Photo: Sari Ayre
Many people are interested in essential oils. I have written an entire article about essential oils here on my blog. My opinion on essential oils has been quite cautious and I myself use them very rarely in my own products. The safe use of essential oils has its own challenges. I try to support people to learn how to use essential oils safely and in moderation.
For this article, I interviewed Maija Vastamäki about the use of essential oils. Maija Vastamäki has founded the Kuura Essentials cosmetics brand based on essential oils. In Kuura Essentials products, the use of essential oils has been taken to a whole new, innovative level. Maija Vastamäki is a person who knows a lot about essential oils. He has chosen perhaps the most challenging of the genres of cosmetics. Essential oils have a huge variety of properties and possibilities, no matter what. It came as a surprise to me how elaborate cosmetics can be made from essential oils. That’s why it was so interesting to talk with Maija. In this article, you will get a real dose of information about essential oils and the wonderful products of Kuura Essentials.
Maija Vastamäki has a long experience in the world of cosmetics
Maija Vastamäki has studied as a Cidesco cosmetologist at the Finnish School of Cosmetology. Cidesco cosmetologist is a prestigious international cosmetology degree that can only be completed at selected educational institutions. After graduation, Maija worked for many years at the top of Finnish cosmetics, for example taking care of resale and participating in fairs and other events.
Maija Vastamäki says that she was already interested in cosmetics as a child, and specifically in the caring side of it. He dreamed of having his own cosmetics store, where he could sell skin care and gentle products to her customers. Entrepreneurship was already in Maija’s mind as a child.
When exhausted in a busy and demanding working life, Maija started to think more deeply about the purpose of everything: “I started thinking about how nature works. Why are so many chemicals foreign to nature used in cosmetics that might be harmful to humans”, says Maija. All chemicals used in cosmetics enter the body and potentially may cause problems there. Cosmetics containing a lot of chemicals, foreign to nature, no longer corresponded to Maija’s values.
Kuura’s first product was a tick repellent
Maija started to seriously think about own company of her own. Her family has yachting as a hobby and they sped a lot of time in the archipelago of Baltic Sea. The tick problem is significantly worse in the archipelago than on the mainland. Unfortunately, she couldn’t find a single safe tick removal product in the stores. Maija decided to make one by herself. This is how the first product of Kuura Essentials was born, (Outdoor No1.) Nowadays called a Ground Level.
(Outdoor No1) Ground Level is intended for tick removal. Maija first developed the product only for her own family and close friends. The product turned out to be quite effective. Maija’s friends encouraged her to start making an effective and safe tick repellent for sale, available to everyone. This is how Kuura Essentials began. Maija Vastamäki started the business and designing the products in 2017. The company was officially founded in January 2019 and the first products went on sale in June 2019.
Essential oils are much more than just fragrances
We talked with Maija about the most important raw material of Kuura’s products, i.e., essential oils.
Essential oils are generally associated only as cosmetic fragrances. In reality, essential oils are very versatile cosmetic ingredients, says Maija. Not all aspects of essential oils are widely known.
Essential oils as fragrance
The most familiar use for essential oils is as fragrances in cosmetics. There is currently only one product in the Kuura Essentials product range that has been developed specifically as a fragrance. The summer perfume Joy is a natural fragrance made from essential oils and carrier oil. Joy is an intoxicatingly floral scent and reminds me of warm summer days. Joy smells good for a couple of hours, after which it can be added a little bit more to the skin. For me, who is not used to fragrances, Joy is a treasure because the usual perfumes are too strong for me.
The aromatherapeutic effect of essential oils
the aromatherapeutic effect is a very important property of essential oils. Essential oils reach the brain with the help of breathing and act there in many positive ways. The selection of essential oils includes products that soothe and relax. Good examples of these are, for example, petitgrain and ylang ylang.
There are also mood-boosting and refreshing essential oils. These include, for example, peppermint and citrus scents. By skilfully combining different oils, the desired therapeutic effect can be added to the products. Aromatherapy is a very effective form of treatment that requires a professional to work properly.
Kuura Essentials Rise & Shine and Just Chillin’ represent aromatherapeutic products. These products are developed to calm the mind or lift the mood. Rise & Shine and Chillin’ are pre-mixed, aromatherapeutic preparations. You can safely use them directly on the skin because they are diluted in jojoba oil.
One of the leading ideas of Kuura Essentials is to bring aromatherapy within the reach of every person. You don’t need to get yourself many different essential oils and try different blends. In the products of Rise & Shine and Just Chillin’, different essential oils are ready to use, pre-mixed.
Cosmetic effect of essential oils
Essential oils contain a lot of different nourishing plant chemicals. These plant chemicals can effectively affect the condition of the skin. This skin conditioning effect of essential oils was new to me. For example, turmeric essential oil affects collagen production. The suitable combination of lemon and eucalyptus helps the active substances to be absorbed deeper into the skin.
Maija talks about a synergistic mix. When carefully selected essential oils are combined, new and more intense results are achieved. This is exactly how the luxurious Skin Warrior facial oil from Kuura Essentials is made. Skin Warrior face oil is perhaps the best face oil on the market. It is a very high-quality product, where the essential oils have been selected synergistically for the cosmetic effect.
