Hair treatments / scalp tonics
Many hair conditions such as dryness, excessive grease, or dandruff will respond to aromatherapy using specific recipes of essential oils diluted in a nourishing base oil. For instance, 60 drops of an essential oil diluted in 100 mls of base oil (such as olive or sweet almond) will make a wonderful conditioning treatment. Simply rub the oils thoroughly into the scalp, then wrap the hair in warm towels and allow the oil to penetrate the hair and the scalp for an hour or two. The choice of oil depends of course upon the desired effect : chamomile and rosemary, for instance, will condition and promote healthy hair growth, bergamot and tea tree are helpful in dandruff control whilst lavender has repellent qualities which will deter lice and fleas.
Face creams, oils and lotions
For the face, essential oils should be mixed with base oils in much the same way as for massage, the main difference being that more nourishing oils such as apricot kernel and avocado should be used in preference to ordinary vegetable oils. (It should be noted that avocado is a fairly heavy oil and its use is best re served for dry skin.) Essential oils can also be added to a non-perfumed cold cream or lotion and used for problem complexions.
Most essential oils have antiseptic properties and can be used to treat infective skin conditions. Certain oils (such as rose and neroli) and anti-inflammatory and have a soothing effect, whereas sandal wood is useful in the treatment of superficial broken veins. Rose and neroli are also excellent for care of mature skin. For dry creaked skin, the addition of wheatgerm and avocado oil (with their high vitamin E content) to preparations will relieve the condition.
In general, aromatherapy can improve the skin by encouraging toxin removal, stimulating cell growth and renewal and improving circulation. A gentle circular massage with the tips of the fingers should be used on the face, and special care must be taken not to stretch or drag the delicate skin around the eye area.
Flower waters constitute a refreshing and soothing aid in the treatment and prevention of skin conditions such as eczema and acne and can be easily prepared at home. Simply add around 20 drops of essential oil to an amber glass bottle containing 100 mls of spring water, then leave it to stand in a dark place for a few days. Filter the water through some coffee or similar filter paper, then apply to the skin as required using a cotton wool pad.