Base Formula & British School of Aromatherapy
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The Base Formula Blog

The information provided on the Base Formula blog is for personal information and interest only. It is not intended to offer professional medical advice or treatment for any condition. We recommend that you consult your GP or nurse if you have any health concerns whatsoever. Our advice has been provided on the basis that there are no known contra-indications to treatment. If you have any health problems or are taking any medication you should seek advice from your healthcare provider prior to using aromatherapy. We would also advise that you make an appointment with a local aromatherapist who will be able to take a full case history and offer you tailored treatment advice. Please note that Base Formula accepts no liability for misuse of essential oils or other products or for any reliance on the information provided within.

Please visit our website for more details on using essential oils safely and effectively.

jocropEssential oils are part of my every day routine, but so are base oils and a collection of other products that I’ve found helpful through the years. Rather than keep this all to myself, I thought I’d share my favourite products and useful tips in the hope that they might also bring you enjoyment, better health or additional resources when needed!! So, here goes with my ever growing list – please share your own tips and advice too – so we can generate a comprehensive guide that will hopefully benefit and enrich the lives of many others!

  • For tension at the end of a long day mix 1 cup Dead Sea Salt, 5 drops Lavender, 4 Bergamot and 2 Neroli and add to the bath once the water has run. If your water is very hard you could also add 1 cup of porridge oats to a pop sock. Place this in the bath while the water is running and squeeze out a few times to infuse your water with the nourishing oat milk.
  • For difficulty in sleeping – I take 1 Valerian capsule and massage 6 drops of Neroli Light (5% dilution in Jojoba) into my neck and chest.
  • For a general daily tonic I drink lots of fresh lemon and finely grated ginger tea – particularly useful if I’m feeling tired or fighting a bug!
  • For dry skin on feet, elbows and hands – I use a fingertip scoop of Extra Virgin Coconut Butter. I also use it as delicious, natural lip balm.
  • Super foods – I eat 1 organic kiwi most days, avocado and oysters regularly, blueberries and goji berries often, and I drink beetroot juice when I have a long day. I also take Linwood’s Milled Organic Flaxseed most days in soups, smoothies or cereals.
  • Supplements – I really rate BioCare’s pro-biotics for improving digestion/immunity, Elagen for energy /immunity, and BioCare’s Hair & Nails Complex for thick shiny hair and strong nails! When working hard, or whenever I start craving sweet things, I take their Sucroguard too – to help restore blood sugar balance.
  • I vaporise Lime, Peppermint and Geranium essential oils when I do the housework, and use Lemon, Eucalyptus and Tea Tree to clean my work tops and floors.
  • I love Dr Hauschka’s Firming Mask – which I use as a day cream. For the rest of my body I mix up the following blend with Base Formula’s Organic Moisturising Lotion: 100ml Moisture Lotion, 10ml Organic Coconut Oil, 5ml Carrot Oil, 5 drops Rose essential oil, 15 Geranium, 15 Ylang Ylang, 10 Sweet Orange and 5 Frankincense.
  • If I go abroad, I use Forever Aloe Sunscreen – this has no nasties in it, and it smells great.
  • My favourite air freshener/atmosphere spray, which I use all the time at home especially in the evenings, is my “Calm Atmosphere Spray”, with 100ml Orange Flower Hydrolat, 15 drops of Frankincense, 5 Neroli and 25 Bergamot.
  • If I’m having a rich meal and I’m tired, I take BioCare’s Slippery Elm Plus, to help line my stomach! I used to suffer from IBS so I don’t like to take any chances!!
  • For stress or shock, I always have Bach Flower Rescue Remedy and Arnica in my handbag.
  • If I’m feeling down I make up a jar of my own “Happiness” Bath Salts, with 300g Dead Sea Salt, 20 drops Lavender, 15 Bergamot, 5 Benzoin, 10 Ylang Ylang and 15 Petitgrain. Plus I wear my own mood-boosting perfume – which I make by combining Orange Flower Hydrolat or Organic Coconut Oil (the Hydrolat Spray for my hair and the Oil for my body) with Neroli, Bergamot, Rose and a tiny bit of Sandalwood and Benzoin. Pure bliss!

Hope you find some of these useful  - and please do feel free to comment and add your own!!

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

Disclaimer: The information provided on the Base Formula blog is for personal information and interest only. It is not intended to offer professional medical advice or treatment for any condition. We recommend that you consult your GP or nurse if you have any health concerns whatsoever. Our advice has been provided on the basis that there are no known contra-indications to treatment. If you have any health problems or are taking any medication you should seek advice from your healthcare provider prior to using aromatherapy. We would also advise that you make an appointment with a local aromatherapist who will be able to take a full case history and offer you tailored treatment advice. Please note that Base Formula accepts no liability for misuse of essential oils or other products or for any reliance on the information provided within.

Please visit our website for more details on using essential oils safely and effectively.

hot flushIn the final part of my series on Aromatherapy and Women, I shall be exploring Aromatherapy and the Menopause. The menopause, also known as the ‘change of life’, is the end of menstruation, whilst the perimenopause is the lead up to the menopause. During this period oestrogen levels decrease causing the ovaries to stop producing an egg each month. The fall in oestrogen also causes both physical and emotional symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, and mood swings. There are an array of essential oils available to help ease these symptoms including: Basil (Ocimum basilicum), Chamomile Roman (Anthemis nobilis), Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea), Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) and Peppermint (Mentha piperita) to name but a few.

