The Perfect Aromatherapy Skincare Regime

Beautiful skin is easy with natural products - pic via

Beautiful skin is easy with natural products – pic via

I know its sounds corny but people always comment on how good my skin looks. When asked how I do it, I usually say there’s no quick answer but essential oils help. I’ve been using essential oils in my own handmade products on my skin for almost 20 years and would never use anything else. Apart from the natural simplicity of oils, it’s the scent of most skincare products detest. Even if I couldn’t access essential oils, I’d still use plain cold pressed oils on my face and body, and for sensitive skins this could be the best thing to use. I like to mix it up a bit and not use essential oils everyday.

Here’s an outline of my easy, natural aromatherapy regime:



1. Shower

* No soap or other foaming agents on my face just water, with a face cloth if I want a deeper cleanse

* No soap or other foaming agents on most of my body – maybe some natural soap on the underarms and nether regions

2. Moisturise

Moisturising with oil on your face can have fantastic benefits

Moisturising with oil on your face can have fantastic benefits

* Face – spritz first with a rose or neroli hydrosol or floral water to really boost hydration (see my article “Hydrosols vs Floral Waters – What’s the Diff?”) then use rosehip oil with rose essential oil

or plain rosehip oil

or a cream I have made myself containing essential oils

If you are buying a small bottle of rosehip oil you could add the drops of rose oil into the bottle or just add the rose on a daily basis. For quantities to add to your bottle please check the 3% article below or the article above about the basics.

For example, for small squirt of rosehip oil onto your fingers, add a drop or two or rose oil 3% (see my article “Essential Oils 3% in Jojoba – What are they, and Why?”) and spread liberally all over your face. The only downside is that it’s a bit fiddly. Practice makes perfect though.

nourish your skin with oil blends

nourish your skin with oil blends

* Body – a nourishing body oil containing essential oils all over my body (see my article “Ratios for Blending Essential Oils – A Reminder of the Basics”)

or a rich cream I’ve made myself containing essential oils

or just a plain cold pressed oil like almond, grapeseed, sunflower, olive, coconut


Remove makeup with the best makeup remover in the world - oil!

Remove makeup with the best makeup remover in the world – oil!


* Remove makeup (if applicable) with a damp cotton pad, with oil on it. This is the best makeup remover n the world! You can use sunflower, almond, olive etc and any cold pressed oil really

* Wipe with a warm, damp face cloth and only moisturise if you feel you need it. Often there is enough oil remaining on your skin to leave it feeling hydrated and soft

or shower and repeat the morning’s step

A clay face mask is the best and most natural clarifyng mask. pic vis

A clay face mask is the best and most natural clarifying mask. pic via


And occasionally I’ll give myself a body scrub, face scrub and face mask to remove old skin and tone and refine the top layer.

Face Scrub

Try some almond meal mixed with a little water. Stand over the basin so falling almonds can be caught and gently scrub. It’s wonderful how your skin feels with the oils of the almond infused into your skin. Then either apply a face mask or add a little extra moisture if needed.

Face Mask

Mix a little clay (any colour – for more info see my article “The Wonderful World of Clay”) with water or a hydrosol. You can add a few drops of essential oil if you like just stay with lavender, geranium, chamomile, neroli and the softer oils. Apply. Rest for 10 minutes and rinse off with warm water. Moisturise.

A salt scrub is easy to make! pic via

A salt scrub is easy to make! pic via

Body Scrub

The easiest body scrub is a salt scrub. Use fine sea salt, add some water and a little oil and mix to a slurry. Scrub all over your body standing in the shower or bath. If you are in a bath, then take the opportunity to soak for another 15 minutes.

Add 5 – 10 drops of essential oil to your liking to create an aromatherapy treatment at the same time. Or get creative and add things from your cupboard or fridge like fresh lemon rind and juice, cinnamon or fresh herbs. For more info see my article “It’s Easy to Make Your Own Body Scrub”.

Moisturise with an oil blend or cream.

Body Mask

Same for face mask but you’ll need about a cup and a half of clay. Add water slowly and mix well. Add 20 drops of essential oil if you like, and then wrap yourself in towels and a blanket as the clay will make you COLD! Rest. Shower off and moisturise with an oil blend.


Sunflower Oil – My “Go-To” Carrier Oil

The incredible sunflower

The incredible sunflower –

Sunflower – Helianthus annuus

I love this flower and I love this oil!

Just to clarify, sunflower oil is NOT an essential oil, but a cold pressed oil we call a “carrier oil’ in aromatherapy – as it carries the essential oils in an oil blend for the body or face.

Lets start by looking at the flower.

* It’s a beautiful yellow colour – the colour of the sun.

* It’s shape could almost be considered like to sun too.

