Important information for Base Formula Blog users

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.

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Meet our new guest blogger Nicole Barton

Nicole-Web-261x300We are delighted to welcome on board new guest blogger – Nicole Barton HDipCT (VTCT) MFHT MBA.

Nicole is passionate about all things ‘holistic’ – particularly Aromatherapy.  Originally a Brand Manager in the beauty industry, her journey into the holistic world began when she experienced the stresses and strains of an imbalanced modern life, developing Chronic Fatigue.  Realising her passion, after holistically healing herself, she then set up Chalet Holistics – a specialist wellbeing centre in Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire – where she now sympathetically supports people back to balance!

Nicole offers a range of treatments including Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Reiki, Sticks and Stones Massage, Swedish Massage and traditional Indian Champissage (Indian Head Massage).

Her favourite essential oils include Sweet Orange (used at any excuse!), Lavender (for sleep) and Cypress (for restoring calm during episodes of non-existent-though-attempted uncontrollable crying when she accidentally smashed the bottle from a new order – a long story; which she may just have to blog about!

Read Nicole’s first fascinating blog on how aromatherapy helped a client, with no sense of smell, to rediscover her nose!

If you are interested in writing for our aromatherapy blog please email us to discuss your ideas.

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Open up your nose – an aromatherapy journey!

sense-of-smellSo, you probably know that essential oils can bring about healing responses – that’s why we use them! These can be ‘emotional’ ones, due to our sense of smell linking with the part of the brain that is responsible for emotions. They can also help to promote physical healing. In addition to this, essential oils can also trigger ‘unexpected’ healing responses.

One particular new aromatherapy client I treated recently experienced a very interesting and unusual healing response – and it was a great learning curve. “I have no sense of smell,” she said, when I explained the treatment. I wondered – how effective could aromatherapy be in this instance, given that it works strongly with this particular sense?

Aromatherapy consultation with no sense of smell

Whilst many people perceive aromatherapy to be more about the ‘massage’ – often thinking of it as just a ‘massage with smelly oils’ – we aromatherapists understand that it works predominantly with the olfactory system – your sense of smell! So how might it work without this important aspect?

Well, we decided, let’s persevere! We undertook the usual detailed consultation to try and understand more about this client’s healing needs. With aromatherapy, they say you usually like the smell of oils your body needs to help heal itself, so, after establishing three objectives a client wants help with, I usually do a selective ‘smell test’ to determine which essential oils the client is drawn to most. This particular client couldn’t smell many of them at all – to begin with…

The journey of smells

Week one was interesting – she only managed to smell one or two essential oils (it was actually a surprise to her that she could smell any) – and, interestingly, they were mostly top to middle notes and not base notes. What does this say about what her body needs, I wondered? One of her objectives was to feel ‘uplifted,’ so could she only smell the top and middle note ‘uplifting’ oils that her body required? Would the essential oils even make a difference if she couldn’t smell them? I had so many questions due to that crucial ‘sense of smell’ being missing.

Well, the aromatherapy oils did have an effect – of course, they do absorb into the blood stream so they still have a chemical effect on the body – but this is thought-provoking given that aromatherapy is so closely connected to the olfactory system. What was more fascinating was that the range of oils she could smell was improving; as the weeks went on, the client was not only getting benefits, which included feeling more relaxed and less anxious, her skin feeling more balanced, sleeping better and her digestion improving, but her sense of smell was developing too.

Unexpected responses: A new, intuitive sense, in eight weeks!

By the end of this eight-week treatment journey, the client could smell ALL of the essential oils. This was not what we had expected – we just wanted to see how the oils could still support someone without a sense of smell. However, not only had they helped her body and mind to heal but – perhaps most importantly – the client felt that aromatherapy had “opened up her nose to a whole new world.” She had thought she had no sense of smell prior to treatment but by the end of a course of therapy she could smell all the essential oils, and other things too! The oils had stimulated something in the olfactory system.

She was also drawn to the oils she needed – one week liking something and the next not liking it because she no longer needed it. One week she adored Geranium, the next she hated it (and one week she couldn’t smell it despite craving it the week before). I realised that this not only shows just how clever, intuitive and sensitive the body is to know what it wants, but also quite how effective essential oils can be. Her new found, highly sensitive, sense of smell had also learned to support the body in selecting what she needed! This also reinforces that aromatherapy is not just about the physical ‘massage’ (despite this still helping in the absence of her sense of smell) as people often think – but that your sense of smell is a crucial part of the process too.

