Hello. If you have an account, please Sign In.

0800 999 2331 07769 339007

Blog

Christmas Treats & Crackers fillers

‘Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat
Please to put a penny in the old man’s hat;
If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do,
If you haven’t got a ha’penny then God bless you’

As the old nursery rhyme reminds us, the festive season is drawing near. For many of us this time of year is full of nostalgia - decorations, trees and food often trigger memories of childhood Christmases.

For my sister and I, Christmas was one of the rare occasions that our parents let us eat sweets, a huge treat! Candy canes, chocolate santas and boxes of chocolates (where, mysteriously, only coffee creams remain by Boxing Day) are still part of many people’s festive experience. To help you prepare for this year’s festivities we’ve devised some bath and body treats to conjure up nostalgic aromas of childhood sweets. Of course, favourite sweets vary between families, regions and countries, but these gift ideas make lovely gifts regardless of which sweetie aromas you grew up with. Christmas selection boxes have never smelt so good!

Fruitylicious Bath Bombs

Our fizzy bath bombs conjure-up memories of chewy, fruit sweets. This aroma takes me on a swift journey to the alleyway next to my house in the 1970s, illicitly chewing sweets that my mother certainly didn’t approve of. The uplifting citrus aromas of this blend are designed to bring an impish, child-like smile to your lips. Despite being a low dilution be aware that lime oil in particular is phototoxic. The usual guidelines are to avoid direct sunlight for at least 12 hours after using, though this shouldn’t pose a problem to Europeans in December. Many thanks to Aromatherapist friend Julie Lever for sharing her favourite nostalgic blend recipe with us.

Read More

Posted in November 2017

Spanish Sage

‘Cur moriatur homo cui Salvia crescit in horto’
Why should a man die whilst sage is growing in his garden
(Latin proverb)

‘Salvia’ is said to come from ‘salvere’ or to be saved, heal, to be well.

Sage has been valued over the centuries by many cultures for its medicinal and therapeutic uses and in modern time as a decorative and aromatic garden shrub.

In Spain, it is regarded as a ‘cure all’. It is believed to promote longevity, protect and cure against all infections including the plague. It has been used to treat rheumatism, digestive complaints, menstrual problems, nervous weakness and also to boost memory and cognitive responses ...

Read More

Posted in October 2017

Earth’s Treasures

I always mourn the passing of summer, my favourite season, so thank goodness that autumn is packed full of beauty to ease me through the seasonal change. One of my favourite sights right now are the many seed heads adorning gardens, parks and verges. As well as providing interesting textures, the seed heads of flowering plants often look stunning and – excitingly - carry the promise of next year’s growth and colour.

For aromatherapists, members of the Apiaceae family are always a particular joy to spot, their umbrella-like heads bulging with seeds at this time of year (this distinctive look gave this family their old name of Umbelliferae). In particular I often spot Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) growing in my local park. Ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks all used common fennel medicinally…..

Read More

Posted in September 2017

Skin Care - Creams versus Oils

I have always enjoyed using my hands, making and creating. Learning about vegetable oils and essential oils lead very quickly to the intense desire to make my own skin care.

Read More

Posted in August 2017

Queen of Hungary Water

I love a good story, particularly when aromatics are the heroines. The truth behind the legend of the Queen of Hungary's Water is long lost to the mists of time, leaving behind intriguing whispers of a beautiful queen, reclusive monks and magical alchemists.

Read More

Posted in July 2017

Fire & Water

The days are getting warmer. Soon, instead of reaching for long sleeves, we’ll be looking for ways to cool down. I love the summer so I can’t wait to feel hot sunshine on my skin, but even I can get too warm at times. This year I’m prepared with some watery aromatic remedies.

Read More

Posted in May 2017

Hayfever and Allergies

The joys of spring and summer are manifold. Here at Materia Aromatica we love watching the trees sprout new growth and humble garden plants transform into flowering beauties, providing nectar for happy bees and insects. Unfortunately though the pollen released by the season’s blooms and grasses spells misery for many of us.

Read More

Posted in April 2017

Juniper & New Year resolutions

January is the time for making life-transforming resolutions, and all too often breaking them before the month is out. Regardless of how much we’d like to try new things or break certain habits, we humans tend to be scared of change. Like most people, I break far more new year’s resolutions than I keep.

Read More

Posted in January 2017

The Christmas Tree

Once upon a time the British Isles were swathed in pine forests, perfuming the air with their uplifting aroma. Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris), native to Britain, is a particularly special tree. Sporting distinctive red-brown bark this majestic conifer can grow 35-40 metres tall. As its name suggests it has a strong connection to Scotland, where it still grows and traditionally symbolised immortality. For me, Scots Pine is a perfect oil for this time of year, and not just because pines make lovely Christmas trees.

