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How to use the FLORA+ FIONA FACIAL OIL

Lots of people have been asking me how to use Facial oil. Here is what I recommend:

To start:

  • Remove all make-up.
  • Put 3-4 drops onto the palm of your hand and rub together gently.
    (If you are using the roller ball, roll on your fingertips with circular movements to release the oil and rub together).
  • Hold your palms up to the front of the face and breathe in the natural aroma of the oils. For me this is the best part.  Breathe in deeply and inhale the natural fragrance of the oils, creating a wonderful feeling of wellbeing.
  • Then, massage onto the face, neckline and décolletage with gentle upward movements. Be very careful around the eye area and just pat this delicate area with the fingertips.
  • Take as much time as you can, even if it’s just a minute or two, these are valuable moments to enjoy the touch and aroma sensations with these natural oils. Remember, it’s all part of caring for yourself and your skin and giving a little time to tune into nature and all its gifts.

When you are using pure plant oils, you will notice a visible radiance and glow to the skin.  I have chosen some of my favourite essential oils, Jasmine, Vetiver and Red Orange because they are deeply comforting and soothing and have mood enhancing properties that help to calm the mind and soothe the skin.

I have also added 6 plant oils which are easily absorbed and packed with vitamin A, C and E, and the Omegas, so necessary for the skin to be nourished and hydrated.

So when are my favourite times to use the Facial Oil?

Firstly, I use the oil post shower in the morning on damp skin. It gives me a positive start to the day and works well as a primer before make-up.

My husband also uses it post shave as a skin balm.

But for me, my special time with the facial oil is the night-time ritual I have developed so that I take some precious time for myself.  The bottle is on my bedside table and because the oils are calming and grounding, they are a perfect way for me to end the day.

 

Autumn is in the Air

 

 

As the 1st September comes, you can feel the season change. The holidays are over, it’s time for return to school, to college, to work or routine. Many welcome the chance to wear warmer clothes and make lots of plans and resolutions: healthier food, less wine, more exercise, less browsing on the internet, more reading.

I love this change of season. Nature is abundant. The garden is filled with late blossoms, making the most of the September sun, our apple tree is bursting with fruit, the sea is still warm enough for a quick dip and the morning walk is invigorating.

Change is in the air.

I am full of new ideas for oil blends and have been busy creating more formulations for new products. I look forward to sharing new creations with you shortly.

Autumn is also a good time to develop a skincare and wellbeing ritual for the months ahead. The sun has left dry and flaky skin that needs some loving care and attention. For me, natural plant oils are always my first choice.

Unlike many water-based creams that sit on the skin, oils are absorbed quickly and deeply, where their natural nutrients heal and hydrate.

In creating my Facial Oil,  Velvet Skin Body Oil and the Carry-on Travel Oil, I wanted them to effect both the body and the mind.  Seeing the difference on your body is fundamental,  but in all my oil blends, there has to be an emotional dimension, one that you can feel to complete the experience.

A balance between mind and body

FLORA + FIONA botanicals have to tick a few boxes to be included in my blends:

  • Easy to absorb – without no greasy residue
  • See the difference  – soft, hydrated skin with a radiant natural glow
  • Feel the difference – breathing in my unique blend of essential oils to give a powerful emotional response
  • Be 100% natural – wild harvested and organic oils
  • Rich in nutrients, omegas and antioxidants

One of the reasons why I became an aromatherapist was because of the powerful effect the oils can have on the emotions. The connection our sense of smell has with our subconscious is profound and never ceases to amaze me. This effect on the mind is the first thing I think of when I am creating a formulation. It completes the picture!

 

Essential Oil Safety

Essential oils are now available extensively in pharmacies and have become very popular. They are a wonderful addition to everyday life but they are highly concentrated and can be toxic if over-used.  I thought it might be useful to give some basic safety guidelines to consider before using essential oils. If in any doubt at all, consult with a qualified aromatherapist or your medical practitioner.

Use of Essential Oils

  • Not to be taken internally
  • Keep out of reach of children – do not use with children under 7 years old.
  • Keep away from the eyes
  • If pregnant, do not use in first 12 weeks and seek medical advice before using essential oils at any stage.
  • Do not use undiluted 
  • Do not put directly on the skin. Always put into a base or carrier – oil, cream or gel, even milk will do to dissolve the oil.
  • Discontinue if there is an allergic reaction. Seek medical advice
    Use a much smaller dose (normally 50%) for elderly and those with serious illness
  • Check that the bottle says 100% natural essential oil. The botanical name written in Latin must be on the bottle
  • Store in a cool dry place – once opened, use within 12 months .

