Sniffing for alternatives to health-hazardous artificial fragrances? Try these do-it-yourself natural solutions for mood-boosting sprays, relaxing bath salts, deodorants, and other mixtures to use in the bath and around the home. You'll be smelling sweet in no time.
Coaxed from leaves, roots, tree bark, fruit peels, or flower petals, essential oils carry a plant's very life force. Combined in different ways, these highly concentrated oils contain potent natural compounds that can be used for beauty and pampering, for perfumes and aromatherapy, and for scenting the air we breathe.
To make your own solutions, buy the oils themselves and try our do-it-yourself suggestions you'll find on the following slides. When working directly with essential oils, remember that a little goes a long way, and don't apply them directly to the skin.
This botanical calms, relaxes, and balances emotions. In a mister, add 5 to 10 drops of essential oil to 1 ounce of water and spray pillows and sheets for a good night's sleep.
This oil carries the sweet scent of the orange blossom and helps mitigate stress, anxiety, and insomnia. Add 5 to 10 drops of it to 1 ounce of unscented body lotion.
A warm floral scent that acts to gently strengthen the nervous system, it provides a soothing soak. Add 5 to 10 drops essential oil to 1 ounce of almond oil and add to a warm bath.
An earthy scent that's said to soothe the emotions and focus the mind, it is the base of an uplifting massage oil made of 5 to 10 drops essential oil to 1 ounce of grapeseed oil.
Most famous for flavoring Earl Grey tea, this scent balances and gently uplifts the mind and emotions. In your morning shower, add 1 or 2 drops of essential oil to a hot, wet washcloth. Inhale the aroma for an energy boost.
Mix a few drops of this invigorating, woodsy scent with grapefruit essential oil for a fresh-smelling room mister.
These essential-oil mists are the simplest way to experience aromatherapy. Spray the air around you, mist your hair and skin, or spritz them on linens to leave a light scent. (They won't stain.) Whether you're stressed or sluggish, one of these mists will brighten your mood.
For a pick-me-up, try a combination of 1 drop eucalyptus, 2 drops geranium, and 3 drops peppermint essential oils. To calm down, try 2 drops bergamot, 1 drop frankincense, and 3 drops lavender essential oils.
To make the sprays, fill a clean, dry mini spray bottle with 4 ounces of pure distilled water. Using a dropper, carefully put the selected blend of essential oils directly into the spray bottle. Tightly close the bottle and shake vigorously to combine. Be sure to shake it before each use, as the water and essential oils tend to separate.
Conventional B.O. busters may keep you from sweating, but they may come with health risks. Aluminum salts, which account for the sweat-blocking ability in antiperspirants, can increase the risk of cancerous cells and possibly play a role in the development of the disease.
Parabens, which are used as preservatives, can behave like a weak form of estrogen -- and high estrogen levels over long periods of time may be linked to breast cancer risk. Some studies show that the chemical triclosan, used as an antibacterial, could react with chlorinated water to produce chloroform, a probable human carcinogen. Talc, likewise, may pose a cancer risk.
See the following slides for natural, DIY deodorant alternatives.
It's not known how zinc zaps body odor, but the mineral's immune-stimulating effects may help keep bacteria in check. Take 30 mg in supplement form or up your intake of food sources like shellfish and legumes. If you take a supplement, also take 1 mg copper (present in a multivitamin).
Tea Tree Oil
Incredibly potent, this essential oil is packed with antibacterial compounds. Mix a couple of drops of tea tree oil with a teaspoon of almond oil and rub onto your armpits. Since tea tree oil irritates some people's skin, test a patch on the inside of your forearm before using the blend on your underarms.
A nice bath can be relaxing and lend your body a subtle scent. To keep your skin soft, use gentle products, and don't spend too long in the tub; keep your steep to 10 minutes or less. When you step out, pat your skin dry and apply a thick moisturizer or body oil to seal the water into your skin.
Combine 4 cups sea salt, 1 cup Epsom salts, and 1 cup baking soda. Mix 1 cup of dry mixture with 3/4 teaspoon bergamot or grapefruit essential oil. Add it to rest and mix. Add 3/4 cup dried or citrus rinds or rose or calendula petals.
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