Celebrate Valentine’s Day in a Botanical Way

For as long as I can remember, Valentine’s Day has been a time for exchanging heartfelt notes and gifts with our loved ones. It’s a day to celebrate love  with your sweetheart and friends.

Botanical Ways To Celebrate Valentine’s Day

As I was thinking about how to celebrate Valentine’s Day, I wanted to focus particularly on botanical ideas that were both pampering and healthy. Enjoy!

Scent the Air

To start the day, let’s put everyone in a happy mood by diffusing some uplifting essential oils. Sweet orange or grapefruit are both excellent choices as citrus oils are uplifting and anti-anxiety. Almost everyone loves the aroma of these two happy oils.

Please keep in mind, though, NOT to use essential oils (in any way) on or around babies younger than six months. Babies have thinner skin and immature immune systems, so they can’t tolerate powerful essential oils.

However, from the age of six months to two, children can handle diffused child-safe essential oils for short amounts of time. In addition to sweet orange and grapefruit, lavender and lemon are also safe for this age group. For a long list of safe and unsafe essential oils for children, reference this post from clinical aromatherapist Lea Star Harris.

As you are diffusing the oils, I would recommend diffusing for about 15 minutes and then shutting off the diffusor for 90 minutes. Adults should diffuse in this on-again, off-again manner as well. It’s better than leaving the diffusor continuously running.

6 Months and Up Diffusor Recipe

  • 2 drops of Lavender, Lemon, Sweet Orange OR Grapefruit (or other safe list EO)

Directions: Add a total of 2 drops to the water reservoir of a diffusor and run for 15 minutes. Shut off. Start with this low dilution rate as we don’t want to overwhelm baby’s sensitive system. If you don’t have babies or young children, you can add up to 10 drops of essential oils to the diffusor.

Pamper Your Baby or Child with an Herbal Bath

Herbs and hydrosols are much safer to use with infants and children than essential oils. The following herbs are all gentle and soothing for children: chamomile, lavender, calendula, and rose petals. My favorite is chamomile. German chamomile is a powerful anti-inflammatory, wonderful and soothing for the skin, as well as being calming to the mind.

Children’s Herbal Bath

  • One handful of herbs
  • One cotton bag or nylon sock

Directions: Before putting the baby in the bath, fill the bag with your chosen herbs and tie the bag to the bathtub nozzle. Run the water through the bag. Once the desired temperature and depth of water is reached, allow the bag to float in the tub while your little one soaks.

Celebrate with Your Sweetheart

For a massage oil that both men and women like, try using lavender oil. It’s a cross between sweet and spicy, so both sexes often enjoy it.

Lavender Body and Massage Oil

  • 2 oz of carrier oil (almond, fractionated coconut oil, herbal oil, etc.)
  • 30 drops of Lavender essential oil (This is a 2.5% dilution, a nice rate for massage)

Directions: Pour the carrier oil in a 2-oz. bottle and add the essential oil to the oil. Shake or roll gently and label.

Diffusor Recipe

  • To add a romantic spin to the diffusor recipe above, add a few drops of rose, jasmine, patchouli, or ylang ylang.

Cozy Up with Beeswax Candles  

With their light honey scent, beeswax candles add a warm, lovely touch to Valentine’s Day. For a candlelit dinner, choose beeswax taper candles or a fun heart novelty candle. For an intimate setting, try tiny floating heart candles. They burn for about an hour and look beautiful in a bowl of water sprinkled with fresh flower petals. In the picture to the left, I used carnation petals.

Botanical Gift Ideas

 

Houseplants are a perfect idea for a “Galantine’s” (girls celebrating Valentine’s day with their girlfriends) gift—especially welcome if you live in a cold climate area of the country. At this point in the winter, we’re all ready for a bit of greenery. Succulent plants are easy to care for and extremely popular right now. I just purchased one myself.

Of course you can never go wrong with flowers. They don’t have to be expensive, either, if you’re on a tight budget. I just bought this beautiful bouquet of carnations at Walmart, and they were only about $4.50.

Finally, botanical beeswax perfumes are pampering gifts for Valentine’s Day any woman will appreciate.