The moral of the story? The next time someone thinks they can’t benefit from aromatherapy because they don’t have a sense of smell, don’t assume that it won’t help them – who knows what unexpected effects it might have! This client was so happy, believing aromatherapy to be wonderful, and is now a firm advocate of the powerful benefits of essential oils; and what a great example to highlight how effectively essential oils – and, indeed, the power of Mother Nature – can be.

Practical blending advice

From this experience, I would NOT encourage anyone who thinks they have ‘no sense of smell’ to try and smell ALL the essential oils at once. Whilst tempting, this might overload and confuse the olfactory system, which may already be stressed or overloaded with chemicals that are impairing it in the first place. Instead, ‘smell test’ a maximum of 4-6 essential oils in one session, and try to work using a blend of the 3 most suitable oils for the person’s objectives on that day. If they can smell any and like them, choose those over others as they are possibly able to smell them because their bodies need them and they are drawn to them! Don’t worry if they can’t smell any – they can still have an effect.

This also highlights the importance of great aftercare as well as consultation. For therapists, advise your client on how to use essential oils safely at home – perhaps just one a week to help educate their sense of smell. You might well “open up their noses”, making them more sensitive to the smells their bodies need too! This applies with every client, not just those who can’t smell.

Nicole Barton
Guest Blogger & Consultant Aromatherapist
Chalet Holistics

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Posted in General, Natural Health & Beauty Tagged with: ,

Base oil of the month – Sunflower Seed

sunflowerThe botanical name of the sunflower (Helianthus annuus) derives from the Greek work “helios” which means – not surprisingly – “sun”!

Sunflower Seed Oil is extracted from pressing the flower’s seeds, and is harvested mainly in Hungary, Australia and Argentina.

The oil has excellent emollient, moisturising and antioxidant properties and is suitable for use on all skin types. It is ideal for use as a massage oil, with its Vitamin E content being particularly useful for blemished or scarred skin.

Aromatherapy blends with Sunflower Seed Oil:

Body Oil for sun-damaged skin:

80ml Sunflower Seed Oil, 5ml Argan Oil, 5ml Jojoba Oil, 5 drops Frankincense essential oil, 5 Patchouli, 3 Neroli, 3 Rose and 20 Lavender.

Massage Oil for dry/mature skin (also helps relieve stress & tension):

80ml Sunflower Seed Oil, 5ml Jojoba Oil, 5ml Red Carrot Oil, 10 drops Geranium essential oil, 10 Bergamot, 8 Ylang Ylang and 4 Jasmine.

Face Oil for dry/damaged skin:

10mls Sunflower Seed Oil, 10ml Jojoba Oil, 10ml Apricot Kernel Oil, 4 drops Geranium essential oil, 3 Rose, 3 Sandalwood  and 3 Neroli.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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Essential oil of the month – Sweet Fennel

Fennel seedsSweet Fennel essential oil (Foeniculum vulgare) is steam distilled from the crushed seeds of the Fennel herb, which grows wild in many parts of Europe and the Mediterranean (from where it originates).

Fennel comes from the same plant family (Umbelliferae or Apiaceae) as Aniseed, Caraway and Coriander. It is a highly aromatic herb, with all parts being used in cooking. Traditionally it has had many uses – some more relevant than others! It was reputedly used by snakes to rub themselves against to improve their eyesight, and was thought to improve human sight too. Fennel was also hung over doors to help protect against witch-craft, and was used as an anti-venom for snakes bites, poisonous plants and mushrooms!

Sweet Fennel essential oil has a fresh, sweet, aniseedy aroma with earthy undertones. It is considered safer to use than Aniseed oil and has many different uses in modern day aromatherapy:-

  • Female hormonal issues – specifically to help regulate the menstrual cycle and to help ease cramps, water retention and other menopausal symptoms.
  • Digestive aid – can help to relieve bloating, indigestion, colic, constipation, wind and inflammation. Can also act as an appetite normaliser/suppressant.
  • Detox aid – can help to stimulate the release of toxins causing cellulite, arthritis, oedema, urinary tract infections and urine retention.
  • As an oral tonic and mouthwash for oral thrush (when used in conjunction with Tea Tree essential oil) and gum inflammation.