For those women who suffer from disturbed sleep due to night sweats, they may find Basil particularly useful if feeling fatigued and unable to concentrate during the day. Clary Sage is noted for its’ ability to help balance the female hormones, and is indicated for sweating and hot flushes (or flashes as I prefer to call them!). Personally, I believe Geranium to be an excellent choice when feeling irritable or experiencing from mood swings.

One of the most pleasant ways to experience the essential oils is to have a monthly aromatherapy massage. Booking in with a Clinical Aromatherapist will ensure that the oils are blended prescriptively following an in-depth consultation. A good alternative though is the use of essential oils in a soothing, warm bath. It’s advisable to add no more than a total of 5 drops of essential oil to the bath water, ensuring that the oils selected have a pleasant aroma, and are indicated for use taking into account any contra-indications.

Some women may also like to add the essential oils to a base oil or cream, which can be applied both morning and night. This will not only ensure a beautifully moisturised skin, helping to alleviate a common perimenopausal problem of dry skin, but aid permeation of the oils too. Some experts believe that the best way for the oils to enter the body is through inhalation and, so, a few drops of essential oil on a piece of tissue and inhaled throughout the day is an excellent method of use.

Using essential oils to help manage the symptoms of the perimenopause is one of the most pleasant ways in helping to maintain some comfort during this difficult stage in a women’s life, and one which I, speaking from personal experience, can completely recommend.

I hope that you have found this useful! Please feel free to contact us if you’d like any further advice.

Next month I will be exploring some of the essential oils considered beneficial during the summer months. Until then, take care and Happy Easter everyone!

Christine Fisk
Consultant Aromatherapist

Disclaimer: The information provided on the Base Formula blog is for personal information and interest only. It is not intended to offer professional medical advice or treatment for any condition. We recommend that you consult your GP or nurse if you have any health concerns whatsoever. Our advice has been provided on the basis that there are no known contra-indications to treatment. If you have any health problems or are taking any medication you should seek advice from your healthcare provider prior to using aromatherapy. We would also advise that you make an appointment with a local aromatherapist who will be able to take a full case history and offer you tailored treatment advice. Please note that Base Formula accepts no liability for misuse of essential oils or other products or for any reliance on the information provided within.

Please visit our website for more details on using essential oils safely and effectively.

M290/0054Arteries have strong muscular walls to help pump the blood from the heart throughout the body. The veins, however, transport the blood back towards the heart and rely on a series of tiny valves which open and close to let the blood through, and prevent it from flowing backwards. If the valves  are weakened or damaged they can allow the blood to flow back and collect in the vein – causing it to swell and become enlarged (varicose). Various factors can weaken the venous system – from long periods of standing still, obesity, poor diet and lack of exercise, through to old age, genetic predisposition and pregnancy. As is so often the case, advanced cases of varicose veins are usually caused by a combination of these factors.

Varicose veins are quite common – affecting approximately 1 in 3 people (particularly women). They usually appear on the legs but they can also occur on other parts of the body. The veins are a dark purple/blue colour and over time can become lumpy, distended and twisted. Symptoms include aching and throbbing, swollen ankles and feet, cramps (often at night) and itchy, dry skin over the affected areas. The legs may also feel restless, heavy and tire more easily.

When treating varicose veins the factors that cause weaknesses in the venous system all need to be considered, and a holistic approach is required for true and consistent progress.

Aromatherapy can be a huge help in tonifying the veins and stimulating stagnant blood flow, but massage can never be used in advanced cases as the vein walls are too fragile to take any pressure. As with most cases, preventing a weakness from getting worse is the best course of action. Supplementing the diet with Vitamins D, E, and C is often indicated, as is increasing the intake of garlic – which is a circulatory tonic and natural blood thinner.

As far as aromatherapy is concerned, Cypress is one of the most important essential oils due to its astringent action and its tonic effect on the circulation. Its diuretic action can also help with oedema (fluid retention) that often accompanies varicose veins as a result of poor circulation and lymphatic congestion. Juniperberry essential oil has similar properties to Cypress – so one or the other should be included in your blend.

Lavender essential oil is a circulatory tonic and helps to ease the discomfort and pain of inflammation.

Lemon is the third effective addition which has a tonic effect on the circulation as well as being an additional anti-inflammatory in relation to excess acidity.

Lavender and Cypress can be used to great effect in a warm bath (make sure the water isn’t too hot as this could increase inflammation). Try 10 drops of Lavender and 5 of Cypress in 20ml of Bath Oil, Bath Milk or Foaming Bath Gel. Showering the legs with cool/cold water after the warm bath will also help to stimulate circulation.

After a bath or shower carefully massage in the following cream. 50ml Moisturising Lotion with 10 drops Lavender, 8 Cypress and 2 Lemon. If the legs are hot over the affected areas, you can also add 2 drops of German Chamomile to the blend. Used regularly this should help to ease discomfort and tone weak circulation. Regular massage with gentle pressure should also act as a tonic.