Dosage

  • Adopt the approach – Less is more – The oils will be just as effective with a smaller dose. Do not be tempted to add a few extra drops.
    The general rule is to use 2 drops to 5ml – (One teaspoon) of base or carrier oil*
  • Bath 6-8 drops in a carrier oil, milk, aqueous cream or epsom salts
    2 drops in a tissue
    3-4 drops in a bowl of hot water for steam inhalation.

* carrier or base oil is a vegetable oil, nut oil or wax for e.g sweet almond, coconut, jojoba, apricot kernel, argan, rosehip etc.

Further information:

There are many resources online to read up on essential oils. One site I like as a good resource is https://www.aromatics.com/Oshadhi Essential Oils does a great newsletter with information on oils. I have previously mentioned Andrea Butje at Aromahead Institute, School of Essential Oil Studies  Any question on oils and how to use them please contact me or leave a comment below I would love to hear from you.

Prickly Pear Oil: A Precious Oil

Indian fig opuntia, barbary fig, cactus pear, spineless cactus, prickly pear. Opuntia ficus-indica. Edible cactus pear on cactus opuntia rufida

PRICKLY PEAR

Botanical Name: Opuntia Ficus Indica – distllled from the Prickly Pear Cactus seed

Prickly Pear oil is one of my favourite plant oils for the skin and one of the most precious. It is expensive but worth it because of its many benefits on skin health.  I use it in both FLORA+FIONA Facial Oil and FLORA+FIONA Velvet Skin Body Oil.

Why is it so special?

  • Exceptional skin hydrating properties
  • Rich in antioxidant, Vitamin E – It has a higher concentration than any other plant oil
  • Highest percentage of essential fatty acids. Omega 6 and 9.
  • Excellent for mature or damaged skin
  • Increases elasticity and brightens the skin adding radiance
  • Deeply moisturising and easily absorbed
  • Ideal for sensitive skin and dry skin
  • Reduces redness and hyper-pigmentation
  • Vitamin K to reduce brown spots

While these properties add to the physical well-being of your body and skin no oil is included in my blends that doesn’t also contribute to the emotional well being of the user. I talk about this in more detail in another recent post to this blog.

Spotlight on Sweet Marjoram

MARJORAM

Botanical Name (origanum majorana)

Marjoram, commonly known as sweet marjoram, is a green bushy plant native to the Mediterranean region but can be found in most herb gardens. It has a woody herbaceous aroma.

Sweet, warm and protective are the words that best describe sweet marjoram for me.

It is naturally anti-septic and contains a compound called terpinen-4-ol which has anti- inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.

In a recent clinical study into the chemical content, antibacterial and antioxidant properties of marjoram essential oil, it was concluded that the essential oils of marjoram may be an alternative source of natural antibacterial and antioxidant agents.*

I chose sweet marjoram as a companion to my “warrior” oils – ravintsara and niaouli in my Carry-on Travel oil.

HISTORICAL USES

Sweet marjoram has been used since Ancient Times as a culinary and medicinal herb,

17th century physician and herbalist, Nicholas Culpeper wrote of sweet marjoram,

Our common sweet marjoram is warming and comforting in cold diseases of the head and stomach sinews”.

The Ancient Greeks called it the ‘funeral’ herb and planted it on graves to bring spiritual peace to both the living and the dead. It was also seen to represent peace and harmony and was used to make wreaths.

WHEN I USE IT

Firstly, sweet marjoram oil is wonderful to ease abdominal cramps or trapped wind. Put 5 drops of the oil in a tablespoon of sweet almond, coconut or sunflower oil and massage gently in circular movements in a clockwise direction on the abdomen. Cover with a warm hot water bottle and relax. It really helps to soothe the cramps**

Good for period cramps too.

The same formula can be applied to aching joints but I would add lavender to the mix for extra anti-inflammatory effects and pain relief.

To aid relaxation and promote sleep, lavender and sweet marjoram work really well together. I put 3 drops of each oil into an egg cup of sunflower, jojoba or sweet almond oil and add to a pre-run warm bath or use as a bedtime massage oil**

I use sweet marjoram frequently when cooking due to its high anti-oxidant properties. It is a good addition when cooking pulses. Helps to ease the ‘wind factor’!

IN AROMATHERAPY

In Aromatherapy the oil is valued for its many therapeutic properties:

PHYSICAL

Anti-septic

Anti-bacterial

Muscle relaxant

Analgesic

Sedative

Anti- spasmodic

EMOTIONAL & ENERGETIC QUALITIES

Brings a sense of calm and peace.

