Coconut, Hazelnut, Avocado…? Choose the Facial Oil That Works for Your Skin Type

carrier oil

If you’re familiar with our line, you know that we’re big proponents of using oils in your skincare routine. Since our skin naturally produces oils to protect itself, it is able to absorb and utilize oil more readily than an emulsified product (aka lotion).

This means that using oils in your skincare routine allows for deep penetration of the healing qualities found in them. We infuse our facial oils with herbs and add essential oils for additional healing properties, but using a simple oil itself also provides the skin with significant benefits.

Since everyone’s skin is unique to their own bodies, it’s important to use the right kind of oil for your skin. It’s entirely possible to over or under moisturize your skin, which can lead to breakouts, irritation, clogged pores, increased dryness, and/or dehydration.

Because our facial oils are designed to work with specific skin types, each contains a specific blend of carrier oils.

We wanted to take some time to explain the differences between these oils and what each of them does for your skin.

What is a Carrier Oil?

Let’s start from the beginning. A “carrier oil” is simply one of the cooking oils that you have sitting in your cupboard. They are oils derived from the fatty parts of a plant — usually the nuts, seeds, or kernels. (Whereas essential oils are derived from the non fatty parts of the pant, such as the leaves or the flowers.)

Typically, carrier oils are called such by natural practitioners and in traditional healing roles — skincare professionals, herbalists, etc—and the reason is in the name. Carrier oils are often used to dilute essential oils and carry the healing properties to deep within the skin.

Grapeseed Oil – for Oily and Combination Skin

High in antioxidants, this oil helps repair damaged skin and protect from free radical damage. Grapeseed oil also helps to increase circulation in the skin and is high in vitamin E, making it helpful for preventing injury along with repairing it.

Because this oil is anti-inflammatory, it’s great for people working with inflamed conditions like cystic breakouts, rosacea, and irritation. In one study, grapeseed oil was shown to reduce the occurrence of acne breakouts in participants using it topically, which is thought to be partially due to its high linoleic acid content. (You can read more about that here.)

Grapeseed oil is a popular ingredient in our skincare — you’ll find it in both Herbal Facial Oils, the Unscented Facial Oil, and both of our body moisturizers. It’s light enough to be absorbed by even the oiliest skin, it doesn’t cause breakouts, and it still provides enough moisture for people that are working to balance out their natural sebum production. If you’re working with very dry skin, grapeseed oil may not be the option for you, it’s very lightweight so it doesn’t provide the longer-lasting moisture that dry skin sufferers need.

Jojoba Oil for Dry Skin

Jojoba oil is actually a wax ester that is similar in texture to the sebum that we produce naturally, making it ultra moisturizing and easily absorbed by the skin. Because of its waxy texture, jojoba acts as a long lasting moisturizer that can improve the look and feel of the skin immediately upon use.

Like grapeseed oil, jojoba is also anti-inflammatory and works well for healing damage and easing sun burns. Because it’s so gentle and high in vitamins and minerals, it’s a great oil for those who suffer from rosacea and any sort of irritation in the skin.

We use jojoba in our Anti-Aging Facial Oil, Anti-Aging Eye Cream, our Repair Serum, and we always recommend it for people that are experiencing dry skin. Although it can help to balance sebum production, it can also be over-moisturizing and pore clogging for people that are working with oily or combination skin types, so it’s best for those who are not prone to acne.

Sunflower Seed Oil for All Skin Types

Sunflower seed oil is another amazing oil for skin care. It has the unique quality of strengthening the skin barrier, which has been shown to decrease transepidermal water loss. This means that in addition to being moisturizing, it also helps to keep the skin hydrated. (Yep, there’s a difference between hydrated and moisturized skin.)

Like grapeseed, sunflower seed oil has high amounts of linoleic acid and is so absorbable that it has been used as a topical treatment to help balance essential fatty acids. It is also anti-inflammatory and considered very safe for the most sensitive of skin.

It’s a great moisturizer and it’s thin and absorbent enough for all skin types. We use sunflower seed oil in our Anti-Aging Facial Oil, Herbal Facial Oil for Normal and Combination Skin, both of our body moisturizers, and Sun Love.

