Month: March 2018

The Alchemy of Massage Oil

The Skinny on Massage Oils

Massage is one of the most relaxing gift you can give a loved one. Whether he or she is stressed, sore, or just had a long day, nothing says “I love you,” like a slow, luxurious massage. Massage oil is a great alternative to pricey lotions that can be overpowering or irritating to sensitive skin. Not only does it require less product than lotion, it is also a great option for those concerned about using organic products on the skin.

Massage oil is made of at least one of a group of light, easily absorbed oils including sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, apricot kernel oil, sunflower oil, and fractionated coconut oil. These oils can all be used on their own as massage oil, or can be blended with any number of essential oils to add an aromatherapy element to the massage.

The Carrier Oils

Sweet Almond Oil

One of the most common and readily available of all of the massage oils, sweet almond oil is a slower absorbed lubricant and almost scentless. A 4oz bottle, which should be enough for twenty massages, costs around five dollars. Sweet almond oil should not be used by those with allergies to nuts.

Jojoba Oil

A slightly more pricey option for massage oil, but jojoba oil has benefits that other oils cannot match. Jojoba’s antibacterial qualities make it a great option for those concerned about blemishes and breaking out. It is thinner than most other oils so those who are used to lotion will have an easier time transitioning to massage oil when using jojoba oil.

Grapeseed Oil

The least expensive and most common of all the massage oils, grapeseed oil is available almost anywhere and is as light as sweet almond oil. Some people have an aversion to the light smell of grapeseed oil but when blended with essential oil the smell is masked sufficiently.

Apricot Kernel Oil

Very similar to sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil is a good alternative for those who have nut allergies. Apricot kernel oil blends smoothly with essential oils without leaving any trace of a base smell and goes on skin light and greaseless.

Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is especially good for beautifying the skin. It is easily blendable with other oils, but has a shorter shelf life so be aware that if you do not use it often it will spoil.

Fractionated Coconut Oil

A rather expensive oil, fractionated coconut oil is as light as other oils, but does have a scent that some may find displeasing. Still, when mixed with heavy essential oils, the smell can be complimented.

The Essential Oils

Essential oils are a group of very concentrated oils made from the distilled flowers, leaves and roots of various plants. They can range in price from the cheap lavender and lemon oil to the very pricey ylang ylang and dragon’s blood essential oils. Essential oils are best bought from reputable vendors as “blends” and “fragrance oils” have popped on the market as a cheap way to trick the buyer into buying something that is not a true essential oil.

Essential oils should be further studied before use on skin. Know what oils you are sensitive to and in what potencies. Some essential oils, such as cinnamon and peppermint will burn the skin and should not be used for massage oils. Others must be heavily diluted. No essential oil should be used directly on the skin without first being mixed into a carrier oil.

Lavender Oil

One of the most common essential oils for massage therapy, lavender has long been used as a calming scent to help induce relaxation and sleep. The smell is strong and can be overpowering if used in its highly concentrated form. Try adding ten drops to eight tablespoons of your carrier oil and balancing it with a citrus or earthy scent such as lemon or patchouli oil.

Sandalwood Oil

Sandalwood oil is expensive, but a worthwhile investment if you plan to make your own massage oils. It is a base in many perfumes with its earthy, woodsy scent and is a good compliment to lavender as it has similar properties of calm and well-being. Due to its price and rich smell use only three or four drops per eight tablespoons of carrier oil.

Patchouli

A strong, musky oil, patchouli is best blended with lighter floral or spicy oils to balance it out. It is not overpriced by any means, but it should be used with caution because it can quickly overpower a blend and ruin the batch.

Jasmine

True jasmine oil can be hard to come by in certain areas, but “blends” are a common replacement. While it is completely safe to use “blends” be aware that you are paying for more readily available essential oils blended to smell somewhat like real jasmine oil. The price should reflect this. Jasmine has a bright floral scent that blends will with sandalwood and ylang ylang oil. Use a five or six drops as a compliment to other essential oils in eight tablespoons of a carrier oil.

Dragon’s Blood

Dragon’s blood essential oil is made from the resin of the dragon palm. It can be incredibly expensive in some areas running about ten dollars for just a few milliliters. It is characterized by its blood red color, but its punky fruit and floral smell is often reproduced in less expensive blends. It blends well with most other floral essential oils as well as earthy tones such as sandalwood and patchouli.

Ylang Ylang

Ylang Ylang essential oil, much like Dragon’s blood, is expensive, but it is a very potent smooth, floral smell. Use one or two drops as it is one of the most overpowering floral smells and not always easy to come by.

LUSH Organic Therapy Massage Bar Review

LUSH, the natural and handmade cosmetics company, recently updated an old favorite. The Therapy massage bar is now made with 100% organic ingredients. Therapy was my favorite massage bar made by LUSH, so I wanted to see how the new version compared with the original. This review will help you if you loved Therapy before or if you are thinking about getting your first massage bar.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, a massage bar is basically a lotion in solid form. The base is cocoa butter and each has a different blend of essential oils to give it different properties. Cocoa butter’s melting point is very close to our body temperatures, so you heat the massage bar up in your hands or on another person’s body. The lotion begins to melt and you can use that as you would a liquid product.

