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 are dry and 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. It’s best to do so when it hasn’t rained recently to avoid moisture.

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. 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, 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, any creepy crawlies should crawl away,  I actually found a few petals with creatures wrapped inside so they didn’t make it into a jar.

Fill the jar to the top with the dry rose petals, 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. Check after a few hours to see if the jar needs topping up with oil, as the petals will start absorbing oil and may sink down into the jar.

rose oil

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 day or when you remember incase any air bubbles form.

After at least 2 weeks, strain the spent rose petals through some muslin cloth, or a fine sieve, into a container (bowl, jug etc).

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 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… Edit – lavender water works well, but must be applied consistently especially when the buds are forming.

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.

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

A list of the most popular Essential Oils, their Uses & Cautions (in alphabetical order).

To help you choose which essential oils to use in what ever you’re making, be it bath blend or room scent, here is a list you can refer to with some of their most useful properties and any cautions you need to be aware of.

I will be constantly updating this list, so if there are any essential oils that do not appear yet or that you would like more details on, then please contact me, or comment on the post and I can add to the list.

Basil (sweet basil) ~ Supports digestive problems, another great oil for a tummy balm blend.

Caution ~ Avoid in pregnancy (due to varied methyl chavicol/estragole content). Maximum 2% blend strength. 

Basil essential oil

Black pepper ~ Similar to eucalyptus in effect – powerfully clearing, specifically great for respiratory system, especially lungs. Also great for muscle aches & pains but black pepper is much more warming and gentle than eucalyptus. A lovely oil to use in the evening in a bath blend, or if you feel you are run down or ‘coming down’ with something.

Caution ~ possible irritant to some in high dose.

Cardamom ~ Gently soothing tummy aches and nausea, supports appetite and is refreshing and comforting. A great oil for children, for travel sickness or for morning sickness.

Chamomile (german) ~ Very anti-inflammatory, so perfect for any condition with inflammation from bumps and bruises to arthritis and gout. It’s also good for skin inflammation especially bites, but Roman Chamomile ay be more suitable if it’s for delicate sore skin, as it’s more gentle.

Caution ~ Sensitisation possible, avoid with ragweed allergy.

Chamomile

Chamomile (roman) ~ Gentle, soothing and calming, great for very delicate skin, and skin conditions. Relieves itching, and allergies.  See my blog on Chamomile for Skin Conditons  for more details. A great oil for children.

Caution ~ Potential sensitivity to those with ragweed allergy.

Clove ~ Very powerful pain reliever, especially where there is nerve pain. Useful for toothaches and for warming and releasing aches and pains.

Caution ~ Maximum blend strength 1%. Sensitisation possible. Caution with hyper sensitive, diseased or damaged skin. Not suitable for children under 2 years.

Eucalyptus (globulus) ~ Powerfully clearing, specifically great for respiratory system, especially lungs. Also great for muscle aches & pains.

Eucalyptus radiata ~ this species of eucalyptus is more gentle than the globulus, so I would use it with children, elderly, or if someone feels the globulus is too fierce.

Frankincense ~ A fantastic skin oil, very good for dry and mature types. Also good for calming and focusing on breathing so very useful in a burner to scent the room and to help calm anxiety.

IMG_2976

Geranium ~ Very sweet and feminine, balances the endocrine system, a great oil to use to support females cycles and any hormone related issues, including irregular periods and menopause. A very lovely, sweet and fresh oil for young women.

geranium essential oil

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) ~ Powerfully cleansing and clearing. Helps clear stress and tension. Great for supporting sleep. Very anti-microbial and great natural antiseptic. See my blog on Lavender Essential First Aid  for more details.

Caution ~ There are no cautions with Lavandula angustifolia, it is a very user friendly oil, but just ensure you buy a pure, good quality oil, especially if you intend to use it neat on your skin -you don’t want to be using a synthetic perfume quality oil on a spot or graze.

IMG_1721

Lemon ~ Cleansing and detoxifying, ideal for using in a face cleansing balm (with lavender). Fantastic oil to use in a burner to cleanse and brighten the atmosphere especially when someone is sick.

Caution ~ Phototoxic, meaning it reacts with sunlight (and sun beds), so avoid use on skin if exposed to sunshine. Citrus oils have a shorter shelf life, meaning they react with oxygen much quicker and can cause sensitisation and irritation.

Lemon essential oil

Mandarin ~ Very gentle to the skin, soothing and calming, a lovely one to add to an evening blend or for use in a blend for stretch marks. A great oil for children.

Myrrh ~ Deeply healing skin oil, especially for festering, difficult to heal wounds.  Great for connecting to and supporting breathing very gently. See my blog on Myrrh Essential Oil for more details and Gargling with Myrrh for oral problems.

