This summer I have been working on my Natural Skincare Formulation Diploma program through the School of Natural Skincare in the UK. It has been an amazing experience in learning more about all the other components of high end botanical skincare products. I already had a solid foundation in my understanding of essential oils for skincare through my aromatherapy certifications, and the additional education has been very enlightening.
Natural skincare provided my formal entrance into the world of aromatherapy. I started making basic skincare products two years ago--which is hard to believe--and really love crafting natural products using essential oils. I have expanded my original practice which was just a day cream, night cream, and undereye roller to include so many wonderful products, which I am working on putting up on my online store.
Suffice it to say, moving to all natural facial and skincare products has really changed my life. Take care of your skin, folks!
On the left, here I am at age 41 without makeup before incorporating natural skincare products into my life, and on the right, here I am at age 43, with no makeup after two years of using natural skincare products. I can't get over how bad my eyes used to look - puffy, red, dark circle, lines and whatnot. At some point last year, I even tried Botox, which didn't really make any noticeable difference. I wish I had photos in the same lighting situation, but I moved last year, so that changed and I also got a new phone.
My current facial care regimen includes:
I'm currently working on a facial/body beauty balm for glowing skin. I don't think that I would use it daily or maybe I would use it combined with the Ultra Restorative Body Lotion.
I love working with natural skincare products and it is one of my primary passions. I cannot stress the importance enough of taking care of your skin, especially with the changes that come with aging. I used to be a "I just wash my face with water" girl and never moisturized... and as you can see in the photos above, what a difference it has made!
Check out my store for more natural skincare and aromatherapy products
For my aromatherapy certifications, I had to do many consultations and preparation of different sample products to be used by the client and reviewed by the course instructors. Much to my seeming shock, the feedback across the board was that in many cases I was using too much oil -- especially in rollers and/or too many different oils at the same time. As they said, “sometimes more oil is just more oil” meaning that it does not amplify the efficacy of a blend and in some cases - some oils you need more of and some oils you need less of and some oils need to be considered based upon safety information. A typical blend or synergy is made up of 3 to 5 essential oils. More can be used in certain situations, but again, we have to consider that “sometimes more oil is just more oil.”
Dilution ratios for 10ml rollers:
When I first started making rollers, I just added 5-15 drops of each oil without considering why. I found recipes on Pinterest and through Google searches as well as essential oils Facebook groups. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but I was wasting soooooo much oil. In most rollers I was using upwards of 30 drops of oil! In some cases, that is fine for sleep and emotional support rollers, but for most rollers that was too much oil!!
What are dilution ratios?
They are based upon the number of drops needed factoring in the dilution ratio of 0.5% to 10% and above while also factoring in the amount of carrier oil used for 10ml rollers and containers from ½ an ounce to four ounces. Typically, the dilution ratio of 1-3% is pretty standard for non-acute considerations. It turns out that my 30 drops of oil in a roller bottle was way over 10% when in most cases it did not need to be.
It is recommended to start on a lower dilution ratio and adjust from there if the efficacy of the application isn’t producing the desired results.
The chart that I use comes from Tisserand & Young’s Essential Oil Safety book, which I highly recommend though it is a little pricey and sometimes over my head with science, but overall a great resource to have on hand.
There are many factors to consider regarding the dilution ratio selected for each roller. For infants over 6 months old and elderly individuals you may only need a few drops of oil total in a blend. Whereas for acute situations such as wound healing you may need to go anywhere from 10% - 50% of oil.
Please note that while most aromatherapists and schools do not recommend using essential oils on infants under 6 months old, many people do this safely for their children.
I have a chart that I keep updated located here:
Blending factors are judged on a scale from 1-10 and indicate how much of each oil to use in a blend. One being that the oil is more potent and you need less of it aromatically and ten meaning that it is less potent and you will need more of that oil. For example, if you are blending something with Lavender (blending factor 7) you may need to use 10 drops or more and if you are blending something with Cinnamon (blending factor 1) you may only need a couple drops.
This can be challenging to ascertain when using a pre-made blend with numerous oils in it. For instance a proprietary blend may contain Wintergreen (2), Peppermint (1), Helichrysum (5) and Clove (2). I would probably clock this one as having a blending factor of 3.
There is also a mathematical way to blend a synergy using blending factors as a basis for the blend.
I am going to use Lavender (7), Lemon(6), and Peppermint (1) for 30 drops at a 5% dilution for a 1 ounce container. If you were making a roller, they are about ⅓ of an ounce.
Carrier oils also need to be factored into the equation as some are indicated for different purposes. For instance, if you were making an undereye roller, you would want to use argan or jojoba oil as opposed to fractionated coconut oil because they both have stronger benefits for the skin. If you are making a general purpose wellness roller, then FCO would be fine. Here is a link to some basic carrier oil information on my website: http://www.restorativearomatics.com/carrier-oil-information.html
Usage of the same oils for prolonged periods of time can cause you to either become immune to their therapeutic benefits or they can cause dermal irritation or sensitization.
PS. Think about the cost per drop: Essential oils are expensive and one should reflect upon overusing oils in a recipe and what that recipe costs you in wasted oils.