Coconut Oil for Anti-Aging

Coconut oil seemingly has an endless amount of uses and benefits for our bodies, and it’s no different with skincare. Coconut oil is antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral, along with being ultra-moisturizing and nutritious. We use it in a lot of our products, favoring fractionated for facial formulas and unfractionated coconut oil for body products. You can read about the differences here.

Unfractionated coconut oil, like the oil in our Coconut Body Oil and our Coconut Honey Mask, is solid at room temperature. It’s very moisturizing, nutrient dense and high in vitamins like A,C, and E, so it’s a powerful ally in boosting cellular regeneration along with fighting dry and damaged skin. Its large molecular size makes coconut a heavy oil that holds in moisture and can clog pores. Thus, this form of coconut oil can cause breakouts in people that are prone and we typically suggest they use fractionated instead. Got dry skin? Unfractionated may be right for you.

Fractionated coconut oil is the same ingredient, but with the long-chain triglycerides removed, causing it to remain liquid at room temperature. It retains the antioxidants and vitamins but has a reduced molecular size, and is great for collagen boosting and damaged skin.

This form of coconut oil is still very moisturizing, but is a lot lighter and thus absorbs more readily into the skin. This is good news for those with oily or acne prone skin, who can use fractionated coconut oil without having to worry about breakouts. We use fractionated coconut oil in both of our Herbal Facial Oils and our Unscented Facial Oil.

Avocado Oil for Scars

Avocado oil tops the charts in terms of fatty acid content. Oleic acid in particular increases permeability of the skin and helps to repair damaged cell membranes, making it great for scars and wound healing. Avocado is also high in fatty acids that help to reduce sun damage, inflammation, and aid in DNA repair when used topically, so it makes a really lovely during and after-sun moisturizer.

Avocado oil is moisturizing enough for dry skin and penetrates deeply so it doesn’t leave your skin feeling too oily. It may cause breakouts for people who are sensitive, but it can also be very helpful for balancing for the sebum production in the skin. We use Avocado oil in our Sun Love and in our Anti-Aging Eye Cream.

Hazelnut for Acne Prone Skin

Hazelnut oil is another lightweight oil that provides good moisture. It’s packed full of vitamin E and antioxidants along with properties that protect from UV damage.

Hazelnut oil is also astringent and gentle, making it great for balancing oily skin that is also sensitive.

The easy-to-absorb, astringent properties of hazelnut oil also lend to fighting bacteria that are embedded deep within the skin. Yep, this makes this oil really great for acne-prone skin. It can help to balance extra sebum production while clearing up breakouts and repairing damage that can lead to further breakouts, this is why it’s in our Herbal Facial Oil for Oily/Acne Prone Skin. Because of the astringent nature of this oil, it isn’t the best carrier oil if you’re experiencing dry skin.

Olive Oil for Balance

People have been using olive oil on their skin for centuries with wonderful results. It’s a great moisturizer, not too heavy or too light, so it’s helpful for balancing the natural oil production without over-moisturizing. It is high in vitamins E, K, and A along with squalene so it’s very antioxidant and healing for the skin.

We use olive oil in our Coconut Body Oil and in our Herbal Facial Oil for Normal and Combination Skin because it’s so great for maintaining balance. Olive oil may be too moisturizing for people with oily skin and it may not be heavy enough for people working with very dry skin.

So whether your skin is dry, oily, or somewhere in between, there’s a facial oil out there that’s right for you. It’s all about knowing your oils and doing a little experimentation to find out which one really makes your skin glow.

Which carrier oil works best for your skin type? Let us know in the comments below!

Sources:

Seed Guides – Grapeseed Oil

Realize Beauty – Jojoba Oil and Sebum

Dermatology Times – Sunflower Seed Oil Benefits

SkinVision – Olive Oil

DIY Natural – Carrier Oils

Minimalist Beauty – Acne Prone Oils

The post Coconut, Hazelnut, Avocado…? Choose the Facial Oil That Works for Your Skin Type is courtesy of Annmarie Skin Care, LLC

The Truth About Coconut Oil and Acne Break Outs

Coconut oil and acne

Consumers have gone nuts over coconut oil.

Whole Foods even had to expand their shelf space to meet the demand!

It used to be that we all avoided coconut oil because it’s high in saturated fat. We believed that it contributed to clogged arteries, high cholesterol levels, and heart disease.