The first thing I noticed about the 100% organic massage bar was its smell. This is the biggest difference between the old version of Therapy and the new. The new product has a rich, faintly chocolaty smell. I was told that this is because the cocoa butter in it is not as refined. I have to say that the new smell took some getting used to, but I think if you have never tried Therapy you will like it very much. “Lushies” may be a bit taken aback at first because of their familiarity with the smell of the original product. The turning point for me came one day after I had rubbed the new Therapy on my legs. I got in bed and was overwhelmed by a wonderful milk chocolate smell. After a few minutes I realized what it was-me!

Therapy is infused with essential oils like neroli and lavender. This is supposed to make it very calming. I love to use it when I need to relax. Those are the times when I can really feel the benefits of the natural essential oils inside the massage bar. It would be great for kids who need help falling asleep before bed-time and for moms who need a break. I highly recommend Therapy to anyone who just needs to relax. It is especially good if you are pregnant because the neroli helps increase the elasticity of the skin so you may have less stretch marks and it should encourage your skin to spring back after your delivery. Also, I heard a story of a pregnant woman who rubbed Therapy on her stomach during her pregnancy. When her baby was born he was clean and smooth instead of red and wrinkled!

Therapy is not as good on sore muscles as LUSH’s other massage bar called Wiccy Magic Muscles. It is very soothing though; perfect for sensual massage. It has a small nub on it that can be used during massage for texture. I love it but it wears down quickly. The cocoa butter in Therapy melts down at a nice pace. When you rub it between your hands it is not greasy or slimy, and I also never feel like I’m trying to start a fire when I’m using it.

Therapy is still my favorite massage bar. It is a great starter if you have never tried a massage bar or are giving one as a gift. I love that it is now 100% organic, and fans of the old Therapy would do well to remember the benefits of organic products when switching to the new version. It is a great all-around massage bar anyone can benefit from using.

Using Natural Oils for Skin Care

If you like to make your own cosmetics, lotions, massage oils, or perfume oils, this guide will help you to choose what type of oil to use in your product. Any of these carrier oils can be used as body lotions or massage lotions, by simply adding a few drops of an essential oil or other ingredients. They are great for your skin and will leave it soft and smooth. Using natural oils in your products will make you feel better about what you are making, and are better for the earth as well.

Environmentally Friendly Oils: Avoid Oils Made from Animals

Many body products that you buy at the store contain oils derived from animals. Avoid these in favor of plant oils, and help save the environment. Mineral oil is made from petroleum, and actually dries out your skin over time. Emu oil comes from dead emus. Castor oil is usually derived from castor beans, but sometimes comes from dead mammals like muskrats and beavers. Similarly, squaline may be made from plants, but is sometimes derived from sharks. Lanolin comes from sheep, but it is derived from shearing the sheep, so they are not hurt. Out of all of these, Lanolin is the only one that I would use, but there are so many great choices that you can avoid that as well if you prefer plant-based products.

Environmentally Friendly Oils: Choosing Plant Based Oils

Plant oils are the best choice for your body products and personal use. Here is a list of the oils that you can find in supermarkets and health food stores:

Avocado Oil – A great moisturizer

Almond Oil – High protein oil

Apricot Kernel Oil – makes great lip balm

Cocoa Butter – water repellent, good for very dry skin

Flaxseed Oil – rich in Omega-3

Grapeseed Oil – less greasy than other oils

Kukui Nut Oil – a new oil gaining popularity

Mango Butter – gives skin a healthy glow

Peanut Oil – good moisturizer, but may add a peanut odor

Sesame Oil – has some natural sunscreen properties, light nutty oil

Jojoba Oil – a liquid wax, make a great hair conditioner

Olive Oil – slow drying oil, great for anything

Shea Butter – a skin protectant and moisturizer

Wheat Germ Oil – high in vitamin E

A simple way to use these oils is to pour some into a reusable plastic container, so that you can use it in the bathroom without worrying about breaking glass. Add drops of essential oil until it has a nice fragrance. Now you can use it as massage oil, body oil, bath oil, shaving lotion, or for anything else you want. A tiny drop makes a good hair conditioner on dry hair. Experiment with these ingredients, and you will soon have a few great and practically free body products to use.

Facial Massage

The face carries a lot of tension, this can be incredibly uncomfortable, and also very bad for your health, it can cause sinus problems, neuralgia, headaches and tiredness.

Facial massage is a quick and easy way to help alleviate tension in the face, it can also help unblock sinuses and relieve trapped fluids.

Massage your temples in an anti clockwise motion using your index and middle fingers.

Pinch the skin (gently) around your eyebrows, place your thumb below the eyebrow and the index finger above and gently pinch, starting from the inner corner of the eye and working outwards.

Relieve fluid retention and relax your eyes by using all four of your fingers to gently tap around the eye area; start at the brow and work right the way round in a circle. Use light tapping motions and use all of the fingers.

Help relieve neuralgia and a tight jaw muscle by using the knuckles of your index fingers to gently rub the jaw in circular motions, start near the jaw opening and work down.

Place your index, middle and ring fingers just below your cheekbones, push your cheeks up with the 3 fingers, smile, hold for 5 and release.

Place 3 fingers in the middle of your forehead, gently push up and slide them up, work all over your forehead.