Connection, Rituals and Nurturing – How to use Essential Oils in Daily Life.

Essential oils are a potent tool to support health and well-being, from chronic illness to the common cold. There are an array of oils to choose from, each with powerful properties that help ease many symptoms both in the body and the mind. There are a myriad of ways they can be used too, which can actually be a little overwhelming, but no matter what my symptoms may be, or what essential oil I feel like using, there are three main ways that I incorporate them into my daily life:

Esoteric Healing Eye Pillow
Taking a moment to reconnect with a scented healing eye pillow.

Connection

– to support a consistent connection with my body and to reconnect to myself when I feel out of sorts;

 

 

 

Simply lighting a scented candle when taking a shower makes all the difference to my morning.
Simply lighting a scented candle when taking a shower makes all the difference to my morning.

Rituals

– to use the oils in daily rituals that support me to live with a steady rhythm and stay connected with what’s around me;

 

 

Feeling what part of my body I want apply cream to.

Nurturing

– to use essential oils in a nurturing way that supports developing a deeper relationship with myself.

 

 

 

 

These ways can look quite different for each individual person, so here are some practical examples of how it can play out for me:

Using myrrh essential oil on my wrists.
Using myrrh essential oil on my wrists.

Connection – If I’m feeling a bit stressed, tired or distracted, I may take five minutes to sit and massage my wrists with some hand cream or massage oil blended with myrrh essential oil. This area feels particularly delicate to me and this action allows me to feel how tender my body is, so quite quickly it brings me back to myself which gives me a chance to address what ever is going on that resulted in me feeling out of sorts -hence the re-connection.

 

Appreciating the lavender bags in my wardrobe each morning when I choose what to wear.
Appreciating the lavender bags in my wardrobe each morning when I choose what to wear.

Rituals – In my daily tasks I like to bring a little touch of magic to what I do, I might add a sprinkle of lavender oil into my laundry powder or a few drops of lemon oil onto kitchen surfaces when I’m cleaning. It’s a way of bringing my innate quality to every day life and recognizing each moment as precious.

 

 

Adding a little rose oil to my face cream & cherishing myself as I apply it.
Adding a little rose oil to my face cream & cherishing myself as I apply it.

Nurturing – The more I build the connection with myself and the daily rituals in my life, the more deeply I feel I naturally nurture myself. It seems that if I care enough to commit to the other two, the nurturing builds by itself. It’s like I have more respect and time to care for myself. Rose is my favorite oil to use in this way, at the moment its in my face cream which also gets applied to other areas of my body that need attention, it’s likely to be in a perfume that I make (that I quite often just wear to bed) or a few drops in my shower gel which means my skin gets massaged with rose each morning –very delicious.

These are all simple ways that I use the oils and they don’t take too much time up. Everyone could use essential oils in their day to day life, perhaps in different practical ways depending on what they like and the practicalities of their day. But by bringing the focus to connection, rituals and nurturing, it tends to avoid the oils becoming just another quick fix for ailments and supports addressing the route cause of the issue. It also allows me to appreciate the real beauty and power in the oils, but also how important my part is in supporting my health and wellbeing.

If you would like to discuss how essential oils can support you or request a Bespoke Blend you can email me directly at laura@essenstialoilsandyou.co.uk.

For more inspiration on how to use essential oils read Nurture, Cherish, Adore – inspired by Natalie Benhayon.

Click here for more tips on developing Self Care Rituals.

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.

To Nurture, Cherish and Adore – inspired by Natalie Benhayon

Do you nurture yourself every day? Have you ever cherished yourself?

Could you even allow yourself to adore you?

When I first heard Natalie Benhayon say these words a few years ago at a presentation, I couldn’t even say that I had a real understanding of how to nurture myself, let alone cherish (and adore was not even on my radar), they were literally just lovely words to hear.

Natalie Benhayon
Natalie Benhayon

Since then, Natalie has inspired me to discover very deeply what these words: ‘nurture’, ‘cherish’ and ‘adore’ mean, how they feel in my body and this has ultimately allowed me to begin an intimate relationship with myself, as a person and especially as a woman.