The production of Skin Warrior facial oil required a very high level of professionalism. All the ingredients of the product are carefully considered. The essential oils and plant extracts of Skin Warrior face oil work seamlessly together. There is nothing unnecessary in the product such as emulsifiers or preservatives. Skin Warrior facial oil works really well on the skin. It does not leave a greasy feeling on the skin because the ingredients of the product have been selected so that they are absorbed into the skin particularly well. The skin feels very silky, soft and smooth after Skin Warrior.
Functional effect of essential oils
The functional effect of essential oils is easy to recognize in the first products of Kuura Essentials, (Outdoor No1) Ground Level and (Outdoor No2) Air Born. The starting point in the development of outdoor products has been essential oils and their ingredients that affect the sense of smell of ticks and mosquitoes.
Certain essential oils repel ticks and mosquitoes. Scents are important to most insects. Mosquitoes and ticks navigate to their target based on scents. Essential oils contain natural fragrance components that repel insects. Mosquitoes and ticks avoid certain smells. Both insect species have their own repulsive scents, so the same product does not repel both insects.
The healing effect of essential oils
Many essential oils contain ingredients that may help treat skin conditions. Acne and psoriasis, for example, benefit from certain essential oils. Many essential oils are also antimicrobial. They can be used to help with various skin infections.
Kura Essentials invests in quality
We talked a lot with Maija Vastamäki about the quality of the products. The issue of quality is obviously very important to Kuura Essentials. The products are 100% natural. They do not contain additional chemicals such as preservatives or emulsifiers. The absence of preservatives is an important thing in itself. The products are water-free, so they don’t really need preservatives. To prevent the oxidation of the oils, the products have used as many natural substances as possible, such as vitamin E and rosemary extract.
Quality of raw materials
Maija Vastamäki and I share the same values when it comes to raw materials. We both love organic, fresh, unrefined and as natural ingredients as possible. Maija Vastamäki makes each of her products with great love and ambition. The uncompromising quality of raw materials is clearly visible in all Kuura Essentials products. You won’t find similar quality in the expensive products of big cosmetic houses.
Kuura Essentials invests in organic raw materials, if possible. Organic quality is usually always more expensive than conventionally produced. Organic products contain less harmful plant protection substances. Since essential oils are powerful concentrates, possible environmental toxins are also concentrated in essential oils. Therefore, especially for essential oils, the organic quality cultivated without plant protection agents is very important.
Organic raw materials also have more active ingredients than conventionally produced ones. Organically grown plants receive nutrients in the right proportion and grow more restrained. In this way, the number of active substances in the plant increases.
Small wholesale packages ensure the freshness of the raw materials
The Kura Essentials stock does not display large wholesale packages. In large wholesale packages, the raw materials do not stay fresh in the same way a than in small 30 millilitre glass bottles, says Maija. When you open the wholesale package, the product starts to spoil immediately. A small package can be used all at once and nothing is left to spoil. By using small, glass wholesale bottles, each product batch is of top quality and you always get a first-class product.
There is another problem with large wholesale packages. Wholesale essential oil packaging is often made of aluminium, which is not the best possible packaging material for essential oils. For that reason alone, Kuura Essentials obtains the essential oils used in its products in small, 30 millilitre glass bottles.
I asked Maija how an ordinary consumer can be sure of the quality of essential oils. The question is quite difficult. Only experience teaches you to notice deviations in quality. It takes a long time to gain enough experience. Buy the same essential oil from several different manufacturers and compare the oils, advises Maija. Maija also advises getting to know the seller of essential oils better and the company’s values. If the company does not provide the customer with sufficient information about its products, it is worth changing the supplier.
The ethics of essential oils is a big issue
Essential oils are big business in the world. The international trade of essential oils is therefore often quite ruthless. The rules of ethics are often forgotten, especially by large international operators. For example, rosewood essential oil is very popular in the perfume industry. Unfortunately, the real rosewood has almost disappeared from the Brazilian rainforests, and growing rosewood is difficult. That’s why rosewood is often smuggled and sold on the black market. Another endangered tree is the Indian wild sandalwood. Sandalwood is cultivated in Australia, which is ethical.
Kuura Essentials is particularly careful about the ethics of the raw materials it uses: Maija Vastamäki says that she only gets all essential oils from companies that are transparent and openly disclose the origin of the oils. She wants to know as precisely as possible the facts related to the production and origin of the raw materials she uses.
Treat essential oils with respect
Essential oils should be treated with respect. They are powerful concentrates, for the production of which huge amounts of valuable plant raw material have been used. Wasteful use of essential oils or careless storage are unethical practices. Kuura carefully stores its own essential oils in a cool place, always protected from light and air. In this way, precious raw materials are not wasted.
If you want to store essential oils for a really long time, store them in the fridge, advises Maija. When stored in the refrigerator, essential oils can last for up to 10 years.
