My top 10 picks for your skin’s winter survival kit

oils[1]

         So we’ve survived the first month of winter. Barely. Between the snowstorms, weather extremes, and indoor heating, are you finding that your skin is now dry no matter what you do?

Want to know an effective way to keep your skin well hydrated during our harsh Canadian winters?

Oil. Yep, oil.

A few years ago, while working for a few weeks in Banff, I experienced some of the harshest and driest climate I’ve ever been exposed to. No matter how much water I drank and organic creams & lotions I used, my skin was still dry.

Thankfully I brought my favorite oils with me (along with my parka!) in case my skin needed extra help against the -40°C temperatures and the extreme dryness the region is well known for. I mixed some of the carrier oils with a blend of essential oils and lavished this on my face and body as often as I could. And it worked!

Using oils on your skin, especially on your face may seem like a recipe for breakouts, particularly for those with oily or mixed skins, but if you use the right oil combinations and blends, you can survive winter with beautiful, glowing skin.

 

Here are my picks of the top 10 oils for skin hydration: 5 carrier oils & 5 essential oils.

For easy do-it-yourself home remedies, use any of the oils on the following list in combination, by mixing the carrier oils with your choice of essential oils.

Use a ratio of 10 drops of essential oils for every 50 ml of the carrier oils.

 

CARRIER OILS:

  1. Jojoba carrier oil:

Jojoba oil is a liquid wax, extracted from the beans of the jojoba plant. It mimics and dissolves sebum, the fatty substance produced by the body to protect the skin.

This is important because acne is caused by the over production of sebum. Adding Jojoba to the mix will not only hydrate the skin, but also help prevent breakouts. It is very stable, which is ideal if you want your mix to have a longer shelf life.

Can be used at a 100% ratio in your mix.

 

  1. Apricot Kernel carrier oil:

If you are looking for a silky-smooth carrier oil that is easily absorbed by the skin without leaving it feeling oily, look no further.

Apricot oil has a lovely light texture and is wonderful for mature skin, prematurely aging skin, and dry or sensitive skin. I find it leaves my skin feeling silky and well hydrated. It is mostly used as a facial oil and has a long shelf life.

Can be used at a 100% ratio in your mix.

 

  1. Sweet Almond carrier oil:

Sweet almond is a lovely oil to work with. It penetrates well into the skin while softening, soothing, and re-conditioning. It contains mono & polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamins A, B1, B2 & B6, as well as a small amount of vitamin E, which will help it from going rancid too quickly.

Sweet almond oil is a wonderful choice for dry and itchy skin.

Can be used at a 100% ratio in your mix.

 

  1. Macadamia Nut carrier oil:

Macadamia nut oil is one of my favorite anti-aging oils. It is to be used as an addition only, but well worth adding it to the mix because it contains palmitoleic acid, an essential fatty acid found in sebum (the fatty substance produced by the body to protect the skin), especially the sebum of infants, children and teenagers. Because its presence diminishes as we age, adding macadamia nut oil becomes very beneficial for mature skins. It doesn’t clog the pores while also providing a barrier against moisture loss.

Can be used at a 5-10% ratio in your mix.

 

  1. Calendula carrier oil:

Calendula oil is known as “pot of marigold”, and is extracted from the flower heads of the plant. It has a reputation as a wonderful skin-healing oil, and has been used in ointments and tinctures for centuries. It is well known for its ability to protect against dry, chapped and cracked skin. It is to be used as an addition only.

Can be used at a 25% ratio in your mix.

 

ESSENTIAL OILS:

(Important note: Please consult a health care professional if pregnant, breastfeeding, on medications or homeopathic remedies before using any essential oils).

 

  1. Rose Otto essential oil (For the face – high-end):

Known as the queen of essential oils, Rose Otto is soothing to all skin types. It is highly regarded as being especially effective with acne, dry sensitive skin, mature skin, wrinkles, and broken capillaries. Its toning and soothing effects make this essential oil a wonderful skin healer as Rose Otto is regarded as a powerful skin rejuvenator.

Because it is so expensive, it is often sold at a 10% dilution (10% Rose Otto, 90% Jojoba). This is a good option and can be used in your oils at the same ratio even if you buy it diluted

 

  1. Neroli essential oil (For the face – high-end):

Neroli is renowned for its cytophylactic (cell-regenerative) properties. It is excellent for stimulating cell growth and cellular activity, and is therefore very helpful in rejuvenating and regenerating the skin. Neroli is also considered to be wonderful for treating acne, dry, devitalized, oily, and mature skins. It is also highly sought-after for improving elasticity, fighting broken capillaries on the skin and preventing permanent scarring, making this essential oil ideal for both young and mature skins alike. If you’ve never heard of Neroli, it is produced from the blossom of the bitter orange tree.

