A fairly comprehensive DIY cosmetics series will be launched on the blog in the following weeks as a part of an even greater project. Let’s begin this foray into the world of DIY cosmetics with something easy, however: creating aromatherapeutic fragrance mixtures for unscented bases by Neal’s Yard Remedies.
This British brand, of which I am a massive fan, has launched a new concept called Create Your Own. Basically, the packages have been left with enough room for custom infusions, flower waters, vegetable extracts, and essential oils to be added to them. For scent sensitive users, the unscented bases can be used as is.
The Create Your Own collection contains five products: a Hair & Body Wash, a Bath Oil, a Face & Body Lotion, an Ointment and a Massage Oil. Each package comes with instructions for the right ratio of base to fragrance – be it infusion, essential oil, or both. Since the base products only contain mild and nourishing ingredients, they can be used by the whole family – a bit like pharmacy ointments (though a lot more nourishing).
I started off with a few basic essential oils – lavender, frankincense, ylang-ylang, geranium, and bergamot. I wanted oils which could be used for more than one purpose, and that would blend well together. You can find a lot of information about essential oils and how to combine them online (here, for example). Neal’s Yard Remedies has also published a short book about essential oils.
I let the mood guide me as I began putting together my own mixtures. What kinds of aromatherapy effects did I want from my shower gel? Maybe refreshing, purifying and de-stressing. So I went for bergamot, lavender, and ylang-ylang.
Bergamot is antiseptic, improves the mood, and relieves stress; lavender’s effects are similar, but the scent is more refreshing. Ylang-ylang has a faintly exotic scent, but is otherwise similar to bergamot and lavender.
For my bath oil I wanted something zesty and refreshing, and went for sweet bergamot and heady frankincense. I don’t actually own a bathtub, but I found an even better use for the oil: (the world’s best) shaving “cream”. Works like a beauty on the legs, and prevents folliculitis. Not everybody is a fan of Frankincense’s spicy, earthy scent, but I personally love it. Its therapeutic elements include brightening the skin, and refreshing and calming the mind.
The ointment is a rich cream, almost a body butter, which can also be used on the face to nourish dry skin. I personally wanted a super moisturizer for my legs, with balancing, relaxing, and refreshing therapeutic qualities. For the oils I chose frankincense, lavender, and ylang-ylang, which was the best combination I had tried so far.
A mix of geranium, bergamot, and frankincense went into the body lotion. Geranium is one of the most common essential oils, and has a strong floral scent, with a hint of mintiness. Geranium regulates both sebum production and hormonal action, and should be avoided during pregnancy. It is also a natural PMS, stress, and depression reliever, so I can say with some confidence that I will be using this cream at least once a month, for about a week at a time.
Picking the scents for a relaxing and sensuous body oil was easy: lavender and ylag-ylang. These two scents combine in perfect harmony, and the result is my absolute favorite. Lavender is one of the most interesting and nuanced scents I can think of. My amateur perfumer’s nose senses a hint of leather in it, which is rather curious. Have you ever smelt a perfume with leather undertones? That, to me, smells a lot like lavender.
I enjoyed letting my inner chemist out to play with these aromatherapeutic concoctions. How do you feel about this concept of adding your chosen scents and therapeutic effects to an unscented and neutral base?
All products (excluding essential oils) provided by the importer
Photos Katja Kokko
Translation Katja Nikula