The Soapmaker’s Guide to Online Marketing ~ Now in Paperback!

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2017

optimized-the_soapmakers_guide_to_online_marketing_kindleThe Soapmaker’s Guide to Online Marketing was first published in 2013. I’ve taken the time to update and expand this helpful book for those of you who are selling [or thinking about selling] bath and body products online. Back in 2004, I opened up my store, EverythingShea.com. I started off knowing very little about how to get people to visit my little website. I’m sharing what I’ve learned with anyone who wishes to get more customers. 

Best of all, this book is still the same low price it was when it first was published in June 2013. However, one thing’s changed — there finally is a paperback edition!

Much of the information in this book is also helpful for those creative people who sell other types of arts and crafts online.

♦♦♦

Soapmakers and crafters, learn how to grow your online presence! “The Soapmaker’s Guide to Online Marketing is packed with detailed information on designing, building, and promoting your website. Learn how to write a press release. Get loads of free and low cost promotional ideas. Attract customers by blogging, making videos, and showing off enticing photos of your soaps and/or other bath and body products. Written by the author of “The Joy of Melt and Pour Soap Crafting” and more than a dozen other soap crafting books.

You’ll get:

♦ Successful SEO tips
♦ Free online and offline website promotion tips
♦ Helpful photo guidelines
♦ Video ideas
♦ 100+ updated links
♦ Getting product reviews
♦ Set up your work/crafting area
♦ Wholesaling and labeling guidelines
♦ Avoiding online fraud
♦ Tips on creating your product line
♦ Basic soap recipes
♦ More than 30 resources

Check out my new book trailer!

the_soapmakers_guide_to_online_marketing

Where to buy links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Soapmakers-Guide-Online-Marketing-ebook/dp/B00D5YX9IS
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Soapmakers-Guide-Online-Marketing-ebook/dp/B00D5YX9IS
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-soapmakers-guide-to-online-marketing-lisa-maliga/1115476903?ean=9781540862976
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id804457652
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-soapmaker-s-guide-to-online-marketing-3
Scribd: https://www.scribd.com/book/230453462/The-Soapmaker-s-Guide-to-Online-Marketing
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/322570

 

An Excerpt from “Liquid African Black Soap Recipes for Skin and Hair”

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2016

ABSliquidafricanblacksoaprecipes3DMy newest eBook, Liquid African Black Soap Recipes for Skin and Hair has just been released this month and is free on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble NOOK, Kobo, iTunes, Scribd, Smashwords and on other online stores. 

For the record, I’d like to state why an author of books on soap crafting and shampoo bars is actually writing about liquefying soap!

Why Liquid African Black Soap?

As I’ve written about shampoo bars and soap, it may seem unusual for me to write about liquefying soap. However, African black soap isn’t your ordinary bar soap. It’s the softest soap I’ve ever used. In fact, I’ve formed it into soap balls. However, by liquefying it you’ll find that it’s simpler to use as either a shampoo and/or a facial/body soap. You can apply the soap with a washcloth, bath pouf, sponge, sock, soap bag or loofah, depending on how much of a scrubby surface you want. I’ve found that a simple $1 bath pouf increases the lather of the liquefied soap and doubles as an effective skin exfoliator. While solid African black soap can work in a bath pouf, it’s easier and more economical to use it in liquid form. In the following recipes, I give approximate amounts for each 2-ounce size. The more African black soap you add, the less water, the thicker the resulting liquid soap.

I also like to change my shampoo bars for liquid African black soap every few weeks.

Here’s the official blurb:

Make your own liquid African black soap in minutes! Includes five easy recipes using natural ingredients. You also receive information about essential oils and where to buy links for African black soap and other healthy additives. “Liquid African Black Soap Recipes for Skin and Hair” makes a great companion book to “Nilotica [East African] Shea Body Butter Recipes [The Whipped Shea Butter Series], Book 1” and “How to Make Handmade Shampoo Bars.”

Available at the following online stores. This eBook is FREE.