Neroli is also sold at a 10% dilution because of its high cost.

 

  1. Carrot seed essential oil (For the face & body – mid-range cost):

Carrot seed oil is one of my favorite oils for anti-aging and skin healing. It is known for reducing or preventing wrinkles and for its regenerative powers, particularly after severe burns. It is a good addition to a blend for treating and healing scars.

 

  1. Lavender essential oil (For the face & body – more affordable):

Lavender not only has a wonderfully soothing scent but it is also known as a remarkable healer & balancer. It is considered to be incredibly versatile & adaptable for all skin types and skin problems. It is highly regarded for possessing cell-regenerating properties and is well known for healing sunburns or burns of any kind. This is a wonderful oil to use for all ages and skin types.

 

  1. Sweet-Orange essential oil (For the face & body – most affordable):

Sweet-Orange essential oil is regarded as useful for dull and oily skin, while its renowned cell-regenerating and hydrating properties work well on wrinkles & dry skin. It is also considered helpful with puffiness, strengthening to the epidermis, stimulating to circulation and melanocyte development (the cells capable of producing melanin) and calming to skin gland function. This is another wonderful oil to use for all ages and skin types.

 

TIPS on how to oil the skin:

Face:  

Massage the oils gently, until they start to penetrate. Let this settle in the skin for 30 minutes before applying your favorite organic facial creams.

Body:

Dermatologists warn against the use of hot water because of its drying effect on the skin, but I’ve always failed miserably at my attempts to bathe or shower in lukewarm water. When I’m freezing, I want hot water. So while it is excellent advice, I can’t very well expect anyone to follow it if I can’t.

Here’s a compromise: take shorter showers and baths, and follow the methods listed below. They work!

(1) Baths:

In a bath, add 2 tablespoons of the oil mix to your bath water. A lovely residue will cover your skin and it will look radiant. If you find you need even more hydration, either add more oil next time, or apply the oil mix prior to entering the bath, massaging lightly to help its absorption. When toweling off, dab, don’t rub.

(2) Showers:

Try both of these methods to see which suits you best:

(a) Apply the oil mix before entering the shower, massaging lightly to help its absorption.

(b) Slather on the oil mix after washing, away from the water flow. Either stop the water or turn the showerhead away. Massage briefly and then rinse lightly. When toweling off, dab, don’t rub.

I highly recommend attaching a shower filter to the showerhead. There are quite a few affordable ones available now. The one I use is from Santevia.ca and was under $40.

 

Always choose organic oils and soaps. Harsh chemicals in soaps can strip the natural oils from the outer protective layer of your skin and dry it out more than any hot shower can.

Essential oils should be therapeutic grade. Make sure to look for the following on the labels: the Latin name, country of origin and whether it is classified as certified organic, organic, wildcrafted, or unsprayed, otherwise it is not therapeutic grade, and could be a false chemical replica.

A final note on skin hydration: when applying the oils, if they are absorbed too quickly, it’s your body’s way of telling you that you are dehydrated. Your body is literally drinking in the oils.

In the winter I find it difficult to drink water, so I hydrate with organic herbal teas or soups, juicing and smoothies. I dilute the juices & smoothies with water and that does the trick for me!

Wising everyone happy, well hydrated skin!

 

(NOTE: Essential oils are for external use only. Always consult your health care professional if pregnant, breastfeeding, on medications or homeopathic remedies before using any essential oil products. Keep out of reach of children and pets, especially cats and birds. NEVER use essential oils on cats or birds.)

Michèle

Michèle is a passionate advocate for healthy living and organics. A lifelong vegetarian, vegan for the last 3 years, organics enthusiast and environmentalist, she loves sharing with others her knowledge of all that is good for humans and the planet. Empowering people to make the best health choices for themselves is her passion.  She developed her own line of organic skincare and founded Michèle’s Organics, a company for those who, like her, needed more transparency, honesty and integrity when buying products. Michèle is a certified aromatologist, actor and a self-proclaimed ingredients list expert!
You can follow Michèle on twitter and facebook. Her products can be found  on michelesorganics.com.