Other tips to help venous flow are to rest the legs higher than the head for at least 20 minutes 2-3 times daily – this also speedily reduces discomfort. Gentle exercise including yoga, swimming, pilates and regular brisk walking are also a vital part of improving the long term prognosis.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

Disclaimer: The information provided on the Base Formula blog is for personal information and interest only. It is not intended to offer professional medical advice or treatment for any condition. We recommend that you consult your GP or nurse if you have any health concerns whatsoever. Our advice has been provided on the basis that there are no known contra-indications to treatment. If you have any health problems or are taking any medication you should seek advice from your healthcare provider prior to using aromatherapy. We would also advise that you make an appointment with a local aromatherapist who will be able to take a full case history and offer you tailored treatment advice. Please note that Base Formula accepts no liability for misuse of essential oils or other products or for any reliance on the information provided within.

Please visit our website for more details on using essential oils safely and effectively.

shea nutThis month we thought we’d feature a butter instead of an oil. Shea Butter has been known throughout history  as “superfood for the skin”. It has been used, particularly in Africa, for skin and hair care, baby care, for medicinal purposes and even for food! It is said to have been one of the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti’s “legendary beauty secrets” – having such powerful properties to protect, repair and help regenerate the skin in a harsh and brutal climate.

Shea Butter is extracted from the nut of the African Shea Tree. Growing in the Savannah of Western Africa, the name “Shea” comes from the Bambara name “sii” which means sacred – and so revered are the properties of the tree it was treated with profound respect. The tree grows to around 60 feet in height, takes 20 years to mature to a point where it flowers, and can live for at least 200 years. The process of harvesting is a tradition that has survived millenia – the nuts are collected by women, crushed, roasted and ground before the butter is then harvested. In the African Savannah or Sahara, the butter helps protect skin and hair against the ravages of the hot sun, winds and dehydration. It is also used traditionally to help heal burns and minor cuts.

So what makes the butter so powerfully therapeutic and beautifying? As with so much ancient traditional knowledge – the reputation of the butter is well founded in scientific facts once analysed. The ancients knew what they were doing! It is an amazinly rich substance with powerful constituents such as unsaturated fats, a high level of “unsaponifiable” elements, essential fatty acids, allantoin, phytosterols, and Vitamins E, D and A. One of the most powerful activities this combination of nutrients is said to effect is the stimulation of skin cell repair mechanisms, including the production of collagen. Its properties include:

  • Deeply moisturising – especially for ageing/damaged skin
  • Anti-oxidant – helps protect the skin against damaging free radicals and also extends the life of blends too
  • Anti-inflammatory – can be useful when added to treatments for eczema and psoriasis
  • Circulatory stimulant – for superficial skin “micro-circulation”
  • Skin cell strengthening, protecting and regenerating – especially for skin that is lined, sun-damaged or scarred
  • Physical endurance tonic – when added to pre and post sports massage blends
  • Gentle for sensitive skins and even baby skin – always do a skin patch test first though

Shea Body Butter Recipe for Dry Skin:

150ml Shea Butter
50ml Olive Oil
5ml Vitamin E Oil
5ml Evening Primrose Oil
30 drops Lavender
20 Geranium
10 Benzoin
Rose

Take the Shea butter, warm gently in small a saucepan until liquid. Measure out 150ml into bowl. Add the Olive oil, mix together and allow to cool for approximately 40 minutes to 1 hour. Do not allow the mix to solidify completely, just thicken. Then stir in the Vitamin E & Evening Primrose oils. Add the essential oils and use a whisk to whip the mixture into a light, soft, mousse-like consistency. Add to pots and keep in a cool and dark place to maximum shelf life.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

Disclaimer
: The information provided on the Base Formula blog is for personal information and interest only. It is not intended to offer professional medical advice or treatment for any condition. We recommend that you consult your GP or nurse if you have any health concerns whatsoever. Our advice has been provided on the basis that there are no known contra-indications to treatment. If you have any health problems or are taking any medication you should seek advice from your healthcare provider prior to using aromatherapy. We would also advise that you make an appointment with a local aromatherapist who will be able to take a full case history and offer you tailored treatment advice. Please note that Base Formula accepts no liability for misuse of essential oils or other products or for any reliance on the information provided within.

Please visit our website for more details on using essential oils safely and effectively.

The terms hydrolat, hydrosol, flower water, floral water or aromatic water are used inter-changeably, and there is often confusion surrounding what these products are and how they might differ. We have put together a detailed guide to help explain the differences between ‘pure’ hydrolats or hydrosols and other types of floral water.

Pure Hydrolats / Hydrosols

oil and hydrolat separator

Image illustrates how the essential floats to the top during the distillation process, leaving the hydrolat at the bottom.

Hydrolats, also known as hydrosols, are waters that are collected when plant materials are steam-distilled to extract their essential oils. This involves heating up plant material until a vapour is formed. During this process many active chemicals in the plant are released into the steam. When the steam is cooled it turns back into a liquid which contains the therapeutic chemicals that were released from the plant. Some of these natural chemicals are ‘oily’ and can be separated out from the water – resulting in essential oils. Other chemicals dissolve into the water which produces the hydrolat or hydrosol.