Amazon: Liquid African Black Soap Recipes for Skin and Hair
Amazon UK: Liquid African  Black Soap Recipes for Skin and Hair 
Barnes & Noble NOOK: Liquid African  Black Soap Recipes for Skin and Hair
iTunes: Liquid African Black Soap Recipes for Skin and Hair
Kobo: Liquid African Black Soap Recipes for Skin and Hair
Scribd: Liquid African Black Soap Recipes for Skin and Hair
Smashwords: Liquid African Black Soap Recipes for Skin and Hair

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FREE Nilotica eBook 1/9 – 1/10/16

nilo3dBy Lisa Maliga, copyright 2015-2016

You can download this unique eBook FREE today and tomorrow! “Nilotica [East African] Shea Body Butter Recipes [The Whipped Shea Butter Series], Book 1” introduces you to shea butter that is incredibly soft and easy to apply. Nilotica shea butter is good for all skin types. As with my soap crafting books, I have made and tested each recipe and included several photos.

Amazon reader review excerpt“She states in the introduction how many years she’s been working with nut butters and it shows. Good information that is presented in clear language. She provides factual information on the properties of Nilotica Shea Butter.”

Learn the quickest and easiest way to whip Nilotica shea butter. Each recipe is easy to follow and includes the time it takes and amount it yields. Find out the secret to getting that incredibly light and airy texture. Nilotica [East African] Shea Body Butter Recipes [The Whipped Shea Butter Series], Book 1 is written by the author of Nuts About Shea Butter and How to Make Handmade Shampoo Bars.

This ebook also contains:

  • Original, tested step-by-step recipes
  • Aromatherapy and your skin
  • Recommended equipment
  • Supplier resources
  • Color photos
  • Special care and storage tips
  • A Kindle Unlimited Exclusive

Nilotica whipped shea butter is so lightweight it almost floats!

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Nilotica-East-African-Butter-Whipped-ebook/dp/B017WJCRT8

Amazon UK link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nilotica-East-African-Butter-Whipped-ebook/dp/B017WJCRT8

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What’s So Great About Nilotica Shea Butter?

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2015, 2016

Nilotica [East African] Shea Body Butter Recipes [The Whipped Shea Butter Series], Book 1 lisa maligaI took 178 photos over the span of three days. It’s what I do to make sure I get the right photo. Shea butter is very sensitive to heat and sunlight – two things that I needed to get photos of my star ingredient. A hot sunny day provided awesome lighting conditions but the melt threat was on red alert. Photographing shea butter at noon is akin to taking a photo of a bowl of ice cream. I found a sunny corner indoors but the light was too intense even after a nice improvised background.

Braving the 87 degree heat, I placed the two containers on top of a tray table. I got the shot, and now it’s on the cover of my latest eBook, Nilotica [East African] Shea Body Butter Recipes [The Whipped Shea Butter Series], Book 1.

Click images to enlarge. I spent quite a while making the recipes and taking the pictures. I tested the Nilotica shea butter. I tested it raw, right out of the container. I tested it midway through the whipping process and afterwards. Ever since I first tried it back in 2009, I adore Nilotica shea butter. And I hope you want to learn more about this marvelous and versatile nut butter.

Here’s the official blurb:

Learn the quickest and easiest way to whip Nilotica shea butter. Each recipe is easy to follow and includes the time it takes and amount it yields. Find out the secret to getting that incredibly light and airy texture. Nilotica [East African] Shea Body Butter Recipes [The Whipped Shea Butter Series], Book 1 is written by the author of Nuts About Shea Butter and How to Make Handmade Shampoo Bars.

niloticacover 004
Nice shea, not so nice lighting!

This ebook also contains:

* Original, tested step-by-step recipes
* Aromatherapy and your skin
* Recommended equipment
* Supplier resources
* Color photos
* Special care and storage tips

Nilotica whipped shea butter is so lightweight it almost floats!

