Essential oils are the main component in the practice of aromatherapy. Full of diverse applications, essential oils are the main component in aromatherapy, and can help balance hormones, heal the body, and relax the mind. As usual, we're most excited about incorporating the concentrated plant oils in our fall beauty routines, but how do you know which ones are appropriate for the season? "You'll want to look for essential oils that can help protect and hydrate your skin from the elements this time of the year," says Kelly Holland Azzaro, certified clinical aromatherapy practitioner and president of the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy.
Kelly says lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile), sweet marjoram (Origanum marjorana), palmarosa (cymbopogon martinii), carrot seed (daucus carota), and sweet orange (citrus sinensis) are perfect on their own or blended together for DIY skin care, for massage, during sleep, in the bath, or in a diffuser for inhalation. "For bath time, infuse a tablespoon of Epsom salts or milk with four drops of one or two of the above listed essential oils, and add it to the water as you are filling the tub,” says Kelly.
Since concentrated essential oils can be too strong for sensitive skin, plant essences must be diluted with a vegetable-based carrier oil, derived from the fatty section of the plant (usually from the seeds, kernels, or nuts). The lipid-rich molecular makeup of carrier oils carry essential oils onto the skin well. Jojoba or rose hip oil are great carriers for the face, while coconut and sweet almond oil are ideal for the body.
Aromatherapists never suggest or promote using essential oils internally, but there’s one easy way to reap the benefits of an herbal infusion. "Try drinking Earl Grey tea in the morning, which is infused with bergamot from the Italian bitter orange tree," suggests Kelly. Here, she shares a recipe for an easy scrub that's sure to leave you soft and feeling amazing.
8 oz jar
5 oz raw turbinado sugar Available at your health-food store
1 oz white sugar
10 drops sweet orange oil
6 to 8 drops grapefruit oil
4 drops lavender oil
2 oz jojoba or sweet almond oil To serve as a carrier oil
Mix the two sugars in a bowl with a metal spoon. Then add the three essential oils and blend thoroughly. Pour one ounce of carrier oil into the jar. Slowly add half the dry sugar mixture to the jar. Add remaining carrier oil and dry sugar mixture until the scrub has an oily consistency for application on the body. Use this scrub in the shower, massaging in circular motions to slough off dead skin cells. Rinse with warm water.
Kelly Holland Azzaro, RA, CCAP, CBFP, LMT, is a registered aromatherapist, certified clinical aromatherapy practitioner, certified Bach Flower practitioner, licensed massage therapist, Reiki practictioner, and president of the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy. She has more than 20 years of training and professional experience in can/equine acupressure-massage, intuitive animal communication, crystal-gemstone therapy, Reiki, aromatherapy, and flower essence therapy.