Kuura Essentials packs its products in special glass
The glass packaging of the Kuura Essentials products is very interesting. Kura Essentials’ newest products, Skin Warrior facial oil and the fragrance Joy, are packaged in special Miron Violet glass bottles. All other products were also changed to Mironi’s high-quality glass bottles at the end of summer 2022.
Miron Violet glass is a real miracle. It improves the shelf life of products by four times compared to ordinary glass or plastic. Miron Violet glass contains special minerals that increase the shelf life of plant-based products and keep the product’s potency unchanged. This is based on the fact that the Miron Violet glass prevents the product’s biophotons from disappearing. Biophotons are light particles generated by living cells. Biophotons are normally lost from products very easily during storage, i.e., the product ages and deteriorates. Miron Violet glass is able to protect the product so that the activity of the product’s biophotons remains good for a long time. Kuura Essentials’ Miron Violet glass packaging thus also acts as a product preservative.
Safety of essential oils
We also discussed a few words about the safety of essential oils.
Maija does not recommend essential oils at all for children under 3 years old. Therefore, you must always know how to use essential oils in moderation and correctly. No essential oils should ever be used undiluted directly on the skin. Some essential oils can be really dangerous to your health in large doses. Other essential oils can cause unwanted effects when misused.
Always accurately measure the essential oil you use in the cosmetic products you make and strictly follow the limit values. Do not use essential oils internally, never swallow them.
If you use essential oils when making cosmetics, I want to remind you about the limit values
- The product to be left on the face must not contain more than 1% essential oils
- The product intended for the lips must not contain more than 0.5% essential oils
- In eye area products, essential oils are not recommended at all, use hydrolats.
- The product to be left on the body must not contain more than 5% essential oils, however try to stay below 3% even in body products
- In products that can be rinsed off, I personally would not use essential oils at all. Why add precious essential oils if the product is meant to be rinsed off. Use hydrolats or hydrosols in rinse-off products.
Kuura Essentials is growing little by little
The sales of Kuura Essentials have been growing all the time but the growth has been under control all the time. The founder of Kuura Essentials, Maija Vastamäki, is a mother of small children and wants to fully invest in children and family life. She wants to proceed in an orderly manner and develop her company in harmony keeping her family as number one. In the future, when the situation allows, Maija’s intention is to grow the company more.
Kuura Essentials products are of high quality and also unique. There would already be demand abroad as well. However, Maija does not yet want to take a big step to become an international brand. Currently, Kuura Essentials products can be purchased from their own online store and from several well-known retailers, both online and in selected stores. Kuura Essentials’ retail network is commendably comprehensive.
Check out Kuura’s Essentials blog
There is a very informative blog in Kuura Essentials website. If you ever want to know anything about essential oils, visit the Kuura Essentials blog pages. Kuura’s blog is a reliable place to update your own knowledge about essential oils. On the websites of the sellers of essential oils, the properties of essential oils are often told in a very commercial way. The information shared on the Kuura Essentials blog is based on Maija’s long training and versatile knowledge of the field. The information on the Kuura Essentials blog is therefore unbiased.
Allergies and hypersensitivities are a growing problem, especially among users of natural cosmetics. This post is based partly on my own experience of hypersensitivity. I suffer from atopic eczema and other hypersensitivity disorders. I’ve been able to significantly minimize the symptoms of atopic eczema. I’ll share my story here so you can get some ideas on how to treat your hypersensitivity and allergic symptoms. My story also contains tips on how you can effectively prevent sensitization to natural cosmetics.
I have suffered from atopic skin all my life.
My skin has been very sensitive as long as I can remember. As an adult, I have had many symptoms of hypersensitivity. I got a diagnosis of asthma ten years ago. My illnesses have been treated as usual, with medication.
Three to four years ago my symptoms got worse. The most severe of the symptoms was atopic eczema, or allergic rash, which spread quickly throughout the body. The intense anaphylactic reaction, a shock, that forced me to a hospital bed was also frightening. Atopy means allergy and eczema means rash. My doctor’s estimate was that I would have to use strong cortisone creams for years or maybe decades.
Don’t treat bad atopic eczema yourself
Inflammation of the skin in atopic eczema can quickly get really bad and require long hospital stays. If you have broken skin or a rash on large area of skin, consult a dermatologist. Especially if the patient is a small child, consulting a doctor is a must. In such a situation, you should never treat the rash yourself, for example with natural cosmetics. Things could get much worse.
Atopic eczema is a real illness that can be extremely serious
Atopic eczema is often considered as a minor ailment that can be conveniently treated by rubbing just a little coconut fat on the skin or by changing the brand of shampoo. Such comments are, as a matter of fact, offensive to those who have spent sleepless nights for months with pain, itching and inflammation, unable to go to work or even outdoors.
About $ 200 million is spent annually on research of atopic eczema. If this disease could be easily beat with coconut oil or some nutritional supplement, why sacrifice such amounts of money for research. Atopic eczema is a troublesome and often severely disabling disease, for which the researchers still have no complete answer. Atopic eczema can, at worst, lead to death.