But recent research suggests that coconut oil that’s not partially hydrogenated (like it was in many early studies), is full of healthy fatty acids that are easier for the body to burn, and has actually been linked to health benefits like increased HDL “good” cholesterol and improved cholesterol ratios.

Add to this the fact that coconut came to light as being incredible for your skin and hair.

A unique combination of essential fatty acids penetrate and moisturize skin in a way few ingredients can; natural antioxidants help protect from free radical damage; and vitamins firm, moisturize, and brighten.

But despite its many strengths, coconut oil isn’t for everyone. Oily skin types, particularly, may battle with it. If you tried this ingredient and your skin broke out, you may have wondered why. Here’s the answer to that, and what you can do to deeply moisturize your skin without risking acne break outs.

Can Coconut Oil Help Reduce Acne?

There are pros and cons to oily skin. On the one hand, it can leave you prone to large pores and acne. On the other, you’re likely to age more slowly than your peers with dry skin.

The problem is that the sebaceous glands are over zealous in their enthusiasm. The skin produces too much sebum (skin oil), which leads to problems like shininess, runny makeup, and an overall thick, coarse texture. It can also increase the occurrence of breakouts.

Acne prone skin types can still require moisture, however. One of the mistakes many people make is to withhold moisture because they fear they will break out. This often backfires, as the skin gets dry and irritated, and responds by producing even more oil. This just worsens the problem.

Frustrated, many consumers have turned to coconut oil hoping for a miracle. After all, there are a myriad of articles out there saying it’s great for acne-prone skin.

The oil does have antibacterial properties that may kill bacteria before it has a chance to form blackheads and pimples. It’s a natural oil, which often can help balance skin oils. And then there are all those healthy fatty acids that not only moisturize and plump, but may help fade acne scars.

Some people with oily skin try the oil and rave about the results. Others try it and their acne breakouts get worse. What’s going on?

Liquid Coconut Oil May Or May Not Work for You

First, let’s make sure we’re talking about the right kind of oil.

In a previous post, we talked about the difference between extra virgin and fractionated coconut oil. A lot of sites encouraging people to use coconut oil for acne suggest extra virgin coconut oil as the best option, because it undergoes limited processing and is as close to the raw material as we can get. As a result, it tends to be higher in nutrients and antioxidants than oil that has been refined, bleached, and deodorized.

Extra virgin coconut oil, however, is solid at room temperature. It has a melting point of about 75 degrees Fahrenheit. In this form, it’s too heavy for oily skin types, and can clog pores and increase risk of breakouts.

Coconut oil that is a liquid at room temperature is actually “fractionated” coconut oil—a form of the oil that has had the long-chain fatty acids removed. The result is a product, that though it lacks some of the healthy fatty acids (like lauric acid), is still full of medium-chain fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants.

This type of coconut oil works great as a carrier oil for helping other, beneficial oils to penetrate the skin. (That’s why we use it in our Herbal Facial Oils.) It absorbs quickly without clogging pores, and can be beneficial for oily skin.

But if you struggle with acne breakouts, there are some other options that may work better for you.

7 Oils that Work for Oily Skin

For some susceptible people, even fractionated coconut oil may lead to breakouts. Here are some potential reasons for that:

  • The skin is already clogged with dead skin cells and debris. In this case, exfoliating before moisturizing could help.
  • Pores are large and prone to clogging. In this case, mixing the oil with other oils can help carry the benefits to the skin without the risks.
  • The person’s skin just doesn’t work with coconut oil.

If you’ve tried coconut oil and haven’t had good luck with it, it could be that one of the above situations applies to you. Maybe you need to exfoliate first, or make sure the coconut oil is used in combination with other oils (such as it is in our Herbal Facial Oils).

It may be, however, that your skin would do much better on another type of oil. Here are some options you can try that help balance and moisturize without clogging pores. After all, coconut oil may be popular, but it surely isn’t the only oil with great benefits for skin!