Safety note: Fennel should not be used with children under 8 due to active constituent Melantine. It should also be avoided by those with epilepsy and during pregnancy – due to its oestrogenic actions.

Aromatherapy blends using Sweet Fennel essential oil:

Digestive Massage Oil: 

10ml Sweet Almond Oil, 3 drops Sweet Fennel essential oil, 3 Sweet Orange and 1 Peppermint.

Use after heavy meal if bloated, uncomfortable/constipated. Massage into the tummy with a clockwise rotation to help relieve wind and to stimulate digestion.

Anti-Cellulite Cream:

120ml Moisturising Lotion, 5ml Red Carrot Oil, 10ml Jojoba Oil, 20 drops Geranium essential oil, 10 Juniper, 10 Cypress, 10 Sweet Fennel and 5 Lemon. Massage into the affected areas after a bath or shower.

Arthritis Massage Gel (for when joint inflammation is hot or sore):

70ml Aloe Vera & Seaweed Gel, 5ml St John’s Wort Oil, 5ml Argan Oil, 3 drops German Chamomile essential oil, 6 Juniper, 6 Sweet Fennel, 20 Lavender and 2 Peppermint. Stir well, keep in fridge and apply regularly.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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Renew your energy & vitality this Spring

vitalitycropSpring is here, but do you feel lack lustre and less than full of vitality? If it’s been a long hard Winter, your energy reserves and mood may be rather low and in need of a boost.

Whatever you feel as Spring bursts forth, there are many ways you can begin to make the most of this season of renewal. Here is our “Spring-time Action Plan” to reawaken your senses and ensure that your energy and vitality are truly reflective of this special time of year!

Deep sleep and true replenishment

Most of us simply get too little, good quality sleep. This can be because we don’t allow ourselves enough time for the sleep we need, or we get disturbed, or suffer from sleeping problems. These issues can leave us feeling particularly low after Winter, when Vitamin D levels are also depleted due to the lack of sunlight. To help recharge your batteries try the following:-

Review your sleep pattern. If you regularly get 5 or 6 hours sleep make a special effort to get 7 or 8 hours each night for 2 weeks. Record your daytime energy levels, scoring am and pm out of 10, to help you get assess the effects.

Try getting outside for your lunch hour to stoke up those Vitamin D levels – although our bodies produce more Vitamin D in the sunlight, we do still produce some even if it’s not hot and sunny. If it’s not possible to get out in the middle of the day try going for an early evening walk.

If your sleep pattern is disturbed by a baby for instance, try and ensure you get a midday sleep when they do! Or, if at work try a power nap! Try having a few nights “off” if not breast feeding, by sharing the burden with your partner at the weekend, or by asking for help from another family member or friend. A few nights unbroken sleep each week can make a tremendous difference!

If you are simply a very light sleeper invest in some of the new light-weight spongy ear plugs! They are easy to wear and help block out background sounds that could be preventing you from enjoying the deeper level of unbroken sleep that you require.

If you have worries or concerns and find it difficult to “switch off, aromatherapy could be hugely beneficial. Try essential oils vaporised in your bedroom, in a relaxing bath/foot bath before bed, or in a pulse point massage oil to help you wind down. Here are some aromatherapy blends to try for a more restful night’s sleep:

Freedom from exercise

Many of us put up with aches, pains, lethargy and mood fluctuations, when we could easily free ourselves from what we often blame on our “age and stage” in life. Our bodies need activity to stay strong, healthy and energised. Many of us “slow down” as result of a reducing amount of physical activity and exercise, and think it’s just a scenario we have to “put-up with” as we get older. This is a really “locked-in” way of viewing our ageing process, which is both untrue and contributes massively to “premature ageing”.

We only have to look at Asian countries where exercise such as Qigong and Tai Chi are practiced as a matter of course. The parks are full of young and old alike practicing their art with similarly lithe and toned bodies.
Consider those who engage in long distance walking or cycling in later life – they often look and feel more youthful than those who have danced for a living. Our bodies respond well to long term physical activity, as long as it follows the “train not strain” principle.

