Displaying items by tag: Essential Oil

Friday, 14 November 2014 16:55

Dry / Sensitive Skin Oil Cleanser Blend

Hello everyone! Sophie here with another blog for you. This time I take a look at the best carrier and vegetable oils for sensitive / dry skins. 

In my last blog I focused on those Carrier Oils and Vegetable Oils that are most suited to cleansing oily skin. This time I’ll be highlighting two oils that best suit dry and sensitive skins.

Those of you with dry and/or sensitive skins know only too well that harsh chemicals often found in many cleansers can cause irritation, sensitivity and leave your skin feeling tight and uncomfortable.

Using pure and natural ingredients can be a great way to gently care for and protect skin. Cleansing with a Carrier or Vegetable oil is the perfect place to start.

Not only does cleansing with oil feel like luxury for the skin, it will gently remove excess oil and dirt leaving skin feeling deeply cleansed. The oils will also help to heal, protect and moisturising your skin while you cleanse.

 

Cleansing Oils Suitable for Dry / Sensitive Skins:

Peach Kernel Oil:

Soothing and nourishing, Peach Kernel oil has great moisturising, regenerating and revitalising properties which make it a good choice for dry, chapped skin. It’s also high in Vitamins A, B and E.

Evening Primrose Oil:

A rich source of fatty acids and Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), both essential for skin health. Evening Primrose oil is a gentle oil that helps moisturise the skin and boost circulation.

A good ratio to work with is 3:1 Ratio Peach Kernel Oil to Evening Primrose Oil. So, to make 10mls of your blend you’d need 7ml of Peach Kernel Oil and 3mls Evening Primrose Oil. 10mls is a good amount to start with because this way you can make sure your blend is right for you and your skin without wasting any of the oils. Once you’re happy that this combination works well for you then you can increase the amounts you make.

How to use: 

Oil cleansing gives you a very deep cleanse so is best for night time when your skin usually requires more attention.  If you feel your skin doesn’t need such a full cleanse every evening you may want to use this method 2 or 3 times a week and on the other evenings use your normal cleanser as you would in the mornings.

Oils are a great make-up remover and can be applied directly over the eye-lids so I find that I don’t need to pre-cleanse with a separate make-up remover. You can just go straight into cleansing with your oil.

Dampen your skin slightly with warm water, then pour a small amount of the oil blend into the palm of your hands. You’ll notice a small amount goes along way. Use your fingertips to gently massage the oil into the skin, concentrating on areas were you feel the need for a little more attention - often around the nose and chin area. You will notice the oil easily breaking down the makeup and dirt on your skin as you massage. Then simply wipe away with a warm cloth. Repeat this step until your skin is completely cleansed before rinsing well to ensure no oil is left on the skin.

Tips:

Always make sure you’re using warm water to remove the oil. If the water isn’t warm enough it won’t loosen the oil making it hard to remove and you’ll be left with oil on your skin.

The most important thing is choosing the right oil for your skin. Remember you can blend oils together to create a cleanser that suits the needs of your own skin. If your skin feels irritated or dry after cleansing then you should try working with a different oil.

It’s common for skin to become a little disrupted the first week or so you when you start cleansing with oil. Don’t panic, this is just those clogged pores unblocking the impurities that have built up over time. Be patient and you’ll soon be seeing the amazing results of cleansing with oil.

Friday, 14 November 2014 13:52

How To: Aromatherapy Massage

Hello! It’s Eugény here again with another blog. This week I have a basic introduction to Aromatherapy Massage for you.

Why create your own massage blend?

It’s a great way to be absolutely sure there are no nasty chemicals or additives in your blend. A lot of the pre-blended massage oils you’ll find on the market (not Amphora’s! Ours contain pure essential oils blended in Sweet Almond oil and nothing else) will contain artificial colors, perfumes and by- products of the petroleum industry. 

So, by consciously choosing and blending your oils, you know for sure that only the best possible ingredients are being used. Doing it yourself also means you can create a unique and bespoke synergy. 

A massage oil will always contain a base oil (called a carrier oil) with an optional addition of a vegetable and/or infused oil as well as perhaps a few drops of essential oils. What you use in your massage blend depends on your reasons for considering a massage in the first place. 

If you’re just looking for some lubrication to make massage easier then just the carrier oil will be enough. If you’re working on a sensitive skin which is prone to redness, blemishes, eczema or psoriasis, or you want to relieve muscle tension or add extra moisturizing elements then it would be appropriate to add a small proportion of vegetable or infused oil. 