* It contains within the flower head, a fundamental pattern of nature called the GOLDEN RATIO or PHI RATIO.

A sunflower is a representation of the golden ratio

A sunflower is a representation of the golden ratio

The Golden Ratio is a bit exciting as it exists all throughout nature and the cosmos. I can’t help but be drawn into the flower and into the secrets of life. Among many names the golden ratio is also called the divine ratio, and it has been used by artists, scientist and architects as an expression of perfection – as a mirror of our universe.

The golden ratio is approximately equal to 1.618. Basically the head of the sunflower contains many smaller flower heads. As each cell or floret is created, the next floret is made after turning on an angle. The entire pattern is then formed and it mesmerising!

The golden ratio

The golden ratio

Brilliant isnt it?

So the sunflower is a little piece of the cosmos! And it they seem to have such great personality. Have you ever driven through France and seen fields of sunflowers? They have so much gorgeous energy.

They also follow the sun to absorb as much energy as possible. ‘Heliotropism’ is the sunflowers ability to track the sun’s movements… slowly moving the face of it’s flower toward the sun to receive the full impact of the sun’s rays. The leaves of the sunflower also track the sun turning slowly through the day to keep their broad surface to face the rays.

Fields in France

Fields in France – lavender and sunflowers

And now the oil.

High in omega-6 and omega-9, vitamins A, D, E, it also contains a high amount of vitamin E too. So basically it’s good to eat and it’s great as an emollient and skin moistuirser.

I use sunflower oil in all my treatments as it has a light to medium consistency with little scent. You can buy refined or filtered sunflower oil which is quite pale and has little or no scent. Pure sunflower oil is much richer and deeper in colour – an orangey/yellow – and has a mild scent. Therapeutically, unrefined sunflower oil will contain more vitamins and active ingredients but you may prefer a less scented version.

sunflower oil

sunflower oil

This a great oil to use on the body and the face. You can also use sunflower oil as a hair moisturiser.

Add your essential oils to this happy, sunny carrier oil to create a beautiful, soft skin treatment.

copyright suzannerbanks 2013

Electrifying Essential Oil Body Blends – for the Ladies

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Electrifying Essential Oil Body Blends – for the Ladies

The classic bottle for aromatherapy "Boston Round Amber"

The classic bottle for aromatherapy “Boston Round Amber”

Get Ready!

What you will need:

1. Oils! Hehehehe.

You will need some carrier oils which could be any of the following – almond, grapeseed, sunflower, jojoba, apricot, avocado (this is a bit thick and dark so it’s good to mix with another lighter oil), coconut, camelia, olive and maybe some macadamia (good to mix this with another oil too).

All your essential oils.

2. Bottles (see pic above) or a glass dish to mix enough for one moisturising treatment.

3. A good intention – this will play an important part in how the oil blend will come together in the end. It could mean the difference between an absolutely beautiful formula or an ordinary one.

4. A clear space around you – simplify your area,  and make sure it’s clean.

Let’s go!

I will give you quantities for a 50ml oil blend which is 25 drops of essential oil in 50mls of carrier oil.

For a quick coat of your body you can use 3 teaspoons of carrier oil and 8 drops of essential oil.

one drop of oil at a time

one drop of oil at a time

***** Always put the drops of essential oil into the bottle or dish first, then add the carrier oil. It gives the scents time to create a synergistic fusion.

1. Look Out Here I Come

Black pepper    5 drops

Orange           15 drops

Geranium         5 drops


2. Red Hot Mamma

Ylang Ylang      5 drops

Mandarin        15 drops

Cardamom       2 drops

Patchouli          3 drops


3. Sugar and Spice

Cinnamon          8 drops

Rose Geranium  8 drops

Rosewood         9 drops

Wonder Woman IS Cool

Wonder Woman IS Cool

4. Wonder Woman is COOL

Cedarwood Atlas  5 drops

Bergamot            12 drops

Fennel                   2 drops

Lime                      6 drops


5. Chillax-arama

Marjoram              6 drops

Petitgrain            12 drops

Lavender              7 drops


6. Brilliant Idea

Basil                    5 drops

Rosemary           8  drops

Lemon               12 drops


7. Pink Bubble of Love

Peru balsam       8 drops

Orange             10 drops

Frankincense      6 drops

aaahhhh the beautiful rose

aaahhhh the beautiful rose

8. Rosey Posey

Rose in jojoba     30 drops (this is an oil that usually comes diluted in jojoba because of the cost)

Rosewood           5 drops


9. Oh Happy Day!

Spearmint           8 drops

Rose geranium   8 drops

Lemongrass       9 drops


10. I’m Willing to Be Flexible on That

Palmarosa          8  drops

Grapefruit          17 drops

I hope this gives you some ideas for blending and moisturising. Have fun, and ask me a question if you aren’t sure. You an also refer to my previous articles for further information “Ratios for Blending Essential Oils – A Reminder of the Basics” and “Aromatherapy – It’s Easy as 1 2 3”

Happy mixing and remember to use your intention when you are blending.
See my article about intention.

copryright SR Banks

Macadamia Oil – the scent of CAKE!