5 amazing things you may not know about Rose essential oil

 

By Michèle Duquet

Image

Rosa Damascena

Photo credit: By Kurt Stüber [1] [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet
William Shakespeare

 

Ah the rose… There are so many breathtaking aspects to this dazzling flower. As an aromatologist, I feel very fortunate to be able to work with this elegant aromatic essential oil.

I was thinking lately of the many aspects of the rose oil that are perhaps less well known, and thought it might be fun to talk about them today.

So here are but a few…

 

1. It takes 10,000 roses to fill a single 5ml bottle (about the size of your thumb)!

– It also takes 60 roses to create a single drop of Rose Otto oil. That’s just under 5 dozen roses!

It is extraordinary to think of how many roses it takes to make a single drop of this magnificent oil. Imagine receiving 5 dozen roses from your beloved, can you visualize the space it would take up in your living room? Now imagine all of those gorgeous bouquets being steam distilled to create a single drop of Rose Otto oil!

Here are some more astonishing visuals…

– 10,000 roses is equal to 833 dozen roses.

Can you visualize that in your living room? Oh the fragrance! It would be much simpler to buy a 5ml bottle of Rose Otto essential oil, but as you can imagine, it will cost you. The sheer number of roses needed, along with the intricate nature of cultivating the rose crops, make this an expensive oil to produce.

Ever wonder why rose essential oil is so expensive? Now you know!

A 5ml bottle of distilled high quality organic Rose Otto should cost between $110 and $160 in today’s world market. Prices fluctuate depending on the climate, crop conditions and availability, but if you pay a lot less, it’s not the real deal.

At 60 roses per drop, no wonder Rose Otto oil is so fragrant… and moves my soul to its core!

 

2. Rose oil is known as The Queen of essential oils

Rose oil (or Rosa Damascena, its Latin name), is exquisite, feminine, powerful and seductive, an oil truly fit for a queen. And ladies, you will feel like a queen when you let your senses become spellbind by its spirit.

Cleopatra used roses not only as an ingredient in her cosmetics, but also as an instrument of seduction. It is claimed that she used both the rose and the Jasmine scents to seduce Marc Anthony from the Roman Empire. It is interesting then, that Jasmine is referred to as the king of essential oils and that both oils are well known aphrodisiacs. Cleopatra, it would seem, was quite the clever enchantress!

 

3. Rose Otto oil solidifies at slightly cooler temperatures

Did you know that Rose Otto essential oil becomes solid at temperatures below 21 °C (69.8 °F)? This happens because the waxes in the oil begin to set below a certain temperature.

You might say that Rose Otto is a wax and not a liquid, but that is not entirely accurate. The parts of the rose used for distillation are the rose petals. The steam pushes its way through the petals during the steam distillation process until the wax and the oils become separated from the water during cooling and condensation. What is left is the stunning rose water in one part, and the oil and its waxes in another.

My favorite Rose Otto oil is from Bulgaria precisely because of its moderate wax content. The Bulgarian climate is perfect for the rose oil production since the petals don’t over-produce the wax. In less favorable climates, the petals need to produce more wax for protection. When the climate is too harsh, or has too little sun, the rose petals will not have the optimum amount of wax as they adapt to their less than optimum climate by producing too much, or too little wax.

 

4. Rose Otto vs Rose Absolute

I’m often asked what is the difference between Rose Otto and Rose Absolute. The simple answer is the different processes used to produce both oils, where Rose Otto is produced using the steam distillation method, and Rose Absolute is produced using a solvent extraction method.

While both methods produce beautifully fragrant oils, the extraction method produces more oil and the resulting scent is stronger, which is why Rose Absolute is mostly used by the perfume industry, while Rose Otto is mostly used in Aromatherapy since the steam distillation process keeps its therapeutic grade intact.

The name “Rose Otto” comes from the Persian term “attar of roses” and dates as far back as the 17th century. It originates from the Persian word ‘atar-gul, meaning “essence of roses” and from the Arabic word ‘utur, meaning “perfumes” or “aromas”.

Rose Otto’s scent is lighter than Rose Absolute, and is said not to be a true rose fragrance, but it is far richer in my opinion, immensely more alluring and truly entrancing!

 

5. Rose fragrance legend in the ethereal/spiritual realm

One of my favorite books on healing the spirit with essential oils is “Aromatherapy for the Soul” by Valerie Ann Wordwood.

