“Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into.” ~Henry Beecher

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Rejuvenate With Aromatherapy

I am a very passionate fan of fresh air. Most people probably don’t think about it too much, but the air quality of my surroundings is something of which I am acutely aware. Whether outdoors or indoors, I know by how I’m feeling, how clean the air is that I’m breathing. The first sign of a warm day, I’m opening the windows of my home to clear out the staleness and the germs that may be floating about. Even when allergy season rolls around, if the temperature is comfortable, I would rather have the house wide open than closed up. But it’s winter here. The temperatures have been hovering well below freezing, so the windows have been locked shut and the heat has been on. For me personally, when I spend long hours in dry, heated, stale air, I can become tired, foggy, lethargic, my skin tone turns dull, and will start to feel tight from dryness. Then, after five minutes of stepping outside and breathing, I will suddenly perk up. The fog will lift, I’ll wake up, and I’ll look and feel better. In fact, if I know that I’m to spend long hours indoors in a dry climate, I will make it a point to step outside for a few minutes every few hours to breathe. My body’s reaction to the indoor, dry air is just one more reason it is so important to eat properly and stay well hydrated, from the inside, by drinking lots of water.

Still, indoor climates this time of year can wreak havoc on our skin. It is our largest organ and through it, we continuously lose moisture and its surface can feel parched simply due to exposure. Exfoliating, moisturizing and oiling are all good ways to keep the skin from getting dry, itchy and flaky. But for areas that are always bare, such as the face, keeping the skin feeling fresh throughout the day can be a challenge. And so, because I haven’t wanted to continuously slather on moisturizer, I finally turned to atomizers/spritzers, which can instantly add moisture, relieving the tightness and irritation caused by dry air, while making the skin feel relaxed and refreshed. Rosewater works well for this purpose and I’ve been using it for about a year now. But a couple of years ago, I had bought a mister with a nice mix of essential oils that included lavender. I found that it not only hydrated my skin from the outside, but the aromatics had a revitalizing and energizing effect, almost as if I had stepped outdoors for some fresh air.

Recently, after finding some simple recipes for essential oil combinations, I decided to make my own atomizer mist sprays to use through the dry, winter months. So, today, I visited a great herb and gift shop in Somers, CT, called Kassandra, to experiment with different essential oils to make my own misters (you’ll get to see this great shop and meet the owner very soon!). They’re simple to make, requiring only a few items, and depending on the combinations of oils used, will achieve different effects. For example, lemon promotes mental clarity and is energizing; peppermint can eliminate negative energy and be stimulating. Together, they would make a perfect combination to rejuvenate if you begin to feel sluggish in the afternoon. Chamomile and lavender are both calming and might make a good combination to settle the mind or relieve anxiety.

Here are a couple of mixtures I came up with, but for anyone that is interested, it’s a good idea to test different oils together before buying them. Both recipes below are not overpowering and can be made stronger or more dilute, depending on the preference. I made them in 2 oz. blue, glass atomizer bottles, which are a good size for carrying in a purse, keeping at your desk at work, or for taking on a plane.


2 oz. distilled water

4 drops lavender

2 drops rosemary

2 drops lime


2 oz. distilled water

5 drops lavender

3 drops clary sage

Shake the bottles well to distribute the oils, before each spray. I will usually give my face two or three spritzes for a pick-me-up (with my eyes closed!!).

With essential oils, there are specific precautions that should be taken to ensure safety; so please use them with care. For example, many essential oils should not be used if you are pregnant or are experiencing specific health problems. And if you get confused by the information you read on the internet, always consult an expert. I spoke with a long-time herbalist about the choices I made. But most of all, have fun finding the oils that work best for you!

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