Ivon Hitchen, 'Autumn', 1941
I almost got there, Autumn half term that is. Every year I never quite fulfill eight weeks of teaching without falling quarry to some vile change of season/oozing child bug. Just 3 days before I break up for half term and I’m sick with a throat the colour of an overripe Persian pomegranate and a doddering demeanor. I blame Autumn, after all it is the season of vegetal death and loss of light. Unless you live in Technicolor New England, it’s rubbish.
With this in mind, I’m going to share my favourite aromatherapy recipes for the season. Some feel medicinal and others deliciously decadent. All recipes are for 20 ml, a small portion for sampling.
Autumn mist defying anti-frizz hair oil:
10 mls Golden Cold Pressed Jojoba carrier oil
10 mls Argan carrier oil
10 drops of essential oils of your choice. I like a fresh barbershop vibe in a hair oil so I use:
5 drops High Altitude Lavender + 5 drops Neroli
Uses – You can massage a generous amount into your hair and scalp half an hour before washing as a deep conditioning treatment. This essential oil combination has excellent antibacterial and soothing qualities for an irritated scalp. After blow drying, apply a small amount as a serum to the mid lengths and ends to add shine and anti-humidity protection. Additionally, you can massage it into the nail bed to strengthen the nails and even shave or condition your beard with it.
Man-flu bath oil (an invigorating, de-congesting and anti-bacterial blend for poorly times) 5 to 10 ml dose per bath
20 mls Fractionated Coconut oil (disperses in water unlike some carriers)
4 drops Peppermint
4 drops Rosemary
4 drops Tea Tree
Lie in the bath, read Vogue/GQ. Enjoy.
The Tea Tree plant - Nature's cure all wonder
Staying in on a cold wet night posh oil for face, hands, morale and libido
10 mls Golden Cold Pressed Jojoba carrier oil
10 mls Rosehip carrier oil
2 drops Jasmine Absolute
2 drops Rose Absolute (I prefer Damascena to Centifolia)
1 drop Neroli
This is an expensive elixir, but not nearly as expensive as a night out. There - I’ve enabled you.
These powerful absolutes are known for being deeply comforting, anti-depressant, uplifting and sensuous. Perfect for making you feel serene and perhaps a tad more frisky after a long day. I use this as a facial massage oil and take great pleasure in doing the routine whilst listening to Bach’s Cello Concertos. This excellent video on Youtube will teach you how to do it effectively:
I also use a Jasmine, Rose and Neroli combo neat as an aroma-therapeutic perfume if I’m feeling low. Neat skin application is not recommended (I’m not recommending it) but I expect it’s not as dangerous as crack cocaine or gin.
Heartthrob Guerlain Perfumer Thierry Wasser raises his libido by sniffing some Rosa Damascena (any excuse)
Hurry up Christmas room fragrancing essential oils
Using a burner (I like a standard tea light ceramic model), try these oils to get in the festive spirit:
Hemlock or Black Spruce (on it’s own) – of all the coniferous plants, Spruce is the most evocative Christmas tree smell, you’ll love this if you wear Ormonde Jayne Woman or Man.
Mulled spice oil:
1 drop Bay Leaf
1 drop Cinnamon Leaf
2 drops sweet or blood orange
Practical tips and sensible bits for newbies:
Although I love many inexpensive perfumes, I don’t recommend buying cheap aromatherapy supplies. In this instance, you get what you pay for. Cheap absolutes in particular are often awash with solvents that have not been removed properly after the extraction process and are often cut with cheaper synthetic substances. Yuk. Buy from a reputable supplier, not some charlatan offering it half price on Ebay.
As a general guide, you can use essential oils at around a 5% dilution on the body and 2% on the face. I stick to this rule on my sensitive facial skin and when making remedies for other people. However, I use whopping great doses in my personal use bath and body products and it hasn’t killed me yet.
Longevity – Essential oils don’t perish for a very long time (apart from some citruses). Carrier oils do. Jojoba oil is a superb natural preservative meaning that blends made with Jojoba don’t require any additions. You can mix it with cheaper carrier oils such as Sweet Almond or Grapeseed to make large quantities for the body. A 1% dose of Wheatgerm oil will extend the life of anything else.
Essential oils are powerful medicines, some of which can be dangerous. Aromatherapy expert – Julia Lawless wrote two superb books which are great for beginners to gain a good level of both safety and aroma-therapeutic knowledge. These are:
The Complete Illustrated Guide to Aromatherapy - the best for beginners, including lots of tips about making your own medicinal and cosmetic preparations and a chapter about the psycho- aromatherapy and it’s application to perfumery.
The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils - an essential reference for anyone who has been seduced by exotic and rare oils used in perfumery, includes lots of information about how to avoid irritation and brain damage (Wormwood, that’s you I’m referring to). An excellent book for those with some existing knowledge wishing to extend their oil collection.
The recipes in this are unlikely to cause any reactions, but as with all aromatherapy products exercise caution or avoid if you are up the duff and check the encyclopedia for contra-indications if you have a serious medical condition.
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