In her book she describes angelic fragrances and their properties, and it is no surprise that her description of the rose fragrance is as lovely as the rose itself:

“Rose can be used to bring our consciousness closer to our angels and to the angelic self that dwells within us. To inhale rose is to inhale the love and kisses of angels.” (Aromatherapy for the Soul, P.79)

Judging by the bliss I feel every time I smell my beloved Rose Otto oil, I can say that I am indeed a believer of angelic love and kisses!

Roses are also said to have powerful energy fields that vibrate at a high electrical frequency.

“Rose Otto vibrates with the energy of universal love, operating in the light of unconditional love and giving… [It] eases the sorrow of the soul, bringing harmony and comfort. It is gentle, yet euphoric.” (Aromatherapy for the Soul, P.273)

In aromatherapy, when working with this delicate oil, I have witnessed my clients experience healing and an uplifting of their spirit. Working with essential oils at the more subtle energy levels is perhaps less tangible than, say, healing a skin rash, and it is certainly quite subjective. But being that every thing in our world is energy, believing in the vibrational frequencies of essential oils and their potential healing benefits to the soul isn’t so far fetched. Adopting an open-spirited attitude towards these glorious flowers feels natural to me, and working with clients at that more subtle level is one of the daily delights of my work.

Have you stopped to smell the roses lately?

 

(DISCLAIMER: The content of this article is for information purposes only and is not meant to be taken as any form of healing advice. Always do your own research or consult your health care professional before using any products you are not familiar with. Essential oils are for external use only. Always consult your health care professional if pregnant, breastfeeding, on medications or homeopathic remedies before using any essential oil products. Keep out of reach of children and pets, especially cats and birds. NEVER use essential oils on cats or birds.)

Michèle

Michèle is a passionate advocate for healthy living and organics. A lifelong vegetarian, organics enthusiast and environmentalist, she loves sharing with others her knowledge of all that is good for humans and the planet. Empowering people to make the best health choices for themselves is her passion. She developed her own line of organic skincare and founded Michèle’s Organics, a company for those who, like her, needed more transparency, honesty and integrity when buying products. Michèle is a certified aromatologist, actor and a self-proclaimed ingredients list expert!
You can follow Michèle on twitter and facebook. Her products can be found on her website and online store, at michelesorganics.com.

Coconut oil: 5 fantastic reasons to love it!

photo_coconut_crop

By Michèle Duquet

Coconut oil: 5 fantastic reasons to love it!

As I was buying yet another tub of organic coconut oil, it dawned on me that I go through a jar rather quickly. When I make a mental list of its many uses, and why so many people love it, 5 definitely stand out. Some of these might even surprise you… so here goes.

1- Coconut oil for the skin, hair and as a sunscreen of 4 spf:

Coconut oil is a wonderful moisturizer, great for all kinds of skin conditions. It has a very long shelf life, 2 years being a conservative estimate, so adding it to your DIY (do-it-yourself) lotions helps them keep longer, especially if you haven’t added a natural preservative like grapefruit seed extract to your homemade recipes. Add your favorite essential oil blends for a super hydrating body lotion.

Coconut oil is known to have some natural sunscreen capabilities too, but at an spf of only 4 spf, I wouldn’t rely on coconut oil to prevent sunburns. If mixed with zinc oxide, at 30% of your mixture, you can reach what is called a ‘physical block’ from the sun, creating a sunblock with an approximate spf of 15-20. (Please ensure you use a mask when adding it to your lotions as airborne zinc oxide has respiratory toxicity and can irritate your sinuses – and never use it on pets as it is very toxic for our little loved ones).

Coconut oil is also known to reduce protein loss when used in hair. Since hair is mostly composed of protein (called keratin), and some studies have shown that a low protein diet can be associated with hair loss, a coconut oil hair treatment sounds like a good thing! It can also be a more economical alternative to argan oil, the oil usually associated with hair conditioning treatments.

2- Coconut oil can burn fat??

All saturated fats are not created equal. Coconut being of the natural variety, happens to be one of the richest sources of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), also known as medium-chain triglycerides (MTCs). This means their molecules are smaller and more easily digested and converted to energy.

What does that mean…? Eating coconut oil might actually boost your metabolic rate… who knew!