So investing in regular exercise needs to be part of your Spring-time strategy. Try a 6 week programme of different forms of exercise to boost your energy and vitality. Most of us will also notice a real change in how we begin to think and feel more positive, as our natural neuro-chemical production gets stimulated too. Find something you can commit to with a friend, as you are more likely to get into the regular habits that will lead to all those health benefits, and if you get stiff, sore or suffer a few aches and pains to begin with here’s a few soothing, pain-relieving aromatherapy blends to ease you on your way:

Relaxation and refreshment

“Time out” is the key. Keep away from too many repeating cycles; reinvention is the key to a healthy balance in life and can lead to a huge energy boost – as easy as a breath of fresh air! Many of us feel lethargic and de-energised due to boredom and a lack of anything to strive for or get excited about, and others are ground down by financial pressure and “just about managing”! If this sounds familiar, try the following:

Create a wish list of “time out” with friends/family which doesn’t have to cost much but is about allowing the time not to be gobbled up by the mundane.

Look at a career boost; retraining could stop you straining to make ends meet. If you don’t think you can afford the time or the course you may be surprised. The company you work for may sponsor you if they can see you want to improve, and some training can take place whilst you are still being paid! There are also grants available if you want to re-train or set up your own business.

Taking time out is vital, no matter how busy you are, to give your body permission to let go, unwind and recharge. Massage is one of THE best ways to achieve this – especially if it’s combined with Reiki. If you can’t afford a professional massage consider ordering one of Base Formula’s aromatherapy kits, and start by giving yourself a regular foot massage at the end of the day (or enlist the help of family and friends). You can also vaporise the essential oils and take regular aromatherapy baths to help you relax and unwind. Try the following blends:

Also look at getting some of your “time out” in nature. The wilder and more remote the area, the more restorative the impact will be. Go walking on the coast or near large expanses of water – preferably running water (waterfalls or fast moving river) – and you can boost your body by breathing in all those negative ions. Wild places also tend to be more free of EMR (Electro Magnetic Radiation) that many of us are now bombarded by (from computers, mobile phones, aerials and electrical sub stations etc).

Stimulation and restoration

“A change is as good as a rest”. It’s SO true! What we often mistake for physical tiredness is mental lethargy; our systems thrive on change, even whilst we often resist it. So, write your “Wish List”. Try to dream and envision your goals afresh each Spring, and remember that your mind is like a magnet; whatever you focus on the most you get more of! If you are struggling to recreate your new beginning, read Ekhart Tolle’s “A New Earth”, or Stuart Wilde’s “Miracles”.

Mind Body Detox

Your energy can sometimes be held back by physical congestion. Indications can be cellulite, poor skin condition, digestive bloating, addiction to sugar/caffeine, tiredness upon waking and low immunity. To help, try the following:

Herbs: Drink detox herb teas and reduce artificial stimulants. Lemon, Fennel, Rosemary, Sage and Nettle are ideal choices.

Essential oils: Regular aromatherapy massage can really help detoxification. Try:

Reiki healing: A good Reiki Master can scan your energy field and help you understand what balance your chakras are reflecting; helping increase your awareness and then assisting with re-balancing and restoration.

Vodder: A Lymphatic Drainage Technique which is gentle and profoundly detoxifying. It is very powerful and particularly indicated for those who suffer from oedema, cellulite, hormonal imbalance and PMT/Menopausal symptoms.

Nutritional boosters: If your diet is poor, consider seeing a nutritionist, or read up on Super foods and healthy eating to give your body the boost it needs to spring into action!

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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De-stress at home the Icelandic way!

BLON3During a recent trip to Iceland for a family wedding, I was reminded how healthy the Icelandic lifestyle is – in so many ways! There’s the clean, unpolluted air, the wonderful fresh seafood, low population levels and a general sense of space and freedom, combined with strong community spirit.

The Geothermic waters are the greatest joy for me. Icelanders will often go for a swim and a steam in their local geothermic waters, finishing off with a soak in the “hot pots”. There are usually 3 temperatures; warm, hot and scalding – all rich in mineral salts and offering an ideal opportunity for easy, sociable conversation. Many people go to their local baths at the end of a working day, in a way that we would go to the pub – to de-stress, unwind and catch up with each other. What a healthy option in comparison!