However you celebrate this year, I pray it’s your best botanical holiday yet!

Happy Valentine’s Day,

*I just want to be clear that the gift links in this post are to my shop on Etsy.

 

 

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French Green Clay for All Skin Types

I love going to get a facial, but it’s usually a rare treat for me. For about three days after, my skin glows and fine lines and wrinkles are diminished. Wouldn’t it be nice to get similar results more often?

Well, my daughter Amber and I recently discovered we can when we use a French green clay mask. I’ve used bentonite clay powder before, mixing up a wonderfully effective bee-sting remedy for the occasional stings my husband and I get as beekeepers. But I hadn’t tried any other type of clay until last week.

After reading about the benefits of green clay, I picked some up at my favorite place for such sundries, at the herb room at Good Earth health food store in Indianapolis. Amber and I happened to be together

Amber and I loved our French green clay masks!

during a vacation, and we were both excited to try it. Even though we have different skin types, this green clay powder worked for us both.

Why are Clays Good for Your Skin?

First of all, all clays have absorbed goodness from the earth and help to rejuvenate the skin and protect it from aging. According to Valerie Worwood in The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy, green clay is the finest of clays and can be used for all types of skin including acne, oily, dry, and aging skin. I know it seems too good to be true, but it worked for my aging skin and Amber’s oily skin. French clay is rich in the following minerals: calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium, and it energizes the connective tissue. It is also antiseptic, healing, and emollient, with the result being silky skin. Besides those more obvious results, it performs the important task of increasing the lymph flow and circulation, which helps to eliminate waste products from your body.

What Did I Notice After Using my Green Clay Mask?

Here’s what I noticed after washing off my face mask:

  1. my skin felt silky
  2. fine lines were diminished
  3. my skin tone evened out

As a nice side benefit, just the very act of giving myself a home facial was very relaxing and pampering. Amber and I had so much fun doing this together too.

French Green Clay Recipe

This clay is very versatile. To make one application for a facial, here’s a basic recipe:

  • 3/4 tsp French green clay
  • 1/2 -3/4 tsp liquid, depending on how thick you like the mask

I know this sounds like a tiny amount of clay, but trust me, it’s enough for one application. Here’s a picture of how much it made in my bowl and how much was left after I applied it.

Before applying (This is 3/4 tsp of clay and 3/4 tsp of liquid).

 

As far as the liquid goes, you can use water, but my favorite ingredient to use is rose hydrosol or rose water or another type of hydrosol. Or you could brew a cup of chamomile tea and add that to the clay. I like to use a tiny whisk, stirring until the mixture is smooth.

Once you have your liquid of choice mixed in, consider adding 1 drop of an essential oil. This ups the healing properties of the mask as it can be tailored to your skin type and makes it an aromatherapy experience as well.

Here are a few suggestions of essential oils to add based on skin type to get you started:

  1. For acne, try adding 1 drop of tea tree or geranium essential oil.

    After applying the French green clay to my skin.

  2. For aging skin, add one drop of rose essential oil.
  3. For sensitive, inflamed skin, add 1 drop of German or Roman chamomile.
  4. To help you relax, try adding 1 drop of lavender.

The recipe is very adaptable to experimentation. If you don’t have a local source for French green clay, you can purchase it from my Etsy shop.

Let me know if you have used a green clay face mask and what your favorite facial recipe is.

eScentually yours,

 

 

 

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Favorite Finds: Rose de Mai Beauty Oil

Recently I was spending a lovely sisters’ weekend on Mackinac Island. If you’ve never been there, it’s truly IMG_3504like stepping back in time. No cars are allowed on the island, so the main forms of transportation are your feet, bicycles, and horse and carriages. The rhythmic clip-clopping of horses’ hooves on the roads is a welcome relief from the noise of buses, trucks, and cars.

A Fragrant Treasure

An assortment of shops fills the downtown streets of Mackinac, and my sisters and I couldn’t wait to explore them. In a little store tucked away on a back street, I found a lovely treasure
— a bottle of Rose de Mai Beauty Oil. If you’re at all familiar with aromatherapy, you know that rose is one of the most expensive essential oils that you can purchase. One ounce of (true) essential oil of Rose Otto (Rosa damascena) can cost well over $1000.