This pure hydrolat naturally contains tiny amounts of essential oil, as well as other water-soluble compounds from the plants, that are not found in the essential oil, and which add to the products therapeutic powers.

It is important to note that true hydrolats may or may not smell like their essential oil counterpart. Some hydrolats have a pungent, earthy aroma and some have no aroma at all. This is because different plant chemicals come through in the water portion of the distillate than those that are found in the essential oil. For example ‘linlaool’ a major component of Lavender essential oil is not present in the hydrolat – which results in a different aroma.

Other Flower/Floral Waters

Pure hydrolats are not to be confused with other ‘floral or flower’ waters which are produced by mixing water and essential oil. As we know, oil and water don’t mix (see pic) – so manufacturers also add a dispersing agent to combine the two ingredients. Dispersants commonly used include alcohol, Polysorbate 20, Peg 40 and Peg 100, which can in turn reduce the therapeutic properties of the essential oil contained within.

Some flower waters also have synthetic fragrance added and may not even contain ‘pure’ essential oil.

Even if a product is made from pure essential oil and water, it will still lack the specific healing qualities of a pure hydrolat – as it will not contain the additional water-soluble compounds that are found in the water portion of the distillate.

Base Formula Hydrolats and How to Store Them

Pure hydrolats are very fragile substances which require careful storage. Many companies add alcohol or preservatives to give their products a longer shelf life. This can however reduce their therapeutic properties.

Base Formula supply only 100% pure hydrolats produced via the steam distillation process outlined above. We DO NOT add any alcohol (or other dispersant), preservative, colour or artificial fragrance.

Our hydrolats are now pasteurised during the bottling process which results in a completely ‘sterile/bacteria free’ product until the point of opening. After opening, with correct storage, our hydrolats will have approximately a 3 month shelf life. To maximise their shelf life our hydrolats should be stored away from heat sources and bright lights. Refrigeration is also strongly recommended.

Find out more about hydrolats and their uses.

If you have any questions about our hydrolats or how to use them please do not hesitate to email us direct.

Hydrolats versus Floral Waters - Summary

 
Hydrolats
Floral Waters
Method of ProductionSteam distilled from natural plant material (i.e. flowers, leaves, twigs)Produced by mixing water and essential oil
IngredientsWater (Aqua) and plant material i.e. Lavandula angustifolia, Citrus aurantiumWater (Aqua), essential oil, chemical dispersant (with the possible addition of preservatives, artificial colouring and fragrance)
Therapeutic PropertiesSimilar to the essential oil but more gentle. Also has additional therapeutic properties which aren't found in the essential oilSimilar to the essential oil but the addition of chemicals will reduce the therapeutic benefits. Lacks the same healing properties of a pure hydrolat
AromaMay not smell like the plant from which it was produced. Some have quite a pungent, earthy aroma and some have no scent at allWill smell like the essential oil used to make it. Some may have artificial fragrance added
Shelf Life100% pure with no added preservative. Should last for 3 months after opening with careful storage away from heat and light. Ideally should be stored in the fridgeThe addition of preservatives gives a much longer shelf life of 12 months plus


Disclaimer
: The information provided on the Base Formula blog is for personal information and interest only. It is not intended to offer professional medical advice or treatment for any condition. We recommend that you consult your GP or nurse if you have any health concerns whatsoever. Our advice has been provided on the basis that there are no known contra-indications to treatment. If you have any health problems or are taking any medication you should seek advice from your healthcare provider prior to using aromatherapy. We would also advise that you make an appointment with a local aromatherapist who will be able to take a full case history and offer you tailored treatment advice. Please note that Base Formula accepts no liability for misuse of essential oils or other products or for any reliance on the information provided within.

Please visit our website for more details on using essential oils safely and effectively.

Rosa_damascena5Rose (Rosa damascena / Rosa centifolia) – when it comes to skin care and mood enhancement, this precious essential oil is absolutely “second to none”. Many would say its scent is incomparable too.

Rose is a truly ancient flower – fossilised remains have been discovered that are estimated to be over 35 million years old! It is also one of the very first oils to have been distilled, in tenth century Persia, and has been used in perfumery, cosmetics and medicines throughout the ages. As Jennifer Rhind Pearce notes Pliny himself “listed 32 rose-based remedies”! In ancient Rome roses became symbols of pleasure, and were used to crown bridal couples, and to decorate statues of Cupid, Bacchus and Venus. The Greek poetess Sappho coined the description “Queen of Flowers” for the rose, which seems an apt description when considering both the instantly recognisable scent and myriad therapeutic qualities.

Although there are over 150 different species of Rose, the main cultivars used for distillation are Rosa damascena, Rosa centifolia and Rosa gallica. In aromatherapy the essential oil is used for its mood elevating properties, it is a powerful anti-bacterial agent, and it has astringent, anti-inflammatory and skin cell stimulating actions.

Although its distillation process has to be done under a vacuum, rendering it expensive due to its fragility and intensive harvesting processes, it is so powerful that one drop per blend (i.e. 1 drop in 30ml of massage oil) is therapeutically powerful enough, such is the strength of its action and its scent. Buying Rose Light diluted at 5% in Jojoba Oil, is therefore a highly recommended and cost effective investment. It also has a good shelf life if stored correctly.