Many people talk about atopic eczema even when they refer to dry, flaky skin. Dry skin and atopic eczema are two different things. These should not be confused. Atopic eczema may develop even if the skin is greasy.
How I finally got my eczema under control
I want to tell you about my own recovery so that you can somehow benefit from my experience. Not all atopic eczema is due to the same reason as myself. Therefore, my experience does not help everyone. But if it helps at least one person, it is worth telling.
I started to solve the situation myself together with my doctor. My symptoms were suspected to be due to something I eat. We took a closer look at the cosmetics I used and I gave up all of it. I started treating my face only with refined sunflower oil. For skin cleansing, I used completely non-perfumed soap.
I started a 6-week diet eliminating all foods that caused symptoms. At first, I only ate boiled chicken and cabbage. I added new foods to my diet every week. With the help of my diet, I found foods that worsen my symptoms and my skin completely healed. Nowadays I eat almost normal meals.
How do we become allergic to cosmetics?
Cosmetic products can also cause atopic eczema. Unfortunately, natural cosmetics with many herbal extracts is very allergenic. Things causing allergy are often plants such as tomatoes or nuts. Herbal allergens also work similarly when using natural cosmetics.
Perfume hypersensitivity is quite common. About 2-3% of the population suffer from them. Perfume hypersensitivity occurs, for example, in the form of rash on the hands. Many people also get milder symptoms from perfumes and other fragrance. These symptoms can also get worse if the person is exposed all the time.
A person suffering from fragrance hypersensitivity should not use neither any scented cosmetics nor any scented cleaning chemicals. Whether the fragrance is a real essential oil or a synthetic fragrance does not matter. If your body is already ill, all scents should be avoided.
In addition to fragrances in perfumes and cleaning chemicals, you should avoid hydrolates and most plant extracts. Hydrolates, as well as most plant extracts, always contain small amounts of essential oils.
Sensitization to plant chemicals
As a herbal therapist, I know that plants contain hundreds of different chemicals. For some people, the number of plant-derived compounds is simply too much.
Today, the superfoods are really popular. People look for berries, herbs and vegetables that contain the highest amounts of herbal chemicals and eat them in large quantities, such as smoothies, concentrates and dried green powders. Superfoods are believed to be the key to healthy life because of their antioxidant content. However, for sensitive people, these superfoods are too much. Over time, they can cause health problems to the whole body.
Over-use of herbal chemicals both in nutrition and cosmetics is harmful. I also believe that eating a lot of superfoods and supplements, combined with the use of natural cosmetics containing strong herbal chemicals, can easily trigger allergic symptoms and atopic eczema. At least this presumably happened to me. Too much is always too much. We should be reasonable with superfoods.
The common allergies have been familiar for years. A person can be very allergic to only one type of protein. Typical allergens include pollen, nuts and fish. A person can be allergic or become allergic at any time to anything. If you get severe symptoms from a cosmetic product, you may be allergic to one of its ingredients. The person with allergy can easily find out the cause of the allergy by allergy tests. Allergies should be taken very seriously as they can, at worst, cause a life-threatening condition. Many allergens are also present in cosmetics. Allergens cause problems only to certain individuals. Most of the people do not have to avoid them. If you are uncertain about the cosmetics you use, you can always contact the manufacturer to get deeper information.
Problems with natural cosmetics
I’m definitely in favour of natural cosmetics. Natural cosmetics is made from pure, natural raw materials and do not contain any plastic. Many synthetic chemicals are banned in natural cosmetics. However, the manufacturers of natural cosmetics should wake up to the growing problem of skin sensitization to herbal chemicals. It is also possible to make natural cosmetics completely without using any herbal extracts. There should be more such products available.
Too many herbs
Natural cosmetic products often contain far too many herbs and plant extracts. Most products contain very strong herbal extracts and unrefined oils rich in herbal chemicals. Almost everyone’s skin will eventually become sensitized to herbal chemicals when used several times a day. Latest trend is to apply facial toner several times on face at a time. Herbal cream alone is no longer enough, but the use of a serum rich in plant chemicals is also recommended. The daily load of herbal chemicals on the skin rises very high.
Many natural cosmetic products contain far too many different herbs and extracts. In many cases, just only one herb would be enough. Herbs, of course, contain beneficial ingredients for the skin. Cosmetic plants contain hundreds of different compounds, many of which are useless to the skin and some even harmful. Even if the product contains 10-15 different herb and flower extracts, the number of harmful compounds increases in the same proportion.
Too much essential oils
I have spoken often about natural essential oils and their harmfulness. You can read more about them here and here.
Essential oils cause a lot of hypersensitivity. They can penetrate through the skin into the body and even through the blood-brain barrier directly into the human brain. Essential oils are solvents that are harmful to human health when used excessively. All chemicals that are able to penetrate the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin, can easily cause sensitization. Essential oils are such.
Bees products and resin
Unfortunately, the wonderful bees’ products contain very many allergenic ingredients. Beeswax used to solidify waterless salves is not suitable for fragrance-sensitive persons. Beeswax is particularly rich in resins. Resin allergy is often associated with fragrance hypersensitivity. In addition to resins, honey contains pollen residues. All resins are mixtures of resins and essential oils. Therefore, resin products are also unsuitable for fragrance-sensitive persons. In addition to spruce and pine resin, frankincense and myrrh are also used in cosmetics.