Rose de MaiI squeezed a drop from the tester bottle onto my hand and turned the box over to examine the contents. I discovered that this oil is actually a blend. It does not contain the essential oil, but rather contains the essential waxes of Rosa damascena and Rosa centifolia in a jojoba, borage, and grapeseed oil base. But it is altogether lovely!

Essential Flower Wax

Are you wondering what an essential flower wax is? I was too! After researching, I found out that it is a vegetable wax, somewhat like beeswax, that is left over from the process of making a flower absolute.

To make an absolute, the plant scent is first extracted with alcohol and then chilled. This process separates the rose wax from the absolute. The essential wax itself contains many beneficial properties, and it can be used in other products, such as my beauty oil. In an article called Essential Flower Waxes, aromatherapist Jeanne Rose lists the properties of rose flowers’ (Rosa centifolia and Rosa damascena) essential wax:

  • moisturizing
  • softening
  • free-radicals scavenging

    My sisters and I on a Mackinac hike. I'm in the blue headband.

    My sisters and I on a Mackinac hike.

  • soothing for itchy, dry, delicate, or teenage skin

Review of Rose de Mai Beauty Oil

I am enjoying my Rose de Mai Beauty oil. Note that it comes with a dropper top, but does not include a regular cap. I wish it had a cap on it to prevent any of the properties from evaporating through the rubber bulb of the dropper.

Even though it does not contain the pure essential oil, it is a beautiful product with a light rose fragrance. The oil itself sinks into your skin and absorbs nicely without leaving any residue.

If you desire to use it as a perfume, realize it’s not designed as a fragrance, so the aroma doesn’t have the staying power of a day-long fragrance. It is far lighter and unobtrusive lasting an hour or so, but delightful. So far I’m using it as a facial moisturizer, a cuticle repairer, and  a light scent. With just a few day’s use, my skin feels softer. It is one of my favorite finds from our trip to Mackinac.

If you’d like to try the Rose de Mai oil or the rose essential wax, I’ve found the products on Amazon. I’m planning on buying the wax myself to use in aromatherapy products I make, as I love the aroma and properties of rose, but buying the pure essential oil or even the absolute can be pretty pricey. I’m interested to see if the wax boosts the rose scent of my products as well as adding to the beneficial qualities of them. I’ll post about that when I try it.

How about you? Do you have any favorite aromatherapy finds? Be sure to share in the comments below. Always keep your eyes open, because you never know where or when you’ll find a treasure!

eScentually yours,

*This post does contain affiliate links. I do make a small profit if you purchase any products through my links. I only link to products I use myself, have heard are reputable, or are on my own want-to-try list. If you do choose to purchase a product through my link, thank you so much. This helps me as writing and aromatherapy/natural health are my business and passion.




Rosemary-Lemongrass Salt Glow

salt scrub, salt glow, aromatherapy, aromatherapy gifts, essential oils,One of the joys of Christmas is giving gifts that you know people will enjoy. In my view, it’s even better if I’ve made the gift myself. Over the years I’ve sewed, knitted, and even tried my hand at making jewelry (soon discovered jewelry is best left to those with some experience!). Since I’ve become an aromatherapist, many of my gifts now revolve around aromatherapy oils and herbs. Last year I made gift bags for my family that contained lip balm, salve, and lotion bars.

If you’re ready to share the gift of aromatherapy by making some products yourself, I can help. This post will show you how easy it is to make a salt scrub for gift giving.

This makes a salt scrub a valuable gift for all of us, and even more so for someone who is not able to exercise due to poor mobility. Exercise is one of the main ways that lymph is stimulated in our bodies, but a salt scrub or skin brushing will also stimulate lymph. Besides the health benefits, salt scrubs smell wonderful and are a pampering experience for your skin.

Enjoy the recipe below and feel free to try your own combinations of essential oils and vegetable oils. *A word of caution: People with seizure disorders should avoid the use of Rosemary. I would suggest lavender instead of the Rosemary, about 15 drops.

Feel free to share a favorite salt scrub recipe you enjoy. Merry Christmas and happy gift giving!

