Homemade organic body care is one of the best ways to avoid the toxic ingredients found in most store-bought body care products. That said, most homemade body care products have essential oils in them, and just because you made it at home, doesn’t make the product safe. Essential oils aren’t for everyone, so before you use them, read the following safety and purchasing tips.
Organic essential oil safety tips:
- Just so I’m not having to write “Organic” nine million times, that’s what I mean when I say essential oil below. There’s no reason on earth not to purchase certified organic essential oils. Organic essential oils are readily available and a better, more eco-friendly choice than conventional. Below, I’ll list some places that carry certified organic essential oils.
- All essential oils must be diluted in a carrier oil (usually called the base oil in recipes). I like sweet almond oil as a carrier but if you’re allergic to nuts try apricot oil instead. Look for a super light carrier oil that won’t clog your pores. In a pinch you can use olive oil as a carrier oil. In fact, I prefer olive oil for some sugar scrubs.
- NEVER use basic cooking oils in place of a real base oil (you’re not a turkey that needs basting!). Cooking oils include: canola, corn and so on. These aren’t as good for your skin and frankly are pretty slimy feeling.
- Before using essential oils in a homemade beauty product be sure to read Homemade Organic Beauty Safety Basics to learn about dab tests. No matter the essential oil you’re using, a dab test is a must-do step.
- The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) recommends that you never ingest essential oils when another application such as massage is just as appropriate. Various homemade personal care recipes, some that include essential oils, call for you to use the mixture as a mouth rinse – say for example a mixture for a sore throat or breath freshener. I personally don’t suggest putting essential oils in your mouth unless an expert in holistic essential oil therapy discusses it with you first.
- Keep oils out of the reach of children. My son, and most other kids I’ve met LOVE how essential oils smell. Some smell just like fresh fruit or candy. Kids might think it’d rock to drink a bunch, and that’s not safe. Treat essential oils like any other medication or household product, and call poison control if your child gets a hold of some.
Organic essential oil buying tips:
- Essential oils can be therapeutic. For example as a treatment for dry skin, acne or another body issue. However, the only time an essential oil is truly therapeutic is if it’s a pure essential oil. There are also perfume-minded essential oils on the market – which you don’t want. These can be weird blends and usually aren’t pure. You can easily tell if you’re getting a pure oil based on the oil price. For example, various pure essential oils go for very different prices. Orange, lavender, peppermint and geranium oils for example, differ widely in cost. If you see a shelf of essential oils that are all priced $9.99 skip it because they’re not pure. These are likely just fragrances with essential oils in them, not pure essential oils.
- Reputable sellers will always bottle essential oils in dark glass to protect the essential oil from sunlight. Sunlight degrades an essential oil’s therapeutic properties.
- Most pure essential oils aren’t actually all that oily – I know weird right? When shopping, take blotter paper with you. Most pure oils will quickly evaporate when dropped onto a bit of blotting paper, while a fragrance (not-pure, fake oil) tends to leave an oily mark.
Where to buy real, pure organic essential oil:
- Frontier Natural Products Co-op carries a wide array of pure and organic essential oils from Aura Cacia – BUT read your labels. Aura Cacia also sells non-organic oils.
- Mountain Rose Herbs has one of the nations largest selections of certified organic essential oils along with massage oils and much, much more.
- From Nature With Love offers a nice selection of certified organic essential oils, CO2 extracts, vegetable oils (fixed/carrier oils), butters, hydrosols and other certified organic ingredients you can use for skin care, hair care and other applications.
- Starwest Botanicals currently offers 22 organic essential oils in the most popular varieties, such as lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, sweet orange and more. They also offer aromatherapy accessories and aromatherapy diffusers along with carrier massage oils.
- Bramble Berry has many certified organic essential oils and even some kits.
- Earth Mama Angel Baby sells products made with certified organic essential oils – if making your own body care products seem daunting.
Great books about essential oils:
- My favorite essential oil book is The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: Over 600 Natural, Non-Toxic and Fragrant Recipes to Create Health – Beauty – a Safe Home Environment but there are some other nice ones too. Really, if you get this one, you won’t need another though.
- The Aromatherapy Bible: The Definitive Guide to Using Essential Oils (… Bible)
- The Essential Oils Book: Creating Personal Blends for Mind & Body
- Aromatherapy: An A-Z: The Most Comprehensive Guide to Aromatherapy Ever Published
- TONS of essential oil safety tips from the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy – specifically see pregnancy and baby essential oil safety if you’re a parent (or soon-to-be parent).
- Are Essential Oils Safe?
- Herbal educational programs