June 5, 2017
I recently received an invitation to sample some essential oils from Aroma Foundry, so of course I immediately broke into my mad scientist laugh and began
plotting world domination planning what I would do with them. *Here* (<- click) is an accurate portrayal of my reaction. No lie. 😉 (Anyone who loves essential oils will completely understand.)
I cackled and paced my way into some semblance of self-control, and then I whittled down my intentions to a few favorites (which, by the way, I’ve listed below.) Before sharing them, though, I wanted to mention some of the things that are particularly exciting about Aroma Foundry’s Essential Oils. They are:
*100% pure–undiluted, with no synthetic additives
*Sourced in individual locations–in the US or wherever the native habitats are (each source location is shared on the website and individual bottles)
*Hand-bottled in the US (Sunny Cali)
*Guaranteed to be of consistent quality
*Produced in small, artisanally crafted batches
*Reasonably and competitively priced
*Good looking! From the bottles, to the labels, to the individual boxes
*They’d make great gifts (*wink wink, nudge nudge*)
Now, get ready…’cause we’re cookin’ with oils!
Citrusy and Simple Bergamot Soap: (formulated using the lye calculator from soapcalc.net)
8.36 ounces distilled water
3.24 ounces lye (NaOH)
10 ounces coconut oil
8 ounces grapeseed oil
4 ounces olive oil
0.5 ounce Aroma Foundry Bergamot Essential Oil
optional–approx. 1 tsp clay (e.g. rose, kaolin, bentonite, etc.)
optional–mica (as desired, for color)
Directions: add the lye to the water (NOT the water to the lye)–*Important: lye/water solution will heat up quickly and give off fumes, plus it can burn skin (so, do this step in a well-ventilated area, wearing protective eyewear, gloves, etc., and allow the solution to cool quite a bit before using–I find it easiest to work at somewhere between room temperature and 100 degrees F). (Note: lye reacts to aluminum, so don’t use any while soaping.) Melt the oils together over a double boiler, add clay (if using; clay can also be added later, with the essential oils). Once the lye/water solution has cooled, mix into the oils, using an immersion (stick) blender. Add essential oil. Color with mica (if using). Pour into a soap-safe mold and allow at least 24 hours for soap to set and 4-6 weeks before use.
.4 ounces beeswax
1.28 ounces olive oil (*mine was infused with broad leaf plantains–I have a how-to video on infusing oils, here)
Directions: melt beeswax into olive oil over a double boiler. Add essential oils, stir. Pour into a container. (*I’ll use one of my Infinity Jars, so it will keep as long as possible.) Allow to cool before using.
3 ounces beeswax
3 ounces shea butter (or other butter of your choice)
3 ounces sunflower oil (an infused oil is even better–I used a wild violet infused oil. Watch my YouTube video on infusing oils, here).
10-20 drops Aroma Foundry’s Lavender Essential Oil
Directions: melt beeswax, butter, and oil together over a double boiler. Mix in essential oil and pour into small molds. Allow to cool before use. Refrigerating will extend the life of your bars.
Ylang Ylang Body Butter (*adapted from Wellness Mama’s Natural Whipped Body Butter)
6 ounces shea butter
6 ounces cocoa butter
6 ounces coconut oil
6 ounces sweet almond oil (or other skin-friendly, light oil)
10-20 drops Aroma Foundry’s Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
Directions: melt oils and butters over a double boiler. After heating, stir in essential oil. Chill until oils begin to harden, then whip until light and fluffy. Store in containers and refrigerate to prolong the life of the body butter. *Remember when applying: a little goes a long way; best when used on damp skin.
Hope you have fun with these recipes if you get a chance to try them! Can’t wait to get to work! Mwuhahahahaha…
May 23, 2017
Essential oils. You’ve heard of them, right? They’re being used all over the place, these days. Yet, they’re not always being used safely.
Recently, Aroma Foundry invited me to sample some of their essential oils and share my thoughts. I’m really looking forward to trying them out (they smell absolutely delicious!), but I thought that even before I share my experience with them, I’d better go over some essential oil basics.
So, let’s start at the beginning, shall we? I mean, what are essential oils?
Essential oils are made by plants and stored either internally or on the plant’s surface. They serve a number of purposes: to attract pollinators, to help plants compete with other plants (e.g. by limiting or preventing the growth of other, nearby plants–“allelopathy”), to deter would-be predators, and to maintain plant health, through the oils’ antifungal and antibacterial properties. (Information summarized from the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA).)