Have you also heard the latest rumors? Eating coconut oil can even help reduce fat in the most difficult body fat area, the stomach. Now I’m a healthy skeptic, I like to test rumors out for myself (even if the popular Dr. Oz says it works), and I would recommend taking a look at the overall diet and eating habits before running out to buy gallons of coconut oil, but… I confess… I’ve been adding a teaspoon of coconut oil to my spirulina smoothies just in case the rumors are true.

My coconut oil of choice for food is one that is certified organic (made without pesticides or hexane), virgin, unrefined, cold-pressed, non-deodorized, and non-bleached.

3- Cooking with coconut oil – My fave vegan ‘butter’ & kale chips recipes:

As a vegan, I love making a coconut and banana spread that I use as ‘butter’. I wait until the bananas are ripe and mushy, and then mix equal parts bananas and coconut oil. It’s a delicious spread on my fresh-out-of-the-oven vegan cranberry muffins, and looks/melts just like butter!

My other favorite recipe to make with coconut oil, is a simple one for kale chips. Coconut oil is wonderful for cooking because it is stable enough to withstand high temperatures. I prefer purple kale for my chips. I lay them out on a cooking sheet in the toaster-oven, cover them lightly with coconut oil, sprinkle them with Himalayan salt, cook for 7 minutes at 400 degrees, and voilà! A delicious crispy and healthy alternative to regular chips, without any of those nasty free radicals.

4- Oil pulling with coconut oil:

Ok, I admit, this one may be a bit too ‘out there’ for some, but I swear it works like nothing else to clear my sinuses.

(If I’ve already shared too much information, feel free to skip to next point which I promise is far more pleasant)

Every morning, first thing before breakfast, even before I let my dog Roxy out in the backyard, I take a teaspoon of coconut oil and let it melt in my mouth. Yes it feels gross, but once it melts, it’s somewhat bearable. Then as I let Roxy out, and go about my morning routine for the next 20 minutes, I swish it around my mouth. Yep, 20 minutes… Again, kind of gross, and it does feel long as I keep checking the clock, but you will be amazed at how well it works.

It will also pull toxins from your system, so make sure you don’t gargle or swallow it. Once the 20 minutes have thankfully passed, spit it out into your green bin or compost bin because coconut oil will clog your drain when it hardens. Make sure to rinse your mouth with water 2-3 times and you’re done.

This is based on the ancient Ayurvedic practice of oil pulling with sesame oil, now more and more being replaced with coconut oil.

In his book, ‘Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing’, Dr. Bruce Fife says: “When you put it in your mouth and work it around your teeth and gums it “pulls” out bacteria and other debris. As simple as it is, oil pulling has a very powerful detoxifying effect. Our mouths are the home to billions of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other parasites and their toxins… that cause gum disease and tooth decay and contribute to many other health problems.”

He had me at ‘billions of bacteria’… but parasites? Yuck! So I was very happy to learn that my 20-minute oil pulling efforts might be rewarded with whiter teeth, as coconut oil pulling apparently also helps to whiten teeth. And I have indeed noticed my teeth looking whiter since adding oil pulling to my daily routine!

5- Sensual uses of coconut oil:

For the passionate lover in you, this oil will delight your senses. Use it as a massage oil or personal lubricant for a wonderful natural experience.

As a massage oil, I prefer to use what’s called fractionated* coconut oil because it doesn’t solidify and has no odor. I love creating my own scent blends for added sensuality. My favorite is a simple mix of rose and sandalwood, although those essential oils are quite expensive. For an equally sensual blend but less expensive, you can do a lovely mix of ylang ylang and geranium rose (5 drops of each essential oil in 50ml of fractionated coconut oil). Or an even more economical option would be to add sweet-orange, a very hydrating, uplifting essential oil, and use the left-overs as a body lotion.

As a lubricant, coconut oil has been gaining popularity in the last few years. Commercial lubricants contain parabens, so many women are now turning to more natural lubricant such as coconut oil as a healthy alternative. One of the benefits of using coconut oil is that it washes off easily, thus helping to remove any bacteria more effectively, while also preventing any chemical interactions with condoms. I recommend the deodorized solid organic coconut oil, for obvious practical reasons.

Enjoy!

So there you have it, my top 5 fantastic reasons to love coconut oil. Did some of them surprise you? There are so many more wonderful uses for it, I’d love to hear your favorites!

* Fractionated coconut oil: Fractionated coconut oil is literally a fraction of the whole oil. It is processed in a way that removes all the long chain fatty acids, leaving only the healthy medium chain fatty acids, high concentration of Capric acid and Caprylic acid, which gives it an amazing amount of antioxidant and disinfecting properties.