Hydrolates are almost as sensitizing as essential oils
Essential oils are prepared by steam distillation. The process separates the oil-soluble constituents of the plant from the water-soluble ones. The oil-soluble ingredients are essential oils and the water-soluble ingredients are hydrolates. Quite a large amount of essential oils remains in the hydrolates. It is very difficult to distil all essential oils away. Therefore, people suffering from fragrance hypersensitivity and natural cosmetics should avoid products containing hydrolates.
Concentrated plant extracts and plant chemicals
Many natural cosmetic products contain a lot of concentrated herbal chemicals. Salicylates are used as plant extracts or as a pure chemical to brighten the skin. Salicylates are highly sensitizing. For example, aloe vera and meadowsweet are rich in salicylates.
It is also very common to add plant extracts like gingko biloba, ginger or other superfoods to natural cosmetics products. These extracts are mentioned only for short term use. However, you can find them in regular creams for daily use.
Lack of non-scented products
It is very rare to find a non-scented, natural cosmetics product. There are some but unfortunately not available everywhere. The popularity of essential oils is so big that the has been no need to develop a specific, fragrance-free products. And even if the product would be a non-scented, it contains several different herbal extracts.
Natural cosmetics for people who are sensitive to plant chemicals
You must be wondering now how it is possible to make natural cosmetics if you can no longer use plant extracts, hydrolates or essential oils. Do not worry. There are many other ingredients that can be used to make safe and gentle cosmetics. Also, there is no need to use herbs and plant extracts in every product and all the time. Here are some good and safe products for people suffering from hypersensitivity.
Clay is one of the oldest cosmetic ingredients mankind has used. Clay is natural and safe to use. When an ancient person was wandering through dusty land, the skin was always covered with a fine layer of clay. Winds brought minerals to the skin to protect it from burning. Human skin is also able to receive minerals and transports them to the bloodstream and muscles. Magnesium, for example, has been found to be even better absorbed as a cream than when ingested orally.
Some clay products can cause allergic reactions to persons suffering from nickel allergy. Take this into consideration if you are allergic to nickel.
You can use clay for masks and scrubs.
You can use several safe, non-allergenic mineral products in your cosmetics. One really good product is the MaineBase salt, which you can use for skin cleansing and even scalp washing. Ordinary sea salt and rock salt are minerals that hardly anyone is allergic to. Epsom salt is high in magnesium. It is usually a safe product for sensitive skin.
Epsom salt is suitable for baths, salt masks and peeling products.
Supply of natural cosmetics based on oils has increased enormously. That’s a really good thing. Oils belong naturally to human skin. The skin is very rich in linoleic acid, which is found also in sunflower oil and safflower oil.
If you are not yet sensitized to cosmetics and you do not have allergies, you can use all cosmetic oils freely for skin care. Oils are safe to use in daily skin care.
If your skin is sensitized or you have a fragrance sensitivity, avoid strong, unrefined oils such as cold pressed olive oil, hemp oil or pumpkin seed oil. They are rich in herbal chemicals that can aggravate your symptoms.
Choose the cheapest filtered sunflower oil bottle from the bottom shelf of the market. It’s the best for sensitive skin. Other refined oils are also suitable. Rice bran oil, safflower oil and refined white shea butter are really good too.
You can make a lotion from oils, water and emulsifier. This kind of emulsion is moisturizing and nourishing and does not irritate the skin, not even in daily use.
Plants with low plant chemicals content
There are plants and plants. Not all plants are rich in plant chemicals. There are plenty of them in flower extracts, berries, fruits and herbs, wild herbs and strongly green vegetables. Avoid them if you are sensitized to herbal chemicals.
If your skin is sensitized and you have a bad skin rash, I do not recommend trying any plants at all on your skin. My skin is now so healthy that I have started to use carefully cosmetics made from plants. I use plant parts that are not so rich in skin irritants. Here are just a few examples. Someone may be allergic to these too. So, you should test yourself whether these ingredients are suitable for your own skin.
- Mung bean powder or aduki bean powder for face scrub. Bean powder is especially good for facial peeling. It is an integral part of the traditional Japanese facial beauty ritual.
- Carbohydrate seeds such as lotus seeds and oats are suitable for facial cleansing and face masks. Oats also control the itching of the skin. Oat green shoots are not suitable for sensitive skin.
- Flaxseeds are a real wonder of skin care. When used once a week, flaxseed really rejuvenates the skin.
- Seaweed does not contain the same plant chemicals as terrestrial plants. They can be used occasionally on face masks or to moisturize the skin. I recommend that you carefully test first if they are suitable for your skin.
Herbal extracts for occasional use only
To avoid sensitization to natural cosmetics, use products containing herbal extracts only occasionally. For example, you can get a herbal mask and use it only once a week. If you are not yet sensitized, avoid excessive use of herbal chemicals by purchasing milder products or by reducing the use of them.