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Nilotica-East-African-Butter-Whipped-ebook/dp/B017WJCRT8

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nilotica-East-African-Butter-Whipped-ebook/dp/B017WJCRT8

B&N NOOK: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/nilotica-east-african-shea-body-butter-recipes-lisa-maliga/1123394756
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1083060832
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/nilotica-east-african-shea-body-butter-recipes
Scribd: https://www.scribd.com/book/298861008/Nilotica-East-African-Shea-Body-Butter-Recipes-The-Whipped-Shea-Butter-Series-1
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/614536

Excerpt from an Amazon reader review: “She states in the introduction how many years she’s been working with nut butters and it shows. Good information that is presented in clear language. She provides factual information on the properties of Nilotica Shea Butter.” 

whipped nilotica shea butter
Whipped Nilotica Shea Butter — standing up to the test!

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Interview with a Soapmaker ~ Irena Marchu of Ginger’s Garden

Artisan Shaving Soap Natural Handmade Best
Artisan Shaving Soap Natural Handmade Best

Interviewed by Lisa Maliga, copyright 2015

I’m happy to introduce of Irena Marchu of Ginger’s Garden. Irena is a very experienced soap maker from Rancho Mirage, California, who makes handmade artisan soap. Her array of handmade products include: wet shave soaps, lip balms, lotions [made to order], body wash, body scrub and shower gels containing local ingredients, liquid soap, natural aftershave and natural perfumes.

[Click images to enlarge].

What prompted you to start making soap and/or bath & body products?
My mother and grandmother made soaps, herb infused oils and balms. I am following in their footsteps.

What types of soap do you craft? What types of bath & body products do you craft?

Natural Aftershave Cologne Bay Rom Lime Menthol Citrus Sterling
Natural Aftershave Cologne Bay Rum Lime Menthol Citrus Sterling

I make many types of handmade artisan soaps. This includes cold process soaps, cream soaps and shaving soaps.
My lotions are made with natural oils and butters which are beneficial to the skin.
I also make lip balms, liquid soaps, bubbling bath salts, body scrub made with local dates, men’s aftershave, Zodiac natural perfumes and gift baskets for any occasion.

When did you decide to sell your product[s]?
I’ve made soaps since 1969 and helped my mother sell at local markets. I started to sell professionally in 1991.

Do you sell your products at crafts fairs/markets, bed & breakfasts, stores, etc.?
I sell mostly online and through wholesale accounts.

Do you sell online? If so, what are the advantages or disadvantages?
Yes, I sell online at http://www.gingersgarden.com The advantage of selling online is I don’t need to take my products from place to place.

What is your favorite fragrance or essential oil? What are your most popular scents?
I love well aged, iron distilled Patchouli oil. My most popular scents are my own blends like Suede, Enigma and Amerikesh.

What soap and/or other bath & body crafting books have you read and been inspired by?
I got to meet Alicia Grosso at one of the Soapmaking Conventions. She has a lot of knowledge and her Soapmaking book is one of my favorites.
Kevin Dunn’s Scientific Soapmaking book has information that is not available anywhere else.
I refer to Essential Oil Safety book by Robert Tisserand when I’m making natural perfume blends.

What soap and/or other bath & body videos have inspired you?
When I have the time, I look at swirling videos on Youtube. They give me ideas on how I can make my soaps different.

Where do you get your packaging ideas?
I prefer to keep my packaging simple. My soaps are in boxes to protect them from fingers and dust. I want my packaging to look clean and professional.

What advice would you give to newbies?

ginger's garden soap
Ginger’s Garden Handmade Artisan soap

Anyone that’s just starting on their soapmaking journey needs to read and research, use a lye calculator, know what each oil and butter brings to the table and follow all the safety guidelines. When it comes to handmade artisan soaps, there is no shortcut to making it safely and letting the soaps cure properly.

Do you have any funny anecdotes about unusual customers?
At one of my markets, I had a boy take a bite out of one of my soaps as he thought it was cheese. His facial expression was priceless. One older man took a bite at one of my soap samples as he thought it was a brownie. He quickly realized it wasn’t.

