Aromatherapy has been used for centuries to help people de-stress, unwind and get a better night’s sleep. (All benefits that most of us could probably do with after what 2020 threw at us…)
If you’re trying to focus on well-being this year, our simple DIY bath and body oil deserves a place on your to-do list.
Relaxing bath and body oil
First off, you’re going to need a base or carrier oil, such as jojoba or sweet almond oil. These are suitable for all skin types, very moisturising and packed with antioxidants.
Pour the carrier oil into a bottle. Ideally use an amber coloured, rather than clear, bottle. The oil will then stay fresh for longer as it’ll have greater protection from light.
Add a few drops of lavender essential oil and geranium essential oil to the bottle. As a rough guide, you’ll need around fifteen drops of essential oil for each 30ml of carrier oil. Lavender and geranium are a match made in heaven. Together, they can help to promote a feeling of calm and relaxation.
Ideally, leave your bath and body oil to ‘brew’ for forty-eight hours before using it. Then just add a splash of the oil to your bath, or massage it into your skin. It should keep fresh for a few months as long as you store it out of direct sunlight. If you’re making it for a gift, don’t forget to write the ingredients and directions on a sticky label or tag.
Not keen on lavender? Other scents that promote relaxation include bergamot, nutmeg, palmarosa, ylang-ylang and frankincense.
Or if you want an energy boost, try citrusy aromas such as grapefruit, lemon, sweet orange, lemongrass and lime, or warm, spicy ones such as cinnamon, clove and cypress.
Why not experiment with a few different essential oils to see which combinations you like best? (Try the blends out in an oil burner by adding a few drops to water and lighting a candle underneath.)
Comforting face mask
While the following recipe from Green People doesn’t include aromatherapy oils, the fragrance from the honey and lemon is both comforting and refreshing. The mask helps to nourish and soften dry skin. It won’t keep for long, so use it as soon as you’ve made it. It should prove a welcome treat after a stressful day.
Mash half a medium-sized avocado, and mix it with one tablespoon of Manuka honey and one teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Massage the mixture into your face and neck. Then lie back and relax for fifteen to twenty minutes, before rinsing the mask off with warm water.
To avoid irritation and other side effects, don’t apply undiluted essential oils directly to your skin. When you’re diluting them in oil, keep them under 3% of the total mix. Some essential oils are not recommended during pregnancy, so do check the bottle.
By Kate Duggan