Read More

Posted in November 2016

Summer into Autumn

I can hardly believe its autumn already, but it’s been a great summer! One of the things I loved most about the sunshine months was taking my aromatherapy work to festivals. I’ve discovered a common pattern amongst clients whilst working at music and other festivals. For the first few days people tend to bounce into my aromatherapy and massage tent, often sprinkled with mud and glitter, occasionally dressed as unicorns and full of the joys of life. The final day however can be very different; sleep deprivation and over-indulgence giving rise to frayed emotions.

Read More

Posted in October 2016

Season's Greetings!

Season’s Greetings! The festive season is finally upon us! Here are our top Christmas survival tips and special Christmas offers to help you through the next few weeks.

Read More

Posted in December 2015

Using vegetable oils as base ingredients for skincare

We are often faced with comments such as: ‘Oils will make my skin greasy, oily and shiny !’ If it does, you will have either used the wrong type of oil or put too much of it. Vegetable oils are made of the same molecules and substances that are already present in the skin. Each oil has a different texture and therapeutic application. If used and applied appropriately, they are all your skin need. They will leave it clean, soft, nourished and rejuvenated.

![](/UsedImages/Article_citrus squash-open (193x200).jpg)

By the end of this article, we hope to have dissipated the worries and misconceptions and made you an addict of skincare formulated with the best ingredients in mind to look after your skin.

INGREDIENTS WE USE

  • All ingredients in our skin care formulations are derived from plants only.
  • As much as possible, we only use ingredient that have undergone the least aggressive extraction processes before they reach our shelves so as to preserve the vital components of the plant.
  • We use ingredients that are certified by the soil association so our customers know that they are the purest we can find
  • We do not add anything to our formulations – no preservatives, no chemicals of any sort, no colourings. We also endeavour not to take anything out.
  • As a result, our skin care is suitable for all skin types, from dry, mature to sensitive or damaged.

The reason we can do this is because we use vegetable oils as our bases. They do not contain water, therefore do not need any preservatives. As long as they are kept sensibly out of a source of heat and out of light, they will keep for a year. They are packed with fat soluble vitamins, A, D, E, K, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, carotenoid, chlorophyll, lecithin… all that is necessary to feed the skin.

WHAT IS THE SKIN MADE OF

The skin has 2 basic layers, dermis and epidermis.

The epidermis which is in contact with the environment is made of layers of dead or dying cells separated by layers of lipids which role is to protect and retain the moisture held in the deeper layer of the skin. These lipids are made of fatty acids, waxes etc. and accounts for 14% of the total weight of the skin.

The dermis is a mixture of protein fibre collagen and elastin. The moisture is retained in the collagen. It contributes to the plumpness, smoothness, elasticity and youthfulness of the skin. This will dehydrate quickly if the limpid barrier, residing in the epidermis, is poor or damaged, resulting in sagging skin forming wrinkles etc. It is therefore important to look after the oil film protecting the skin so that it can effectively protect the collagen and its moisture retaining properties.

The body produces its own protective oil – sebum a mixture of fatty acids and glycerides. It is produced by special glands and are most active after puberty. Their activity decreases as the body gets older. Diet, reactions caused by the use of chemicals on the skin affect greatly the secretion of sebum causing dry, oily or a variety of skin complaints.

Vegetable oils offer the right solution. They are used because of their low incidence of irritation, sensitivity and non clogging.

OILS & THEIR CHARACTERISTICS

Vegetable oils are made of chains of fatty acids, the very same that are present in the lipid barrier in the top layer of the skin. The variations in the combinations of these fatty acids and their nos give the oils their own specific values and characteristics, whether it is solid or liquid, saturated or unsaturated, mono-unsaturated or polyunsaturated. The latter are the oils that contain the EFA (essential fatty acids - omega 3 & 6) that are not produced by the body – sign of deficiency in EFA is a dry, flaky skin

They also contain all the liposoluble vitamins A (provitamin A), D (D3 in avocado), E and K.

There is a wide range of vegetable oils, we stock about 20. They are all very different from one another.

Some are solid (contains more saturated fatty acids) - cocoa butter, coconut, shea butter
Some are thick (olive, almond), others are light (macadamia, evening primrose, borage, walnut, sesame, sunflower ...)
They have a colour from pale yellow to green, red and brown
They have the aroma of the seeds or nut they come from.

All these describe an oil which has not been refined and has only undergone the basics of cold-expression.

Refining involves deodorising, bleaching, degumming, using solvent (petroleum based) to increase the yield (grapeseed, almond), winterisation to avoid cloudiness caused by waxes (filtered or centrifuge), neutralisation (to remove free fatty acids with caustic soda), fractionating. Hydrogenation is the process of hardening a liquid fat into a hard fat, adding hydrogen molecules to the chain of fatty acids to make it a saturated chain. That requires pressure and heat along with creating a reaction using hydrogen gas and metal catalyst usually nickel or platinum. That process creates trans-fatty acids that compete with enzymes, interfere with the work of essential fatty acids in the body and are toxic.

The refining process covers a number of operations which varies from manufacturers depending on the type of oils they wish to produce.
All these processes remove all the vital elements of the oils and produce an oil which has very little to do with its original counterpart.