  1. Geranium: This unique oil helps balance skin oils and tighten pores.
  2. Myrrh: Battle breakouts and aging with this one. It has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and helps treat minor wounds.
  3. Hazelnut: Called the “pore-reducing” oil, this one smoothes and tones skin, while shrinking pores and helping to absorb extra oil.
  4. Grapeseed: Packed with healthy antioxidants and vitamins, this light oil hydrates without feeling greasy, and helps tighten pores.
  5. Black cumin seed: Your skin will love the vitamins and minerals in this oil, but it also has a reputation for fighting acne, with powerful anti-microbial properties.
  6. Sunflower seed: This oil will help protect you from damaging UV rays, while encouraging the production of collagen and elastin.
  7. Olive: Anti-aging is this oil’s strength, as it has a unique combination of antioxidants. It also has healing properties, and may help fade old acne scars.

Those are the ones you want to look for. Here’s a list of oils that don’t work well with acne prone skin.

Consider Hydration Vs. Moisture

Your skin may be dry and prone to acne. In this case, it does lack moisture and can benefit from using a light cream or facial oil.

But if your skin is regularly producing lots of oil, you may not need to use moisturizer regularly. Though there’s still a missing piece here: hydration.

Hydration (when we’re talking about skin) refers to the amount of water in your skin cells. Hydrated skin looks plump, with fewer fine lines.

It’s very much a function of how much you hydrate, but also relates to factors such as your skin and body’s natural ability to hold water (which changes with age) as well as the climate you’re in. Ingredients that hydrate are different than ingredients that moisturize. And for some people with oily skin types, hydrating might be sufficient for your skin on a day to day basis.

Click Here to Read More About Skin Hydration

Does coconut oil work for your skin type? Let us know in the comments below!

Sources:

USA Today – Consumers Going Nuts Over Coconut Oil

The following blog post The Truth About Coconut Oil and Acne Break Outs is courtesy of Annmarie Skin Care, LLC

Why You Should Add Buddha Wood Essential Oil to Your Massages

Buddha Wood Essential Oil

Also called “false sandalwood,” Buddha wood essential oil is sometimes used as a substitute for sandalwood, though the scent is somewhat different, and the oil comes from a different tree.

The Story of a Small Australian Tree

Whereas sandalwood essential oil comes from the sandalwood tree (Santalum album), Buddha wood is from a large shrub or small tree in the figwort family (Eremophila mitchellii).

More often shrub-like than tree, Eremophila mitchellii or “bastard sandalwood” is evergreen and can grow up to 30 feet tall, though it’s most often found at about 10 feet. The word “Eremophila” comes from the Greek eremos, which means “desert,” and from phileo, which means love, and indeed, these plants do seem to love a desert climate.

The leaves are long and thin, and give off an aroma when crushed. The flowers are a pretty white or cream and tubular shaped with spots on the throat. The plant as a whole is rather sticky because of the resin present in the leaves and branches. It grows so easily that it’s seen as a pest on many grazing lands in Australia, and is not permitted in Western Australia. Therefore, it’s rarely cultivated and the oil is most often wildcrafted.

That lovely essential oil is steam distilled from the heartwood and bark, with a scent that has been called rich, rugged, calming, woody, smoky, resinous, and complex. It’s said to have a “lighter side,” which works well in perfumes without overpowering other notes. The main constituents are eremophilone, 2-hydroxy-eremophilone, and 2-hydroxy-2-dihydro eremophilone, and its said to be somewhat similar to components of vetiver and agarwood.

Its woody, mossy and slightly smoky scent, makes it popular as a meditative oil and it’s also frequently used as a base note in perfumes.

In addition to its grounding and calming abilities in aromatherapy, this oil also has some pretty impressive health benefits.

Health Benefits of Buddha Wood Essential Oil

The indigenous people of Australia were said to have used the Buddha Wood plant for its antibacterial qualities and to treat cuts and sores, as well as rheumatitis. Indeed, we know that the oil has antimicrobial properties and is active against certain types of bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella typhimurium and Candida albicans.

Applied topically, the oil is also said to be a good anti-inflammatory, particularly helpful for aches and pains and for sore muscles and joints. It works great in massage oils, as its analgesic effects can help add a pain-relieving quality.

Caution is recommended with any internal use, however, because the oil is rich in ketones, which in some cases, can be toxic, particularly at higher levels or with long-term use.

