How we get them
Essential oils are secreted by special oil glands in some plants. They're extracted through distillation and the resulting oil is highly concentrated. Essential oils can be extracted from various parts of the plant: leaves, flowers, bark, sap/resin, root, etc. Not all plants produce essential oils.
The scent of essential oils can be classified by tone - top, middle, or base. Lemon, orange, and tea tree oils are top notes. Their molecules are very tiny and they diffuse quickly. Firs, cedars, and frankincense are base notes. Their molecules are heavier and linger. Lavender, marjoram, and rosemary are somewhere in the middle. When blending, it's helpful to consider combining different tones. The tones can also give you an idea of the shelf life of the oil - top notes expire the quickest while base notes last longer and grow better over the years.
The instructor told us that it's very important to vary the essential oils that you use. She said that using the same oil all the time can actually lead to sensitivity to it. She recommended varying the oils that we use. I kind of discovered this as I've started using oils. I use frankincense and ylang ylang many evenings, but sometimes I don't feel like using any and other times I'd rather use the mermaid blend, marjoram, or something else. I guess my system knows what it needs?
Essential oils won't react negatively if they're combined together, so it's safe to blend them. Just remember to consider the properties of each one and preview the combined scent by holding multiple bottles at once and seeing how they smell together.
Items and Uses
Inhaler: Plastic container with a cotton insert that holds the oil. We used # drops of essential oil. I put Frankincense and Spikenard in mine to help with over-thinking.
Handsoap: We filled a 1 oz bottle with unscented hand soap and included 10 drops of essential oil. I put 5 drops of Siberian Fir, 4 of Black Pepper, and 1 drop of Lemon oil in mine for a refreshing and cleansing soap.
Spray: We filled a 2 oz bottle with distilled water, 16 drops of oil, and a few drops of vodka to help the oil and water blend. We added the vodka first, then half of the water, the oil, and then the rest of the water. I used 10 drops of Sweet Orange, 5 of Black Pepper, and 1 drop of Lavender for a refreshing, energizing air spray. I've been using it at the office :)
Lotion: We filled a 1 oz bottle with jojoba oil and added 10 drops of essential oil. I didn't know what other blends to try so I used Tea Tree Oil, Lemon, and Lavender. It's a citrusy, bright scent. The instructor recommended massaging it at the lymph nodes since it has such strong anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
Even though chamomile is said to be calming and good for the stomach, I really didn't like the way that it smelled. I did like the peppermint that the instructor was diffusing in her kitchen while we met, but I didn't find anything that I wanted to combine with it. I'm thinking of some ideas now, though.
I really liked the scent of the fir, black pepper, and sweet orange. I wasn't as fond of the tea tree oil, but it did strike me as something that I want to explore in the future. It has a lot of medicinal qualities. Also, while we didn't use Vetiver in the workshop, the instructor let me smell it and I loved it! Such a soothing, deep smell. I want to get some later on, but it looks like it's one of the more expensive oils.
The workshop was provided by Sunset Essentials