(DISCLAIMER: The content of this article is for information purposes only and is not meant to be taken as any form of healing advice. Always do your own research or consult your health care professional before using any products you are not familiar with. Essential oils are for external use only. Always consult your health care professional if pregnant, breastfeeding, on medications or homeopathic remedies before using any essential oil products. Keep out of reach of children and pets, especially cats and birds. NEVER use essential oils on cats or birds.) 

Michèle

Michèle is a passionate advocate for healthy living and organics. A lifelong vegetarian, organics enthusiast and environmentalist, she loves sharing with others her knowledge of all that is good for humans and the planet. Empowering people to make the best health choices for themselves is her passion.  She developed her own line of organic skincare and founded Michèle’s Organics, a company for those who, like her, needed more transparency, honesty and integrity when buying products. Michèle is a certified aromatologist, actor and a self-proclaimed ingredients list expert!
You can follow Michèle on twitter and facebook. Her products can be found  on michelesorganics.com.

Organic perfumery: My Sexiest Essential Oil Picks for DIY Perfumes!

By Michèle Duquet

Featured photographer: Colette Stevenson
(Click here to visit Colette’s website; click photo for larger view)

orchid.credit

Ahhh spring! It has finally arrived, and there is definitely something in the air!

Our senses seem suddenly reawakened by the freshness of its enticing bouquet. With its perfect blend of scents and sensuality, what better time than spring to explore the seductive allure of essential oil elixirs.

One of my great passions is creating essential oil blends for organic perfumes.

Essential oil perfumery is such a sensuous art form. It involves all the senses… even the intuition… and the heart. Like a beautiful song, the right blend can make my soul sing.

A lot goes into blending and building a scent bouquet, drop by drop, harmonizing the notes, listening with the heart and ‘nose’, journaling every detail and nuance, then knowing when to let it rest, age, like a fine wine.

It is where art meets organic chemistry with an entrancing sprinkle of je ne sais quoi.

Now before I get too carried away, I first need to introduce you to the concept of “Notes”.

 

Notes:

Notes are the building blocks of any captivating blend. These are grouped into to 3 categories: Base, Middle and Top notes.

To understand how notes function in a perfume blend, think of them in terms of which scent you smell first. Those are the top notes. Let a bit of time pass, and a secondary scent appears. These are the mid or middle notes. And finally, after the mid notes seem to settle, a final scent emerges. These are the base notes, or a mix of the base and mid notes that remain as your main scent.

The basic science behind it is the size of the molecules and the rate at which they evaporate. The faster they evaporate, the quicker we can smell them.

The notes are also known as head (top), heart (mid) and base (I like to think of these as the connection to our sensuality). I love the notes seen through this imagery. Very romantic!

So let’s get you started on creating your very own enchanting bouquet!

Here are my sexiest picks for each category:

 

Base notes:

 

To start building a blend, always begin with your base notes. Think of these as your ‘fixatives’, the notes that will grab hold of the mid and top notes, enhancing the whole bouquet while giving it its depth.

1. Vetiver:
This is a very common base note you’ll find in many perfumes. It has a beautiful velvety touch when creating a perfume blend. One of my absolute favorite base notes.

2. Sandalwood:
I love the scent of sandalwood, such a sensual sexy scent. It isn’t very strong as a base note, but what it lacks in strength, it more than makes up in sexiness. It can literally make me weak in the knees!

3. Patchouli:
What?? Oh no not patchouli! I know, I hear you, but you’ll have to trust me on this one, it is a fantastic base note. A little goes a long way. You might not even be able to detect it in your blend, but the result will amaze you. It has a way of mixing with the mid and top notes that can turn a simple 5 essential oil blend into a rich complex and sophisticated scent. But ok, if you really hate patchouli, just go for vetiver.

4. Balsam de Peru:
This essential oil is special on its own in that it is already textured and layered with a soft vanilla undertone and a hint of cinnamon. But its richness and warmth, along with its ability to fix floral mid and top notes, makes it a beautiful base note to any perfume blend.

 

Middle notes:

 

The important role of the mid notes is as the heart of the perfume. It also helps to soften some of the stronger or even more unpleasant side of some base notes (Myrrh is a good example of this).

Before determining which mid notes you will choose, you’ll first need to determine which mix well with the base notes you’ve selected.