One of the first things I made many, many years ago using essential oils was a yoga mat spray. I just used Tea Tree and some water, which worked okay, but Tea Tree on its own has a strong odor. Adding Lavender to the mix minimizes the medicinal scent of Tea Tree and also has cleansing properties and aromas
I noticed that since I am getting older that the skin on my neck was starting to feel rough and was feeling loose. But, never fear - There, in fact, is an oil for that! I did some research and made a neck firming serum, which I have been using for about a month now. I've noticed that in that time, my skin is starting to feel smoother and firmer.
Here is the recipe:
Geranium oil can help eliminate the appearance of scars and dark spots on the skin. It can also prevent the skin from sagging too or can be used to firm the skin over time. I use it in a few different DIY body care. It has a strong perfumey scent, but in this case mixes well with Cypress and Frankincense.
Frankincense oil promotes cellular health and is essential for the skin as it also helps to reduce the appearance of lines, wrinkles, scars and stretch marks. Overall Frankincense is great for calming and soothing the skin and is very gentle. I pretty much use it in all of my skin care products for these reasons.
Sweet Almond Oil is perfect for any skin type especially if you have sensitive skin, acne, eczema, dry, irritated, or oily skin; Almond Oil provides a plethora of hydrating benefits without agitating sensitive skin. Not only is it a perfect moisturizer, but Almond Oil also helps to restore the skins natural protective barrier. It moisturizes your skin and is versatile, so it works in many beauty recipes. It is high in vitamins A and E which nourishes your skin. Do not use sweet almond oil if you have a nut allergy. Sweet Almond Oil has a comedogenic rating of 2*.
*Comedogenic ratings as it pertains to carrier oils and essential oils is a determination of whether or not certain oils with a rating of 0-5 will cause your skin to breakout because of clogged pores.
Given my sleep issues and that I was flying from the east coast to west coast and adjusting to the time change, I figured that I would bump up my sleep roller game and had great success using my Mega Sleep Roller. I applied it to my temples, behind my ears, back of the neck, and on my feet.
I found myself overcome with emotions over the past month or so and found myself in need of some healing. So, of course, I turned to my essential oils collection and found a combination that really worked well for me. I diffuse the Emotional Healing combo and made a roller too for on the go.
Here are the oils that work for me. Sometimes I combine them all in the diffuser and other times I select one or two at a time.
My daily essential oil routines sometimes change, but I thought that I would go over how I use them on a daily basis.
In the morning, I apply my moisturizer and then do my makeup and get ready for work.
Once I get to work, I use various combinations of essential oils in my diffuser.
I wear different scents mixed with a carrier oil in a roller bottle. My emotional state has been in flux most centered on grief and sadness and some feelings of anxiety. These particular oils provide an uplifting aroma and help get me through the work day.
I have a couple other rollers I keep in my purse for emergency use in case I feel some head tension coming on or need an energy and focus boost to get over and through the late afternoon wall.
I tend to take baths and showers in the evening because I find them relaxing. I use my own DIY foaming body wash, sugar scrubs, and relaxing bath oils. Occasionally, I will switch out my sugar scrub for clay masks or Himalayan Salt Scrubs. I also use my own homemade bath bombs, which reminds me that I need to make another batch soon.
My night time routine is pretty intense. After I take a bath or shower, I apply moisturizer and an under eye serum for dark circles on my face. I also use a belly firming cream on my abdomen and stretch mark cream on my hips, lower abdomen, and thighs.
I am currently on a sleep restriction regime to help with insomnia and find myself puttering around my office/studio doing things until midnight so I usually have my diffuser going with various combinations and have been digging a mixture of mint oils with citrus ones.
Once I am ready for sleep, I diffuse oils that help to promote relaxation and sleep. I use a Sleepy foot rub. Then its lights out for me
I've been tinkering around with bath bomb recipes for the past couple of weeks and finally made some tweaks to the recipe and it was mostly successful aside from packing a couple of the molds too tight and the contents expanding and bursting, quite literally, through the seams.
Here is the recipe that I am currently using:
First you mix all of the dry ingredients (including glitter and dried flowers) and then add the Sweet Almond Oil, Bath soap food coloring, and Essential Oils and mix it together. Then you spray the mix with water until it is moist, but not soaked. This can be the tricky part. When well mixed, you simply pack this mixture into a plastic bath bomb mold and pack tightly, then let it dry. Do not pack too much into each mold as they will expand and leak out the sides.
I just tested out the bath bombs tonight and I give them two thumbs up. The water was a deep purplish-blue, the glitter was the right amount (I learned last time that there is such a thing as too much glitter, who knew?), the scent was lovely, and my skin feels nice and soft.
Thank you to everyone who came out for Saturday's Make & Take. I had a lot of fun and hope that you are enjoying your goodies. If you missed it, never fear, I am trying to do these monthly.
Here are the recipes for the items that we made:
I whipped up a batch of homemade DIY "Tiger Balm" because sometimes at night my leg muscles get tight, uncomfortable and crampy and it keeps me awake. I've used the other sore muscle rubs before, which helps too, but I wanted a little more oomph, as it were. The balm that I made smells really soothing and spicy with hints of Clove, Cinnamon Bark, Peppermint, Eucalyptus and Ravintsara (Camphor.)
Owner, Restorative Aromatics and NAHA Certified Aromatherapist Level One. This blog focuses on aromatherapy education and other essential oil related topics.