And by secret, I mean it’s no secret that scent can affect your mood.
Numerous studies have shown that certain scents evoke specific responses in the body.
A 2005 Oxford University study confirmed what aromatherapy practitioners have known for years; citrus scents are stimulating while vanilla has a relaxing effect. This is only the beginning. Every scent has its own unique properties and benefits.
To access those benefits, I utilize essential oils.
The term “essential oil” is a contraction of quintessential oil, which was believed to be the spirit or life force of a plant. These oils can be extracted and are highly concentrated. It is important to note that these oils should not be applied directly to the skin. Also, if allergies are a concern, you may want to consult a physician.
Generally safe to use, you can purchase essential oils or natural blends to suit your needs. While there are dozens of essential oils out there, these five are some of the most common.
Lavender: Known for its calming properties, lavender is a great choice for bath oils and pillow mists. The scent can help you relax after a long day and is believed to aid sleep.
Peppermint: One of my personal favorites, this scent is believed to help keep you energized, alert and focused. It is known to be refreshing, and I often use it as a mid-day boost.
Cinnamon: Another mental stimulant, this scent lacks the physical energy boost peppermint may provide. It is however a great tool for improving concentration and can be comforting. Use this when studying or working on difficult projects.
Rose: This sweet smelling oil is said to be uplifting and is often used in aphrodisiacs. Rose is ideal for date night perfumes and blends well in body lotions.
Tea Tree: Found frequently in colognes or aftershaves, this scent is believed to be purifying. It is also a stimulant and has antimicrobial properties.
Now that you know what you can use essential oils for, how can you use them? Your best bet is to buy natural sprays, already safely diluted. You can find a decent selection of affordable priced perfumes and creams online and in stores at natural retailers. Pure essential oils will often be more expensive, but you will only need several drops to create your own concoctions. You can mix your essential oils with natural ingredients such as coconut oil or aloe vera to make moisturizing salves and witch hazel for linen and room sprays.
If you’re the D.I.Y. type but aren’t sure where to start, consider giving my secret (until today) recipe a try. I constantly get compliments on my solid scent, which I call “Rose Lime Lift.” It is light, sweet and never fails to lift my spirits. It is also incredibly easy to make.
You will need:
- Rose essential oil
- Lime essential oil
- A carrier oil (Jojoba, Olive)
- A small mixing bowl
- A small tin to store your scent (15 ml)
- A heat source (double boiler)
First, heat six milliliters of your beeswax over a double boiler. When the beeswax is nearly melted, add six milliliters of your carrier oil. Mix together until fully melted and then remove from heat. You’ll need to act quickly as the mixture will harden. Pour your blend into a mixing bowl and add six drops of rose essential oil and three drops of lime essential oil. Blend together thoroughly and pour into your tin.
I hope you will enjoy the scent as much as I do.
Author: Kristen Koennemann
Assistant Editor: Aisling MacAteer / Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: From Hieu La Voce on Flickr