Be aware you need easy access to their hands and ideally forearms with out stretching, and remember to have your oil somewhere you can easily reach it. You might like to use cushions, move furniture around, get a table for the oil or ask your partner to adjust themselves a little for you, it’s worth taking the time to make the space supportive so you don’t feel stuck half way through with an ache (make sure you adjust if you do).  I usually place a cushion or pillow on their lap with a towel over it so they can rest their arms across it, and only the towel will get oily, but you may need to adapt depending on your partners position and movability.  It’s important to communicate with your partner, to let them know what you are doing so they feel supported and included. Just running through what you’re doing and why, so they know what to expect is enough. You may like to ask if you can remove watches or jewellery, I usually work around rings.

Hand massage workshop

Connection: I start by placing my hands as gently as I can over theirs and give them a few moments to relax. Don’t rush, even if you only have a little time, it will make all the difference if you start by being still and just take a few moments to breath gently in and out through your nose (see here for gentle breath meditation technique). If you notice your partner is very tense or holding their arms very stiff, just encourage them to let go of the tension, ask them to relax their shoulders to allow the hands to let go, if they are very stiff you can ask them to make their arms go floppy.

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Techniques: I then choose one hand to begin massaging, and apply oil to my hands and then massage the oil over the area I intend to cover (so forearm too if this is appropriate and accessible). You can massage both hands at the same time, but I like to do one so I can lift, manoeuvre and support the hand and wrist with the free hand, although I do start and finish by connecting with both hands. I start with long oval circles over the forearms to get the cream/oil applied evenly, I make the moves firm but gentle, flowing and I always make the circles anti-clockwise -a friend once described this as a releasing motion because when you loosen a screw it’s always an anti-clockwise movement, and it is clockwise to tighten it up.

IMG_2118

I like to massage each little finger as delicately as possible, hold their hand and do little circles with it to loosen the wrist, and press into the palm with my thumb in circles. One of my favourite moves is to sandwich the hand between my hands and to very, very slowly slide them off. There are lots of techniques to experiment with, so just do what you feel, stay focused on what you are doing, and connected with your partner. Be playful, ask them what they like and see what you like.

IMG_2123

Being very gentle does not mean that the massage is less effective than pushing hard,  it feels like I’m allowing and encouraging their body to learn to relax itself, rather than forcing it to with pressure.  If the body can relax itself, then it is more likely to be able to continue this state.

IMG_2126

Preciousness: As you are face to face to your partner it is easy to talk to them, but keep the conversation related to the moment, how they feel and what their body is saying.  Sometimes just the touch or eye contact is enough, in my experience they often close their eyes and become deeply relaxed. This can be a really precious time with your partner who ever it is.  In the below image I am with my niece, we were only massaging for a couple of minutes but you can tell from the shot it was a magical moment, she also started to give massage afterwards on others and followed my moves perfectly, very beautiful : )

Laura and Neave hand massage 1

Accessories: A little addition to the treatment that I have come up with recently to support letting the tension in the shoulders go, is using heated healing eye pillows, I just warm them up on the radiator or in a towel warmer, and place them over the persons shoulders before I begin, one on each side across the bits that get very tense and hard – they feel gorgeous! You can buy them from the Lighthouse in Frome, Somerset, UK and from Feather Light Productions website in Australia who also sell a body wrap that I’m about to try out as this will cover the entire shoulder area.  Tension across our shoulders is very common and we can all feel the release as soon as we let go of that tension, so it’s a great way to support this.

HEP-019FLP-HBW-taxonomy1

I have been working on community projects for the last couple of years mainly involving hand massages and have had such great feedback from the clients that I have started developing workshops and bringing hand massage to many other situations including at work and home. Most of the photos were taken at a workshop I ran recently, during the time everyone one was giving hand massage (with balms they had just created themselves) the entire room felt completely still, it was absolutely gorgeous.

If you have just 5 minutes with a friend to try this out, I’m sure you will enjoy and feel the difference in your hands and how relaxed you feel. We can be very careless and rough with our hands, so it’s a great way to bring a care and attention back to a part of our body that we use so often.

With thanks to Neave, Molly, Jean, Louisa, Ellen, Kathie, Sonia, Alison, Betty, Heather & David ~ all starring in the photos above.

You might also like to read my blogs on Taking care of your hands, Essential oils in hand & nail care and Myrrh essential oil- supporting connection with my wrists.

Essential Oils on Film

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

Last weekend (Sunday 2nd November) I appeared on the UK Channel 4 TV show called ‘Sunday Brunch‘.

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You can still view the footage on 4OD (for free) by using this link:

www.channel4.com/programmes/sunday-brunch/on-demand/58864-037

The essential oil slot begins at 1 hour 29 minutes into the show and I share with presenters, Tim Lovejoy and Simon Rimmer, some useful information about using essential oils including:

How essential oils are made by steam distillation:

IMG_2058

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.

Enjoy the show…

Note: you may not be able to use this link if you are outside the UK, but I hope to upload the footage  to this site at a later date.

Essential Oil Christmas Workshop

Essential Oil Christmas Workshop with Laura Hoy & Heather Hardy Logo

  • Venue: The Edge Community Centre, 85 Pankhurst Avenue, Brighton, BN2 9AE, UK.
  • Date: Sunday 7th December 2014
  • Time: 10am-12.30pm
  • Cost: £25
  • Discount: £20 if you book and pay by 1st December
  • Price includes a pot of balm and edible treat to take home (both made by you), morning tea, snacks and a hand massage.

A fun, festive and practical workshop open to all. We will be sharing how you can use essential oils to support yourself to nurture, cherish and adore your self in day to day life. This is especially important around this time of year as we can get so caught up in the rush and stress of Christmas.  This morning workshop will be a chance to focus and care for yourself, offering practical tips to bring support though out the crazy month of December and beyond. We will be making a balms for you to use on your body (these can be tailored to you personally),  some edible snacks flavoured with essential oils (to take home too), and giving and receiving hand massages.

Neave and Laura hand massage

Morning Tea and Snacks will be provided.

For more information and to book a place, please contact Laura by email laurahoy26@gmail.com or telephone 07828954020

Read this fantastic blog exposing Christmas and it’s effects on our health: The Silly Season and its effects on Health

Note: Free parking is available around the venue.

How To Make Your Own Natural Face and Body Cream

rose creams

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

Organic Face and Body Cream, Workshop Notes

Introduction

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

cream 3

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

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

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

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

Ingredients:

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

Optional Extras

About the ingredients:

Waters:

Floral waters

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

Infusions

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

Oils:

Carrier Oils (base oils)

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

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

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

Macerated oils

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

Butters

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

Beeswax

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

Vitamin E – optional

This is a great natural preservative.

Essential oils – optional

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

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

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

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

Equipment

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

Instructions

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

ingredients for cream

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

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

buttery blending

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

Milky blending

and eventually thickens to a cream:

Creamed

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

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

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

pot of cream

Shelf Life

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

Using your cream

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

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

Rich, hydrating and nourishing, for dry and mature skin

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

Gentle and soothing, for sensitive skin

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

Eczema, delicate itchy and damaged skin

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

Light and balancing for young, oily, combination skin

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

Creams for Sale

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

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