Over the years I have had support from Natalie in many forms, including her presentations at Universal Medicine Retreats, True Movement classes, Esoteric Ovary massages & other Esoteric Womens Health projects, including Women in Livingness Groups, the Women in Livingness Magazine and her ultimate app –Our Cycles. These are just a few examples of the work she has presented and put together -at just 26 years old she is an incredibly inspiring woman who is asking all the right questions about what is going on in world, about the state of women’s health, our relationships and so much more and what’s more, she’s actually making changes.

Natalie Benhayon presenting
Natalie Benhayon presenting

One thing that really struck me early on when I met her was her confidence, she is completely at ease with herself, so steady and committed, and with it very humble. It’s obvious that she does her own thing and does not let others hold her back, she certainly doesn’t hold back her beauty, sense of humour or sexiness. But what I observe and continue to appreciate, is that everything in her life, the way she lives, what she continually discovers and develops is openly shared with everyone, so that all have an equal opportunity to find that confidence in them selves and show it with that same ease in their own way.

Today when I consider the words nurture, cherish and adore, I have a tangible relationship with all three that is continuing to develop and deepen.

To NURTURE for me means to look after myself in all aspects of my life, to ask myself questions about what I actually would love to do right now, to make space to be playful with my daily chores, to not choose to do things that will overwhelm my day, to decide I’m worth taking an extra moment for -whether to light a candle before I take a shower each morning or to breath in the scent of a flower as I pass by. It means not giving myself a hard time when I inevitably make mistakes, noticing the self bashing commentary in my mind and letting it go, moving in a way that doesn’t push or strain my body. Basically, it’s making choices to truly support myself and my body throughout my day to day life.

One of the difficulties I see is that we’ve created a life that doesn’t allow the space for nurturing and we don’t regard ourselves enough to make that space for ourselves. Using essential oils has been a way that I have been able to experiment with nurturing and making that space, but it’s not about the physical act of putting some massage oil on my skin or sprinkling essential oils in a burner, I see them as moments that I can use to learn more about myself. Much of what I have been discovering is shared on these blogs with the purpose of inspiring others to experiment with what nurturing is for them and helping to develop a connection with their body -one of my favourite blogs on this is ‘Myrrh Essential Oil – Supporting Connection with myself‘ -it’s a good example of how it’s not about the oil but about you and the way you use the oil.

rose and neroli face cream

To CHERISH is to really appreciate myself, to know and value my natural qualities and strengths, and know with out doubt that they are worth sharing with others and can support and inspire them too.  It’s also to cherish my weaknesses and flaws, to embrace them, to allow time to focus on them to support myself and allow the support and inspiration from others. It’s knowing that all parts are just as precious, from running a perfume workshop to flossing my teeth.

cropped-cropped-img_07041.jpg

To ADORE is to fall in love with myself. This is absolutely not an arrogance, the more I get to know myself, to ask myself what I’d love to do right now, the more I can feel a loving way of being with myself -I’m letting go of the auto pilot and constant rushing. Some times I take a second to look into my eyes in the mirror, and connect to all those things I cherish and know there is so much more to come… as I work on the others I feel this one more, sometimes it’s as simple as climbing into bed and feeling my feet under the bed sheets.

Natalie Benhayon eyes
Natalie Benhayon

I actually feel that we all innately know how to nurture, cherish and adore; we just need a reminder of how awesome it feels and that we are so worth it.

So, huge thanks and appreciation to Natalie Benhayon for reminding me to truly value and actually love myself, to feel confident in showing myself with the world and know that I have something precious to share.

Natalie Benhayon talks about 'True Sexy'.
Natalie Benhayon talks about ‘True Sexy’.

Listen to Natalie Benhayon interviewed on this audio: Are you deeply nurturing yourself?

Watch Natalie Benhayon speak on True Sexy:

Images of Natalie Benhayon courtesy of UnimedLiving

How to Take Care of your Clothes with Essential Oils.

A change of season means a change of wardrobe, what ever side of the planet you’re on you are bound to be experiencing the change in seasons, whether it’s time to pack away your warm jumpers and winter coats or say goodbye to summer dresses and cool T-shirts, essential oils are a sweet smelling and practical way to look after your clothes.