Interested in a hands-on class to learn more about essential oils and aromatherapy? Check out my workshops in the Indianapolis area.

 

Rosemary-Lemongrass Salt Scrub
Author: 
 

Ingredients
  • 1 cup fine-grain sea salt
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil (for example: almond, apricot, or sunflower)
  • 9 drops Rosemary Essential Oil
  • 6 drops Lemongrass Essential Oil

Instructions
  1. Pour salt into a bowl and add the vegetable oil. Stir well.
  2. Add the essential oils. Stir until evenly dispersed.
  3. Store in a glass or PET plastic container.
  4. To Use:
  5. Use 2-3 times per week. Wet skin. Apply salt mixture, rubbing in a continuous motion over body, avoiding cuts.
  6. Avoid the face as salt is too rough for this delicate skin.
  7. Rinse off. Follow with a body lotion, cream, or oil.

 




Quick Essential Oil Body Creams

Lavender body creams, lavender essential oilAs an aromatherapist, I love experimenting with making body creams and body lotions from scratch. It’s fun adding herbal oils I have infused myself and experimenting with different butters, herbs, and essential oils to get that perfect blend and product.

Sometimes, however, I don’t have the time to make a luscious body lotion from the beginning to end. I need a quick product that will mix up in minutes but still have the healing properties and lovely scent I want. I’d like to share with you my go-to cream that I use when I don’t have time to make one and then show you how easy it is to customize it to your liking.

Favorite Body Cream

Find an unscented cream that you like and keep a supply of it on hand to use for blending with essential oils. My favorite is called ABC Cream (you can click on the link to purchase a jar of it from my online store). You may already have one of your own that you like.

Take the clean, empty jar and fill it half-way with the body cream. Now, decide which essential oil(s) to DSC_6718use. You can choose your EO based solely on its scent, by its purpose, or a combination of both. For example, if you love the smell of lavender, then you may choose lavender because of its fragrance. If, however, you have a certain purpose in mind for your cream, then you will want to choose an EO based on its historical therapeutic properties. You may also create a blend of about three to five oils. Each of the oils enhances the effect of the other. If you are blending for fragrance, open each vial you are considering for a blend and carefully hold all of them under your nose, wafting the fragrance so you can see if it’s pleasing to you.

Here’s a chart of some of my favorite essential oils to help you choose. Of course, there are many others to explore as well.

Essential Oils
Essential Oil  Benefits
Bergamont  Antidepressant; uplifting; phototoxic, so use sunscreen
Clary Sage Women’s Oil; antispasmodic; PMS; cramps; mood swings
Eucalyptus Affinity with the respiratory system; expectorant; antimicrobial
Frankincense Analgesic; anti-inflammatory; anti-microbial; stress; immune enhancer; irritated skin; mature skin
 Geranium (Rose)  Balancing; mood swings; astringent; anti-inflammatory
 German Chamomile  Anti-inflammatory; soothing for skin
 Lavender  Sedative; soothes anxiety; mood swings; irritability; scars; stings/bites; burns (great added to ABC cream for sunburn)
 Lemongrass  Antimicrobial; analgesic; antifungal; add to DIY cleaning formulas
Peppermint Analgesic; relieves nausea; muscular aches and pains; cooling
Rosemary Stimulating; affinity with respiratory system; enhances memory; use with caution if you have epilepsy or high blood pressure
Ylang Ylang Aphrodisiac; calming; nourishing (can lower blood pressure, so use cautiously if you have low blood pressure.

Once you have decided upon your essential oils, you need to figure out the dilution rate. For a healthy adult, a dilution range of 3 to 5 percent is good for body creams. For a 4 oz bottle, that would mean body cream, essential oilsyou would add a total of between 72-120 drops of essential oils.

Add your oils to the cream and mix well. Then add the rest of the cream and mix well again to evenly dispurse the essential oils through the cream. You could also mix this in a glass or stainless steel bowl and then add to the jar when you are finished, being careful to get all of the mixture.

And there you have it! Be sure you write down the dilution rate of the essential oils so the next time you make your body cream you’re ready. Enjoy! What blend did you come up with? Leave a comment and let me know!

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