How did you come up with your company’s name?
My middle name is Ginger and I love gardens. That’s how my business name of Ginger’s Garden came about.

IMLotion green cucumber
Ginger’s Garden Lotion

http://www.gingersgarden.com
https://www.facebook.com/soapbuddy

Happy Birthday Melt and Pour Soap Recipes ~ New eBook + Excerpt

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2015

happy birthday melt and pour soap recipes lisa maliga ebookSay Happy Birthday with hand crafted soap! This unique book contains eight original recipes for all budgets along with melt and pour information and birthday soap presentation tips. Includes 30+ color photos. This eBook contains:

~ Original, tested recipes

~ Photographs of all soap recipes

~ Packaging and labeling ideas

~ Melt and pour soap base facts and tips

~ Online supplier links

INTRODUCTION

Do you know of someone that will be celebrating a birthday soon? Have you picked out a present for them? Are you a creative individual who enjoys making gifts for others? If so, now you can make memorable hand crafted gifts for friends and family. A gift that will be longer lasting than a birthday cake or cupcake – and just as nice looking! A gift that contains no calories! Handmade soaps are easy to make in an array of colors, shapes, and scents. Custom make a gift that will be remembered well after the celebrant’s birthday.  

Best of all, the soap recipes you’ll read about in Happy Birthday Melt and Pour Soap Recipes are easy to make. They are also designed for all budgets and you may already have the molds and other ingredients available in your kitchen. While the main ingredient, melt and pour soap base, can be found in many crafts and hobbies stores, there are several online places where you can shop for your soap, fragrance, colorant, molds and labels and packaging. Additionally, you can find most of your packaging in discount stores and supermarkets.

LINKS: 

Amazon, Amazon UK, B&N NOOKKobo, Scribd

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Rooibos Tea and Pink Kaolin Shampoo Bar Recipe ~ New eBook + Excerpt

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2015

Discover how to craft rebatch/hand-milled soap base into a unique and versatile shampoo bar for most hair types. Also includes a recipe for Rooibos tea and apple cider vinegar hair rinse.

Rooibos Tea and Pink Kaolin Shampoo Bar RecipeThis ebook began as a blog post…but it kept on getting longer and longer and longer! As I’m giving a recipe for a soap base that is somewhat different from melt and pour glycerin soap base, I feel as though more background information is needed.

I’m also seeing a plethora of nonfiction ebooks flooding online bookstores that, in some cases, are written by those with little to no knowledge of their topic. Therefore, for those of you who haven’t read any of my books or articles, I have actually made and sold shampoo bars, as well as soap and other bath and body products. I made my first bar of soap way back in 1998. I still maintain my Everything Shea Aromatic Creations website but no longer sell from it. If you look at it, www.everythingshea.com  you’ll see some of my articles about fine hair care, virgin coconut oil, moringa seed oil, etc. I believe in keeping people informed about natural soap and bath and body products.

For many years, I’ve successfully used shampoo bars. I formulate my own unique blends using hair-loving additives like jojoba oil, moringa seed oil, shea butter, goat’s milk, green tea, and Indian herbs such as amla, shikakai, and aritha. I’m not a cosmetologist. I don’t have a PhD in chemistry. I didn’t attend soapcrafting school. Everything I’ve learned has been done the old-fashioned way: by reading and by doing. I’ve invested loads of time and effort into learning all I can about crafting soap, whether it is glycerin melt and pour, or rebatching. When I first began working with rebatch soap, sometimes referred to as hand-milled soap, I wasn’t aware of the difference. I found out after waiting and waiting and waiting for it to melt in a one setting, one-quart crock-pot. Talk about slow! But that was how I began learning.

