By Alexa Santory
If I told you there was a way to alleviate issues like stress, indigestion, poor focus, acne, and even bad moods, that doesn’t require going to a doctor, would you believe me? Well, you should! There’s a natural remedy for just about everything. This week in Beauty School it's all about essential oils and what they do for our minds, bodies, and spaces. By the end of this week, we’re all going to be essential oil experts who will know everything from which oils will help us destress to which ones can be used as deodorant. Tell your friends.
So….what’s an essential oil?
Essential oils are highly concentrated extractions from plants. They are meant to capture the scent and taste of certain plants, which is why they have such strong aromas. To extract essential oils, plants are usually distilled or cold pressed, to lift the aroma out of the plant.
Distillation is when steam from boiling water is pushed around and through the plant, causing the oils to be released. This process helps purify the oil so it’s free of contaminants, making sure you get the most natural and clean oil possible!
Cold pressing is when oils are extracted by pressing the plant or seed with a steel press. There’s no heat involved in this process, and it produces the most potent version of that oil. This method is used for certain plants that are too delicate to go through the steam distillation.
After either distilling or cold pressing, the essential oil is mixed with a carrier oil so it can be used. Carrier oils, or base oils, are meant to dilute the super strong essential oil to make it safe to apply to the skin.
Essential oils have a ton of uses and benefits to our minds and bodies, and they've been used for centuries for medicinal purposes.
What are some benefits of essential oils?
The beauty of essential oils is that there’s such a large variety of them that any combination can have different uses and benefits. They can be applied topically, inhaled, used as cleaning products, or even applied to our skin and hair. Some of the most typical benefits of essential oils include:
Many essential oils are anti-everything--bacterial, fungal, inflammatory, viral. Oils like oregano, ginger, myrrh, and eucalyptus, have shown a positive correlation to warding off infections and boosting the immune system.
Getting better sleep
Oils like lavender and ylang ylang are amazing for relaxing the mind and promoting better sleep. If you’re having trouble getting to sleep at night, lavender is especially helpful for relaxation. It has a positive effect on our brains and helps our muscles relax and slows down the heart rate. Lavender is also a natural mosquito repellent!
Reducing stress and anxiety
Two things that nearly everyone is affected by, essential oils could be a natural solution for relieving the detrimental effects stress and anxiety can have on our minds and bodies. Oils like ylang ylang, chamomile (also amazing as a tea!), bergamot, rose, and frankincense all promote some type of uplifting, relaxing, or calming feeling. Next time you’re feeling like everything is a bit too much, try rolling on one or two of these oils onto your pressure points, like your wrists, temples, behind the ears, or between the brows. These areas are powerfully sensitive parts of the body that, when pressure is applied, can help ease pain. Massaging essential oils into these areas will help ease stress you’re experiencing. Breathe deeply (in through the nose for 8 seconds, out through the mouth for 8 seconds), take in the scent, and let the calming effects take over. Remember that everything will be okay and it all works out in the end. We love you.
Improving skin and hair health
We use tons of essential oils in our products! All of them have been meticulously chosen to deliver the right benefits for your skin and hair issues. Essential oils can reduce signs of aging, fight acne, provide UV protection, and promote healthy hair. As the week goes on, I’ll get more in depth about which oils are best for all of your skin and hair concerns.
I’ve only scratched the surface of what essential oils can do for us. There are tons of uses and benefits for each one but, like everything else in life, there are also some risks that come along with essential oils. Here are some dangers and risks we could face if we don’t use them properly:
Serious skin irritation
Essential oils are strong, y’all. And our skin can take a beating, but certain oils can have irritating effects, leading to rashes and burns. It’s important to dilute your oils before applying them directly to the skin, especially your face which is naturally more sensitive. We typically don’t add essential oils to our products for fragrance for this very reason. We understand how strong they can be and we want our products to be as safe, non-irritating, and user friendly as possible.
They could seriously harm your pets
Some essential oils are harmful or even toxic to pets and can result in some serious trauma or even, sadly, death. This happens because our furry friends are biologically different from us and naturally have a much stronger sense of smell. The intensity of the essential oils can lead to conditions like depression, weakness, and vomiting. Be mindful when using essential oils around pets.
If you have a dog, some oils that are toxic to them are clove, juniper, rosemary, and tea tree. If you have a cat, some oils that are toxic are cassia, cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, lavender, and lemon. There are some safe oils to use around pets, though, like cedarwood, myrrh, and peppermint.
Increases photosensitivity and sun damage
Certain oils make our skin more prone to sun damage, which could ultimately result in sunburn and blisters. Oils like lemon, lime, grapefruit, and orange all make skin more photosensitive due to their naturally high acidity. Avoid the sun if you use these oils on your skin, or protect yourself with a good SPF.
