Friday, October 10, 2014

Guide to Essential Oils

Lab of Flowers Essential Oils
Use this handy illustrated A to Z guide to find out which oils are essential.

StormSister Spatique/3waybeauty only use essential oils by Lab of Flowers

The use of essential oils to improve physical and emotional well-being dates back to ancient times, when they were traditionally used for hygienic, spiritual, and ritualistic purposes. Today, essential oils help calm, balance, and rejuvenate the mind, body, and spirit. “By using essential oils, you not only receive the benefits of these tiny, complex, and potent oils, which contain vitamins, minerals, and hormones, but also receive a physiological, psychological, sedating, and stimulating reaction of your mind, body, and senses,” says Georgia Katritsis, west coast regional educator for Decléor Paris. Prior to incorporating essential oils in treatments, it is important for you to do your research to learn the most effective uses for each oil and take the proper precautions to ensure safety. Here’s a list of some of the most effective essential oils used in spas today:


Known for its restorative properties, basil essential oil can help soothe and calm sore muscles and joints. It can also be used to restore mental alertness. “It has a warm, peppery scent, which is traditionally recognized for its ability to wake-up the mind,” says Barbara Close founder and CEO of Naturopathica.


Featuring a spicy, sharp, and grassy scent, clary sage is ideal for those with combination, oily, and blemished skin. “It purifies skin, reduces sebum secretion, and tightens pores,” says Katritsis. “More specifically, the ester present in clary sage essential oil, called linalyl acetate, reduces inflammation, balances skin, and regulates the production of natural oils in the skin, leaving it matte, clear, and healthy.”


A few drops of eucalyptus essential oil mixed in with unscented oil, lotion, or cream can add an invigorating element to a massage. Eucalyptus can help clear respiratory issues, which makes this oil widely used in spa steam rooms. According to Fabian Lliguin, creator of Rahua, when applied topically, eucalyptus can also offer anti-inflammatory qualities.


Frankincense helps to tighten and preserve the skin while also providing stress relief. “It relaxes the diaphragm, which encourages deeper breaths, and has a grounding and supportive effect by calming the mind and focusing the thoughts,” says Geraldine Howard, cofounder and president of Aromatherapy Associates. “It’s a fantastic oil to inhale, as it really helps to put the mind in the right place.”


Grapefruit essential oil helps to boost circulation and uplift the senses. “It’s also great at refreshing and stimulating, so it works well for detoxifying treatments,” says Howard. Grapefruit is especially popular during the spring and summer months.


According to Close, jasmine essential oil has a sweet, exotic, and richly floral scent and is used for its soothing, uplifting, and revitalizing properties. It also helps to maintain skin’s elasticity and treat dryness.


The familiar sweet fragrance makes it a popular choice among spa professionals and spa-goers. It relaxes the mind and body and helps reduce anxiety and stress, according to Lliguin. “A good quality lavender will calm and soothe those who are jittery or tense and uplift those who are brought low by chronic mood disorders and chronic pain in the body,” says James. “It eases all kinds of emotional upset, from shock to anger, at the same time as promoting healing and regeneration.”


The sweet and fresh citrus scent of orange essential oil helps energize the mind and body. Orange oil can soothe the mind and relieve stress, as well as help stimulate blood circulation and collagen production. It is also recommended for use during pedicures to help eliminate calluses.


Featuring a fresh, floral, and sweet scent, petitgrain is often included in skincare products and treatments because of its balancing and regenerating properties. “It’s really wonderful at helping to relax the body while also refreshing the mind,” says Howard.


A woodsy, perennial herb with fragrant evergreen needle-like leaves, rosemary is valued in aromatherapy for its ability to boost alertness, clarity, and concentration, according to Close. “Massaged into the feet and legs, rosemary will tone and strengthen the vascular tissue,” says James. “It also stimulates circulation and helps ease muscular and joint discomfort.”


A popular woodsy scent among men, sandalwood helps calm and relax the mind. In addition to frequent use during meditation, it’s also great for scalp and foot massages.


Beneficial in treating acne, thyme provides a natural way to help clear clogged pores without the irritating side effects of ingredients like benzoyl peroxide.


According to James, vetiver is one of the most effective oils used in aromatherapy, as its earthy, smoky, and deeply grounding scent helps to quiet the mind and promote relaxation. “It soothes sore joints, is regenerative to damaged and tired skin, and supports healthy immune function,” he says.

STYRAX BENZOIN - One of the ingredients of {8} essentials as well as our citrus spice shampoo, shower and shave bars.

Styrax benzoin, or simply benzoin, helps heal cuts and soothe inflammation of rough, cracked, or irritated skin, as well as skin conditions like eczema.


Ylang ylang helps to relax and awaken the body, which makes it ideal for thoe that nervous or emotionally drained. “A massage with ylang ylang is a great first step toward recovering equilibrium,” says James. “Its additional benefits range from regulating the heart rhythm to revitalizing and balancing oil production in the skin.”


Also known as true geranium, zdravets is helpful for itchy skin and can clear pigmented spots and blemishes on the face. It can also be used to help diminish the appearance of wrinkles and refresh the eye area.

excerpt from Nicole Altavilla at American Spa Magazine

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