Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Lavender Essential Oil - All That and More


Before I started working with essential oils in earnest, I wasn't the biggest fan of the scent of lavender. It seemed a bit too 'clean' and 'soap-like'.

But that was then.

After working with it and becoming familiar with what lavender has to offer, my perception changed dramatically.

A recent article with new study results inspired me to revisit lavender and touch on some of the many uses of this wonderful essential oil. We'll get to the study in a minute, first let's get reacquainted with this wonderful plant.

Start Here
Essential oil beginners can easily feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choices available. Because every purchase is an investment, it's hard to know what to begin with.

Back in the day, I was recommended to include lavender (INCI: lavandula angustifolia) in my starter kit.

Lavender is among the safest of essential oils and is tolerated by even the most sensitive skin. It blends with most other essential oils – it's the ideal place to start!

Everything and The Kitchen Sink
Lavender has so many properties that it is useful for just about everything. I quickly fell in love with its versatility and it wasn't long before I was ordering the large sized (100ml) bottle. A 'normal' sized bottle holds about 10-15 ml.

Lavender's Properties
  • sedative 
  • antibacterial 
  • analgesic
  • antisceptic
  • disinfectant
  • nervine
  • deodorant
  • diuretic
What does all this mean? It means lavender can do just about everything but make coffee. Stay tuned for a 'scratch the surface' list of some of its many uses.

Mix and Match Magic

Although it functions beautifully on is own, lavender is often mixed with other essential oils to obtain a synergistic effect. I have worked with it in countless combinations and – depending on what it is partnered with – lavender can
  • disappear into the background – undetectable to the nose
  • stand front and center as the dominant scent
  • help bend a mixture in a certain scent direction
  • anchor other oils in a blend 
  • act as a bridge between some oils that don't normally 'like' each other

Multiple Choice
There are several lavendera to choose from. Lavender is produced in different parts of the world, but they all have very similar characteristics.

Provence lavender (lavendula angustifolia)
Lavender Grosso (lavendula angustifolia)
Lavender fine population (grown in high altitudes) (lavendula angustifolia)
Bulgarian lavender  (lavendula angustifolia)
Super (or hybrid) lavender (lavendula bumati)

How to choose? I started with one and worked my way through the list. There are differences, and as you get to know them, you will develop favorites. I am particularly fond of the French-grown lavenders, and will spare nothing when ordering lavender.

Which brings us to price: lavender is very pocketbook friendly – even the priciest lavender essential oil won't break a budget.


Manufactured Cosmetics
In commercially made cosmetics, lavender is an ideal (and popular) addition to soaps, foot creams, aftershave, baby products, powders, skin tonics, face oils, 'sports' serums, body lotions, soothing balms, and more.

Home Uses
But even if you're not manufacturing cosmetics, having a small bottle of lavender essential oil in the house is incredibly useful. It can de added to some finished products, but there are many many more uses.

A few ways to use lavender essential oil:
  • mix 2-3 drops into a tablespoon of aloe vera gel for a calming, soothing sunburn soother
  • mix 1-2 drops into a teaspoon of foot cream for extra anti-fungal and deodorizing action
  • add 2-3 drops to a DIY clay face mask
  • add 2 drops to a tablespoon of almond oil for a soothing, relaxing massage oil that will also help relieve headaches if gently rubbed on the temples
  • add 2 drops to a teaspoon of ground rolled oats mixed with a teaspoon of clay, wet the mixture and use the resulting 'paste' as a gentle, exfoliating face cleanser
  • mix 4 drops with a tablespoon of almond oil and add to your bath

And there's more...


Try it as an air freshener: 

Before vacuuming, drip about 5-6 drops of lavender essential oil onto some tissue paper. Cut up the paper and vacuum up the pieces. Your house will have a gorgeous fresh smell by the time you have finished vacuuming. (This also works very well with lemon essential oil)

Try it as a linen spray:
Add 4 drops oil to 25 ml (one tablespoon) of demineralized water. Place in a spray bottle - shake and use as a room and/or linen spray. Note: because this is preservative-free it will not keep. Do not mix up more than you will use immediately.

Try it in the washing machine:
If you are a fan of soapnuts for laundry (it's ideal for silks and delicates), add 6-7 drops of lavender oil to your soapnuts pouch before dropping it into the machine. Learn about soapnuts here. Read what I learned about where not to use soapnuts in the laundry here.


The Chemical Part
Lavender essential oil is predominately terpines and ketones, and even though it is made up of many components, the primary ones are linalool and linalyl acetate. In Europe, there is a list of 26 ingredients that need to be declared on cosmetics labels if present in the product. Lavender contains 4 of these ingredients: citral, geraniol, linalool, and limonene.

The Study – What Science Says
Within the past 6 years there has been some speculation as to whether lavender essential oil was a possible hormone disruptor. Testing has been ongoing, and a study published earlier this year in the International Journal of Toxicology showed that lavender is not a hormone disruptor. Read and download the full article here.

If you want detailed info, essential oils expert Robert Tisserand outlines the implications of this study in clear and concise detail in this article.

Lavender is safe for use during pregnancy (Robert Tisserand)

A selection of LisaLise Products that include Lavender
Melt-in Body Frappé
Lavender & White Clay Cleanser
Lavender Roll-on Deodorant
Lavender Shampoo
Personal Blend Skin Drench & Tonic

4 comments:

Rikke said...

Tak for endnu en oplysende artikel :-)

Kh Rikke

Lise M Andersen said...

Og tak for dine søde ord Rikke :)

amanda said...

My favorite use for lavender is to spot treat acne. Just a drop or two, straight on the blemish, once or twice a day. If I can catch it early enough (and if I can leave it alone and not pick), the blemish will never fully form. It's kind of magic!

Lise M Andersen said...

HI Amanda - I have had great success with this method as well. I find applying with a cotton swab gives the needed precision (although it does waste a drop or two as I soak the swab before appyling)