It helps to aid mental and emotional fatigue or ‘overthinking’ by settling any nervous tension and anxiety. It is a comfort to the lonely or those suffering from grief.

SAFETY

Non-sensitising and non-irritating to the skin.

Do not use directly on the skin but blend with a carrier oil ( e.g. sweet almond, coconut, sunflower, jojoba etc..)

Not to be used when pregnant.

 

* Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=28375110

**Not to be used when pregnant.

Spotlight on Powerful Ravintsara

RAVINTSARA  

Botanical Name (Cinnamonum Camphora Cineoliferum)

 

A key ingredient in my Carry-on Travel Oil is Ravintsara oil. A Native of Madagascar, this powerful oil is distilled from the leaves or this great rainforest tree. It has a fresh, medicinal aroma. I use it often and see it as the great protector.

I discovered Ravintsara oil 9 years ago when a friend brought me a bottle back from a trip to Madagascar. This mysterious island with its unique flora and fauna has always had a fascination for me and the oil itself was a revelation.

Just by smelling it you get the sense that the strong ‘punchy’ aroma is powerful. In its chemistry it contains an oxide called 1,8 cineole that is historically known to be anti-viral, anti- bacterial and an immune stimulant. This oxide is also found in more common oils such as Eucalyptus and Tea Tree.

HISTORICAL USE

Historically, it holds a place in traditional folk medicine in Madagascar. The ravintsara leaves were used to fight flu, headaches and infections.  Known by the Magasy people as “gold leaf” – The bark and leaves were burnt for their aroma or used as a tea to fight infections.

IN AROMATHERAPY

In Aromatherapy the oil is valued for its many therapeutic properties:

PHYSICAL

  • Anti-septic
  • Anti- viral
  • Anti – bacterial
  • De-congestant
  • Immune stimulant
  • Headache relief

EMOTIONAL & ENERGETIC QUALITIES

I call it The Warrior Oil – It is stimulating. It boosts energy and positivity. It makes you feel protected. Also helps to calm and soothe the nerves.

WHEN I USE IT

If you feel you are getting a cold, put 2 drops on a tissue – and breathe in during the day. You can also leave the oil infused tissue at your desk by your computer screen.

It is also a very good to kick start the day. Put a few drops on the floor of your shower before you step in. It will really wake you up!

When I am travelling, I bring Ravintsara and Bergamot oils. As soon as I check in to a hotel, I put hot water the hand basin, sprinkle 3 drops of each oil and leave it there for a few hours. Not only does it make the room smell divine, the aroma is giving you a natural support.

It can also be beneficial as a steam blend to aid sinus congestion, I put 3 drops of Lavender and 2 of Ravintsara into a bowl of hot water (not too hot!) Place a towel over your head and the bowl, close your eyes and breathe. Do this for a few minutes twice a day. It really clears the head and can help to relieve the sinus congestion. The lavender is also analgesic which can help ease the pain. I have done this when I want to stop sinus congestion developing into an infection. I find it really helpful.

For a room diffuser, I would put in 4-6 drops of oil. On its own the aroma can be too strong so I experiment with other oils to soften it, by adding a citrus oil like Bergamot or lemon, another woody oil like Juniper or a more grounding oil like Frankincense to balance the blend.

SAFETY

  • As an inhalation it is non–irritating and well tolerated by adults.
  • Can affect those with severe asthma condition.
  • Not to be used undiluted on the skin.
  • Not suitable for children under 5
  • It is stimulating so don’t use it at night.

 

 

 

Spotlight on Vetiver

 

A key ingredient in our newly launched Flora + Fiona Velvet Skin Body Oil Vetiver is a great stress reliever long renowned to aid sleep. In this blog post we turn the spotlight on this oil distilled from the roots of a wild grass that grows in India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Madagascar.

VETIVER

Botanical Name (vetiveria zizanoides)

Vetiver is a wild grass that grows in India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Madagascar. The oil is distilled from the root of the grass.

Vetiver is my number one oil to relieve stress, to feel calm, relaxed, to aid sleep and to be at one with the world. In addition, because it comes from the root of a grass, it is a wonderful oil to make you feel grounded and balanced.

As with Ravintsara, a friend brought me a bottle back from a trip to Madagascar and the Vetiver was truly enchanting. I had never smelt anything quite like it. It has a deep, smoky and earthy aroma, and has a depth to it that is hard to define. Oils like this are always special and a little unpredictable.

It has cooling properties and is used in India to alleviate fevers. This makes it helpful in cooling sprays during hot flushes in the menopause.