IMG_5390

If you’ve ever experienced an attack of moths on your favourite cashmere jumper then you will be sure to take extra care when you store your knitwear and silks away for several months. Here are a few tips to help protect your clothes and ensure they reappear in one piece, smelling fresh when you unpack next Spring/Autumn…

It’s advisable to give everything a wash before you pack them up and as a side note, if you haven’t worn them all season, consider getting rid of them, there are so many benefits to de-cluttering your wardrobe! I add a few drops of lavender essential oil to my washing powder for a little touch of freshness and since lavender oil deters moths it is a great smelling start to the process.

I then take several lavender filled bags or pillows that contain dried lavender flowers, if the scent has faded I add a few drops of lavender oil to freshen them up. I also sprinkle a few drops of cedar wood essential oil as this is another oil that deters moths, (cedar wood oil is dark brown in colour, so you may want to avoid staining the material on the lavender bags, in that case just add a few drops to tissues). Tuck the lavender bags evenly among the clothes in their suitcase or storage bag and close securely.

I don’t think anyone likes the smell of mothballs and even if you’ve never had moths this is still a worthwhile ritual as it keeps your clothes fresh and smelling lovely when you bring them out next season…

If you don’t have any lavender bags you can sprinkle the oils onto tissues and place them in the storage bags. Alternatively, you can purchase some from BySally or Mayfield Lavender.

 

These ones are way too pretty for me to pack away so I generally keep them in my draws, with my bed linen or on hangers in my wardrobe so I can appreciate them daily.

Since lavender has so many other amazing properties including supporting a restful night sleep, I also hang a lavender bag on my bedpost, or under my pillow so that I breathe in the scent as I lay down to sleep.

Click here to read more on how to use lavender oil to support sleep and how to scent your car naturally.

Lav bags group 1 small

For tips on de-cluttering your life check out ‘Simplicity in Living‘.

Healing Eye Pillows by Feather Light Productions

Feather Light Healing Eye Pillow Red FlowersFeather Light Healing Eye Pillow Pink Blossom

These beautiful silk healing eye pillows, scented with quality essential oils, are now available to buy from Essential Oils & You’s new Shop – this blog will share a little of how they can be used…

I’m choosing to sell these because they are truly exquisite, deeply supportive and made with such love and care, you can really sense the integrity that has gone into making them.

There are two designs to choose from: red flowers or pink blossom, the silk cover is removable, so you can hand wash it if need be, with soft black silk on the underside that feels gorgeous on your skin.

Inside the silk cover is an inner bag containing flax seeds which feel light across your eyes, yet mould around the contours of your face so it sits snug and blocks any light out as you rest. This makes it useful for headaches, migraines and for helping to get to sleep if you’re disturbed by light.

In cooler seasons I recommend warming the eye pillow on top of a radiator or ideally in a towel warmer if you have such a thing.  It is very supportive for restlessness, sleeplessness, anxiety and stress. For symptoms such as aching joints, period pains and back ache you can place the eye pillow on the appropriate body parts.

I like to place one over my eyes each night as I go to sleep, or if I feel stress, tension or tired, I lay with one across my eyes and one on my heart for 5-10 minutes to refresh myself.

Esoteric Healing Eye Pillow

These pillows are also a great accessory for therapists to use in various modalities such as massage.

Click here for details on how to purchase them from the website shop or contact me directly by email: laura@essentialoilsandyou.co.uk

Raw Fruit and Nut Balls – flavoured with Essential Oils

Fruit & Nut Balls (AKA Mini Christmas Puddings) – Recipe

These delicious fruit & nut balls are super simple to make with the added benefit of being raw (no cooking needed), gluten free, dairy free & sugar free! (the dried fruit makes them sweet enough).

Ingredients:

  • 80g – golden sultanas
  • 50g – dates
  • 60g – dried cranberries (without added sugar)
  • 50g – dried apricots (brown ones if you can as the orange ones have preservatives in)
  • 130g – ground almonds
  • 50g – walnuts (or another favourite nut)
  • 8 drops – Orange Essential Oil (must be food grade) or an essential oil of your choice*
  • 1 table spoon –Olive Oil
  • A dash of Cinnamon, Clove, All Spice and Nutmeg (powder)
  • 1 table spoon Ground flax seeds (optional)
  • A sprinkle of finely ground desiccated coconut to decorate.

You could use any essential oil* you like to flavour these, some other suggestions that work well include peppermint, mandarin or geranium. You could also try a combination e.g. orange & geranium, lime & peppermint but keep the total number of drops as 8.