When using the pure Rose Otto essential oil, remember that the bottle needs to be warmed gently in the hands first before use, as it often solidifies at room temperature.

Therapeutic properties of Rose essential oil

For skin: It is indicated for mature, oily, sensitive or dry skin.

For hormone regulation : It is indicated for pre-menstrual tension, for the menopause and for period pain.

For respiratory problems: It can help ease hay fever, coughs and colds, and asthma.

For emotional issues: It is a powerful anti-depressant and mood elevator – indicated for stress, anxiety, depression and low self esteem.

Read our Spring Skincare Blog for a selection of recipes using Rose.


Joannah Metcalfe

Consultant Aromatherapist

The information provided on the Base Formula blog is for personal information and interest only. It is not intended to offer professional medical advice or treatment for any condition. We recommend that you consult your GP or nurse if you have any health concerns whatsoever. Our advice has been provided on the basis that there are no known contra-indications to treatment. If you have any health problems or are taking any medication you should seek advice from your healthcare provider prior to using aromatherapy. We would also advise that you make an appointment with a local aromatherapist who will be able to take a full case history and offer you tailored treatment advice. Please note that Base Formula accepts no liability for misuse of essential oils or other products or for any reliance on the information provided within.

Please visit our website for more details on using essential oils safely and effectively.




A face mask can work wonders for the skin and is a lovely way to relax and pamper yourself at the same time. They are also really quick and easy to make at home with a few basic ingredients. So, not only do you spend less money but you also know exactly what’s going in to your product (i.e. no nasty chemicals), and you can tailor it exactly to your own particular skin type and needs.

Our consultant aromatherapist Joannah Metcalfe has suggested the following 3 recipes for you to try.

Clarifying Face Mask for Oily/Combination Skin

1 tsp plain live yoghurt (ideally organic).
2 tbsp pinhead oatmeal
Finely grated zest and juice of ½ lemon (unwaxed and organic if possible)
1 tbsp Ultra Fine French Green Clay
2 drops Cypress, 2 Tea Tree and 4 Lavender

Grind the oatmeal to a powder in a mortar and pestle. Add the lemon zest, juice, yoghurt, green clay and mix to a paste. Yoghurt is used as the lactic acid content has an antibacterial action on the skin – it is a neutral ingredient so feel free to add as much as you need to achieve the right consistency. The mixture needs to be thick enough to be able to stick to your skin. Finally add your essential oils and mix thoroughly. Apply a layer to the face (avoiding the delicate eye area) and leave on for approx 10-15 minutes. Remove with a cloth and warm water, then splash the face with cold water. Tone and moisturise as follows.

Watch Joannah make this mask in our You Tube clip above.

Nourishing Mask for Mature / Dry Skin

1 tsp Jojoba Oil
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Coconut Butter
½ v ripe avocado mashed
3 drops Neroli and 2 Frankincense

Melt the Extra Virgin Coconut Butter and combine with the Jojoba Oil and honey. Then mix in your mashed avocado with a hand whisk, and give it a good whisk up to create light mousse like texture, adding the essential oils towards the end of the mixing process. Apply to the face (avoiding eye area). Leave for 10-15 mins then remove with a cloth and warm water. Splash your face with cold water and tone and moisturise as normal.

This mask is great for skin that looks tired, where fine lines are starting to appear and where the skin needs plumping up/ stimulating. Honey is an amazing tonic for the skin, as it is antibacterial and contains many helpful nutrients. It is also an excellent emollient and lubricant for the skin, helping it to stay hydrated.

In addition to the mask, make sure that you drink more water and increase your intake of essential fatty acids (found in oily fish, nuts and seeds). Cook with coconut oil as this is more tolerant to heat and doesn’t change its nature and become bad for your health like other oils, which can contain a lot of hydrogenated fats.

General Complexion Booster for Normal Skin

1 tsp honey
1 tbsp Ultra Fine French Green Clay
1 whipped egg yolk
1 tsp Jojoba Oil
1 tsp Vitamin E Oil
3 drops Geranium and 1 Rosemary

Whip the egg yolk for a few minutes and add the honey, Jojoba and Vitamin E. Then gradually mix in the French Green Clay with hand whisk. Add the essential oils at the end, mix thoroughly and gently massage the mixture onto face and neck (avoiding the eye area). Leave on for a minimum of 10 minutes, although this mask can be left on for up to half an hour. Remove with warm water and a flannel and then splash the face with cold water. Tone and moisturise as normal.

This is a fantastic natural tonic that smoothes the skin and stimulates flood flow to create a healthy glow. It smells divine and is great to use before a night! Not only will it boost your complexion but Geranium and Rosemary are both stimulants, which will also help to boost your energy for the night ahead!