One of the most special moments on this trip was a visit to the Blue Lagoon – so notorious as it’s blue silica-rich waters are sited in the middle of black lava fields – giving an amazing visual impact. The steam rises steep into the sky all around the lava – creating a tremendous flagship for those who want that iconic geothermic experience.

One of the best treats imaginable is a massage in the steaming waters. The Blue Lagoon has created a separate side lagoon where some of the best massage therapists I have ever come across work. In Iceland, massage therapists train for four and a half years – and this results in very high quality treatments indeed. This, combined with the massage taking place in the warm waters themselves, makes it a very unique and deeply restorative experience. The massage is conducted in the water, as you float on a foam mat just below the waters surface, gazing peacefully up at the stars, steam, blue skies or snowflakes! Pure bliss!!

So, I started to wonder how we could re-create a similar experience at home? We use essential oils to create an aromatic bath, and aromatherapy bath oil blends to soothe and smooth the skin – so how about blends for massage in the water? The warmth of the bath water encourages relaxation and absorption of the essential oils – hence making underwater massage a deeply effective, relaxing and enjoyable experience.

Self massage at home can be a really useful addition to your aromatherapy repertoire – especially for those who are reasonably flexible and on a tight budget! So, let’s create the atmosphere. Try playing a CD with the sounds of the sea or rain, to give you the background sense of being in nature. Then light candles for a gentle glow.

Creating your aromatherapy blends for in-water massage:

Combine 10ml Melon Seed Oil (nice and light) and 5ml Jojoba Oil (nourishing and smoothing) as your bath massage base. Then add one of the following essential oil blends:

Work the massage oil into your feet first. Then massage your legs in an upward motion – always encouraging the blood upwards towards the heart. Work on the top band of muscles on your shoulders – the trapezius – using the opposite hand. Work down your arms in the same manner, paying close attention to any areas of tension. Finish by massaging your abdomen, using a gentle clockwise rotation to mimic the peristaltic action of the gut. Complete your massage by placing one hand on top of the other over your solar plexus and taking some long, slow, deep breaths.

NOTE: Remember not to have the water too hot as this is not conducive to deep relaxation, especially before bed. Using oils in the bath does make it more slippery so be please be careful when you get out, and give the bath a good clean afterwards!

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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Posted in Aromatherapy Massage, Natural Health & Beauty Tagged with: , , ,

Base oil of the month – Melon Seed

watermelonMelon Seed oil is produced from the seeds of the watermelon which is thought to have originated over 5000 years ago in the Kalahari Desert of Africa. The oil is particularly common in West Africa where it is known as Ootanga or Kalahari Oil. The melon is smaller and rounder when it grows wild, but larger and more oval when grown commercially. Its seeds are dried and pressed to produce an extremely light gentle base oil, which is rich in omega oils, containing 10% stearic acid, 11% palmitic acid, 15 % oleic acid and 63 % linoleic acid.

Due to its light and gentle actions, Melon Seed Oil is often used in soaps, hair care and baby products. Its rich content of essential fatty acids makes it perfect for mature skins, helping to feed the skin and restore its natural elasticity. Melon Seed Oil is noncomedogenic (non-pore blocking) and can help to balance sebum production, which means it’s also useful for oily and blemish prone skin.

Aromatherapy recipes with Melon Seed Oil:

Moisturising Bath Oil

Mix 60ml Luxury Bath Oil, 10ml Melon Seed Oil, 6 drops Ylang Ylang essential oil, 6 Lavender, 4 Geranium, 2 Neroli and 2 Rose. Add 10ml to the bath after the water has run.

Body Oil For Mature Skin

Mix 60ml Jojoba Oil, 20ml Melon Seed Oil, 5ml Avocado Oil, 2ml Red Carrot Oil, 2 drops Vetiver essential oil, 6 Patchouli, 8 Geranium and 10 Lavender. Massage into skin regularly, especially after a bath or shower.

Facial Oil For Mature/Oily Skin

Mix 40ml Jojoba Oil, 20ml Melon Seed Oil, 2ml Argan Oil, 2ml Red Carrot Oil, 4 drops Neroli essential oil, 4 Rose, 4 Sandalwood, 6 Geranium and 2 Vetiver.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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Essential oil of the month – Vetiver

vetiver1Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides) essential oil, also known as “Vetivert”, is a rather thick, dark amber oil. It has an earthy, resinous and woody aroma, not dissimilar to a slightly smoky, lemony version of Patchouli or Myrrh.