Aromatherapy Benefits of Buddha Wood Essential Oil

Where this oil really shines is in its use in aromatherapy and perfumes. Here, it is coveted as the perfect meditative oil, as it is said to inspire peace and mindfulness, and to provide a pleasant, woody aroma for fragrances. Buddha wood is also said to help center the emotions and to encourage calm and relaxation.

Some ideas for Buddha wood oil:

  • Add to massage oils to soothe sore muscles
  • Add a few drops to the bath for a nice scent and a subtle anti-bacterial property
  • Use as a base note when creating your own fragrances
  • Use in a spritz for clearing energies
  • Use in a diffuser for a grounding meditation
  • Inhale 15-30 minutes before bed to encourage a restful sleep

This oil also blends well with the following:

Do you use Buddha wood oil in your aromatherapy applications? Please share any ideas you may have.

The following blog post Why You Should Add Buddha Wood Essential Oil to Your Massages was originally published on www.annmariegianni.com

Body Butter

The ASC team is a motley of artists, healers, activists, and professionals. We need every kind of individual in a company like this because each person’s uniqueness has a place to shine. With all of our differences, it can be difficult to get us into the same room. But once you get us together, we’re unstoppable.

Have you ever met a group that can talk about vetiver for 25 minutes? We can. And did…

We all love skincare (obviously) and many of us are makers at heart, so we decided to spend our recent team happy hour at the office making body butter. It turned out fabulous — creamy, moisturizing, and an aromatherapy treat! We decided to let you in on how we did it.

Body Butter

We wanted the body butter something we could use all the time — something with a creamy consistency that absorbed really well into the skin and left a lasting softness without leaving a film (skin care professionals over here). We chose several different carrier oils and butters to give it the texture and moisturizing properties that we like.

Staying true to our nature, we spent quite a long time choosing which essential oils to add to the formula. It easily filled our conversation while we blended the body butter together. We’re all big fans of vetiver, which is a really important base note that’s used in tons of perfume formulas. (We talk about how to properly pair vetiver in this article.) While some of us favor a sweet vetiver creation (add vanilla or peru balsam) others of us favored a more woodsy result (use cedar or spruce).

DIY Body Butter - Essential Oils

First we melted together cocoa butter and shea butter.

DIY Body Butter - Melt

Then we added coconut oil, jojoba, kukui nut, and macadamia nut oils to the blend and let it cool. (See the recipe below for some alternative oils you can use.)

Body Butter - Mix

To achieve a fluffy, whipped, creamy texture, we took turns hand-whipping the blend together—which was quite the workout—until it was the perfect consistency. We spent a lot of time pausing while we were whipping it to test it out and by the time we got it perfect, we were exhausted and covered in body butter. Note: hand whipping was fun, but if we were going to do this again, we would bring an electric mixer.

Once the butter and oil blend cooled, we added our essential oils.

DIY Body Butter Recipe

Here’s the recipe that we used. This makes a lot of body butter so if you’re just making it for yourself, it might be good to cut the recipe in half:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 cup cocoa butter
  • ½ cup shea butter
  • ½ cup kukui nut oil (or substitute grapeseed oil)
  • ¼ cup jojoba oil
  • ¼ cup macadamia nut oil (or substitute avocado oil)
  • About 20 drops of essential oils of your choice – our base formula had vetiver, spruce, and cedar, then we individually added other essential oils to make our own unique scent.

We all love the body butter we made and it’s fun to come into work and smell someone wearing theirs… It brings back such a fun memory of us laughing together, testing scents, and whipping the butter!

Do you have a favorite body butter recipe? Tell us about it!

The following article Body Butter Read more on: www.annmariegianni.com

A Green Smoothie Recipe You Can’t Not Like

If you don’t like green smoothies, we can’t really blame you.

Putting salad into a blender and then drinking it goes against a lot of what we’ve been taught about culinary best practices.

But as avid green smoothie drinkers, we aim to make your next one a good experience. Because the thing is, a well-crafted green smoothie just tastes like fruit. And the more you drink them, the more you might even come to appreciate a green smoothie that tastes, well, green.

And your skin? Your skin loves green smoothies. So many nutrients packed into one, easy-to-drink package.

In the past we’ve posted articles with herbal green smoothies and even this one where we talked about how amazing the Vitamix is and used it on camera (the things we do for you!)