Looking to alleviate stress, tension, bad circulation, joint pain or breathing problems? Specific essential oils could enhance your blend.  

Which products to choose?

There are so many oils to choose from that it can seem a little overwhelming at first. However, there is no reason to be overawed. The advantage of having so many options is that there is a solution for pretty much every problem. 

Carrier oils:

There are plenty of 100% natural carrier oils on the market. Here are some of the most popular options that you might like to consider:

•Sweet Almond: In my opinion this oil is an absolute must have! Probably the world’s most popular carrier oil, it’s a good option for any blend. Very gentle on the skin, it’s widely used for its soothing and softening action on irritated skins. Not suitable for those with a nut allergy – consider Grapeseed Oil instead. 

•Apricot Kernel: With its anti-ageing and rejuvenating properties, it’s another excellent base for any massage preparation. It’s rich in Vitamin A and E and in Oleic acids. Especially good for skin boosting massages as it helps brighten the complexion of the skin.  

•Macadamia oil: This nourishing oil is well known for helping to reduce scars and stretch marks. It is also said to help with microcirculation (the circulation in the smallest blood vessels) and to invigorate the lymphatic system. 

Additional Vegetable/Infused oils:

• Jojoba oil: With its composition being very close to the sebum naturally produced by our skins, Jojoba oil (which is actually a liquid wax) is an amazing addition to any massage blend. It is said to reinforce the hydrolipidic film of the skin (the skin’s natural protective barrier) thus protecting dry skins. It can also help to regulate the sebum production of especially oil skins.

• Calendula infused oil: This oil is recommended for any sensitive skin. A natural anti-inflammatory, it works wonders on irritated skins, sun burns, chapped hands, eczema, psoriasis, scars, dandruff… the list goes on!

• Arnica infused oil:  Another natural anti-inflammatory, it’s often used to help with any joint pain or any inflamed area in general (e.g. sprains or arthritis). It’s also known to help in reducing bruises and relieving contusions. 

Essential oils:

Your choice of essential oils will really depend of the properties you would like your blend to have. 

Relaxing: Think about Lavender, Orange, Chamomile or Frankincense. 

Uplifting: How about Ylang Ylang, Geranium, Bergamot or Basil

Invigorating: Try Grapefruit, Peppermint or Cedarwood

Stimulating: Think Rosemary, Black Pepper or Ginger

The possibilities are endless! If you are interested in blending your own oil, I strongly advise you to invest in good quality books or check reputable websites about aromatherapy (like this one!) and study the field a little bit before jumping in the unknown. It’s always good to have an overview on the subject before using any essential oil as there are important safety recommendations you should be aware of (I’ve made a note to write a post about this!). 

Blending:

Let say you’ve done your research and you’re now comfortable using essential oils. You’ve had a chat with the person you’ll be using the oils on to understand a little bit about how he/she could benefit from the use of the blend you’ll prepare for him/her. 

You’ve also checked together that there are no contraindications (any allergies or sensitivities for example) to the essential oils in your planned blend. If so, you’re ready to blend!

For a full body massage you would usually need between 20 and 25ml of product. Begin by pouring 20ml of your chosen carrier oil in a jar and then add 5ml of your additional vegetable oil (if you’re using one – otherwise just go for 25ml of your carrier oil). Now pick your essential oils. Ideally you will have chosen no more than 3 oils. (See my previous blog “Essential Oils – the basics” for some tips). 

It’s good to ensure you’ve selected essential oils with similar or complimentary properties so the blend will be coherent. For every 20-25ml of massage oil base, you will want to add 16 drops of essential oils in total (providing that your subject has normal skin and that you’re massaging the body). 

This is what we call a 2% dilution blend, which means that the essential oil content will represent 2% of your overall massage oil. A good way of finding out which oils go well together is to pop the name of the oil you’re using and “blends well with” into your favourite search engine (eg: Bergamot blends well with). 

For face massage or sensitive skins you want to bring this 2% dilution blend down to 1% so it’s less concentrated in essential oils and more gentle for specific areas. In that case you’ll want to add 8 drops of essential oils per 20 to 25ml of base oil. 

These blend percentages are suitable for adults in good overall health. I’ll cover blends for the elderly, pregnant women and children in future blogs. 

Once you’ve poured all your ingredients together in a sterilized jar and given it a good stir your massage oil is ready to use! Stored properly in an air tight container in a cool, dark place the blend should last for up to 3 months. 

