At The Soap Cabin we are just OBSESSED with essential oils. We use them in nearly all of our handmade products and we’re just bursting to tell you why they’re so great:
1.They smell amazing
I think we can all agree that essential oils smell absolutely amazing. Whenever people come up to our table at a market or craft fair, they tend to say that our stall smells wonderful – this is, of course, the combination of natural aromatic scents of the essential oils in our products. As human beings, we all have different tastes, and most people have scents that they like and dislike, and many people have a favourite. Here at The Soap Cabin, our favourites are definitely mouth-watering Sweet Orange, soothing Lavender and fruity Lime (not necessarily combined). What’s your favourite scent?
2.They have fantastic properties
Essential oils are known not only for their scents, but also for their therapeutic properties. Extracted from botanical sources, the oils harness the benefits of the plant in a concentrated form. Did you know that all essential oils are anti-bacterial? Different oils also have different additional properties such as being anti-inflammatory (e.g. benzoin), anti-depressant (e.g. clary sage), digestive (e.g. cardamom), antiseptic (e.g. cedarwood atlas) and stimulant (e.g. bergamot) , to name a few.
3.They’re natural and not synthetic
Our world is flooded with synthetic fragrances, and sometimes I’ve heard people say “I don’t like scented stuff” – but usually their negative reaction is to sickly synthetic scents that overpower everything. It tends to change when they smell our Lemongrass & Lime Body Butter! It’s like comparing the smell of a box of ‘lavender’ scented tissues with the aroma of a bunch of lavender cut from the garden. Completely different! Essential oils are extracted from plants, and therefore they’re completely natural and create a completely different response, depending on which oil you smell. (Fake scents began to be synthesised in a lab in the early 20th century with the aim of producing the same properties at a cheaper price. You can totally tell.)
4.They can affect your mood
Did you know that essential oils also affect us psychologically? That’s why you get essential oil products that say “uplifting’ or ‘relaxing’ or ‘alert’. But if you think about it, we often smell a scent or odour and associate it with something, someone or a particular memory, whether negative or positive. For me, the smell of boiled carrots reminds me of primary school…not a good memory! The smell of a bonfire often reminds me of staying with my grandmother in rural Jamaica, where she’d often cook outdoors – a nice memory! (I say bonfire, rather than BBQ LOL)
5.They can be blended to create different combinations
Essential oils have different notes of smell. They either have top notes, middle notes or base notes, a combination of which are used when blending essential oils together. You become aware of these as you smell the different oils in isolation. Top notes have a fresh quality (such as lime or tea tree), middle notes form the main body of the scent and is more mellow and rounded (such as rosemary). And you guessed it – base notes have the strongest smell (such as benzoin, frankincense, ylang-ylang). Aromatherapists are experts in this and you may have been told when getting a massage which aromatherapy blend the therapist has used on you, depending on your needs. A blend of all three notes can create an amazing orchestra of aroma!
Some things to note – because essential oils come from plants (some of which we might have growing in our gardens!), we can be lulled into thinking that they’re fine to play around with and slap on willy-nilly – but there are a few things to be aware of:
- Don’t use them neat in skin application – essential oils should be diluted with a carrier oil or base before safe application to the skin.
- They can have contraindications with certain health conditions and medications and in pregnancy, so do check labels or speak to a healthcare professional before use. (In the case of pregnancy, it’s safest to avoid them altogether).
- Some oils are phototoxic, meaning they increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight, so should not be used before sunbathing or in use of sunbeds (including benzoin, bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, lime, bitter orange, verbena and others).
- Several oils are safe on the skin (when diluted) but toxic when taken internally (e.g. eucalyptus).
- Don’t over-use them (e.g. daily inhalation) as you can develop a sensitivity reaction to using the same oil constantly.
Maybe that all sounds a bit scary, but remember – they’re safe when used sensibly 🙂