But today we want to share a recipe that’s more simple, and perfect for the beginner.

Berry Blastoff Smoothie

This recipe comes from Simple Green Smoothies, an amazing site for exploring what’s next for your blender. Jen Handsard and Jadah Sellner, two friends and moms raising our families on healthy, created this site to offer whole-food recipes that help increase energy and manage weight. They’re the realistic type, admitting that while they’re committed to a green smoothie a day, pizza and ice cream still have a place in their hearts (and diets.)

So we thought it’d be cool to post one of their recipes for you to try, and they agreed.

Green Smoothie Recipe

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups strawberries
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 2 bananas

*1-2 of the fruit ingredients should be frozen to achieve best taste and texture.

Directions:

  1. Assemble ingredients in blender in this order: spinach, water, fresh fruit, frozen fruit.
  2. Blend and enjoy!

Because this smoothie has 2 bananas in it, it’ll give you lots of energy in addition to tasting amazing. For those looking to cut down on sugar, feel free to reduce to 1 banana and 1 cup each of the berries. It will taste a little greener but still delicious. 🙂

Antioxidant-rich berries help you eliminate free radicals in the body. Spinach is packed with vitamins A, C, and K, giving your body a lot of what it needs to thrive. Your skin will thank you!

What’s your favorite green smoothie recipe? Let us know in the comments below!

A Green Smoothie Recipe You Can’t Not Like is available on http://annmariegianni.com/

How To: Balance Combination Skin Using Food

Combination Skin

Combination skin is one of the most common skin types out there, and there are a lot of different ways it can show up. The term “combination skin” just means that there is more than one condition going on. It could refer to experiencing anything from oily and dry skin to rosacea and acne simultaneously.

The most common type of combination skin is an oily T-zone with dry cheeks. Sometimes this has to do with your natural pore size (larger pores produce more sebum) and other times there’s something else going on entirely. It’s different for everyone and it’s important to work with your skin in the unique way that it needs.

Our initial reaction might be to turn to skin care products designed to combat combination skin, and that can help. But given that combination skin is a symptom of imbalance and can manifest itself in many different ways, it’s also helpful to take a few steps to help your body get back in balance.

What Causes Combination Skin?

Like most skin conditions, there’s no easy answer to this question. There are a lot of different individual causes and it can also be a combination (no pun intended) of things going on.

  • Genetics is the most common cause of your skin type, including combination skin (thanks mom and dad). Chatting with your parents and grandparents about their skin is a great way to know what might work well for your skin.
  • The skincare you’re using is another thing that can cause combination skin. Using skincare with irritating ingredients can exacerbate what is already going on.
  • The environment you live in can make a huge difference, too. Often when people move to a different environment their skin can go a little haywire and it can be difficult to reign it back in. For some people, it just takes time for the body to get used to new environmental factors and their skin will relax back into its usual patterns. Other times it takes a bit more vigilance.
  • Stress and hormones can most certainly aggravate combination skin. Increased stress or out-of-balance hormones can do all sorts of wacky things to your entire body, and because the skin is the last organ to receive nutrients from the bloodstream, those extra or unbalanced hormones can affect combination skin.

How to Work Internally with Combination Skin

We usually work with combination skin externally, but there are also a few things you can focus on internally to help. The key here is balance — it always comes back to balance.

You want to help to increase the sebum production of the dry parts of your skin and reign in the sebum production of the oily parts of your skin.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Drink water! It wouldn’t be one of my articles if this one wasn’t on the list. Staying hydrated is essential to proper skin function. Everyone’s skin reacts a bit differently to dehydration. True to form, people with combination skin tend to experience a bit of both worlds. The parts of the skin that underproduce sebum will be further inhibited and the parts of the skin that overproduce oil won’t be plump enough to comfortably absorb the extra oil.
  • Take an Essential Fatty Acid supplement and work on maintaining proper Omega balanced in your body. This is great for combination skin because these fatty acids play a crucial role in increasing the structural integrity and barrier function in the skin. These most often come in the form of fish oil supplements, but can come from other sources as well. Though it seems like taking an oil supplement would increase the oiliness of the skin, it actually doesn’t. Skin that over-produces oil is often as depleted as skin the underproduces oil, it’s just a different reaction to the same internal stimulus. I know, I know, human bodies do the strangest things.
  • Working with Adaptogens to help balance your body’s functioning is another great practice in general. We have talked about adaptogens before — their main function is to help regulate the body’s reaction to stimuli on a hormonal level. This is especially helpful if you find that your skin gets a bit out whack when you’re feeling stressed out.
  • Your Diet is vital. Nourishing yourself and making sure that you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals in your diet is the best way to take care of your skin. It (always) goes back to your bloodstream and how your skin is fed. If you’re not eating enough vitamins and minerals in your diet, your blood will be depleted by the time it reaches the skin. How well do you perform when you haven’t had enough to eat? Put that into a micro-scale and it’s the exact same thing for your skin.

