The Basic Aromatherapy Kit: tools and equipment

As you start out, you can make your kitchen equipment and utensils do double duty. Just make sure that you clean them out before either cooking or making your beauty concoctions!

 

If you think that you’ll be making more of your own beauty recipes, then it would be wise to start investing in equipment that will be used for that purpose alone. Check out what type of recipes you do the most, and what equipment you use, and start acquiring those.

 

Here’s a list of the basic tools of the trade that you’ll need. Take note that you don’t need all of these at the same time. 

 

For formulating

·         A variety of different-sized glass or ceramic bowls, preferably heat-resistant ones. You’ll use these to mix ingredients.

·         Measuring cups. Again, glass is preferred for its non-reactivity. The glass measuring cups are also easier to clean and read.

·         Measuring spoons. Don’t use silver, copper or aluminium spoons as they may react with certain ingredients.

·         Double broiler. Or a pot big enough to hold a medium-sized bowl or container standing on a trivet.

·         Tea kettle or electric kettle, for easy heating of water.

·         Wooden spoons for mixing.

·         Wire whisk. It helps mix ingredients more evenly and emulsify them.

·         Chopping board and knives, to chop up herbs and other ingredients.

·         Strainer. 

·         Glass droppers for adding essential oils (the oils may react with or melt plastic droppers).

·         Mortar and pestle.

·         Blender or food processor. Glass still works best.

·         Glass jars and bottles, to put your concoctions in. Make sure that they’re clean and sterilized, to prevent any contamination or molds growing.

·         Plastic bottles. Flip tops work well, and spray bottles can be of good use too.

·         Funnel, for easy pouring into bottles.   

 

For application

·         Large bowl or small basin, to use for steaming your face.

·         Medium-sized basin, or at least one big enough to soak your feet in.

·          Bath mitt, puff or sponge.

·         Natural bristle brush.

·         Pumice stone or skin file for exfoliating feet and other rough spots.

·         Shower cap, to intensify the effects of hair treatments. You can also use plastic wrap or a clean plastic bag.

·         Towels: oversized bath towels for your body, regular ones for your hair or for steaming, washcloths for compresses.

·         Disposable rubber gloves, for applying mud or other messy treatments.

·         Large plastic sheets—to stand over while applying messy treatments, to make cleanup easier.

 

Some notes

·         Sterilize plastic containers the same way you would baby bottles—boil gently in clean water for a few minutes, then lift out and drain (make sure that the plastic containers are heat resistant).

·         You can also sterilize glass containers and their lids in boiling water. Or you could stick the glass in a 100F oven for about 10 minutes.

·         When preparing your beauty concoctions, prepare your area first. Put away all food items. Make sure that you have access to clean hot and cold water, and a stove. Prep all ingredients and equipment.

·         Don’t use equipment with or tools made of silver, copper, aluminium, Teflon or cast iron—these could react with some of the ingredients. Use glass, stainless steel or enamel.

The Basic Aromatherapy Kit

The essential essential oils

The number of essential oils available—there are over a hundred of them—can be overwhelming. Each one has its own special properties, and each is potentially useful.

For beginners, here are the must-have essential oils for your aromatherapy kit. Take note that you shouldn’t apply essential oils directly to your skin, nor should you ingest them. Pregnant and lactating women also are advised to avoid certain oils.  In general, essential oils should not be used on babies and children, with very few exceptions.