Here are a few of my favorites followed by which essential oils they combine well with (I’ve only listed those that are among today’s picks).

Use these combination lists when you choose your top notes as well.

 

1. Rose:
Rose otto or rose absolute. This essential oil, known as the queen of essential oils, is a powerful aphrodisiac. It has a rich and enveloping scent, undeniably sensual. Unfortunately, it is also very pricy. If you find one that is inexpensive, it’s not an essential oil but rather a chemical or synthetic replica made in a lab. A few milliliters should cost over $100. I include it here because it is one of my favorite essential oils for perfumery. I am positively mesmerized by its sensuality… its delicate yet rapturous scent transports me to a world of love and beauty like no other. Oops! Getting carried away again – did I mention that it’s a powerful aphrodisiac!
    Rose blends well with the base notes of vetiver, sandalwood and balsam de peru. It also combines well with bergamot, carnation absolute, geranium rose, jasmine, mandarin, neroli, and ylang ylang.

2. Neroli:
Neroli comes from the blossom of the orange tree. Many of you might not be familiar with it but it is a most delicate and intricate scent. In aromatherapy it is known to fight depression. It is a scent I am quite certain I can never live without. It has a delicate flower aroma, offering instant freshness. It reaches me deep in my soul every time I smell it.
 Neroli blends well with the base notes of sandalwood and patchouli. It also combines well with carnation absolute, geranium rose, jasmine, lavender, mandarin, sweet-orange, rose and ylang ylang.

3. Geranium rose:
This floral scent is reminiscent of an English garden. It is fresh and instantly uplifting. It has a lightness of spirit that seems to grab your attention in a most delightful and surprising way.
 Geranium rose blends well with the base notes of vetiver, sandalwood and patchouli. It also combines well with bergamot, carnation absolute, jasmine, lavender, mandarin, sweet-orange, rose and ylang ylang.

4. Jasmine:
We cannot talk of sexy oils without mentioning Jasmine. Rich and exotic, it is a heavier mid note than the others, so I find I use it as a base/mid note that combines well with a light fruity top note like mandarin. It is known as the king of essential oils and is another powerful aphrodisiac. What a mood it creates!
Jasmine blends well with the base notes of vetiver, sandalwood and patchouli. It also combines well with bergamot, carnation absolute, geranium rose, mandarin, neroli, sweet-orange, rose and ylang ylang.

5. Ylang Ylang:
Ylang ylang is another essential oil classified as an aphrodisiac. It has a very distinct floral scent, and can be quite a strong addition to your blend, so start by adding only one drop at a time. I find it balances very well with base notes because its scent is so ‘heady’.
    Ylang Ylang blends well with the base notes of vetiver, sandalwood, patchouli and balsam de peru. It also combines well with bergamot, carnation absolute, jasmine, mandarin, sweet-orange and rose.

 

Top notes:


Top notes are what will form your initial impression of a perfume, so keeping this in mind, ask yourself what are your preferences. Do you prefer a floral scent or a citrus scent? Citrus oils are often used as top notes but there are also some deliciously exotic floral scents, as you’ll see!

1. Bergamot:
Bergamot is used a great deal in perfumes because it blends well with so many essential oils. It has a lovely light citrus scent without being too lemony. It is a more mature bouquet than the other citrus scents, and as a top note, it is a delightful first impression while your senses await the rest of the blend to travel with the mix.

2. Mandarin:
Mandarin has a more distinctive citrus flavor than other citrus essential oils like lemon or sweet-orange. I find it both richer and more robust than the others. As such, I like to blend it with stronger mid and base notes like jasmine and vetiver.

3. Orange-Sweet:
Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh oranges! Nothing like inhaling that zesty burst of freshness. It can be a fun and lively way to top off your blend. Although this might sound counter-intuitive, I don’t recommend mixing it with mandarin, rather try blending it with bergamot instead.

4. Lavender:
Have you ever brushed against lavender flowers, accidentally experiencing the soft and calming fragrance? During my summer walks with my dog Roxy I cannot resist passing my hands over the lavender flowers I encounter along the way. This same effect is what I look for when mixing lavender into my blends. A hint of it is all I need. It is especially lovely with roman chamomile, although chamomile is not on today’s list.
My main reason for listing lavender is that it is known as an enhancer. A single drop of lavender in a synergy will enhance all the other oils. As an experiment, after your perfume is complete, add a single drop of lavender to enhance the blend’s olfactory and aromatherapeutic properties.