Don’t forget to perform a skin patch test on the recipient before full use. Place a small amount of the blend on the inside of the elbow and wait 24 hours. If any redness or sensitization occurs then you’ll need to try other essential oils. Only use the blend if there are no signs of redness, inflammation or itchiness following the application of the patch test. 

Some ideas (2% blends):

Eczema relief: 6 drops Lavender + 3 drops Geranium + 3 drops Rose Otto + 20ml Sweet almond + 5ml Calendula infused oil.

• Evening chest rub: 5 drops Frankincense + 10 drops Lavender + 3 drops Marjoram+ 25ml   Sweet almond oil.

• Muscular aches and pains blend: 3 drops Black pepper + 5 drops Rosemary + 8 drops Lavender spike + 20ml Sweet almond oil + 5 ml Arnica infused oil.

• Stress balancing recipe: 5 drops Orange + 6 drops Bergamot + 5 drops Clary sage + 25ml Sweet almond oil. 

• PMT massage oil: 3 drops Ylang Ylang + 3 drops Neroli + 10 drops Bergamot + 25 ml Sweet almond oil. 

I hope this article will help anybody who’s considering blending their own massage oils to have a better overview of what can be achieved. It’s always advisable to begin using just a reduced amount of oils so you can get familiar with them before buying loads and loads of them (which will happen, believe me, as it is hard to stop experimenting when you’ve discovered the wonders of Aromatherapy!). 

Don’t hesitate to have a nice chat with the recipient too, directly after the massage session, or after few weeks if you plan to give away your massage oil as a gift. It’s often very surprising and amazing to hear what they have to say about their bespoke oil, and how it may have helped with any current condition. 

I’ll be back soon with another blog to help you on your Aromatherapy journey. As we say in France, á bientôt!

Friday, 14 November 2014 10:13

DIY Solid Aftershave Pour Homme!

All this week we’ve been giving you some great ideas for solid perfumes. They’re perfect as Christmas gifts. Today we have an aftershave version! 

There are many essential oils with a woody or spicy scent that make for a more masculine scent.

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Thursday, 13 November 2014 10:05

Exotic Ylang Ylang, Orange & Sandalwood DIY Solid Perfume

It’s really easy to make your very own solid perfumes at home. They make perfect Christmas gifts or you can just spoil yourself! 

Today we give you this beautiful, earthy, sweet combination which makes a perfect perfume blend.

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Wednesday, 12 November 2014 09:41

DIY Citrus Zing Solid Perfume

The great thing about using pure essential oils to make a solid perfume is that you can create something that smells beautiful and also has therapeutic properties! 

This means you can get really creative in blending oils to promote certain moods and emotions. Try this zesty citrus solid perfume blend. Not only will you smell fresh and fruity but the energising oils may also help you to get up and going in the mornings or be on top form for an evening out. It’s 2 in 1 -  a sweetly beguiling and refreshing scent that can also awaken the senses and stimulate the mind! 

You'll need:

  • 4 tablespoons of beeswax pellets
  • 4 tablespoons of carrier oil
  • 30 drops of Lavender
  • 30 drops of Rosemary 
  • 35 drops of Lemon 
  • 20 drops of Grapefruit
  • Empty jars or moulds for the finished product. 

To make things easier you can blend the essential oils together in a bottle before you start making the perfume. 

Place the beeswax pellets in a bowl and suspend over a pan of simmering water. Stir gently and melt slowly. Once melted, add the carrier oil and ensure it’s fully mixed in. Then add the essential oil blend and mix well. Pour into the containers and allow to set for 1-2 hours. That's it!

 

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday, 11 November 2014 10:25

Sumptuously Sweet DIY Vanilla Solid Perfume

All this week we’re giving you suggestions for homemade gifts in the shape of DIY solid perfumes. Today – sumptuously sweet Vanilla!  

If you’re after something romantic, sweet and sensuous then this may be the recipe for you! This beautifully rich scent is made up of Vanilla Extract oil, Rose Otto absolute and Lavender essential oil.

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Monday, 10 November 2014 15:02

DIY Solid Perfumes

One way of keeping the cost of Christmas under control is to make your own gifts. So, this week we’ll be giving you some great ideas for DIY solid perfumes. 

They’re surprisingly easy to make and the lucky recipients will really appreciate the human touch when you hand over their pressie! Better still, these perfumes are made with all natural ingredients and there’s no need for the harsh alcohol and chemicals found in many famous perfume brands. 

Today we’ll give you the base recipe. Then, as the week goes on, we’ll have some fantastic suggestions for different aroma blends. 

