Skincare 101 - Essential oils

In a world where stress and anxiety often dominate our daily lives, the pursuit of holistic well-being has become increasingly popular. Essential oils, often hailed as nature's aromatic treasures, have emerged as a cornerstone of this wellness movement. These potent extracts, derived from plants, have been used for centuries for their therapeutic properties. Let's delve deeper into the world of essential oils, exploring their origins, benefits, and whether they are the best thing since sliced bread (hint: they are, but I consider them to be dangerous, volatile and some come with an environmental footprint bigger than all the bread in the world) 


Understanding Essential Oils: 

Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts obtained through processes like distillation or cold pressing. These oils capture the essence of the plant, including its fragrance and unique therapeutic properties. Each essential oil boasts a distinct aroma and a range of potential benefits, from promoting relaxation to boosting immunity, and of course, being a main player in the skincare regime.  


Origins and History: 

The use of essential oils dates back thousands of years, with ancient civilizations like the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans harnessing their power for medicinal and aromatic purposes. In traditional medicine systems such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, essential oils are prized for their ability to restore balance and harmony within the body. 


Benefits of Essential Oils: 

The benefits of essential oils are wide-ranging and diverse. Here are some common uses: 


  1. Aromatherapy: Essential oils are commonly used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and enhance mood. Scents like lavender, chamomile, and bergamot are known for their calming properties, making them ideal for unwinding after a long day.


  1. Skincare: Many essential oils possess powerful antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, making them valuable additions to skincare routines. Oils like tea tree, rosehip, and frankincense are prized for their ability to soothe irritation, fight acne, and promote youthful-looking skin.


  1. Respiratory Support: Eucalyptus, peppermint, and tea tree oils are often used to support respiratory health. Inhalation of these oils can help clear congestion, ease breathing, and relieve symptoms of coughs and colds.


  1. Pain Relief: Certain essential oils, such as peppermint and lavender, exhibit analgesic properties, making them effective natural remedies for pain relief. Whether applied topically or used in massage blends, these oils can help alleviate headaches, muscle soreness, and menstrual cramps.



The sheer amount of plant matter required to obtain even just 10mls of oil is staggering. For example, it takes 40 to 60 rosebuds to produce a single drop of oil. of the beautiful Rose Otto oil.  It takes nearly eight million jasmine blossoms to produce just over 0.9kgms of oil. Plus the fact that most essential oils are sourced from areas of the world where workers rights are not regarded, furthermore due to the high volume required, quite often these essential oils are watered down or incredibly expensive. Oils such as Indian Sandalwood, Agarwood and Frankincense are so popular now that they are unsustainably produced from dwindling resources - see post here about Frankincense.  



Essential oils are volatile, they can be dangerous. They should never be put directly onto the skin. Actually, only one can – and that is Lavender, but it should still be used with caution. Any business that handles Essential oils should be absolutely aware of IFRA, the International Fragrance Association – details here. 


BUT (again) 

It’s not all bad news. Here at White Cloud, the essential oils that are predominantly used are New Zealand grown Lavender, Manuka, Orange and Lemon. The Geranium is ethically sourced from a registered Fair Trade organisation in India, ensuring fair pay for the workers who grow the flowers. And, research is always going on in the background to ensure you are always up to date with these precious oils and ingredients.  

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