Sunday, November 27, 2016

Essential Oil Round-Up

Let me start by saying this:  I'm an essential oil bargain-shopper.  There, I said it.  I have friends that swear by Young Living oils, and of course a few of those friends sell YL oils, and if that's what floats your boat, great.  If you're a hardcore EO user, diffusing them constantly and cooking with them, yes, you may want to research to make sure what you're using is really what you think it is.  I'd also suggest reading sources that can't be linked to the manufacturer, which should be a given.

One of my favorite sources for Crunchy Grown Up supplies is Mountain Rose Herbs.  I could really lose my paycheck browsing through their site.  In addition to an amazing selection of herbs, spices, teas, essential oils, and many other products, they also have good specials.  I've picked up a few of my favorite stand-by oils from them, including spike lavender and cajeput (which you may remember reaching about when I linked to this article from my Facebook page).

I've also used and trusted many products from Now Foods, including a few EOs as well as carrier oils like grape seed oil (which I use as a cleanser, more on that later).

However, I like to sometimes experiment with new recipes and ideas, and I don't want to always invest in even Mountain Rose Herb prices when I'm experimenting.

Enter First Botany Cosmeceuticals.  I know, how... "crunchy" sounding... not.  I was skeptical, too, especially with prices as low as $10 for a 4 fl. oz. bottle of pure essential oil.  However, they claim their oil is paraben-free, cruelty free, and it's bottled in the U.S.A.  That's a pretty good start, right?  And again, I'm not ingesting or inhaling this stuff (through a diffuser).  Just using it for a few cosmetic and home cleaning applications.  Shall we begin?

First up:  Peppermint and Eucalyptus oils.

I'm grouping these two together because I tend to use them together, with a few exceptions.  I used the peppermint oil along after I had a bout of flour weevils attack my pantry (don't even get me started on that nightmare).  After I'd thrown stuff away, repackaged almost everything else, and thoroughly cleaned the entire pantry (twice), I put peppermint oil drops on a few paper towels and just set them in my pantry.  I never saw any more weevils, but of course I don't know if that's because I'd finally banished them or if the peppermint offended them.  Either way, my pantry smelled pretty and I was happy.  I also will periodically go open the bottle of peppermint and take a sniff when I'm feeling congested.  Just doing that seems to help!

My favorite application for these oils has been making shower melts.  I used this recipe from Andrea over at utensi, replacing the lavender oil with about a dropper full each of peppermint and eucalyptus oil and omitting food coloring.  I had to add a little more water, too.  I also didn't have a silicone ice cube tray that would work, and, not wanting to go out and buy one for this little experiment, I used my silicone muffin cups.  They worked great!  I just set the cups on a place, added blobs of the mixture (which settled in to form little discs), and froze them.  After they froze, I put the cups in a ziplock bag in the freezer.

I put them on the shower drain to keep them from sliding around on the shower floor and making me slip, and they probably each lasted about 5 minutes or so.  Enough to give you a nice aroma, but not enough to last the whole shower.  I'm going to keep experimenting with them, and I may try putting them in a shallow up in the shower instead to see how long they last that way.  Or hey, I could just put the whole silicone cup in the shower!  Wow, what a smart idea.  I'm glad we had this talk!

Next up:  Bergamot

I honestly don't even know what bergamot is.  Some kind of citrus fruit is all I can tell.  I'm not sure I've ever seen one, but I don't care.  I LOVE this stuff!  Bergamot is now part of my deodorant routine.  Amazingly, I've all but stopped using conventional AND crunchy deodorants, including the crystal.  I kept feeling like no matter what I used, the film that was left behind would eventually make me feel gross and sticky.  I don't even use some homemade crunchy recipe.  All I do is put a few drops of jojoba oil in my hand, add a few drops of bergamot oil, rub my hands together, and apply to my armpits.  That's it!  I do this 1-2 times a day.  I started this method probably in early September, when it's still plenty hot in Texas, and I think it works better than any other deodorant I've tried.  Bam, easy, cheap, and crunchy!

I've also used the bergamot to make garbage disposal bombs.  They don't fizz up like commercial baking soda garbage disposal cleaners I've used before, but they make the drain smell good, and even though I cook with a lot of oil, I haven't had any clogs.  Good enough for me!  I used blue Dawn dish soap in mine, hence the blue tinge.  They've lasted pretty well stored in a ziplock bag under my sink.  A few have crumbled, but I'm perfectly capable of dumping crumbs down my drain!

Finally, the rosehip and helichrysum oil.  I may be following up with another post on these at a later date, as I think it'll take time to see how beneficial each of these are.  

Rosehip oil is supposed to be very good for your skin and mild enough it can be used without a carrier oil.  I've been mixing it with a little jojoba oil each night and rubbing on my entire face.  When I'm good about using it, I do feel like I get fewer breakouts, but it typically takes a day or two of MORE breakouts before I hit the fewer breakout stage.  I'm in my mid-thirties and get most cysts or blackheads, not the chronic acne some people suffer from.  I'll post some before/ after pics in a later post if I can see some more benefits for fine lines as well.  

Helichrysum oil is supposed to be good for inflammation and pain.  I've been having some back issues lately, and I sometimes mix the helichrysum with grape seed oil, since grape seed oil doesn't absorb right away, rub it on my lower back, then take a shower.  The helichrysum is super-yellow, so I don't think you want to risk getting it on your clothes or sheets.  The method with the grape seed oil seems to work for me as a way to let it soak into my skin a bit, with the help of the shower steam, then I can wash it off before getting into bed.  Again, more on this one after I can use it more often!

Do you have a favorite EO?  Maybe you've found an unusual way to use an EO that has really helped you?  Let us know in the comments!

Thanks to First Botany Cosmeceuticals for the discounted oils that I used for this post!  

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