We hope you enjoy these recipes. Don’t forget to share your own ideas with us too…

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

Disclaimer: The information provided on the Base Formula blog is for personal information and interest only. It is not intended to offer professional medical advice or treatment for any condition. We recommend that you consult your GP or nurse if you have any health concerns whatsoever. Our advice has been provided on the basis that there are no known contra-indications to treatment. If you have any health problems or are taking any medication you should seek advice from your healthcare provider prior to using aromatherapy. We would also advise that you make an appointment with a local aromatherapist who will be able to take a full case history and offer you tailored treatment advice. Please note that Base Formula accepts no liability for misuse of essential oils or other products or for any reliance on the information provided within.

Please visit our website for more details on using essential oils safely and effectively.

spring skinAs we emerge from a relatively mild yet very wet winter many of us are feeling a bit lack-lustre – and this, unfortunately, is often reflected in our skin condition. This is due to a combination of things – lack of vitamin D from sunshine/natural daylight, lack of exercise (many of us get significantly less exercise in the winter months), less fresh food (many of us eat less fresh fruit and salads in the wr) and low hydration levels (we tend to feel less thirsty in the cold weather). If we combine these factors with a possible low intake of essential fatty acids (and other nutrients), and the drying effects of central heating, it is not surprising that our skin is crying out for help at this time of year!

So just as we may get the urge to have a clear out in our homes and do a good ‘Spring Clean’ – why not give your skincare regime an overhaul too – taking advantage of naturally nourishing ingredients which will feed, stimulate and regenerate your skin! If you approach your action plan holistically – you’ll reinvigorate and refresh your energy and vitality too!

In this article we are going to focus on caring for mature, dry, oily and combination skins. So read on to find out more about your particular skin type and some of the products that will help get that complexion of yours ‘back on track’!

Dry skin

Dry skin is caused by underactive sebaceous glands and a lack of sebum (the skin’s natural oil/lubricant). This can be hereditary and can occur as we get older as our skin’s oil gland activity starts to slow down. Dry skin is also usually dehydrated as a lack of sebum also reduces the skin’s ability to retain moisture. Dry skin tends to looks fine and thin with tiny pores. It also shows signs of superficial lines and wrinkles at an earlier age. It is heavily affected by the weather (sun, wind etc) and atmospheric conditions (i.e. air conditioning/central heating). It therefore needs a lot of moisturising and protection.

Recommended essential oils: Chamomile, Rose, Benzoin, Geranium, Lavender, Neroli, Jasmine and Sandalwood. Find out more about these oils on our website.

Other products: Chamomile Hydrolat, Rose Otto Hydrolat, Aloe Vera & Rose Hydrating GelNeroli & Aloe Vera Hydrating Gel with Guava Extract

Mature skin

As we age, skin cells are not replaced as quickly and skin elasticity gives way to gradual sagging. Mature skin is characterized by wrinkles and crow’s-feet, thread veins, blemishes and age spots. A good skincare routine can help slow the signs of ageing. Reducing exposure to the sun and environmental pollution, improving your diet and combating stress are also important.

Recommended essential oils: Chamomile, Rose, Neroli, Carrot Seed, Frankincense, Sandalwood, Myrrh. Find out more about these oils on our website.

Other products: Chamomile HydrolatRose Otto HydrolatAloe Vera & Rose Hydrating GelNeroli & Aloe Vera Hydrating Gel with Guava Extract

Treatment oil for dry / mature skin

50ml Apricot Kernel Oil
5ml Jojoba Oil
5ml Evening Primrose Oil
5 drops Rose, 5 Neroli, 3 Frankincense and 3 Benzoin

Mix the oils in a bottle and shake well. Massage into the skin 2-3 times a week, following your normal cleansing routine. Leave on for 20 minutes then remove any excess with a cotton pad soaked in Rose or Chamomile Hydrolat. Moisturising may not be necessary following the mask, as it has a deeply nourishing effect.

Oily skin

Oily skin develops due to overactive sebaceous glands which are controlled by hormones called androgens. It is often hereditary and most common in adolescents, although it can affect adults too. Oily skin has a shiny, thick, firm appearance with enlarged pores (due to trapped oil in the follicles) which can look worse if the skin is dehydrated. It can look dirty and neglected, and will feel oily to the touch. Hot and humid climates aggravate oil production, as will harsh skincare products which strip the skin causing it to produce more oil to compensate. Over exfoliating and stimulating massage will also cause excessive oil production. Oily skin can look sallow (asphyxiated) and is more prone to blackheads and spots. Gentle and frequent cleansing, toning and moisturising with a light moisturiser is recommended. A weekly deep-cleansing treatment  is also beneficial. For example Green Clay face masks to draw out impurities and excess sebum, and a facial steam to unblock pores and prevent spots from forming.

Recommended essential oils: Geranium, Lavender, Cedarwood, Palmarosa, Niaouli, Juniperberry, Tea Tree, Ylang Ylang, Cypress, Grapefruit and Lemon. Find out more about these oils on our website.