It is essential to use a vegetable oil that has not been refined, which means that it should have retained its original colour and aroma.

  • Rosehip oil is red because it contains carotenoids that are red. Bleaching the oil will remove the carotenoids therefore will deprive the oil of the anti-antioxidant properties contained in the carotenoids.
  • Evening Primrose and Borage are pale green to a deep green which is the colour of the Essential fatty acids that the oils contain. Bleach these oils, and all the EFA are gone.

WHY ARE VEGETABLE OILS GOOD FOR YOU ?

Clinical studies have demonstrated the wide benefits when appropriate oils have been massaged into the skin.
Combinations of specific vegetable oils have shown to make significant improvement in the skin treating:

  • Dry skin – calendula, rosehip, jojoba
  • Eczema, psoriasis, particularly true using oils reached in EFA, GLA, carotenoids (rosehip, carrot)
  • Signs of aging, rosehip, camellia, sea-buckthorne,
  • Reduce scaring and stretch mark, argan, rosehip,
  • Balance the sebum secretion, jojoba, reducing it in case of oily skin or acne, jojoba, hazelnut,

If chosen correctly, they do not make the skin greasy. Although not technically absorbed by the skin, they seem to blend with the already present fatty acids in the skin to enrich the natural lipid barrier and restore the skin to health. Vegetable oils offer elements that the body need.

  • essential fatty acids, omega 3 are present in evening primrose, borage, pumpkin, melon
  • Carotenoids - pro-vitamin A in rosehip, calendula, carrot
  • Vitamin E (tocopherol) is naturally found in all vegetable oils to various degree.
  • Vitamin D – (formed in the skin when the skin is exposed to sunshine) regulates the calcium maintenance and bone structure. The sole vegetable source is reputed to be avocado oil.
  • Vitamin K – needed to form the blood clotting agent. Found in green leafy vegetables and in green oils olive, canola, camellia.

All those are powerful anti-oxidants

HOW WE DESIGNED OUR PRODUCTS

Cleanser ‘Citrus Squash’

The ingredients have been chosen to create a thick and greasy consistency that will glide on the skin and dilute all the make up and grim of the day. Only a peanut size is necessary. Rub with the tip of your fingers and massage the face, even around the eyes. This blend will dissolve, eye liner, mascara, thick foundation. Remove with a warm, wet cotton pad and repeat until the pad stays clean. No feeling of dryness or tightness will be experienced. You skin will feel refreshed, cleansed, plumped through the action of avocado oil which is nourishing to the skin.

Tone with our Rose Essential Water

Apply with a cotton pad or a spray over the face. The purpose of the toner is to refresh and harvest the benefits of rose essential oil. Putting it on the face will look after the skin and fill your senses with the psychological properties of rose.

For the skin, rose is antiseptic, astringent, cicatrisant and anti-aging. For the mind, Rose is antidepressant, boosts self esteem and confidence.

Moisturise

Combines in a small bottle the essence of what the skin needs.

Moisturisers are designed with a blend of oils chosen for their specific properties and for their lightness. Very little is needed indeed: 2, 3, 4 drops at most rubbed on the tips of the fingers and massaged over the face following natural lines. Leave to sink in for ten minutes and apply make-up as normal. Your skin will not feel greasy.

‘Tissue repair balm’ was designed specifically for damaged tissue, scars, post operative stress, stretch marks, eczema, psoriasis, wrinkles. It is our best seller and works wonders as a daily moisturiser for mature skin or even not so mature. A wonderful combination of specialists oils packed with anti-oxidants, carotenoids and is ideal as a moisturiser around the eyes, mouth where wrinkles are more likely to develop.

‘Nocturnal mist’ is especially designed for night time. Made slightly richer with added avocado therefore to use when the skin is given time to rest and restore itself. Packed with Omega 3, vitamin A, D, E & potassium. It is a good emollient, very nourishing, ideal for dry and mature skins or those suffering from eczema.

Posted in September 2014

Ravintsara and Sleep

For light sleepers

Although Lavender and chamomile haves been widely used to help those who suffer from disturbed sleep, their aroma is not always appreciated by everybody.
Ravintsara offers a useful alternative. Like rosem...ary and eucalyptus, it is rich in cineole and has a refreshing, pungent aroma which one would not necessarily associate with a calming and relaxing action. But the oil has a balancing effect on the nervous system, is sedating and induces a peaceful and tranquil state. It will improve sleep quality and promote a calm and deep sleep.

  • Put 5 drops on your pillow
  • If you are lucky enough to have a willing partner, ask him / her to massage your back, following the grooves along side the back bone using 6 drops of ravintsara in a table spoon of jojoba or apricot oil.

Use the oil for a week or two and give your body and olfactory senses a break for a while. Start again if necessary.

Ravintsara is also reputed for its anti-bacterial and anti-viral action, will help clear up bunged-up noses and air passages and at the same time boost the immune system… two birds killed with one stone!

Winter & Seasonal Depression

How to go through the cold and shortest days of winter without feeling seasonal depression

Read More