Essential oils have long been an integral part of human life.
Derived from the odoriferous part of plants, these highly aromatic oils have been used to restore vitality to the body and enhance health and appearance.
Arabs first extracted essential oils from plants about the 10th century and used them for medicinal purposes, and the Crusades saw them introduced to Europe.
Today pure essential oils are used for natural skin care products, and their qualities are ideal for cleansing, toning and moisturising skin.
Certain oils can nourish newly-formed cells, while others help to stimulate the cell renewal process, while at the same time prevent congestion of the eliminative process of the skin.
This expedites the removal of toxins, improves circulation, and helps to calm sensitive and damaged skin. However, a holistic approach, which includes regular exercise and a good diet, is also essential to keep skin soft and supple.
A daily cleansing routine is the first and single most important steps to facial care.
The following cleanser will not only cleanse, but nourish skin at the same time, and is suitable for normal and disturbed skin. Blend 50 millilitres of jojoba oil, and 40 millilitres of almond oil, 10 millilitres of wheat germ oil and 10 drops of lavender oil, adding the lavender oil last.
Store in an airtight, amber-coloured glass bottle, and always shake well before use. Pour a little of the oil into the palm of one hand and warm by rubbing the palms together, then smooth over the entire face and neck and then lightly massage into the skin with, circular movements. Wipe all traces of the lotion with a flannel wrung out in hand-hot water, rinsing at least twice more in hot water. When all traces of oil have been removed, splash the skin with cold water and pat dry.
The next step is to tone the skin. Tonics stimulate the circulation, reduce oiliness, help to refine the pores and skin's texture, and ensure the removal of any residue left from a cleansing lotion.
An all-purpose skin tonic can be made by mixing in an airtight, amber-coloured glass bottle 25 millilitres of witch hazel, 75 millilitres of rose water and one teaspoon of cider vinegar with two drops of juniper oil and one drop each of lime and grapefruit oils.
Cleansing and toning tend to dry facial skin slightly, removing some natural oils. A moisturiser will help to replace these, keeping your skin supple and protecting it against moisture loss damage, dirt and grime.
This moisturiser is light and gentle and suitable for all skin types. Combine 40 millilitres of rose water, 30 millilitres of glycerine and 10 millilitres of apricot kernel oil, shaking to mix, and store in an airtight, amber-coloured glass bottle. Massage gently into facial skin, leave for a few minutes, then wipe off any excess oil with a soft, clean cloth.