It is very safe to use on the skin and is often used as a perfume either directly on the skin or mixed with a little jojoba oil.

It is very soothing and healing on the skin with anti-inflammatory properties. I have put it for this reason into both my facial oil and body oil but also for its profoundly calming effect on the emotions.

It has the added bonus in my body oil of acting as an insect repellent.

HISTORICAL USE

Known as the “Oil of Tranquility” Vetiver has been used for centuries for its aromatic properties. The dried grass and roots are woven into shades and blinds for houses which are cooling and fragrant while being anti-septic and acting as an insect repellent. It has been traditionally used in India and Sri Lanka as cooling oil to alleviate fevers and relieve headaches. It is anti-inflammatory properties also help as a balm or ointment for arthritis and aching joints.

IN AROMATHERAPY

In Aromatherapy the oil is valued for its many therapeutic properties:

PHYSICAL
  • Anti-septic
  • Promotes scar healing and tissue repair
  • Sedative
  • Anti- depressant
  • Cooling
  • Anti-inflammatory
EMOTIONAL & ENERGETIC QUALITIES
  • Deeply comforting.
  • Eases the over thinking and frazzled mind when you feel overburdened and exhausted. It brings you to a quiet gentle place – to sleep and return to your natural rhythm.
WHEN I USE IT

I love using this oil.  It clears all thoughts and brings such a sense of wellbeing.

For the bath before bedtime, it is a perfect choice. You are sleepy and relaxed, a perfect way to get a good night’s sleep.

It blends really well with many floral oils so it is good to try and experiment with the various options. I often put 3 drops of vetiver, 1 drop of rose or neroli (orange blossom) or jasmine. (1 drop of each if you are feeling extravagant. They are costly oils!) Add them to a dessertspoon of carrier oil and pour into a pre-run bath.

Soak for 10 minutes. No noise no distraction.

Vetiver is also good with lavender or bergamot – or if you want to go for the heady and the exotic, ylang ylang oil works wonderfully with it too.

This bath blend also makes lovely body oil for massage at bedtime. As well as its sedative action, it is also anti-inflammatory and soothing for any skin irritation.

I use jojoba oil as the carrier oil. It is not too greasy and is also very nourishing for the skin. This is why it has been blended with Egyptian Jasmine Blossom Prickly Pear, Black Cumin Seed, Calendula and Rosehip seed oils to create Flora + Fiona Velvet Skin Body Oil.  They are all rich in vitamins, omegas 3,6,9, and antioxidants with wonderful benefits to heal and soothe skin conditions.

SAFETY

Is skin safe oil and not know to cause any irritation.

How to use the FLORA+ FIONA FACIAL OIL

Lots of people have been asking me how I would recommend using my facial oil.

To start:

Remove all make-up.

Put 3-4 drops onto the palm of your hand and rub together gently. (If you are using the roller ball, roll on your fingertips with circular movements to release the oil and rub together).

Hold your palms up to the front of the face and breathe in the natural aroma of the oils. For me this is the best part. Breathe in deeply and inhale the natural fragrance of the oils, creating a wonderful feeling of wellbeing.

Then, massage onto the face, neckline and décolletage with gentle upward movements. Be very careful around the eye area and just pat this delicate area with the fingertips.

Take as much time as you can, even if it’s just a minute or two, these are valuable moments to enjoy the touch and aroma sensations with these natural oils. Remember, it’s all part of caring for yourself and your skin and giving a little time to tune into nature and all its gifts.
When you are using pure plant oils, you will notice a visible radiance and glow to the skin. I have chosen some of favourite essential oils, Jasmine, Vetiver and Red Orange because they are deeply comforting and soothing and have mood enhancing properties that help to calm the mind and soothe the skin.  I have also added 5 other plant oils which are easily absorbed and packed with vitamin A, C and E, antioxidants and the Omegas, so necessary for the skin to be nourished and hydrated.

So when are my favourite times to use the Facial Oil?

Firstly, I use the oil post shower in the morning on damp skin. It gives me a positive start to the day and works well as a primer before make-up. My husband uses it after shaving as a skin balm.

But for me, my special time with the facial oil is the night-time ritual I have developed so that I take some precious time for myself. The bottle is on my bedside table and because the oils are calming and grounding, they are a perfect way for me to end the day.

Take a moment and feel beautiful with botanical oils.