Other products: Witch Hazel Hydrolat, Orange Flower Hydrolat, Lemon Balm Hydrolat, Tea Tree & Lavender Hydrating Gel, Aloe Vera & Seaweed Gel

Purifying/exfoliating face mask

1 tsp plain live yoghurt (preferably organic)
2 tbsp pinhead oatmeal
Finely grated zest and juice of ½ lemon (unwaxed and organic if poss)
1 tbsp Ultra Fine French Green Clay
2 drops Cypress, 2 Tea Tree and 4 Lavender

Grind the oatmeal to a powder in a mortar and pestle. Add the lemon zest, juice, yoghurt, green clay and mix to a paste. You can add more yoghurt to give you the right consistency – it needs to be thick enough to be able to stick to the face. Finally add your essential oils and mix thoroughly. Apply a layer to the face (avoiding the delicate eye area) and leave on for approx 10-15 minutes. Remove with a cloth and warm water, then splash the face with cold water. Tone and moisturise as follows.

Skin toner for oily skin

150ml Witch Hazel Hydrolat
20 drops Geranium, 10 Cypress, 5 Lemon and 3 Tea Tree

Following your normal cleansing routine, take a cotton wool pad and semi-soak the pad so that it is wet but not saturated with toner. Wipe over oily areas of the face, paying particular attention to the “T Zone” (forehead, nose and chin). This will help to remove excess oil and tighten the pores. If the skin still feels oily after the first application repeat until it feels clear. Leave face to dry naturally and then moisturise as normal with a light lotion.

Breakout Gel

50ml Aloe Vera & Seaweed Gel
5ml Vitamin E Oil
10 drops Lavender, 5 Sandalwood, 5 Cypress and 3 Rose

Combine all the ingredients and stir well. Apply the gel to the face and give yourself a facial steam. Wipe off any excess gel with cotton wool and then dab the top of the spot with 1 drop of Tea Tree on cotton bud. This will to help dry up the spot and clear any bacteria. Do not squeeze the spot as this will increase the likelihood of scarring or enlarged pores.

Combination skin

Combination skin is common and is characterized by an oily “T-zone” and either dry or normal skin on the rest of the face. The patches of oily and dry/normal skin require different oils/products (as detailed in the individual skin type information above) with the aim of balancing the skin and reducing sebum production.

Nourishing and exfoliating mask

1 tbsp Ultra Fine French Green Clay
1 tbsp ground pinhead oatmeal
1 tsp Jojoba Oil
Enough runny honey to bind the mixture
4 drops Lavender, 2 Rose, 2 Geranium and 2 Roman Chamomile.

Mix ingredients together and apply to the face (avoiding the eye area). Leave on for 10 mins to enable the nutrients to penetrate the skin. Then place hands your in warm water and massage the skin in the oily areas with a circular motion – this will help to stimulate the release of dead skin cells and unblock pores. Wash off with cold water and use the toner (from above) on the “T-zone” areas. Moisturise as normal.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

The information provided on the Base Formula blog is for personal information and interest only. It is not intended to offer professional medical advice or treatment for any condition. We recommend that you consult your GP or nurse if you have any health concerns whatsoever. Our advice has been provided on the basis that there are no known contra-indications to treatment. If you have any health problems or are taking any medication you should seek advice from your healthcare provider prior to using aromatherapy. We would also advise that you make an appointment with a local aromatherapist who will be able to take a full case history and offer you tailored treatment advice. Please note that Base Formula accepts no liability for misuse of essential oils or other products or for any reliance on the information provided within.

Please visit our website for more details on using essential oils safely and effectively.

spring-cleaningAt the first signs of Spring many people (including myself) are suddenly gripped by the urge to Spring Clean.  It is believed that the tradition of Spring cleaning stems from the Persian New Year – Iranian Nourouz, which falls on the first day of Spring. Iranians practice ”khooneh tekouni” just before the new year (21 March), which literally translates as “shaking the house”. This involves a complete clean of the house, and the purchase of new clothes and flowers such as hyacinths and tulips.

Another possible origin of Spring cleaning can be traced to the ancient Jewish practice of thoroughly cleansing the home prior to the Feast of Passover.

Whatever the origins, Spring is a great time to refresh and reinvigorate our homes in line with the ‘rebirth of nature’. I personally like to do a real ‘blitz clean’ of the house at this time of year! I move furniture to vacuum underneath, I change curtains and take pillows and winter duvets to the cleaners, and I also take the opportunity to clear out unwanted clothes and take them to the charity shop.

I’m always amazed at how dusty everything smells when you really start to move heavy furniture and clothes about. Maybe its because we have pets, log fires and a solid fuel Rayburn – but even so – it’s not nice! As well as opening up the doors and windows I vapourise essential oils while hoovering, and when I’ve finished I make up an “atmosphere spray” to create the fresh clean ambiance that I like each room to be filled with – cleansing, relaxing combinations for upstairs – and a bit more zing and aromatherapy zap for downstairs! Here are my top tips and favourite blends…

Bedrooms:

Vaporise 4 drops Lemon, Lime and Lavender, with 2 Frankincense or 2 Roman Chamomile if anyone has difficulty sleeping.

Add the same combination to 20ml of Orange Flower Hydrolat and spray into the room to leave that all pervading air of peace and freshness combined!

Bathrooms: 

Vaporising 5 drops Pine and Lime with 2 Eucalyptus gives you a strong scent of cleanliness and vitality.

Add the same combination to 20ml of Rose Hydrolat for a cool, clean, crisp spray that can be used as a natural air-freshener!