Here are a few diet tips for you that are pretty easy to follow and can make a big difference.

  1. Eat veggies of every color, especially green and orange. These are high in minerals, beta carotene, and fiber.
  2. Eat fermented foods. They’re already partially broken down and the enzymes in the foods help your stomach to break your food down better, which means that your intestines can pull nutrients out more readily.
  3. Cut out processed foods and sugars. They gunk up your liver and don’t put any helpful love into your bloodstream that can feed your skin

Do you have combination skin? What tricks have you found to help keep it balanced?

Sources:

Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center – Essential Fatty Acids and Skin Health

The Naked Chemist – Causes of Combination Skin

The following post How To: Balance Combination Skin Using Food was originally published to Annmarie Skin Care

How to Create Your Signature Scent (And Why it Should Include Vetiver Essential Oil)

Vetiver Essential Oil

Ladies, if you’ve ever worn Chanel Sycomore, Lancome Hypnose, or Sarah Jessica Parker Covet, you’ve enjoyed the base note of vetiver.

Men can find the unique fragrance in Prada Infusion de Vetiver, Lancome Sagamore, Carven Vetiver, and more.

Would you be surprised to learn that vetiver is one of the most popular of all ingredients in perfumes? Wherever it’s found, vetiver lends a grounding, sensuous, and warm aroma perfect for a wide range of applications.

Have you ever tried it in your own blends, for its grounding and calming effects? Reputed as a favorite among base notes, vetiver can lead you in lots of fun directions. Want a new relaxing and moisturizing body oil, air freshener, or cleansing mist? Start with vetiver and add the right ingredients, then sit back and enjoy.

Want to try it?

What is Vetiver?

Related to lemongrass and part of the Poaceae family of plants—scientifically called vetiveria zizanioides—vetiver is also called “khus” in its native India, where it was once used for making ropes, screens, mats, baskets, blinds, and insect and rodent repellents.

Historically, vetiver was thought to help increase safety and financial resources, and its hedges were used to trap crop residues and silts to form an earth embankment. Ancient Sanskrit manuscripts detailed its use as a water purifier, and inscriptions on copper plates dating back to 1103 AD listed “khus” perfume as belonging to the Royals. As recently as the 1950s, vetiver grass was shown to have the ability to help improve soil fertility and facilitate ground water recharge, and was used in India to help reclaim the soil for planting.

The essential oil comes from the roots of the plants, which are interlinked underground and grow about 12 feet into the soil. Known in India as the “oil of tranquility,” vetiver was known to possess many potential health benefits as well.

Benefits of Vetiver Essential Oil

In traditional medicine, the herb was used to treat arthritis, muscle aches, rheumatism, and circulation problems, and to promote fertility. Modern herbalists use it as an aphrodisiac, to tame inflammation, and to help fade scars and hyperpigmentation.

Some studies have even suggested that it may help calm symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). A study done by Terry Friedman assessed children’s behaviors, in particular their ability to focus, and how they were affected by certain essential oils. Vetiver showed a 100% improvement in behavior, performing significantly better than lavender and cedarwood.

In aromatherapy, vetiver is considered to be primarily grounding, with the following potential emotional benefits:

  • Promotes restful sleep.
  • Relaxing, calms nerves.
  • Anti-depressant.
  • Restores one’s connections to his/her roots.
  • Counteracts symptoms of trauma.
  • Awakens sexual desire.
  • Helps ease mental exhaustion.

Its incredible benefits have made it historically sought after, and clearly modern day formulators have caught on. (Though to get the real benefits, you should use the essential oil and not a synthetic replication.)