Vetiver essential oil is steam distilled from the roots and rhizome of a tall, dense, fragrant grass which is native to India. This grass has a massive root mass and is often grown to help prevent soil erosion. It is also used for making fans, mats, screens and thatch.

Vetiver essential oil is earthy and grounding and is known in Sri Lanka as the ‘oil of tranquillity’.

Its main actions are:

  • For mature skin, or skin with acne, dermatitis, or eczema. For these conditions it blends well with Lavender, Bergamot, Neroli, Patchouli and Sandalwood.
  • For the nervous system. Its calming, relaxing action is indicated for stress, nervous tension, anxiety, insecurity, insomnia and depression. Here is works well alongside Lavender, Rose, Sandalwood, Geranium, Bergamot and Ylang Ylang.
  • Musculoskeletal. For joint and muscle pain it combines well with Ginger, Chamomile, Plai, Black Pepper, Lavender and Lemongrass.
  • Immunity. To boost the immune response, particularly when immunity has dropped due to stress/anxiety/shock. Blends well with Lavender, Palmarosa and Thyme.

Aromatherapy recipes using Vetiver essential oil:

Vaporising blend for the bedroom to aid deep sleep

4 drops Lavender essential oil, 3 Sweet Orange, 2 Neroli and 2 Vetiver.

Arthritis cream

60ml Moisturising Lotion, 5ml Argan oil, 5ml Borage oil, 10 drops Lavender essential oil, 6 Plai, 4 German Chamomile, 4 Camphor and 3 Vetiver. Stir well and massage regularly into affected joints.

Moisturising lotion for mature skin

80ml Moisturising Lotion, 5ml Avocado oil, 2ml Red Carrot oil, 10 drops Lavender essential oil, 10 Geranium, 8 Frankincense, 4 Vetiver and 4 Neroli.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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Posted in Essential Oils of the Month, Make Your Own Recipes, Natural Health & Beauty Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Anti-ageing aromatherapy skincare

Aging and youth concept, beauty treatment, portrait of beautifulThere are so many creams, lotions and potions available for skin that is showing signs of ageing (wrinkles, fine lines or character lines as I like to call them!). Almost all of the products however on the market make false or hugely exaggerated claims, and contain ingredients that include chemicals and various petro-chemical derivatives. I’m sure that very few people would continue to use these products if they actually realised what they contained. Unfortunately the ingredients lists include long and mystifying words, which many people don’t understand – even if they care to look at the list in the first place.

If you’re looking for natural skincare, then aromatherapy is a real treasure trove when it comes to caring for ageing skin. Prevention is far better than cure, and these wonderful, 100% natural oils can help to ensure that your skin:-

  • is well nourished
  • retains its natural moisture
  • is protected from environmental damage (sun, wind etc)

Throughout history, certain essential oils and vegetable base oils have been intrinsically inter-connected with beauty, skin care, health and wellbeing. They have also been used in many religious ceremonies and spiritual practises.
Ointments for the skin have been discovered in the tombs of ancient Egyptian pharaohs, demonstrating how highly prized their actions and effects have been throughout the eons of time.

So, how do essential oils and base oils benefit our skin, and the “million dollar question”, why are they so effective when it comes to caring for mature and ageing skin?

Aromatherapy oils have a variety of skin care benefits, including:

  • stimulating skin cell regeneration
  • balancing sebum output (natural oil produced by skin)
  • helping “lock in” hydration
  • helping stimulate dead skin cell removal
  • lubrication and moisturising
  • anti-inflammatory action where skin is inflamed
  • astringent action, helping to close pores
  • antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic

They can also help to maintain our complexion by improving our psychological and physical wellbeing when used holistically.

Some of the most important essential oils for ageing skin are:

Lavender, Benzoin, Frankincense, Neroli, Rose, Jasmine, Patchouli, Roman Chamomile, Vetiver, Geranium, Sandalwood and Carrot Seed Oil.

In addition to the above, we also need to consider the powerfully nourishing actions of a wonderful variety of rich, light, lubricating and emollient base/vegetable/carrier oils, that provide so much more than a mere “base” for the delivery of our essential oils. The type or combination of these base oils should be chosen as carefully for your skin type as the oils that are diluted in them!