  • Lavender. The ultimate in stress relief. It’s soothing and calming scent can also aid in sleep problems and muscle pains. Known to be antiseptic and antifungal as well, making it good for treatment of skin issues like acne, inflammation and wrinkles. Also aids in healing wounds and burns.
  • Tea tree. An all-around healing oil, tea tree is antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal. Great for treating acne and other inflammations and infections. Its strong lemony-woody scent may take getting used to, and it may cause skin irritations in some.
  • Rosemary. Not just for your pasta and lamb, rosemary is popular for boosting memory, relaxing and soothing tired, sore muscles, stimulating hair growth and relieving headaches, rheumatic and arthritic pain. You can also use it to freshen your breath—and freshen the room. It can also be used for respiratory problems: infections, coughs, colds, even asthma.
  • Chamomile. One of the most mild essential oils, chamomile can be used on children. It is soothing and calming, good for treating inflammations. It helps reduce pain in the muscles and joints, toothaches, headaches, sinusitis, and a whole lot more. There are two varieties: the Roman Chamomile and the German Chamomile; the former is more common.
  • Peppermint. Cool and refreshing come to mind when you think about peppermint. Aside from freshening your breath, it can also help soothe skin inflammations and itchiness and skin ailments like scabies, ringworm and acne. It helps relieve nasal congestions, headaches and muscle pains, and it also helps increase mental alertness.
  • Lemon. Lemon gives off a fresh, clean scent which can uplift your spirits. It’s useful for acne treatment, dealing with oily skin and hair and removing dead skin cells. It can even be used for cellulite. Since it has antiseptic properties, lemon can also be used to deal with minor cuts, wounds and burns.
  • Eucalyptus. This oil is mostly known for its power to ease respiratory ailments. But it’s also great for headaches and muscle pains. It also aids speed up healing of skin wounds and insect bites, soothe skin eruptions and clear congested skin.
  • Patchouli. One the lesser known essential oils patchouli is superb for skin. It stimulates the growth of new skin cells, thus speeding up healing and preventing scars. It also helps improve dry, cracked skin and also works to heal acne, sores, fungal infections and scalp problems. It’s said to be an aphrodisiac to boot.
  • Rose geranium. Known as the balancing oil, rose geranium helps balance the emotions and skin condition. It keeps skin supple and prevents it from becoming too dry or oily; helps in healing of wounds and sores; and can be used for edema, eczema, cellulite and bruises. It is also effective in repelling head lice.
  • Cedarwood. Almost masculine and woody in aroma, cedarwood can calm and soothe nerves. As a beauty component, it’s great for acne and oily skin, as well as treating dandruff. It can also work to ease respiratory problems, urinary tract infections, rheumatism and arthritis.

 

Improve Your Diet for Beauty and Health

The well-known saying about how we are what we eat holds more truth then you may realize. It is a scientific fact that your diet has a direct relation to your body’s chemistry and overall health.

Plus, diet is very important for keeping you looking your best with clear skin and healthy hair and nails. There are only advantages to maintaining a healthy diet, and becoming healthier and more naturally beautiful is not as hard as it may sound. By making a few tweaks to your daily routine, it will not be long before you see results.

Read more about eating healthy.

Eat Smarter, Stay Healthy, Lose Weight

Being beautiful is being healthy. By changing your eating habits, you can transition from eating high-calorie, sugar-laden fatty foods to enjoying lowfat, high-fiber meals and snacks. You’ll lose weight and keep it off, while reducing your risk for diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer and heart disease. And what more,
you’ll feel better and more energetic.

Of course, changing your eating habits can be difficult. It takes time, focus and a bit of work. The secret to success is to make changes gradually, one at a time.  Here are three simple goals you can begin doing right now to help make you healthy.

  1. Eat seven to twelve servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
    It is rich in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber. It’s healthy, filling and naturally low in calories and fat. Remember to increase intake gradually. Too much fiber too soon can make you feel bloated.
  2. Consume eight glasses of water daily.
    Since you’ll get some water from food, you can drink at least six glasses of water. You’ll need this much to stay hydrated, maintain energy and sustain your metabolism. You need to be hydrated to be able to exercise.
  3. Use lowfat cooking techniques.
    Avoid frying and sauteing in oil or butter. Instead, steam, bake, grill, stir-fry, braise or poach.

As you change your eating habit, it would also help if you keep a food log to keep track of your progress. It will help you figure out when or why you’re overeating. It will help you focus on small, concrete, realistic goals like eat five fruits every day this week. You can also use your food log to monitor how you’re feeling on your journey to better
eating habits.

With this simple goals and steps, eating more healthfully will become a habit.

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