If you’re familiar with the scent of vetiver, you know that its earthy scent is loved by many but also benefits from being balanced by accompanying middle and top notes.

What is a Base Note?

At its simplest level, perfumery consists of composing a balance of ingredients using three different categories:

  1. Top notes make up between 10 and 30 percent of the blend.
  2. Middle notes make up between 30 and 60 percent of the blend.
  3. Base notes make up between 15 and 30 percent of the blend.

The top notes (also called the “head notes”) are those you’re likely to smell first, but they quickly evaporate, usually within 5 to 30 minutes. These are the ones that rush at your senses when you first smell the fragrance, and create its first impression. They typically come from flowers and leaves, and are often stimulating and uplifting—perfect for counteracting fatigue or depression. Some top notes include basil, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, neroli, and sage.

Middle notes last a little longer, maybe a few hours. These come to the fore once the top notes have evaporated, and are considered the “heart” of the fragrance. You’re likely to detect them about 10 to 30 minutes after you’ve applied. They are usually linked to creating balance between mind and body. Think full-bodied scents like chamomile, cinnamon, geranium, ginger, rose, and ylang ylang.

Base notes evaporate the most slowly of all three, and may linger for a day or more. They are said to mingle with the heart notes to create the full body of the fragrance, but most of all, they provide the final impression. Think foundation scents, those that are heavy, deep, tenacious, and strong. These oils are usually connected with grounding us, counteracting nervousness and anxiety while promoting relaxation, and a feeling of being supported. Vetiver is a base note, along with other oils like cedarwood, clove, frankincense, myrrh, sandalwood, and vanilla.

Combining the three categories to create a fragrance is where the fun lies in perfumery. How much of each you use depends on the effect you want to have. Let’s say you want to stimulate and enliven the senses. You might use more top notes, maybe two or three, compared to only one middle and one base. If you’re seeking a fragrance to encourage meditation or introspection, you may want to use more base notes, with just a bit of top and middle.

5 Vetiver Essential Oil Blends to Try

There’s a reason vetiver is used so commonly in perfume formulas. It has grounding aromatherapy and a scent that mingles well with others. Though it mixes well with many oils, some are better than others.

Here are some tips for blending vetiver to create appealing scents:

  1. Moisturizing body oil: Blend your favorite carrier oil (jojoba, fractionated coconut, rose hip seed, argan, evening primrose, avocado) with three drops each of lavender and palmarosa, and one drop vetiver.
  2. Relaxing diffuser: Having a stressful day? Try blending 3 drops vetiver in your diffuser with 10 drops petitgrain, 6 drops cedarwood Virginian, and 6 drops Peru Balsam.
  3. Meditating bath: Add the following to your bath to create a relaxing, grounding escape—4 drops each bergamot and geranium, and 2 drops vetiver.
  4. Calming mist spray: Give your room a calming, relaxing feel by misting this spray about—35 drops lemongrass, 25 drops anise seed, 25 drops allspice, 25 drops Red Mandarin, 20 drops vetiver, 20 drops bergamot, and 4 ounces pure water.
  5. Nature walk perfume: If you can’t get to the real woods, try using a little of this fragrance instead—5 drops lavender, 4 drops lemon, and 3 drops vetiver in a 5 ml bottle filled with fractionated coconut oil or sweet almond oil.

What Blends Well With Vetiver Essential Oil

In general, vetiver blends well with:

  • Ylang ylang
  • Cedarwood
  • Tangerine
  • Lemon and other citrus scents (lime, grapefruit)
  • Jasmine
  • Lavender
  • Patchouli
  • Petitgrain
  • Neroli
  • Rose
  • Sandalwood
  • Marjoram
  • Cardamom
  • Clary sage

Experiment with balancing top, middle, and base notes and soon you’ll be creating beautiful blends that please your palette and give you the aromatherapy you want.

Do you use vetiver in your homemade blends? Please share your ideas with our readers.

Sources:

Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants – Vetiver in India

The Prairie Homestead – 10 Essential Oil Recipes for Your Diffuser

Vetiver Aromatics – Perfume Recipes

The following article How to Create Your Signature Scent (And Why it Should Include Vetiver Essential Oil) See more on: http://annmariegianni.com/