Be mindful of using certain essential oils if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, have children, or want to consume them. They can have toxic and harmful effects on our bodies and on children’s bodies!
You guys know and love Annette, the Belle Bar mom behind all of our lovely recipes. Here are some of her favorite essential oils and their benefits.
I love the smell of this one! Even though this essential oil has a strong, distinct floral scent, which can be a bit overwhelming when combined with another essential oil such as lemon or lavender it can be so rewarding. This essential oil works by stimulating hair growth, it can also treat thinning hair as well as it stimulates the production of the scalp natural sebum to nourish dry and damaged hair. It's good for balancing excess oil production on the skin which makes it good for combination skin.
With its therapeutic properties, it calms the mind and dispels feelings of sadness and negativity.
Therefore, as a bonus, it can be used as aromatherapy to relieves stress which oftentimes causes hair loss. This kills two birds with one stone.
This essential oil is great for scalp health. It’s antifungal, treats dandruff, itchiness, and greasiness, and helps fight dry and itchy scalps. It slows hair loss and increases hair growth.
With it’s disinfecting and soothing properties, it treats pimples and acne. Tea Tree oil penetrates the blockage between your skin and sebaceous glands. It disinfects the pores and drys out whiteheads and blackheads.
This essential oil increases the number of hair follicles for a stronger thicker head of hair which helps with hair growth, reducing hair loss. It also does double duty as aromatherapy to calm and soothe your space.
Rosemary prevents premature baldness and split ends. It also stimulates hair follicles, rids dandruff, minimizes scalp itchiness and flakes, treats both dry, dull and oily hair.
This invigorating scent of mint increases hair growth, thickness, lengthen and deepens hair follicles for stronger hair.
This has an amazing smell. Lemongrass has potent antiviral, antifungal properties which helps scalp issues and inhibits dandruff.
Helps stimulate circulation in the scalp for increased hair growth and reduce overly greasy hair, revive dull and dry skin and remove dead skin cells. It brightens, rids of acne marks and scars, is a very high source of Vitamin C and has a rich source of antioxidant which boost the production of collagen and maintain an equal balance between sebum production on the skin. Plus it penetrates the skin to produce new cells and a balanced PH skin levels. This allows the skin to that develop a light complexion safeguard the skin cells against premature aging.
Applying lemon oil on skin allows it to easily penetrate the body to increase the circulation of blood and boost collagen production. It penetrates the skin's surface and shrinks the large open pores and provide a balanced sebum production. The skin has a more rejuvenated look after use.
Works wonders as an aromatherapy fighting stress, has a naturally, calming effect on the body that aids the body in removing fatigue, anxiety nervousness, and mental fatigue. And it smells great!
**Take caution: An organic lemon oil is good for skin, avoid the use of synthetic or diluted varieties of the oil. Avoid buying lemon oil that is extracted through steaming as it lacks the essential properties. Here are some tips:
Ensure that before you directly apply the oil on the skin, you have checked for an allergic Patch test a small amount on the wrist or elbow. If the oil causes irritation, itching, and severe redness then do not apply the oil on the body.
Use small amounts of the lemon oil on the skin. It is very concentrated and can cause intensified acne, skin rashes and irritation.
If you have applied the oil on the skin, ensure that you have avoided the exposure of sunlight as lemon oil has photosensitivity properties than can lead to skin pigmentation.
Avoid the use of lemon oil while pregnant or nursing.
Juniper berry is one of my favorites. It has a fruity scent to it and blends well with both lemon and cedarwood essential oils. Its antiseptic properties help fight scalp conditions, and its astringent properties tone hair follicles to prevent hair loss. It helps overly oily hair and strengthen brittle strands.
It reduces the sebum and blemishes, restores the natural color of skin, soothes eczema and cures acne.
**Aromatherapy values: Juniper berries relaxes and soothes your respiration, too!
Rose is awesome. It has astringent properties, strengthens the roots of the hair, promotes hair growth/adds shine and luster, moisturizes your skin and reduces the signs of premature aging. Its anti-inflammatory properties heal acne and inflammatory skin conditions. It tones and lifts the skin while keeping it free of blemishes and scars.
**Used as aromatherapy oil makes you calm and peaceful and enhances mood. As a healing tonic, it eases inflammations caused due to dehydration, indigestion, and microbial infection. It also invokes romantic feelings essential for a successful sexual life.
Now that we've covered some amazing benefits, some dangers to be mindful of, and Annette's favs, let's look at some ways to incorporate essential oils into your routine. Tomorrow we discuss some really cool ways essential oils can help your skin!
The Streets Are Talkin
Rose is the star ingredient in this soothing mask. Give it a try to see how gorgeous it makes your skin look and feel!