To pick up your  FREE copy of Rooibos Tea and Pink Kaolin Shampoo Bar Recipe, just visit these online book stores!
Amazon 
Amazon UK
B&N NOOK
Kobo

iTunes
Scribd
Smashwords

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Tantalizing Tuberose

By Lisa Maliga
Copyright 2002-2016

tuberose soap 12 easy melt and pour soap recipes
Tuberose Soap

Most flowers begin to lose their scent when they are picked. Not with tuberose! Like jasmine, the heady floral scent continues to produce itself. Tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa) is native to Central America. Aztec healers called it omixochitl (bone-flower) due to the waxy, luminous white flowers that actually contain anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. Tuberose may grow wild in Mexico and surrounding countries, but the cultivation of tuberose is usually in Morocco, the Comores Islands, France, Hawaii, South Africa, India, and China.

For the Gardener

The tuberose grows in elongated spikes that produce clusters of aromatic white flowers. They can be grown outdoors in warm climates. Tuberoses flourish in sunny places and bloom in late summer. After the last frost, plant your tuberoses in a sunny spot, beneath a couple of inches of soil and almost a foot apart. Fertilize and water regularly.

If you pot and grow tuberose indoors, keep at a temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Potted bulbs take about four to five months to bloom.

Tuberose in Hawaii

For millions of tourists who have been to Hawaii, the first scent to greet their nostrils has been that of the offered tuberose leis. The ancient tradition for a Hawaiian wedding is for the bride and groom to wear flowers. The groom wears a maile lei, which is a native Kauai plant, while the bride wears a wreath of tuberose and pikaki flowers around her head called a haku. The custom is still popular as a part of a time-honored Hawaiian wedding ceremony.

If you’re interested in purchasing tuberose bulbs from Hawaii, contact Paradise Flowers at: http://www.ParadiseFlowers.com. You can also order tuberose leis, bouquets, and hakus too!

The Power of Tuberose

The legend of the tuberose in France warns that young girls should not breathe in its fragrance after dark for fear that it would put them in a romantic mood. In India, tuberose is known as rat ki rani, (The Mistress of the Night) for similar reasons. In Ayurvedic medicine, attars are held in high esteem not only for their exquisite fragrance, but their healing properties. Tuberose is known to improve one’s capacity for emotional depth. By opening the crown chakra it improves psychic powers. Tuberose also amplifies artistic inspiration as it stimulates the creative right side of the brain. And it brings serenity to the mind and heart. Maybe these reasons are why tuberose essential oil is so expensive!

More expensive than most rose attars, pure tuberose essential oil is difficult to find. “If you want to be precise, there is no ‘essential oil’ of tuberose. The flowers won’t stand up to the high temperature of water/steam distillation. Therefore a solvent, usually hexane, is used. Solvent extracted oils are absolutes. Some aromatherapists will not use them, as they believe there are traces of the solvent in the oil, even if only on a vibrational level. I disagree with this in general, and use absolutes quite often, however, it is case by case, as I often will choose to use only distilled oils in a blend.” Trygve Harris, Enfleurage, New York City.

“But this is where phytol enters center stage…the product of the amazing Phytonics process, conceived and developed by Peter Wilde in England. Phytonics uses low pressure, involves no heat and uses a solvent which is recyclable; it produces an essential oil that requires no additional processing unlike other concretes and, remarkably, does not emit by-products that damage the endangered ozone layer.” Eva-Marie Lind, Dean of the Aromatherapy Department of the Australasian College of Herbal Studies.

Make Your Own Tuberose Soap

As listed above, you can buy tuberose online at Enfleurage. It’s available as a jojoba-based roll-on perfume and the pure absolute is sold in small sizes. However, if you want to make tuberose soap for only a few dollars, you can do so by using tuberose floral wax. If you’d like the recipe, check out my eBook 12 Easy Melt and Pour Soap Recipes.

Basic Aromatherapy, Part 3

photo of essential oils by lisa maligaBy Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2008-2017

Continued from Basic Aromatherapy, Part 1 and Basic Aromatherapy, Part 2

Aromatherapy In Your Environment

The following methods are for those of you who wish to be able to change the fragrance environment of a room, car, office, closet, drawer, etc. There are psychological benefits to entering a room that has the crisp aroma of citrus, or a subtle scent of fresh blooming flowers.