Macadamia integrifolia

Macadamia integrifolia

I’ve just been on holidays in the Northern Rivers district of NSW, which claims hundreds of kilometres of beautiful beaches, rainforests, waterfalls, divine weather, great food, tea plantations, a huge tea tree plantation used to produce fantastic Australian Tea Tree oil  and lots of Macadamia farms. MMMMMMMMM….. macadamias. The Macadamia trees are native to Australian rainforests and were “discovered” by white botanists in the mid 1800’s. They come from the Proteacae family, the genus name “macadamia” being coined by a German botanist after his colleague John Macadam. According to Wikipedia this tree may also go by the common names “macadamia, macadamia nut, Queensland nut, bush nut, maroochi nut, queen of nuts and bauple nut; Indigenous Australian names include gyndl, jindilli, and boombera”. I’ve just read an article also claiming local Aborigines from this area call the tree “kindal kindal”.

They are a gorgeous little round nut with wonderful health properties which include:

* 83% (typical value) of monounsaturated fats – the healthier fats that may help in lowering blood cholesterol. It also has the most balanced ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids of any oil.

*  significant levels of protein and all the essential amino acids

* many antioxidants including Vitamin E as tocopherols and tocotrienol, epicatechin (which is the principal antioxidant in tea), the amino acids methionine and cysteine and the mineral selenium.

* Macadamias also contain phytosterols (plant sterols) believed to lower total serum cholesterol and the undesirable low density cholesterol. I’ve just read an article where the author claims “Research from Australia’s Newcastle University has shown that a balanced diet supplemented daily with macadamias can help lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.”

Right so they are good for you ok?

But what about using macadamia oil for health and beauty externally? The reason this is on my mind is not only the fact that I I’ve seen loads of little macadamia farms, but also that I’ve been visiting my “aunty” from childhood, Wendy. Wendy is at home in palliative care being looked after by her son and daughter, their families and the district nurses and doctors. To my absolute surprise, one of the doctors actually prescribed grapefruit essential oil in macadamia oil to smooth on her legs to help prevent oedema. I was so happy when I heard this and even though I would probably use cypress and juniper oils over grapefruit (and even fennel oil), I was very happy.

So why did the doctor choose macadamia oil rather than almond oil, or sunflower oil? It’s probably because he is lives in an environment where it is a native. Great work doc!

I must say I don’t use a lot of macadamia oil for body oil blends because it is very viscous (thick) and has a distinct scent. Whenever you mix an essential oil into it, it smells like cake. Now I know that can’t be bad, but it never quite works for me. I would be inclined to use it as a hair tonic, rather than a body oil but I encourage you to have a go. I have also used the oil in cream products where it forms part of a formula but it’s not overwhelming.

Most cold pressed carrier oils have anti-oxidants and other nutrients so they are quite comparable therapeutically. I tend to use the carrier oils that have a more neutral scent and that are a little thinner in consistency. So if you have some why not try making a blend with it, and if you don’t like it you can use the oil in cooking.

sneakily borrowed from

sneakily borrowed from

Long live the macadamia!

Geranium rules my ‘hood!

Geranium in the back lane

I love geranium essential oil. I love rose-geranium essential oil too. It’s flowery, it’s a little bit girly and it has a vibration of happiness and cheeriness. I just walked around the block and took a few pics of the lovely, brightly coloured flower. It loves the sun and so do I.

Geranium essential oil is great for skincare and I often use it in my face creams.

Geranium around the corner

These pictures of geranium may not necessarily reflect the exact geranium plants that the oils are distilled from but there is definitely an aroma when you squish up a leaf and smell it (after you’ve asked the plant’s permission of course!).

Geranium bourbon, originally from the Reunion Islands is considered the best geranium for skincare in Aromatherapy, but I’m not even sure if it is produced here anymore. The first plantings for production came from the island which was originally called “Bourbon”. It is the pelargonium graveolens plant that produces this oil. Rose geranium is produced from a cross of two different geranium plants – pelargonium cv rose.

I often use Rose geranium for scenting a space and in personal mists, and geranium bourbon for skincare creams and old blends for the body.

Geranium in my street

Some aromatherapy teachings claim geranium is a great balancing oil for the emotions as it’s main active ingredients geraniol and citronellol, work on the frontal and adrenal cortex of the brain. So basically, it’s a happy oil. You don’t need to be a genius to know that. Just take a huge whiff straight from the bottle and smile!

