The ability of essential oils to deliver smooth, radiant skin and soft, shiny hair never ceases to amaze me. Although rejuvenation of the skin is the main reason I use essential oils in skincare products, the profound effects of essential oils on the mind and spirit is a consideration that does not fall far behind. When I blend products, I carefully choose essential oils with both a skin-benefit and spirit-effect in mind.
Breathing in synthetic fragrances, pollution or even breathing in no scent at all is a part of modern life in the city. Essential oils can be the link that grounds us back to the natural world. I recently had the opportunity to attend aromatherapy training with world-renowned botanical medicine expert David Crow. One of his most enlightening statements was that essential oils should not be simply reduced to an allopathic application of chemicals on the body. David Crow focused on the how smelling plant essences opens the door to a special connection with nature. The essences are far beyond a symbolic link to nature, however. As you breathe in a plant’s aroma molecules, the environment from which the plant originated literally becomes part of you.
This is the connection I seek to help my clients establish with products such as the “Around the World” Sea Sponge Soap scented with bergamot or lavender essence. Besides working great on the skin, these products also create an “experience” that literally connects people to faraway places such as Sicily’s bergamot groves or Provence’s fields of lavender.
Lavender, the first plant essence with which I became acquainted, is a great example of an essence that has profound effects on the body as well as the mind. A pouch of dried lavender buds I once used underneath my pillow worked so well at promoting relaxation that in fact, when I made a bunch of pouches as favors for my aunt’s birthday party and forgot to open the window, the lavender scent lulled me into an unexpected mid-afternoon nap that almost made me late to the special event that evening!
When I began to research lavender essential oil, I found that I was not the first to be intrigued by its properties. In 1910, French chemist Rene Gattefosse received a 3rd degree burn while working in his perfume lab. He treated his burn with lavender oil and was delighted by a speedy recovery that included minimal pain and no scarring. Gattefosse went on to focus on the healing powers of essentials oils when he used lavender and other essences on wounded soldiers.
Intrigued by the history of magical lavender, I made it a staple of my medicine chest. Whenever I unintentionally stay in the sun too long, lavender saves my skin. In fact, I often prepare some aloe and lavender ice cubes to soothe my skin after a day at the beach. I also still place a few drops of lavender underneath my pillow or diffuse it into the air so that everyone entering my home can immediately experience lavender’s calming influence.
The ability of essential oils to rejuvenate the mind and spirit alongside the body is, in fact, a beauty secret in and of itself. We often think that beauty is the precursor to happiness when it is really the other way around. Radiant beauty shines through when your mind is balanced and you feel happy and content. I am grateful that nature gave us essential oils that can reach us on so many levels.