Aroma Lamps – Aroma lamps are either electric or operated by a tea light or votive candle. There is a small cup shaped portion that is usually made of glazed ceramic and holds a few ounces of water. However, other materials may include glass and stone. Warm or even hot water should be used; as that is less work the candle has to do. Only a few drops of essential oil are added to the water, thus making it ideal for costlier essential oils. Care should be taken to see that the water doesn’t boil away.

Atomizers – Requiring no heat, atomizers, sometimes referred to as nebulizers or nebulizing diffusers, disperse the essential oils on a revitalizing current of air as it passes through an intricately engineered blown glass chamber. This course naturally suspends and ionizes the oil into extremely fine molecules, causing them to remain suspended in the air for longer periods.

Many aromatherapist practitioners and others who utilize the finest essential oils choose atomizers. It’s important to be careful with the atomizers. Since there is a continuous mist emitted it should not be used for more than a few minutes at a time. Many of the models do have built-in timers to avoid any problems like overuse. Also, make sure that this is done in a clear area, away from furniture, [varnish can be worn off] wall hangings and other objects.

Candles – Candles create a more romantic ambiance and do double duty in helping disperse your preferred aroma[s] throughout a room. In the spirit of true aromatherapy, it’s advised to use beeswax, palm wax or soy wax candles as paraffin contains carcinogenic chemicals. Wicks should be trimmed, and the essential oils need to be added at the top of the candle, but never on the wick itself. You can add the essential oils after the candle has been lit and there’s a small pool of wax at the top of the candle. Don’t add the oils to the flame itself as oils can catch fire.

Diffusers – You can buy diffusers to plug into your car’s cigarette lighter, as you can also find those that plug into any wall socket. The atomizers suspend a fine mist of essential oils into the air for aromatherapy is the best method of using essential oils for therapeutic treatments. Many aromatherapists believe that this is the most effective method of enjoying the aromas.

Sachets – If you want your linens to smell clean and fresh, the addition of a smell sachet filled with your favorite aroma will create a pleasant smell whenever you open the drawer or closet. You can buy them already made, or make them yourself. Highly recommended would be a small muslin or organza bag filled with dried lavender buds and a few drops of lavender essential oil. Not only is lavender a universally pleasing aroma, it also serves as an all-natural way to keep moths away.

Carrier Oils:

The most common way to dilute a pure essential oil is with a cold-pressed carrier oil. Carrier oils allow the essential oil to slowly permeate the skin, protecting it from irritation. Jojoba, sesame, sweet almond, rose hip, refined rice bran, shea oil, wheatgerm, evening of primrose, grapeseed, kukui nut, sunflower, hazelnut, safflower, avocado or apricot kernel oils are commonly used. Several of the carrier oils can be combined and when essential oils are added, this makes for a very nutrient-rich bath oil.

Determining Quality of Essential Oils:

Read the label. If purchasing rosemary oil, for example, you would expect to see that name on the label. However, here are the four facts that you will find on any bottle of essential oil from a reputable supplier/company. 

1. Botanical/Latin name. In this case it would be Rosemarinus officinalis.

2. Part. What part of the plant has the essential oil been extracted from? For rosemary, that is the leaf.

3. Method of extraction. Is it an absolute, enfleurage, carbon dioxide [CO2], or has it been steam distilled? In this case it has been steam distilled.

4. Country of Origin. Rosemary comes from many different countries, such as Corsica, Spain, Morocco, Tunisia, and France. Location may make a sizable difference for many reasons such as climate, type of soil, high/low altitude, etc.

Aromatherapy isn’t government regulated. Products can claim to be “natural” when in fact distilled water is the only untainted ingredient. Any reputable retailer of essential oils will be very knowledgeable about their product and capable of proving its purity. They will and should be happy to answer your questions.

