Sunday, December 18, 2011

Essential Oils and Perfumery

Recently, I was at the beauty salon. As I sat under the hair dryer, flipping through pages of some fashion magazine, something in particular caught my eye: the cost of an "orange scented" perfume. The magazine listed the cost as $225.00.

I don't remember the brand, but that price is outrageous! Why pay so much money for a fragrance? There's toxic ingredients in many perfumes, anyhow. According to the Environmental Working Group, many fragrances contain ingredients "that studies show may be linked to a variety of health problems, including allergies, skin reactions, endocrine/hormone disruption, and possibly even birth defects. Companies are not required to test cosmetics for safety before they are sold." Some of the bad stuff found in fragrances include phthalates, and artificial musks.

So, before you fork out a lot of money for something with potentially toxic ingredients, consider looking into making your own perfume using essential oils. I buy most of my essential oils from The Ananda Apothecary (excellent, high quality essential oils at a great price), and Portland's The Essential Oil Company (producing quality and pure oils since 1977). Essential oils --extracted from plants and plant materials -- are used medically in hospitals as well as in aromatherapy, but I also use them to make lip balms, lotions, and hand salves. Essential oils are therapeutic, and are known to have powerful healing benefits. Some essential oils (such as Rosa damascena) can be expensive, but the organic and quality oils are the best, and worth every penny.

It's important to dilute the essential oils with other ingredients, such as vodka (if making a perfume), carrier oils, water, etc. Making my own fragrances has become quite the hobby; I enjoy inventing recipes while using raw and natural ingredients (such as cleaned organic orange peels).

(If you decide to try this, however, do so at your own risk: Some people experience allergic reactions to essential oils and even essential oil perfumes, so it's a good idea to be cautious, and not give them to other people as gifts. Never use essential oils while pregnant, and don't apply essential oils directly to the skin. Always be careful when using a mixture for the first time. Some types, such as Bergamot, can provoke a reaction even when diluted. Research the subject well before diving into it - it's a lot of fun to read about!)

For a basic start to the subject, check out:

The Essential Oils Book: Creating Personal Blends for Mind and Body by Colleen Dodt

 The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, by Valerie Ann Worwood.

1 comment:

  1. 'Great post, Honey,
    It's very true: your perfume is the best! (I know that the dogs, and other creatures with sensitive noses, agree.)