The Facial oil comes in a 30ml bottle or a convenient rollerball bottle. To link to shop: FLORA +FIONA Facial Oil

 

Guest Blogger, Andrea Butje shares recipe for an energising shower gel

I am delighted to have a guest blog from one of the world’s leading aromatherapists and educators, Andrea Butje. Andrea, based in Florida,  is founder of the renowned Aromatherapy on-line training college, Aromahead. She also writes an informative and inspiring blog.  If you would like to learn more about aromatherapy and the use of essential oils, have a look at link below to Andrea’s new book, The Heart of Aromatherapy – just launched and full of recipes and information.

She shares some thoughts and a recipe for an aromatherapy shower blend:

Make your own: luxe morning shower blend

 Turn your morning shower into a calming, centering ritual with guest blogger, aromatherapist and author Andrea Butje’s home made Sweet Orange and Balsam Fir Essential Oils Shower Gel Recipe

Rain showers are so rejuvenating! They leave the earth fresh, fragrant, and nourished from the outside in. The water washes away all the dust and dirt, and everything comes out clean and renewed.

You could say the same thing about your daily shower. It can help you feel revitalized and centered no matter what time of day you take it. A morning shower can set you up to go through your day feeling your best, and showering in the evening can help your body and mind relax after a long day.

If you’re concerned about the ingredients in your body care products, you can make your own shower gel with essential oils, and then you won’t have to worry! Certain essential oils can add to the emotionally balancing effects of a shower, while offering nourishment to your skin.

Here’s a rejuvenating recipe for homemade shower gel with rejuvenating essential oils

Sweet Orange & Balsam Fir Shower Gel

  • 1 oz (30 ml) aloe vera gel (Aloe barbadensis)
  • 7 drops Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)
  • 6 drops Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea)
  • 3 drops Geranium (Pelargonium × asperum)

Make your blend in a 1 oz (30 ml) PET plastic bottle with a flip-top. (For shower blends, it’s safer than glass and is a non-reactive plastic that doesn’t leach.) You can just pour your aloe into the bottle, and then add your essential oils. Close the lid and shake gently. I recommend making this blend fresh every few weeks.

This homemade shower gel works in several ways to help balance your emotions. Sweet Orange is uplifting and calming, Balsam Fir has a centering presence, and just three drops of Geranium are enough to offer a comforting, heart-opening effect. The three oils work together to enhance one another’s properties.

Take a moment: A shower is an essential start to the day, often lost in the morning rush. Tomorrow, make it a tiny, life affirming ritual. Use an oil blend like this one, and breathe in the calming, centering aroma, for an amazing start to your day.

 

 

Aroma Magic: three blends to transform your mood

Aroma Magic: three aromatherapy oil blends with the power to transform your mood

For many years in my work as clinical aromatherapist I have witnessed, first hand, the ‘magical’ effect oils can have on your life.

I LOVE using essential oils and want everyone to experience their powerful effects for themselves. Essential oils can help to relieve stress, increase energy, boost the immune system, lift the spirits, help you sleep, keep you awake, ease pains and aches, bring you joy, clear your head, keep you calm, make you smile. And that’s just the beginning…

Too often, in the rush of daily life, we overlook the power and pleasure that scent can bring to our lives. One of the reasons why I became an aromatherapist is the ability of scent to evoke memories and to lift the spirits and the mood. For me, that means whenever I smell roses, I am brought back to my grandmother’s garden with my cousins, aged 4, making perfume in jam jars from rose petals. The memory and the scent transport me once more to those happy moments.

What makes scent special is that it makes you stop what you are doing – and insist that you take time-out to breathe in the aroma. When you inhale the oil, that’s when the magic begins. One of the quickest ways to give yourself a lift with aromatherapy is to keep some essential oils in your bag or purse, on a tissue. Here are my favourite go-to aromatherapy blends to enhance your mood throughout the day.

  1. To lift the spirits

Put 2 drops of Bergamot essential oil on a tissue and breathe it in deeply a few times during the day. Wonderfully refreshing, with a citrus and floral undertone, Bergamot always helps me to relax and “let go” a little.

I also like to put the bergamot-scented tissue in my car so that the beautiful aroma fills the space and makes the drive a much happier experience.

  1. To calm down

Add 2 drops of ylang ylang essential oil to a tissue.

Take three deep breaths breathing in the beautiful aroma of the exotic ylang ylang flower. The effect is immediate. Your anxiety lessens, your blood pressure lowers and you begin to feel calmer. This really works when you are nervous or anxious.

  1. To focus and energise

Really good when you need to stay awake, meet a deadline or just keep going. Add 2 drops of Rosemary and 1 drop of lemon to a tissue. Inhale slowly and you will soon feel stimulated and more alert.

Take a moment: Just remember, wherever you are, stop and make time for the magic of scent.