essential oils

5 Reasons Why We Love Essential Oils

Essential Oil Bottles

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 🙂

March News

Cotton Face Scrubbies

Spring is almost with us and here at The Soap Cabin we have been looking at what events we can take part in this year. Great news – we’re going to be at Denham Village Fayre again on the end of May Bank Holiday Monday! It was sunny and very, very busy last year, so we are hoping for similar conditions this time around. I’ll also be attending a 4 day workshop, starting this weekend, learning everything there is to know (in more detail) about essential oils, which we use in our products and I’m extremely passionate about!

I recently bought a wool hat and scarf set, hand knitted by a crafter in Manchester because I’ve become more and more conscious of where (and how) my clothing and other products are made, and I wanted something unique.

Because I was her first ever customer, she sent me a free gift – a set of handmade 100% cotton face scrubbies! You basically use them to wash your face or remove makeup. The beauty of them is that they’re washable, so you can rinse, dry and use again! In terms of makeup removal, they’re so much better for the environment than using disposable face wipes.

So, I got in touch with the crafter to explain a bit about The Soap Cabin and place an order for some more. We’re very excited to say that we’ll have these handmade British products on our stall and on our online shop to purchase!

Christmas is Coming

I know, it seems too early to be talking about Christmas, but we are getting ourselves booked in for Christmas events, so we need to get cracking on making products so that we’re ready!

We’ve been busy this weekend ordering supplies and thinking about new products. We love love LOVE cocoa butter, and as we always want to bring you a Caribbean skincare experience, we want to use more Caribbean ingredients, like cocoa butter, so we are working on developing a new skin balm/salve which will include cocoa butter as the main ingredient.

A harder butter than shea butter, cocoa butter is full of skin-loving essential fatty acids, which are often lacking in dry, eczema-prone skin. It is fantastic for healing and fading scars and stretch narks, and smells like chocolate…Watch this space!

Home-Made All-Purpose Cleaner

I like making stuff.

Cut the chemicals out of your life and try making your own all purpose cleaner:

60ml white vinegar

2tbsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda

1 litre hot water

Few drops essential oil (I used Lemon and Tea Tree)

Put all the ingredients into a bucket or container, mix and leave to cool. Then pour into a spray bottle and you are ready to go! Lavender oil is another great oil to use too. The essential oils have their individual properties and they make everything smell nice.

 

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Spotlight on Lavender

Lavandula angustifolia/Lavandula Officinalis

The name Lavender comes from the Latin ‘Lavandus’ which means ‘to be washed’ and it was used by the Romans for bathing to help alleviate skin problems. Lavender is a perennial shrub, native to the Mediterranean, but is also grown in England, France, Morocco, Spain and Hungary, amongst other places. In England, you can find lavender grown at Mayfield Lavender Farm in Banstead, the Carshalton Lavender Fields, both in Surrey and also at the Hitchin Lavender Fields in Hertfordshire.

Lavender essential oil is extracted by steam distillation and has fresh floral top notes and herbaceous undertones. It is analgesic, antiseptic, anti-depressant, anti-viral, deodorant, sedative and decongestant, to name just a few of its properties. It is soothing, calming and relaxing and is used to treat insomnia, colds and flu (using steam inhalation), inflammatory skin conditions, such as eczema, headaches, indigestion, minor burns, flatulence, colic, stress, and the list goes on…

We use lavender in our Soothing Skin oils and balms to help alleviate skin conditions including eczema and dermatitis, Revitalising Bath Oil for relaxing after a long day, our bar soap which contains lavender oil and the dried flowers, plus we sell lavender bags on the stall, which are perfect for putting under your pillow for a restful night’s sleep, or in your wardrobe to keep away moths!

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Contraindications of Lavender: Avoid in early pregnancy, particularly if there is a history of miscarriage.

Lavender image courtesy of franky242 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sources: Curtis, Susan, Neals Yard Remedies; Essential Oils, Winter Press, London (2014), Farrer-Halls, Gill, The Aromatherapy Bible, Octopus Books (2009), Mitchell, Charlotte, Plant Medicine: A guide for Home Use, Amberwood Publishing (2005)

 

 

 

 

 

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