Instructions

  1. Place all of the fruit & nut ingredients into a food processor.
  2. Add 8 drops of the orange essential oil to a table spoon of olive oil. This helps even distribution of the essential oil.
  3. Add the oil to the other ingredients in the processor and blend until the mixture comes together. If the mix is too dry and not sticking together, add another dash of olive oil.
  4. Shape in to balls by rolling in the palms of your hands and place into mini cake cases. I weight out about 30g of mix to get even sized balls.
  5. Finish off by using a sieve to sprinkle finely ground desiccated coconut over the tops or roll in sesame seeds.

*Essential oils must be 100% pure, organic and unadulterated to be suitable for use in flavouring foods – Essential Oils & You are suitable. Never ingest essential oils before diluting them.

With thanks to Heather Di Marino from ‘Eat Well Live Well’ for sharing her wonderful recipe, her Raw Orange & Carrot Carob Brownies are another delicious treat you can flavour with essential oils.

 

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)

Rose Scented Oil – How To Make Your Own

This is a very simple recipe for making your own rose scented oil. It is quite different from an essential oil which is made by steam distillation or solvent extraction (which requires about 1200 rose flowers to make just 20 drops of oil!), so much more practical as you don’t require vast fields of roses, nor specialised equipment.

This process is called maceration and involves leaving rose petals in a carrier oil for a period of time until the oil takes on the scent of the roses.

Equipment:

  • Roses (strongly scented and chemical free)
  • Oil ( almond or jojoba oil- something that has little or no scent to avoid over powering the delicate smell of the roses, and that already feels lovely on the skin, my favourite is apricot oil). Click here to see more carrier oils.
  • Container (or Glass Jar with air tight lid).
  • Muslin Cloth

Instructions:

Make sure the rose flowers you collect have a strong scent and have not been sprayed with chemicals, as these will taint the final product – growing your own is best*. I have several potted roses on my balcony and for my test run I only used two flowers in a tiny jam jar, after 2 weeks of using a little on my finger tips as a face oil, I still have half a pot left.

Take the flowers when they have opened to their fullest, so you and the bees can enjoy them for as long as possible, then just nip them off before they start to wither.

Once you’ve harvested your rose flowers you need to remove the petals and lay them out to dry a little as any moisture could result in the oil becoming rancid. I left mine on a table near a sunny window for the day, this should be enough to lose the water in the petals but not the essential oil.

Collect the petals 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, I actually found a few with creatures wrapped inside so they didn’t make it into a jar.

Fill the jar to the top, and the pour in the carrier oil. If you don’t have enough petals to fill the jar, use a smaller one, you want to just cover them with oil, and not leave any space for air.

rose oil

Seal the lid tightly and leave for 3 -6 weeks in a sunny place or a warm cupboard, shake the jar every day.

Then strain the spent rose petals through some muslin cloth, or a fine sieve, into a bowl.

rose petal straining

Squeeze as much oil as you can from the petal pulp and you are left with a beautiful, delicately scented rose oil.

squeeze oil

Pure gold oil! You can repeat this whole process and add more petals to this oil for a more intense rose scent.

rose gold oil

This oil feels so precious to use on my face and body. You only need a tiny amount so it’s been well worth it -this last batch was made with a litre of oil so I have plenty to see me through until the next rose flowering season.  It has been delightful having petals drying throughout my home as the smell on a warm day is heaven.

Tip: You can use your rose oil as an ingredient in making your own natural face cream, see here for recipe and instructions: Natural Face and Body Cream Making Workshop.

Feel free to ask any questions and to share your experiences.

*Growing your own roses – if you want to grow your own roses the David Austin website lets you know if the rose you are buying has a strong scent, Autumn is a good time to order bare root roses, they deliver at end of the year as literally bare roots with a little bit of twig but will still give you a harvest next Summer.

Remember you need to avoid spraying chemicals or fungicides to use them for making skin care products – there are various natural remedies for the inevitable bugs that invade roses, I am currently experimenting with a lavender essential oil and water spray – I will let you know how well this works…

I have tried this process a few times now, and have also used flowers from two of my favourite roses that I have on my balcony, Gentle Hermione  and The Alnwick Rose, they have a fairly strong scent but I chose them just because they happened to be in bloom when I decided to make it, you can try using any rose that is scented and not sprayed.  I am planning on making one with a few different types of rose flowers, so as to create a combination of their scents. One of the most popular scented roses is Gertrude Jekyll.