Caution ~ Avoid in pregnancy, although can be useful in 3rd trimester to prepare for birth -seek professional advise here though.

Myrrh

Neroli (orange blossom) ~ Apart from smelling completely beautiful and delicate, it is very soothing and calming to the nervous system, and so has an amazing effect on all that the nervous system controls, so this would include digestion, muscle tension & emotions. It is a great oil for melting stress, and anxiety.

Peppermint ~ Great for muscle aches and pains, sometimes has a tingling sensation, great for refreshing feet. Supports digestion, would make a great tummy or foot balm.

Caution ~ Do not use if cardiac fibrillation. Maximum blend strength 3%. Avoid use with babies.

Rose (Rose otto – Rosa damascena or Rose absolute – Rosa centifolia)~ Deeply nurturing, great for those self-loving moments. Very supportive for women and men. A gorgeous oil to use in beauty and skin care, particularly for mature and dry skin.

Leonardo da vinci flower study

Thyme (Mild – Thyme linalool)~ Powerfully anti-microbial, and anti-fungal, great for coughs, especially deep chesty ones. A fantastic oil to include in a blend for athletes foot.

Caution ~ Use this mild version of thyme. Avoid use on hyper sensitive or damaged skin. Do not use with children under 2 years. Maximum blend strength 2%.

herbs

Yarrow ~ this unusual bright ink blue oil is highly anti-inflammatory and is great for any conditions where inflammation is present e.g. gout, arthritis, allergies, pain, breaks, strains. See my blog on Yarrow Essential Oil for more information.

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.

yarrow essential oils

Note: Always ensure you buy good quality essential oils from a trustworthy source. I will be launching my own range of essential oils very soon, in the meantime you can contact me to purchase: laura@essentialoilsandyou.co.uk

How to make Fresh Mint Tea and Appreciate the Benefits of Essential Oils

I recently ran a workshop and used a mint plant to illustrate what essential oils are and where they come from.  In the case of peppermint the essential oil is held in the leaves of the plant, and literally brushing your hand over the leaves is enough to release the essential oil, which in turn releases the scent.  Peppermint is a great oil that really supports digestion and sometimes just the initial smell from the plant can stimulate our appetite, make our mouth water and our tummy rumble as our body releases various digestive enzymes in preparation for eating.

Fresh Mint Tea – a cup of mint tea is a great way to use peppermint regularly to support your digestion.  Dried herbs which are usually used in herbal tea bags will contain a very small amount of essential oil which is why they don’t smell as strong as when fresh. So making a pot of mint tea using the fresh leaves from the plant will ensure you experience more of the benefits of the essential oils.

If you don’t happen to have a mint plant in your garden or close by to harvest from, you can buy a bag of fresh mint from most supermarkets, or a pot from a garden centre would be handy for regular use. All you need to do is pluck a few leaves from the stems, give them a rinse and pop them into a tea pot. I like mine strong so I usually use around 10-20 leaves, then add boiling water and let it brew for at least 5 minutes.  It’s very refreshing, and I’m sure you will appreciate the difference compared with using a peppermint tea bag -I’m really not a fan of tea bags, but if it’s all you can get hold of, it’s still worth making it in a tea pot, because the boiling water releases the essential oils from the plant material in the steam, and once you have the lid on the tea pot you capture the precious oils to enjoy more fully when you pour.  It also feels much more nurturing to have made a pot, I like the ritual of making the tea, taking the time to let it brew, choosing the cup, and I love drinking it when the temperature is just perfect.

When I go out to a restaurant or café, I often ask for a fresh mint tea at the end of the meal, as it supports digestion.  Even if they don’t advertise it on the menu, they will usually have some fresh mint in the kitchen and are usually willing to make up a pot for me -so much nicer than a tea bag.

The essential oil is much more potent than the leaves of the plant, so if you want a more powerful effect to support more serious digestive complaints you can actually buy capsules that contain peppermint essential oil in, which can be very effective.  Peppermint tea will still be very supportive for conditions such as constipation, IBS, bloating, indigestion. You may also like to read my blog on digestive massage for these symptoms.

Lemongrass tea by Spice & Smile

Some other delicious teas to support you… Lemongrass Tea – for a lovely, light, slightly sweet tea, try this recipe for lemongrass tea by Thaïs from her beautiful blog Spice & Smile , again you will be benefiting from the lemongrass essential oils in this and it’s a great one to help with bloating.

Lavender or Chamomile tea – to support winding down in the evenings you can make a fresh floral tea with flowers from lavender and chamomile plants as they are all soothing and calming in effect. Lavender can be a bit bitter, so I prefer to mix it with something like mint or liquorice.