Clean your skin thoroughly
I personally prefer activated carbon masks and clay masks for deep skin cleansing. Activated carbon is effective in attracting organic ingredients such as plant chemicals.
Let your skin rest, have cosmetics-free days
The skin may not need any treatment every day. Let the skin rest. Rinse skin only with lukewarm water and let it rest.
Walk along the seashore if possible or in the woods to improve the oxygenation of the skin and circulation of blood. Salty, fresh air and walking in the woods also eliminate stress. Stress is thought to be one of the reasons of allergies and hypersensitivity.
Natural cosmetics and herbs are really precious things to me.
You should not blame herbs for causing allergies and sensitizations. The reasons lie in the reckless use of herbs. More is better is not true in this case. As a herbal therapist, I know that human body does not need herbs so much. Only a small amount is enough. You just need to know when and for what purpose the herbs are used. We must also know how to choose the right herb for the right use.
I really hope that more and more natural cosmetics manufacturers are seeing the continuously growing allergy problem. Increasing sensitization to herbal chemicals can even spoil the reputation of natural cosmetics. It would be sad just when Natural Cosmetics has gained some shelf space in the stores. It is therefore important to face the problem in a time.
Regular, daily use of strong herbal products strain unduly the skin and interfere with its function. For example, many herbs are antimicrobial, which means they inhibit bacterial growth. However, the skin should always have a healthy microbiome in order to maintain its defence system. Strong antimicrobial herbs also inhibit the growth of good bacteria on the skin.
I do collect, dry, make and use plants, flowers and herbs for cosmetics
However, I just want to make natural, herbal cosmetic products. I use mild herbal cosmetics for very short periods, maybe only once to cure some annoying problem. This is how precious herbs are used correctly. This way I can also benefit myself of all the knowledge that I have acquired as herbalist.
Do you have experience about herbal chemicals and hypersensitivity?
Essential oils can be used in many products. Their active ingredients can be used as remedy to skin problems. Essential oils also slightly improve the shelf life of the product and give it a luxurious finish. At their best, however, they are in products where their fragrance is evident.
Make your own perfume
You can make your own perfume from essential oils very easily. Mix only the carrier oil, a neutral base oil, and a combination of your favourite essential oils. Perfume can also be designed for alcohol. The scent of self-made perfume does not last as long as industrial perfumes. This is because cosmetics industry is using fragrance-fixing ingredients such as diethyl phthalate (DEP). However, all phthalates are very questionable chemicals that everyone should definitely avoid.
Phthalates have been found to cause hormonal disturbances, nerve damage and damage to the human reproduction organs. The fragrances are very often in the form of a spray, so that they spread around the people in the same space, even if they do not use the fragrances themselves. So, it is recommendable to make perfumes yourself, or to buy eco-certified perfumes only.
You can design the fragrance by using the following formula. You should have
Four different types of essential oils
- Citrus scents such as grapefruit and tangerine
- Floral scents such as rose and lavender
- Herbal scents such as rosemary and mint
- Resinous and resinous oils such as cedar or pine
Basic scents of perfume, aka, the base notes of fragrances come from soothing and resinous coniferous scents. The lighter parts of the perfume, aka the top notes are based on citrus fragrance. They evaporate first. Middle scents, the middle notes or heart notes bundle all 3 notes together. The scent of middle notes comes from flowers. These 3 scents make the perfume. Additional herbal scents are completing the whole.
For your own perfume you need
- Small spray bottle (glass)
- 100 ml of 40-60% alcohol
- 40 drops of essential oils from the four different groups mentioned above.
Do like this
- Pour alcohol into the bottle.
- Drop a few drops of root fragrance or coniferous essential oil first.
- Add a few drops of citrus scents, a few drops of flower scents and a few drops of herbal scents
- Make a note of how many drops of which fragrance have been used.
- Smell the mixture and make the decision about what fragrance you are going to intensify, then smell it again and spray it slightly on the skin. The odour on the skin changes slightly.
- Take a break and go out for a while as your nose needs rest. Continue after 30 minutes.
- Continue adding and dropping the drops until all 40 drops have been used. The process can take hours as you sometimes have to pause. Remember, it is your choice which oils (scents) you prefer!
Scented, moisturizing hair spray
Adding essential oils to the liquid is usually problematic. Essential oils are not water soluble but remain floating on the surface of the liquid. So, you should always remember to shake the product well before use. Because we are humans, this does not always solve the problem. I have many times sprayed my face using facial water prepared myself – and forgot to shake before spraying. The essential oils are on the surface of the water. In case you pour the facial water from the bottle to a cotton bad without shaking, all the essential oils are there in the cotton bad.
How to add essential oils to the formula?
My solution to the problem is solvents. Alcohol is the best solvent but not so good for the skin. Glycerol, on the other hand, is good for the skin and also acts as a solvent. It is sugar alcohol.
I have added essential oils to this hair spray to make essential oils to solve. Glycerol also has another good feature. It is slightly sticky and at the same time gives hold and volume to the hair. If you suffer hair electricity, try this fragrant glycerol spray.