To make the base you’ll need:

  • 100g Beeswax Pellets (Soy Wax provides a vegan alternative)

  • 100ml of your preferred carrier oil – Jojoba, Argan, Sweet Almond etc. 

  • 70-90 drops of essential oils (this is a rough guide – it could be a little bit more or less depending on the potency of the essential oils you choose. The blend may smell quite strong at first but once you’ve added it to the beeswax and carrier oil the strength of the aroma will be diluted).

  • Some containers for the finished product. Our 30ml jars are perfect but you could also use some pretty little tins or little wooden favour boxes. Alternatively you could use some fun and funky molds to create some gorgeously scented jewelry! 

Place the wax in a bowl and suspend over a pan of simmering water (or use a double boiler). Gently stir and melt the wax and then add the carrier oil. Once melted, take the blend off the heat and then add your pre-mixed blend of essential oils, stirring all the while. Once fully blended, add to your containers and allow to set. This should take between 1 and 2 hours.  

And hey presto! That’s it. You have your home-made perfumes ready to hand out on Christmas Day. Check back over the next few days for some gorgeous aroma blends. Or have some fun experimenting with your own ideas :)

 

 

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Friday, 07 November 2014 16:16

Top 5 Benefits of Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender is the world's most popular essential oil.

Friday, 07 November 2014 12:42

Essential Oils - The Basics

Here’s the first blog from our in-house Aromatherapist Eugèny Couture. Eugèny will be using her experience to provide blends, tips and recipes as well as keeping you up to date with the latest developments from the wonderful world of Aromatherapy. 

 

Hello and thank you for taking the time to read my blog. As the in-house Aromatherapist here at Amphora I’ll be keeping you up to date with all the latest developments from the Aromatherapy scene. I’ll also be offering some tips, advice and blends covering every aspect of Aromatherapy.

Before all of that I thought it would be a good idea to start with some basics. Read on to find out more about creating your own blends using pure essential oils.  

When you begin to create your own blends it can often seem very complicated. The aim is to find a synergy of oils which is both efficient AND smells nice! Here are few tips which could help in the process – especially when you’re first starting to create your own blends:

  • I would suggest that you don’t use more than 3 different oils per blend to begin with. “Less is more” is a very apt phrase in Aromatherapy and if you use only 3 oils to start with it’s a lot easier to keep the blend balanced and smelling good.
  • Oils extracted from plants of the same botanical family usually go well together. For example, Lavender, Peppermint, Marjoram, Clary Sage & Rosemary are from the Lamiaceae family. It’s a good idea to put at least 2 oils from the same family in your blends. You can find more about the various plant families that the oils belong to on our Essential Oil pages. 

Essential oils can be categorized in 3 olfactory groups: 

High Notes - usually light, fresh and uplifting. Citrus oils often fall into this category.

Middle Notes – green and warm, often the herbaceous oils have this aroma note (Lavender, Sage etc).

Base Notes – heavy, deep & intense like those created from barks and resins. (Sandalwood or Frankincense for example).

If you’re using 3 oils, try to associate an oil of each of these families. Base notes are very deep and their fragrance will be smelt the longest so you want to put less drops of them in your blend than your top notes which are very light and volatile.

You can easily find tables classifying the oils on internet, but here are few common examples to give you an idea (not every source agrees on these classifications so you may find different versions of it during your research. This list is based on my years of experience of using these oils as well as my research).

BASE:

Benzoin

Frankincense

Ginger

Jasmin

Neroli

Rose

Sandalwood

Ylang Ylang

MIDDLE:

Chamomile

Clary Sage

Cypress

Geranium

Juniperberry

Lavender

Marjoram

Peppermint

Black Pepper

Rosemary

Tea Tree

TOP:

Bergamot

Eucalyptus

Lemon

Mandarin

Orange

Petitgrain 

If you keep these tips in mind you’ll be ready to hear the most important bit of advice I can give: nothing will ever replace your own judgment! 

These are only guidelines to help you, not ultimate rules. You may find you’ve followed none of them but have created the best smelling blend ever. On the other hand, you may stick to this advice and end up with a blend you’re not so fond of! Most importantly of all, trust your own judgment when it comes to aromas. That is the best guide you could ever follow.

 

 

 

 

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Friday, 07 November 2014 12:13

5 Amazing Uses for Essential Oils

Always thought essential oils smelt nice and that's about it? Well, here's 5 amazing uses that you may not have come across before!

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