Essential oils are the main component in the practice of aromatherapy. With myriad applications, these concentrated plant oils can help balance hormones, heal the body, and relax the mind. As usual, we're most excited about incorporating them in our fall beauty routines, but how do you know which ones are appropriate for the season? "You'll want to look for essential oils that can help protect and hydrate your skin from the elements this time of the year," says Kelly Holland Azzaro, certified clinical aromatherapy practitioner and president of the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy.
Kelly says lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile), sweet marjoram (Origanum marjorana), palmarosa (cymbopogon martinii), carrot seed (daucus carota), and sweet orange (citrus sinensis) are perfect on their own or blended together for DIY skin care, for massage, during sleep, in the bath, or in a diffuser for inhalation. "For bath time, infuse a tablespoon of Epsom salts or milk with four drops of each essential oil, and add it to the water as you are filling the tub,” says Kelly.
Since concentrated essential oils can be too strong for sensitive skin, Beauties must dilute any pure plant essence with a vegetable-based carrier oil, derived from the fatty section of the plant (usually from the seeds, kernels, or nuts). Because of their lipid-rich molecular makeup, carrier oils carry essential oils onto the skin well. Jojoba or rose hip oil are great carriers for the face, while coconut and sweet almond oil are ideal for the body.
Aromatherapists never suggest or promote using essential oils internally, but there’s one easy way to reap the benefits of an herbal infusion. "Try drinking Earl Grey tea in the morning, which is infused with bergamot from the Italian bitter orange tree," suggests Kelly.