The main thing is the scent
I have deliberately left the essential oils for your consideration. Principally it is the same which essential oil you use. The main thing is the scent. Choose a fragrance that suits you and your personality. Or use the scent you already have in your beauty box.
You will need these for a scented, moisturizing hair spray
- Small spray bottle, glass
- 100 ml of boiled water
- 20 ml glycerol
- 10 drops (or less) of your choice of essential oil
Do like this
- Pour boiled water and glycerol into the bottle
- Drop the essential oils into the bottle
- Close the bottle and shake vigorously, the scented hair spray is ready
Tip: If you find the spray too sticky, reduce the amount of glycerol by half (10 ml). The essential oil is still soluble in the liquid, but glycerol is no longer so dominant.
And now you can just try these recipes!
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Everyone loves essential oils and they are becoming even more popular all the time. New uses for essential oils are constantly being developed by beauty laboratories around the world.
I want to share my knowledge about essential oils now because of their growing popularity. This post is not intended to be an encompassing and completely statement about all aspects of essential oils. I will tell you about the use of essential oils in general and my views on the use of essential oils.
Essential oils are usually prepared by steam distillation
The word etheric means here that these oils are really ethereal. These products do not contain any actual oil at all, although the name indicates there is some oil. Essential oils are plant odours. They are usually obtained from the plant by steam distillation or by compression. Essential oils cannot be prepared at home unless steam distillation is possible, which is usually not the case.
Genuine essential oil
Genuine essential oil means that the product is pressed or steam-distilled from one plant and not mixed with other essential oils. The by-product of essential oils is hydrolats, that is, vegetable water, or flower water. Flowering waters are the water-soluble part of plant fluids and essential oils are the fat-soluble part.
What do the essential oils contain?
It is very difficult to give perfect answer. One essential oil contains dozens if not hundreds of different fragrant plant compounds.
Some of the most common, most used and most desirable are:
- Linalool (occurs in rose tree, roses and many other plants)
- Limonene (a compound found in citrus, very common in many plants)
- Menthol (found in mint)
- a-pinene (a compound found in conifers)
- Eucalyptol (a compound found in eucalyptus)
The composition of the substances in the essential oils and their ratio depends on many things. Of course, each plant has own specific fragrant compounds typical to its own species. In addition, the compounds are affected by the growing conditions of the plant, the variety and the process of making the essential oil.
Dangers of essential oils
Essential oils are very strong concentrates that should be used only with caution. The following text may look like an exaggeration of an emergency guard. However, I have found that essential oils are often used carelessly. Then they do much more harm than good.
Protect your brain against too strong scents
Essential oil can penetrate human skin and go everywhere in the body, including the brain. Essential oil reaches the brain through the nose. There is a direct connection to the brain through the nasal odour receptor cells. The blood brain barrier prevents harmful chemicals in the blood from reaching the brain. The purpose of the blood brain barrier is to protect sensitive brain tissue from toxic substances. Few substances can reach the brain through the blood vessels.
Essential oils in air
Essential oils do not need to use the blood vessels to reach the brain. Essential oil just floats in the nose and goes through the olfactory receptor cells to the nerve cells, then to the cortex and finally to the entire central nervous system. This is the only channel in the human body that does not have a blood brain barrier. This is the biggest concern and danger when using essential oils.
Fragrance compounds floating in the air
The problem applies not only to essential oils but to all fragrance compounds floating in the air. The brain can tolerate a certain number of fragrant compounds. However, there are differences in the scents. Fresh roses smell wonderful like the rose essential oil. The fragrance of a fresh rose is so much milder that it can in no way damage the brain.
Essential oils are solvents
Essential oils treat the brain like turpentine or paint thinner. Solvents are highly toxic to the brain when exposed continuously. Essential oils smell charming, but they are just as dangerous as all the notorious solvents. People who are exposed to vapor of essential oils on a daily basis will get symptoms sooner or later. There may be liver problems, persistent headaches, malaise and vomiting.
Essential oils damage the liver like alcohol. Aroma therapists are an example of people who are constantly working under the influence of essential oil vapour. As a result of years of exposure, many aromatherapists must change their profession.
Essential oils are highly flammable
The flammability of essential oils should be kept in mind when considering the use of them. In scent lamps, oil ignition is possible. At home, there is rarely any other situation where the essential oil burns.
Are essential oils safe for children?
You better consider carefully whether you’d like to use any essential oils in children’s products at all. In case you do, use only 1-3 drops of essential oil. Under the age of 3, I would not use any essential oils at all because such a small baby’s liver has not yet developed yet to handle toxins. I’ve heard that some mothers are using essential oils for their new-born babies. Never do this, it can be harmful to your baby.
Harmful substances in essential oils
Many essential oils also contain ingredients that are very toxic. I do not mean the solvents contained in the essential oils, but the actual toxic ingredients. However, the amount of essential oil to kill a human or animal is very big. Lethal amounts are somewhere as 5g / one body weight kilogram. So, this is more theoretical question but the toxic ingredients may be harmful to your body anyway.