Some of the most important base oils for mature skin are:

Argan, Avocado, Borage, Camellia, Coconut, Evening Primrose, Hazelnut, Hemp Seed, Jojoba, Lime Blossom, Macadamia Nut, Marigold, Melon Seed, Peach Kernel, Red Carrot Oil, Rosehip, Sesame, Walnut and Wheatgerm.

Whilst aromatherapy can be a huge help, remember that your complexion will also be greatly influenced by lifestyle issues, such as those listed below. Whatever you put on your external skin cells, how you look after your overall wellbeing has the greatest impact of all. Your skin is in effect your largest organ – and will reflect your health in general and the state of your gut balance in particular. The following are all important to improve the condition of your skin:-

  • good hydration levels
  • positive nutrition with a diet high in fresh vegetables, fruit, essential fatty acids, complex proteins and a good general balance and variety
  • dietary supplements may be helpful – particularly for those over the age of 40, or those with high stress levels, and a poor medical history
  • plenty of sleep – to allow your skin cells to repair and renew
  • regular exercise
  • regular stress relief if tension levels are high – aromatherapy massage may be one of the best options!
  • avoidance of toxins – such as excessive intake of tea, coffee, alcohol, refined sugars, synthetic sweeteners, refined foods etc.

Anti-ageing aromatherapy recipes:

Nourishing face mask for mature skin

To literally ‘feed’ your face, stimulate your circulation and boost your complexion mix together the following ingredients:

2 tbsp plain live full fat yogurt
½ mashed avocado
1 tsp runny honey
1 tsp ground almonds
2 drops each of Rose, Neroli and Frankincense essential oil

Apply to the face and neck (avoiding eye area). Leave on for 15 minutes and rinse off with cold water. Pat dry and moisturise as normal.

Rejuvenating facial massage oil

5ml Jojoba Oil
5ml Macadamia Nut Oil
5ml Walnut Oil
2 drops each of Vetiver, Rose and Neroli essential oil
3 drops of Carrot Seed essential oil

Rich night cream:

80mls Moisturising Cream
2ml Red Carrot Oil
5ml Melon Seed Oil
5ml Argan Oil
8 drops each of Frankincense and Geranium essential oil
4 drops of Vetiver and Neroli essential oil

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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Base oil of the month – Hazelnut

Hazelnuts2Hazelnut Oil (Corylus avellana) is another wonderfully nutritious base oil that has been used for hair and beauty for over 3000 years. Rich in various vitamins, minerals and Essential Fatty Acids, it is particularly useful for its antioxidant Vitamin E and Linoleic Acid.

Hazelnut Oil has, as you would expect, a pleasing, light nutty aroma. It is highly absorbent, light and non greasy, and a wonderful emollient that helps prevent moisture loss throughout the day. Its antibacterial, astringent action helps prevent excess sebum secretion, which makes it useful for acne prone skin and other oily skin conditions. It can also be useful for sensitive skin (although obviously not for those with nut allergies) and makes and ideal addition to a facial oil base.

Hazelnut Oil has a good reputation as a sun filter, and for this reason it is often included in sunscreen products.

Aromatherapy recipes using Hazelnut Oil

Conditioner for coloured/treated hair:
Hazelnut Oil makes a wonderful pre–shampoo hair conditioner, helping to retain hair condition when it has a tendency to loose colour and become course and dry. Mix 20ml Hazelnut Oil, 5 drops Lavender essential oil, 4 Ylang Ylang and 4 Geranium. Massage into damp hair before shampooing. Leave on for 20 minutes then shampoo and condition as normal.

Facial oil for mature sun-damaged skin:
Mix 10ml Hazelnut Oil and 10ml Jojoba Oil, then add 15 drops Red Carrot Oil, 2 drops Neroli essential oil, 2 Rose and 2 Geranium. Use nightly.

Bath oil for dry skin:
Combine 50ml Luxury Bath Oil, 10ml Hazelnut Oil, 10 drops Geranium essential oil, 5 Patchouli, 5 Sandalwood and 3 Neroli. Shake well and add 1-2 tablespoons once the bath water is run. Gently agitate the water to disperse the oil.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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