The essential oils are collected from the plant, either through steam distillation or cold pressing. During the distillation process, plant materials (leaves, flowers, etc.) are suspended over boiling water; the steam pulls out the plant’s essential oils as it rises, and then it is gathered, via a tube, carrying the essential oils with it. During cold pressing, essential oils are collected from applying pressure to plant material, to express the oils (e.g. citrus oils are pressed from the skin of citrus fruit).
A very large quantity of plant material must be used to obtain essential oils. For instance, Mountain Rose Herbs says that 60 whole roses are used to produce only one drop of its rose essential oil. It is this factor that makes essential oils anywhere from 50 to 100 times more concentrated than those oils in the plant (Tisserand).
It is because of this high concentration that essential oils must be respected and treated with care.
It may help to think of it this way: if you drink a cup of tea for health benefits, it is made from only about a teaspoon of dried leaves, diluted in water. You’re only consuming a very small amount of plant constituents. However, if you add even just a few drops of an essential oil to a drink, you’re getting a very, very strong dose of that plant’s components. Furthermore, essential oils don’t dilute in water, so you are likely to be receiving a fully concentrated dose, which has the potential to be very dangerous.
Since essential oil safety is so important, I’d like to share some Basic Essential Oil Safety Guidelines:
*Don’t ingest, unless you really, really know what you’re doing (*most people don’t have this level of knowledge about essential oils, so I would strongly recommend against ingesting any essential oils. I do not ingest them.)
*Don’t apply to mucus membranes, which, as Robert Tisserand (one of world’s leading experts in aromatherapy) says, is another way of saying don’t put them in your mouth
*Don’t apply to skin “neat” (undiluted)–always dilute with a carrier oil, before applying to skin. (*Some examples of carrier oils are avocado oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, hemp oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, sweet almond oil, etc.)
*There is a risk of allergic reactions with essential oils, which increases with use, especially if ingested or applied neat
*Even when properly diluted, you must always be careful about the types of essential oils you apply to skin (some oils are phototoxic, which means they react to sunlight and can give you a very, very bad burn–even if diluted properly; some oils can cause allergic reactions; some can cause irritations)
*Essential oils do NOT dilute in water, so drinking them or using them in a bath exposes you to the full concentrate of the oil and can be very dangerous; essential oils must be diluted in carrier oils (such as jojoba oil, olive oil, etc., as mentioned above)
*Don’t inhale directly for an extended time (15 minutes or longer); diffused oils are safer to inhale, but exposure still should be limited and only used intermittently
*Essential oils are flammable; do NOT use near an open flame
*Keep in a safe, secure place, away from children
*Don’t use with babies or young children unless very, very diluted and even then, with extreme caution. (I would not use on or near babies or young children, personally.) Always do your research and err on the side of caution when using with older children, as well. (*Also, never use on or near children who aren’t your own, without first obtaining parent/guardian consent–I’ve heard many stories of people being furious with nannies or daycare providers for exposing children to essential oils when it wasn’t approved)
*Be extra cautious about essential oil use during pregnancy or while nursing (consult with a professional first and do your research)
*Be very wary of applying to pets (consult with your veterinarian beforehand; take precautions as you would with a child)
*Be careful of using around people with allergies
*Be respectful of the fact that not everyone will enjoy your essential oils as much as you do
*Essential oils, like many other natural products, are not regulated and therefore, you may receive something other than what you’re expecting. Essential oils that are not pure (mixed with unknown substances) elevate the risks listed above. Do your research and choose a reputable company as your source for EOs.
*Tisserand and others offer reference charts for essential oil dilutions, etc.
Whew! Now that we’ve gone through the worrisome stuff, here’s a little intro to the fun part…Some Essential Oil Uses:
*Homemade personal care products (things like soaps, body butters, sugar scrubs)
*Homemade cleaning products, to boost cleaning power
*Pest deterrent (e.g. ants don’t like cinnamon or peppermint, etc.)
*Diffusers, including wearable clay diffusers (here’s mine: I put a drop of oil on the side of the clay pendant that doesn’t touch my skin)
I’ll be revisiting essential oils soon, with more of the fun stuff to share!
For now, here are some great resources for more information:
Some good sources for learning more about essential oil safety: Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Tisserand Institute Safety Guidelines
plantalkemie.com–Li is a qualified aromatherapist and herbalist, and she gave me some great recommendations while writing this blog (Thank you, Li! :)) She just relocated to this new website, and plans to offer online classes soon!