Here are five oils that will have you looking and feeling sooo good!
What are essential oils?
They are, in fact, aromatic oils extracted from flowers, fruit, leaves and bark, as well as the roots of all sorts of plants. Historically, they have been valued not only for their wonderful cosmetic qualities but also for their role in traditional medicinal systems due to their healing properties.
These oils are thought to stimulate our skin’s cellular regeneration to occur at a faster rate, thereby reducing the time lag between new skin growth and the elimination of old cells. As a result, the skin becomes stronger and more supple. This in turn slows the process of ageing.
Because of their unique composition, incorporating essential oils into your beauty regimen allows you not only to reap the advantages of their excellent cosmetic properties, but also enjoy their therapeutic and healing benefits. Essential oils are extremely potent – less is more when it comes to using them. Never apply them directly to your skin; instead, a two to three percent dilution is recommended for use on the face, and no more than a two percent dilution for the body.
#1 Bulgarian Rose Otto (Rosa Damascena)
Known as the queen of essential oils, rose otto is an exquisitely scented and sublime oil with intense moisturising properties that has a rejuvenating effect on sluggish circulation and fragile capillaries. It takes approximately 4,000 kilograms of roses to produce one kilogram of rose otto, making it one of the most expensive essential oils. The best are from Bulgaria, and are steam-distilled from the flowering tops.
Best uses: Rose otto is highly valued in formulas for mature, dry and sensitive skin and works extremely well to balance combination skin. This divine oil rejuvenates, soothes, balances, softens and hydrates the skin, bringing about a softer, more supple, radiant and youthful complexion. It is recommended as a serum or facial oil diluted with jojoba oil. Deeply inhaling this oil before applying it helps to relax the mind as well.
#2 East Indian Sandalwood (Santalum Album)
If rose otto is the queen of essential oils, sandalwood is the king. Another exquisite oil that soothes and keeps your skin supple and soft, it is perfect for irritated, dry or mature skin. With its mild astringency and being an excellent emollient, it’s great for balancing combination skin. Aside from great skin care benefits, sandalwood has grounding, calming, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties.
Best uses: Incorporate sandalwood into blends to treat insomnia and eczema, as it can help dispel aggression and agitation, creating a sense of balance and peace. As with other essential oils, it must be diluted before use. As part of a skincare regimen, I recommend diluting sandalwood with jojoba oil for use as a facial oil.
#3 Helichrysum (Helichrysum Italicum)
Helichrysum is also known as Immortelle or Italian Everlasting. This is an amazing oil with a delightful aroma, famous for its ability to diminish wrinkles and age spots while increasing the elasticity of your skin. With its harmonising and warming properties, Helichrysum has been used to counter tension, stress, depression and emotional blockages.
Best uses: Helichrysum is used in many anti-ageing skincare formulations, but I prefer to use it as a serum after dilution with jojoba or camellia oil. It’s also an excellent oil to soothe bruises and calm irritated skin.
#5 Geranium (Pelargonium Graveolens)
Geranium is a wonderful-smelling oil and an excellent mood-lifter, useful for strengthening your body. Like rose otto, geranium essential oil is steam-distilled from flowering tops. In particular, it blends wonderfully with lavender, eucalyptus and peppermint oils to create a relaxing and tranquil home environment.
Best uses: It is most effective in treating acne caused by hormonal changes or menopausal problems, to prevent scarring and as a nerve tonic. It regulates the production of sebum, and therefore is excellent for minimising the appearance of wrinkles and lightening pigmentation or age spots.
This article first appeared in the March 2016 edition of Expat Living magazine Subscribe
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