Rose petal tea – a few rose petals mixed with a fresh mint tea is a particularly good combination, a couple of rose buds is enough to compliment the mint, or half a tea spoon of petals. Make sure the rose petals or buds are suitable for consumption and for use in tea. You can purchase the roses and other herbs for use in tea from Fiona Pierce at www.loveinacup.co.uk

For some gorgeous inspiration on cleaning your tea pot & making yourself shine, read this beautiful blog: Aladdin’s Lamp – Cleaning a Tea Pot.

CAUTION: Do not ever put drops of peppermint essential oil (or any other essential oil) into a glass of water and drink it! This is extremely dangerous practice that is advised by unprofessional or untrained persons.  Essential oils, in their undiluted form are highly concentrated and by nature hydrophobic, meaning they do not mix with water, therefore the very delicate lining of your digestive system is exposed to the concentrated peppermint essential oil. Even if there are no immediate problems, it can be causing issues that become apparent after time.

How to Use Essential Oils in Hand and Nail Care

How to take care of your hands and nails with essential oils and carrier oils and make your own nurturing nail oil.

I had the most divine manicure and pedicure recently with Shami Duffy from ‘Beauty With Shami‘. I’ve only had two in my life, and the other was with my 6 year old niece, both left me smiling every time I looked at my nails, which is quite often with regards to the ones on my fingers, and so a constant reminder of the really gorgeous time spent together.

I had spoken with Shami about 3 months previously about using vegetable oils and essential oils on the nails as they can be very nourishing and support healthy nails.  It was very inspiring as I had never really considered using oils on my nails, although I had always recommended almond oil to people if they wanted to use something, I hadn’t actually used oils for that purpose myself. I always cut my nails down to the absolute minimum since I had had eczema in the past and wanted to avoid scratch damage, it was also recommended to keep them short when I was studying massage. So, when Shami mentioned how much more delicate you naturally became with longer nails, I decided to experiment and grow my nails a little.  I became much more aware when using my fingers in various ways, for example, shutting doors, lifting things, opening cans etc., and I became more delicate in the way I did these things, which really felt gorgeous.  If I was rough with my hands then it would be more obvious and show me I wasn’t being so delicate, I flipped my nails back a few times which really stopped me in my tracks.

Be delicate, tender and gentle with your hands.

During the treatment she used a gentle exfoliating cream, using palm grains, which are very fine, so there was no rough feeling on the skin.  My hands looked stunningly bright afterwards.  She then used a massage cream with arnica, lavender and chamomile in to massage my hands and feet, completely divine.  Next was a heat treatment which involved painting my hands and feet with a blend of melted beeswax and macadamia oil with a few drops of frankincense essential oil, which quickly solidified and was left on with some heated socks and mitts for intensive moisturising.  At this point I was so relaxed I was almost sleeping. When the masks were removed she painted my nails and I had the most amazing feeling hands and feet.

Nail oil

Just before I left, she applied a blend of macadamia oil with a few drops of rose essential oil, around the nails and on the skin just before the nails begin to grow. Applying it to this area supports healthy nail growth, as this is where the new nail is being formed.

It is very simple to make your own up and I use a ‘roller’ bottle to dispense the oil, which works in the same way as a roll on deodorant.  It comprises of a small glass bottle, a roller ball top (that releases a little oil across the skin when you pass it over), and a cap.

rolette parts

They usually come in 10ml bottles, and the recipe below is for a 2.5% blend strength, but you can adjust the recipe if needed using the charts on my previous blog post ‘How many drops should I use?’:

Ingredients

5ml organic macadamia oil*

5ml organic almond oil*

2 drops of myrrh essential oil (helps to heal dry, hard and cracked skin)

2 drops of rose essential oil (deeply nurturing, nourishing and hydrating)

1 drop of orange essential oil (to give the scent a lift)

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

Instructions

Measure the quantities of base oil (macadamia and almond) and pour directly into the bottle, then drop essential oils directly into the bottle, fix the roller ball cap and lid and give it a shake to disperse the oils evenly.  Myrrh is quite thick and gloopy, so you may see the drop of oil sink to the bottom, so you will need to shake it well to ensure it has mixed through. Roll the oil just under the nails each day, and enjoy. Ensure you put a label on the bottle so you don’t forget what it contains.

Ingredients to make your own nail oil blend are available to order from my webshop or Click here if you would like to order a ready made nurturing nail oil blend.

Beauty With Shami – Shami Duffy works in Frome, Somerset, and you can contact her using the following email address if you would like to book a session for your hands and feet: beautywithshami@gmail.com

It is a truly nurturing experience, and well worth making the trip, so if you’re not local then I can recommend staying  at The Lighthouse bed & breakfast in Tytherington, near Frome, Somerset: Tel: 01373 453585 Web: www.lighthouse-uk.com

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.