Dining Room:

Beeswax-based wood polish on the table and other wooden surfaces smells great! I also like to vapourise 5 drops Orange, 5 Lime and 2 Peppermint – for that citrus edge leading to a peppermint punch – it’s so refreshing and a digestive aid too!

Add the same blend to 20ml of Peppermint Hydrolat to clear your head and leave a surprisingly persistent aroma for days after you’ve cleaned and polished.

Living Room:

As this is the hub of most homes – remember what everyone likes – and consider how your family and friends are feeling at the moment. Choose oils that will boost their mood and that will also leave your room smelling fresh and clean at the same time. Dogs, cats, children and open fires all add to the aromatic effect – and not always in the way we want. In this room I tend to vaporise 2 drops Neroli, 6 drops Lime, 4 Geranium and 2 Cedarwood. I then add the same combination of oils to 20ml of Orange Flower Hydrolat - which I to spray into the newly washed dog’s beds as well as into the atmosphere. I also sprinkle a few drops of Pine essential oil on the logs in the log basket to add to the “mean clean” aroma! Remember, if you are going to steam clean the carpet in this room you can also pop a few drops of essential oil into your detergent before you add it to the water. I like to use Lime and Pine.

Kitchen:

As part of my Spring clean, I scrub the floors with hot water, Ecover detergent and essential oils, and then for speed, I dry it with old tea towels wrapped around my feet!! I add 4 drops Tea Tree, Eucalyptus and Thyme into the detergent, but as this is quite strong I also vapourise 4 drops Bergamot, Lemon and Lime to lighten the load and remind me of Summer sunshine. The floor wash combo can also be used in hot water to wash your mop, dish cloths and tea towels – if you feel that they need a really good clean too after all your hard work!

Happy cleaning!

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

Disclaimer: The information provided on the Base Formula blog is for personal information and interest only. It is not intended to offer professional medical advice or treatment for any condition. We recommend that you consult your GP or nurse if you have any health concerns whatsoever. Our advice has been provided on the basis that there are no known contra-indications to treatment. If you have any health problems or are taking any medication you should seek advice from your healthcare provider prior to using aromatherapy. We would also advise that you make an appointment with a local aromatherapist who will be able to take a full case history and offer you tailored treatment advice. Please note that Base Formula accepts no liability for misuse of essential oils or other products or for any reliance on the information provided within.

Please visit our website for more details on using essential oils safely and effectively.

pregnant ladyContinuing my series of Aromatherapy and Women, I shall be exploring Aromatherapy and Pregnancy this month. Pregnancy can be a special time in a woman’s life. However, at the same time, expectant women may experience a variety of physical problems such as backache, aching muscles and fatigue, as well as psychological effects of pregnancy which include increased feelings of stress, concerns about the baby’s health and changing body image. Aromatherapy can play an invaluable role in helping with these issues. It’s important to note, however, that only midwives or doctors or those in training under supervision are legally permitted to take sole responsibility for childbearing women, except in an emergency. This legal situation means that any therapies used during pregnancy must be complementary rather than alternative to normal maternity care.

When considering the use of essential oils in pregnancy massage it is important to remember that as the oils are absorbed into the bloodstream and can cross the placental barrier, they may have the potential to affect the foetus and, as there is little research into the effects on the foetus of essential oils administered to the mother during pregnancy, I believe it’s important to err on the side of caution when using them until more data is available. I would recommend always using essential oils in a lower dilution during pregnancy, for example, in 20ml of carrier/base oil add a total combination of up to 4-5 drops of essential oils. There are a variety of different base oils that may be used during pregnancy, although it is preferable to use a medium that is more nourishing to the skin such as Jojoba or Peach.

So, which are my favourite essential oils to use on expectant women? Well, I particularly like Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis), which is indicated for use after the first trimester, as is Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), taking into account general contra-indications of course! Both oils are excellent in combating stress, aiding relaxation and reducing aches and pains. I also like Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis), for its’ uplifting properties. This oil blends particularly well with Lavender. Neroli, (Citrus aurantium amara), is reputed to be excellent for reducing stretch marks and together with Mandarin (Citrus reticulata), may be added to a cream containing Vitamin E to help improve the elasticity of the skin. One of my all-time favourites is Rose Otto. Although only recommended for use in late pregnancy I think it has such a beautiful aroma and I found it to be of immense comfort when preparing for my own labour many moons ago!

Well, I hope this information has been of value to you, and I look forward to next month when I shall be continuing the series of Aromatherapy and Women, and exploring the menopause.

Christine Fisk
Consultant Aromatherapist

Disclaimer: The information provided on the Base Formula blog is for personal information and interest only. It is not intended to offer professional medical advice or treatment for any condition. We recommend that you consult your GP or nurse if you have any health concerns whatsoever. Our advice has been provided on the basis that there are no known contra-indications to treatment. If you have any health problems or are taking any medication you should seek advice from your healthcare provider prior to using aromatherapy. We would also advise that you make an appointment with a local aromatherapist who will be able to take a full case history and offer you tailored treatment advice. Please note that Base Formula accepts no liability for misuse of essential oils or other products or for any reliance on the information provided within.

Please visit our website for more details on using essential oils safely and effectively.