Essential oil as food flavouring
There are essential oils that are also used as food flavourings. Such essential oils are non-toxic. These are so-called natural flavouring substances. There are about 100 different types of essential oils used as flavouring agents.
Pets and essential oils
Cats and dogs, on the other hand, are very sensitive to essential oils. The animals’ sense of smell is very sensitive. The animals’ body cannot handle very strong scents. It is said that some essential oil like lavender would be bad for a cat, but a rose would be fine. However, this is not the case. Both rose and lavender essential oils have the same ingredients but in different proportions. Also, tea tree oil is very problematic for the animals and causes symptoms like human hangover.
Pregnant ladies cannot tolerate essential oils like the rest of us. The whole body is heavily stressed during pregnancy and the liver and kidneys cannot handle any more toxins. It is advisable to avoid all heavily perfumed products during pregnancy.
Same goes with older people, they do not tolerate essential oils in the same way as younger people. People over 65 should not use any essential oils at all. When ageing, your liver and kidneys are not working effectively anymore. People with liver and kidney problems have the same problem. Essential oils are not suitable for them.
Epileptics and other people suffering of neurological diseases can get serious reactions from essential oils.
Citrus oils do sensitize the skin to light. Never use a product containing citrus oil for the whole day.
Tea tree oil and lavender oil have been studied as a cause of hormonal disorders. They affect the production of estrogen and testosterone. Research findings are controversial.
Essential oils and allergies
Many people are allergic to essential oils. The two most allergenic compounds in essential oils are linalool and limonene. These two compounds are very common in all essential oils. So, it doesn’t help if you switch to another essential oil. Limonene and linalool are also very popular in detergents and cleansers. They are usually chemically made.
Only eco-certified products must contain genuine plant-derived linalool and limonene. Chemically made fragrances are even more allergenic as they are pure linalool and limonene. Because of the risk of allergy, these two fragrance compounds must always be mentioned in all INCI lists, even in case the percentage of them is extremely low in the product.
How to Choose Safe Essential Oils |
Because the essential oil is a concentrate, it contains also all the plant’s pesticides as concentrated form. There could be plenty of residues of pesticides in poor quality essential oils. Pesticide residues are also one of the major causes of allergies caused by essential oils. An essential oil producer should always measure pesticide residues in the final product, whether the product is organic or non-organic. This is the only way that show to the customer whether the product is safe or not.
How do I use essential oils?
There are many uses for essential oils in homemade cosmetics. Be reasonable and know what you are doing, then you can add them to the products you want or use in baths.
Always dilute the essential oils. Never use any essential oil directly on the skin. There are many good oils for dilution like base oils such as sunflower oil or some other neutral oil. You can also dilute the essential oils with glycerol or alcohol. Do not dilute essential oils with water as they do not dissolve in water.
When using essential oils in homemade cosmetics, add the essential oil to the product already cooled down. Essential oils do not withstand any heat. Add a little essential oil first and then add carefully more if needed.
Each essential oil is unique
All essential oils have their own active ingredients. Many essential oils are used externally to heal minor skin ailments such as inflamed acne or warts. You can tune up a moisturizer that fades milium from the skin by adding some rosemary essential oil to your skin cream. There are so many different oils to created that it would be impossible to write about all of them. I will not even try, even shortly, to open the effects of them all.
Here’s how to make your own elegant scent combinations
You can choose the essential oils according to your own preferences. However, keep in mind that the scent may change when you add it to the final product. I’ve got the best results with the combination of citrus, floral and coniferous scents. Please bear in mind that genuine organic essential oils are very expensive.
If you want to get yourself an affordable selection of essential oils you will not get bored with, get two herbal or floral scents, two citrus scents and two conifer scents.
Make fragrance combinations of your own
This way you’ll get the variety of odours and you don’t have to buy a huge selection of expensive essential oils. You can complete the selection with your favourite scents.
Essential oils last longer if you use them carefully. Also, essential oils will not spoil unless you leave the bottle cap open or store them too warm place. Store the essential oils at room temperature away from light and out of the reach of children. You can use the essential oils you have purchased for years.
Make your own fragrant products from essential oils
- You can give a special scent to your day creams with essential oils. Use 1-10 drops / 60ml (2.03 us fl oz) of finished ointment
- Facial toners; use 1-10 drops / 200ml (6.7628 us fl oz) product
- Foot Creams; use mint or peppermint. Tea tree oil is also good. 1-10 drops / 60 ml (2.03 us fl oz) of finished ointment
- Perfumes; mix essential oils with neutral base oil such as sunflower oil. 2 tablespoons of base oil and 20 drops of essential oils.
- Bath oil for adults, 16-65 years old; use 5-10 drops of bathtub water. Mix the essential oil with 2 tablespoons of neutral base oil such as sunflower oil.
There are so may essential oils to be introduced. They are very interesting but also very demanding cosmetic raw materials. Successful use of essential oils requires a great deal of knowledge. We will explore their secrets in the future as well.
Do you consider essential oils safe or do you prefer non-perfumed products?