5. Carnation Absolute:
Ahhh at last, carnation absolute. Its rich scent is a striking blend of floral, spicy, honey and clove notes. It is expensive, but a little goes a long way. As soon as you open the bottle and sample its lavish scent for the first time, you will never forget it. It has nuances of the carnation flower, but only slightly as the flower itself has a much weaker and simpler scent. Even if it’s not in your perfumery budget, ask to sample its scent at the store, you are in for a treat!


Step-by-step ‘How TO’ blending tips:

What you’ll need:
– A journal for your perfume blend trial entries
– 5 ml dark bottle with a dropper
– Essential oils grouped in base/mid/top notes
– Jojoba carrier oil
– A small bowl of coffee beans

VIP! ….. Write everything down! Nothing like discovering an amazing scent blend only to be unable to replicate it.

Ensure that you are working in a well-ventilated area, and take frequent breaks by stepping outside for some fresh air. Otherwise you may end up feeling a wee bit too ‘euphoric’, or unable to distinguish one scent from another.

Between each smelling test you do with the essential oils, make sure it’s then followed by smelling the coffee beans. This will prevent each individual scent from losing its perceived odor intensity between your scent sampling. If only air is smelled between samplings, the odor intensity will decrease.

Ever wondered why there’s always a bowl of coffee beans next to the essential oils display in health food stores? Now you know!

 

The “lab” work:

(Here’s a photo I took of some my perfumery tests. Each number’s detail is noted in my perfumery journal, along with my impressions of the scent as it grows and changes)

pic4Blog

(1) In a clean dark 5ml bottle, add 1 drop each of your base note choices. You can choose more than one*.


(2) Add your mid note choices: add 1 drop of your mid-note choices in the same bottle, once you’ve decided on a combination you like*.


(3) Using the same method (*), decide on which top note you feel most attracted to and add 1 drop of each to your blend.


(4) Cap it and roll it in your hands vertically in a quick back & forth motion for about 30 seconds. This heats the mix slightly, just enough for you to get a better first impression.


(5) Open the bottle and smell your blend by waving it back & forth under your nose.


(6) As you smell, decide if there is anything missing, or any scent you’d like to add.


(7) Add 1 or 2 drops of these essential oils. They can come from any note group, even a base note if you feel the blend needs more grounding.


(8) Cap it and put it aside without opening it for a few hours. When you smell it again after this rest, see if you’d like to add anything else. Don’t forget to write everything down!

 

*A little trick I sometimes use is to simply open each essential oil bottle and ‘wave’ them together under your nose to pre-sample them together.

 

Bottling your potion:

Now that you’ve fallen in love with your blend, you are ready to amplify it and add a carrier oil to it.

(1) Multiply each drop you’ve chosen by 5 for a light blend, or 10 for a stronger blend. For example, a blend of 2 drops of sandalwood, 1 of jasmine, and 4 of mandarin, will have 10/5/20 drops when multiplied by 5, and 20/10/40 drops when multiplied by 10.


(2) Fill the rest of your bottle with jojoba carrier oil. Cap it tightly and store it in a dark place, away from the sun and heat.


(3) Try leaving it unopened for a few days, but if you can’t resist, go ahead and start using it!

 

Voilà! Congratulations, you’ve just created you very own personalized organic perfume!

An organic perfumer’s secret: essential oil perfumes only last a few hours on the skin, so just use a few drops of essential oil perfume on the inner seams of your darker clothes and the scent will last until the next wash!

Don’t be surprised if everyone wants to know what perfume you’re wearing… just tell them Michèle showed you how to DIY!

 

(NOTE: Essential oils are for external use only. Always consult your health care professional if pregnant, breastfeeding, on medications or homeopathic remedies before using any essential oil products. Keep out of reach of children and pets, especially cats and birds. NEVER use essential oils on cats or birds.)

Michèle

Michèle is a passionate advocate for healthy living and organics. A lifelong vegetarian, organics enthusiast and environmentalist, she loves sharing with others her knowledge of all that is good for humans and the planet. Empowering people to make the best health choices for themselves is her passion.  She developed her own line of organic skincare and founded Michèle’s Organics, a company for those who, like her, needed more transparency, honesty and integrity when buying products. Michèle is a certified aromatologist, actor and a self-proclaimed ingredients list expert!
You can follow Michèle on twitter and facebook. Her products can be found  on michelesorganics.com.