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.

 

A Basic Introduction on How to Use Essential Oils

I have learnt far more by experimenting and actually using essential oils myself rather than from books, but there is still a lot of important information to know that will help you understand and get more of a feel for how to use them.

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are naturally produced by many plants and can be found in their seeds (coriander & fennel), fruits (mandarin & lime), flowers (rose & orange blossom/neroli), leaves (basil & geranium), woods (cedar wood & sandalwood) roots (ginger & angelica) and resin (frankincense & myrrh).  The essential oil is extracted from the plant material, usually by a process called ‘Steam Distillation’ which involves passing steam through the plant material to release and capture the essential oil molecules (more intricate details will appear in a future post).

There is another method, mainly used with citrus oils, called ‘expression’, where the oil is literally just pressed from the peel of the fruit. You can actually release the oil yourself if you dig your finger nail into the peel of an orange or lemon, as you pierce the cells you will be able to see and smell the essential oil.  Make sure you use an ‘un-waxed’ fruit, the waxed kind have been sealed.

Citrus fruit peel yields a lot of oil compared to other parts of plants, but you can probably still imagine that it would take the peel of many oranges to make a little 10ml bottle of Orange Essential Oil.  This should also highlight how concentrated the oil is.  Some plants yield a very tiny amount of oil in comparison, for example, roses.  It takes around 1200 rose flowers (that’s flowers not petals!) to make just 1ml of rose essential oil, which equals around 40 drops of extremely precious oil!  This should go a little way to addressing the high price of rose oil and other delicate floral oils, which generally hold a very small amount of essential oil.

What are the effects of essential oils?

Hopefully, you now have a good sense of the potency of essential oils and perhaps an idea of how powerful their effects can be.  You may be aware of how they are widely used to help us relax, and used as ingredients in bath oils or room sprays and that they are found in many beauty products to help improve our skin, but there are many other ways they can help support us both on a physical level and on the way we feel. The fact that they have such strong scents can have very tangible, immediate effects on our bodies and our moods.  All essential oils I have come across have anti-microbial properties which make them particularly suitable for using to help treat illness and disease, and can have various effects on all systems in the body from the endocrine to the digestive system.

How do you use essential oils safely?

Realising the potency of essential oils can also highlight why there are some safety precautions to observe and why it’s important to dilute them when using them on your skin.  In their neat form, they are way too strong for to use directly on the skin and  can cause tingling or burning sensations, and other reactions.  Diluting them in a vegetable oil is ideal as they themselves have many nourishing properties that your skin can also benefit from.  Generally they are full of vitamins and fatty acids that help keep skin healthy and vital.  They also help the essential oils absorb into your skin more easily.  Some other modes for diluting essential oils include honey, milk or aloe vera gel -water based products are not appropriate as the essential oils are hydrophobic (water-hating), and will not mix together.  You do not need to dilute essential oils when using them in a burner, diffusor or for inhalation (all methods to be covered in future posts). See my earlier blog post: Essential Oils in the Shower for details on using essential oils in a burner.

Always dilute essential oils before using them on your skin -including in the bath.

Various modes of application to the skin include:  massage, bath, compresses, skin care preparations such as creams or balms and neat application*.  They can also be used by inhalation (using diffusor, burner, steam inhalation or directly from a tissue) and they can also be used internally. The versatility and range of applications of the oils allows for your own personal input that means they can really support you in your life.  For example you can chose to give yourself a foot bath each night, (with a mix of peppermint essential oil and olive oil) when you get home from work because you have a job where you’re on your feet all day, and that’s what really supports you; or there may be a certain oil that helps calm your breath when feeling stressed or anxious, (e.g. frankincense, lavender or neroli essential oil) and you keep a little bottle in a your hand bag  to dot on a tissue and gently breath in for when you feel to use.  This is what i really love about the oils, that you can bring them into your daily, weekly or monthly routine to support you in so many different ways -all shared throughout this blog!

*Note: It is generally accepted that lavender and tea tree essential oils can be used neat on the skin. See my blog post on Lavender, Essential First Aid, for more details on using lavender or tea tree.