Through rose-tinted glasses
June is the prime time of the year to admire blooming roses. In London, Queen’s Mary rose garden, in Regent’s Park is the largest with 12,000 flowers planted within the gardens. Also, the rose garden in Hyde Park and Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew are worth paying a visit. And most of the home gardens and local parks has some beautiful roses on display.
Rose scent has uplifting and relaxing properties, known not only as an aphrodisiac but also anti-depressant. Its fragrance brings good mood and happy feelings. Rose is widely used in perfumery, aromatherapy and beauty treatments. It is one of the oldest, most precious and expensive essential oils. Rose essential oil has rejuvenating and healing effects on skin, is very beneficial for mature or prone to broken capillaries skin. It soothes and calms any stress related problems. Can be use to treat digestive disorders, infertility, menopause problems. According to Susan Curtis in her “Essential oils” book, using rose helps us understand the human nature, become more tolerant and open to love.
Using rose essential oil has a long tradition and it still remains one of the most expensive oils to produce. There are two main species of roses grown for the rose oil production: the damask rose grown in Bulgaria, Turkey, Syria, Iran and the cabbage rose grown in France, Morocco, Egypt. The Rose Valley near Kazanlak, in Bulgaria is one of the centres growing roses for the rose oil essential production in Europe. Every June, they celebrate the beauty of roses during The Rose Festival which is filled with folklore customs and rose picking rituals. Must be fun!
I have made an attempt to make rose petals macerated oil by filling the jar with petals and covering them with an almond oil. I have kept it on the windowsill but later read that petals should be changed every few days which I haven’t been doing at all. I might just leave it as it is and see how it turns out in about 2 weeks time. Will definitely add few drops of rose essential oil.
Do you remember to stop and smell the roses?
Coffee and rose petals body peeling
I have bought those dried rose petals some time ago and they have been patiently waiting in the jar to be put finally into use. They are great way of perfuming and adding the colour to your DIY beauty face masks or body scrubs. Best would be hand picked in your own garden. I got mines from the garden centre, here in London and they are quite aromatic and crisp, good enough for grinding into powder.
Here comes the challenge. If you are a one happy owner of the electric herb grinder, you are done with it, otherwise a regular pestle and mortar would do, although it won’t be very fine, which is still ok.
Start by mixing together 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds and about the double amount of granulated sugar. I found the caster variety too small granules and melting too fast after adding the carrier oil like almond oil. Last come essential oils, just 1-2 drops of Rose absolute and optionally, just one drop of neroli dilution.
I like the pinky hues. Can’t wait to use it!
Aromatherapy and essential oils
Aromatherapy has been increasingly popular as the interest in natural and holistic therapies is on the rise. It uses essential oils derived from plants and flowers for the unique massage, relaxation and beauty experience. Each of those essential oils has specific properties for our body and also mind. Aromas can either energise or calm us down. I remember one phrase from some aromatherapy book noting “healing intelligence of essential oils”. Just loved it and slowly but surely started using essential oils in my home beauty treatments.
Just wanted to share some of my uses of essential oils in my daily beauty treatments. My regular one is lemon essential oil as I have a soft spot for lemons. I use it every day in the face massage blend just by mixing some jojoba oil with few drops of lemon essential oil. I smooth it on my hair after wash for an extra shine and lightening properties to my honey blonde hair. Lavender essential oil is another must have for clay face masks, the oil cleanser or soothing warm baths. Every time I make a body scrub I am adding either some citrusy ones like grapefruit essential oil ( great for cellulite ) or warming like black pepper, sandalwood or ginger. I usually mix 2 or 3 of them and go wild! You can make your own unique blend, just see what you like and what goes well together. My latest discovery is manuka essential oil with strong pungent smell, use it sparingly for spots and all blemishes. Works wonders!
I also like warm, feminine and sensual ones like rose, vanilla, ylang ylang, jasmine. I learnt to like geranium essential oil as it was always too strong for me, but it is very beneficial for women, balancing and uplifting at the same time. I have even started growing my own geranium flowers in the pots. I love smelling them now. Also, worth mentioning is clove essential oil, warming and soothing, helps relieve toothache.
Still, so much to learn about essential oils and their fascinating properties. I want to remember all their latin names, it must be a hidden botanic geek in me.
Next time then do not forget to stop and smell the roses.
Face steam bath
I used to do a lot of steam baths for my face in my teens when I suffered from acne and my skin was uber oily. Now, I have combination skin and still quite oily in a T-zone. I know, no need to worry about early wrinkles and dryness but believe me, combination skin with large pores is a bit of maintenance. So here the steam baths come in handy. They are great for purifying and cleaning your skin.
To prepare the steam bath you need a heatproof bowl, a towel, hot water, some herbs and essential oils. Fill the bowl with hot water and add the herbs. If you have dry skin, use rose petals and a bit of almond oil. It will moisturize your skin once evaporating. If you have oily/combination skin, use chamomile flowers, lavender or rosemary. You can even use fresh chopped parsley or mint and a slice of lemon. Actually, you can create a steam bath individually tailored to your skin needs, but generally keep it simple. If you don’t have any herbs at the moment, use some essential oil.
Once the bath is ready, cover your head and a bowl with a towel and let the steam to open your pores. Stay for about 5-10 minutes above the bowl, relax and breathe. It is not only good for your skin but also for nasal passages and sinuses. Follow with some chilled floral water to close the pores.