Basic Aromatherapy, Part 2

By Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2008-2014

Continued from Basic Aromatherapy, Part 1

photo of essential oils by lisa maligaBefore 1993, you wouldn’t have been able to find the word ‘aromatherapy’ listed in a dictionary even though this art/science has been effectively used for thousands of years. In fact, the word was invented in the 1920’s by a French chemist by the name of René-Maurice Gattefossé who studied the cosmetic properties of plants. He soon learned that plants contained organic antiseptic elements that worked better than inorganic antiseptics. His interest was further ignited when he there was an explosion in his laboratory; badly burning has hands. Immediately he poured lavender essential oil [one of the few essential oils that can be applied directly on the skin] on them and made the not so astonishing discovery that his hands healed quickly and with no scarring.

However, the usage of aromatic plants has been going on for thousands of years. From the civilizations of ancient Egypt, India, China, Greece, and Rome, floral and herbal oils have been used in many ways from flavoring food and beverages to being poured into baths and massaged into the body.

The Romans weren’t shy about employing scents. They inundated their baths and banquets with floral concoctions from scattering rose petals on floors to anointing their bodies with floral perfumes. After bathing their bodies were massaged with aromatic oils. Their beds and clothing, bodies and hair were scented with perfumes. Even men scented themselves with balsam and cinnamon oils.

The natural healing system of ayurveda, meaning “science of life” was established approximately 4000 years ago in the Himalayan region. Plants and all their properties are a relevant part of ayurvedic medicine that continues to be practiced where it started and has now spread around the world.

Hippocrates is known as the “father of medicine”, and this Greek doctor was a noted advocate for the usage of essential oils, especially in the form of daily baths and massages. Resins of myrrh and oils of cinnamon were often applied to a patient to soothe inner and outer complaints.

Essential Oils vs. Fragrance Oils:

Pure, unadulterated essential oils derived from the leaves, roots, seeds, flowers or bark of a plant or tree are the source extracted directly from nature via a form of steam distillation. When you first begin working with essential oils, take care in handling them. Lavender essential oil is quite safe for the skin, as is tea tree, but some people can have allergic reactions to them. When handling essential oils, it’s wise to do a skin test. Simply apply a tiny amount on your wrist, and if there’s no reaction within 24 hours you are safe. As these oils can be costly, you must take care that they’re always kept in a cobalt or amber colored glass bottle and stored in a cupboard [out of direct sunlight] and kept in a cool, dry place. When you buy an oil, write the date on the vial. Most essential oils can last from one to three years. Citrus oils have a shelf life ranging from six months to less than two years. Essential oils can last for several years, but the freshness disappears. There are some exceptions with the darker colored, “heavier” oils or resins. Patchouli Oil is known to improve with age.

You should know about fragrance oils and what they really are. I visited an e-group for soapmakers and when someone asked for a company where they could purchase essential oils, a person gave the name of a company that sold only fragrance oils! Obviously, to this uninformed person, the terms are interchangeable. They’re not. Fragrance oils are synthesized in a laboratory. They are sometimes referred to as “nature identical.” If you’re looking for an inexpensive scent, then fragrance oils fit the bill. But fragrance oils are not therapeutic grade essential oils and never will be.

From personal experience, I’ve learned that sniffing an essential oil right from the bottle and diluting it with a carrier oil such as sweet almond or jojoba, makes a huge difference. I smelled my favorite, vanilla absolute, a thick balsamic oil derived from the pod of the vanilla plant. I determined that the first whiff brought out the usual vanilla scent I was accustomed to, but a millisecond later there was a stronger, harsher scent. I then added a few drops to a bottle of sesame oil and the change was magnificent! I had the aroma I equated with the spicy-sweet scent of a dried vanilla bean pod. The carrier oil had combined perfectly with the essential oil!

You should always dilute essential oils in carrier oils when applying directly to the skin, or even in the bathtub. This is a necessary safety precaution. Essential oils are very strong and need to be diluted. Also, some essential oils [and fragrance oils] may smell good enough to drink, but are for EXTERNAL USE ONLY!

Basic Aromatherapy, Part 3