Try these combo’s:

Oil Blend to nourish your body:

“Oh Lady!”

3 teaspoons carrier oil like almond, grapeseed, jojoba

Geranium bourbon   3 drops

Orange                    3 drops

Patchouli                 1 drop

In an oil vapouriser to scent your space:

“Life is Grand”

Rose geranium         8 drops

Spearmint               8 drops

Mandarin              10 drops


Remember to treat yourself first, then everyone will benefit.

Coconut – The Truth About the Scent

sneakily borrowed from HINT: the oil is good for hair

So do you love your coconut soap? Your coconut body moisturiser? Do you love your coconut sunscreen? How about your coconut lip balm?

There’s no doubt about it, coconut is a magic fruit. Is it a fruit? No, apparently it’s a drupe! Find out more about the drupe.

Anyway, it’s amazing. The world of nutrition and natural therapies is quickly spreading the word about coconut. The western world is a bit behind the times as Harry Belafonte, in the sixties, sang;

‘Coco got a lot of iron

make you strong like a lion”

sneakily borrowed from where you can listen to the smooth sound of Harry

“Coconut Woman” was written in 1957 by Harry Belafonte and Irving Burgle. Some say it’s not about coconut, but about cocoa (chocolate). I’m not sure about that because the song talks about “coconut water” with “rum”. I digress. Let’s get back to coconut.

Coconut water and coconut oil are the two buzz products of the drupe. I eat coconut oil by the teaspoon and it’s oily and delicious. Even though it’s classified as a saturated fat it has so many health benefits which can include;

– Helping to lower cholesterol

– Converting easily and quickly to energy so it’s not stored as fat

– Helping to  boost metabolism and immunity

– Softening hair and skin when used as a moisturiser

– Helping to lower resistance to insulin – great for type 2 diabetes

– Good for cooking as it has a high flash point so it maintains its goodness in the cooking process for longer than other oils

And now the scent! Pure coconut oil is fantastic for nurturing your hair and skin, and it has a soft, natural scent that we automatically connect to tropical islands with coconut palms waving in the wind. Unfortunately a lot of coconut scented products use an artificial fragrance to intensify the scent. Even if your product has coconut oil in it, it could also have “fragrance”. For those on the natural path, beware. I remember using Reef Oil in the 80’s as a sun tan lotion. It has a long list of ingredients, the last being fragrance, artificial of course. And this is what a lot of people think that real coconut smells like in a personal care product.


It doesn’t.

If you are serious about simplifying your life and using as many natural items as possible then always check your “coconut” soap, or lip balm, or moisturiser to see what is listed. Chances are if it says “fragrance” it’s synthetic.

If you don’t care whether your product is natural or not then it doesn’t really matter. “Fragrance” away until your heart’s content.

Long live the coconut!

Aromatherapy Body Oil – It’s as Easy as 1 2 3

What’s as easy as 1, 2, 3?

Nourishing your body with an oil blend every day. I know it does kinda sound a little bit hard, but you can start simply and build your skills.

sneakily borrowed from

What You Will Need To Get Started

1 or more bottles of essential oil

carrier oil (almond oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil or anything else you can think of or that’s in your cupboard)

a teaspoon

a saucer or little ramekin

How to make a Blend for Your body

Put 7 drops of essential oil into your container

Pour in 3 teaspoons of carrier oil

That’s it. Mix it with your little finger (any finger really). Now go ahead and coat your body with your delicious formula.

your easy, beautiful body oil blend

I have used oil all over my body for many, many years and it’s kept my skin looking and feeling fantastic. Once I’ve had a shower and moisturise with an oil blend, I just put on a robe for about 10 minutes before dressing. This allows time for the oil to soak in and any excess to be absorbed into your robe. In that time I have breakfast or do whatever I’m doing to start the day.

For some people this is too time consuming. Others don’t like oil but prefer a cream. I understand every one’s preferences are different but to me there’s nothing more beautiful than starting the day with a formula you have made just for yourself that’s totally natural. No preservatives, no artificial fragrances or waxes, no cream that’s been made in massive vats full of yucky synthetics.

Just oils.


If you are just starting out you could try buying one new oil each month or every 2 weeks. As your library grows you will increase the amount of combinations you can create and as the time passes you will feel more comfortable with mixing. As a beginner it’s easy to make mistakes but if you just mix a little at a time then the wastage is minimized.

The next step is to find lovely glass bottles from a supplier – just have a look on the Internet, there are lots available. You must know how many mls your bottle is and then you’ll know how many drops of essential oils to put in. If you are in the USA and are not metric (!) you’ll have to convert these ratios:

10 mls carrier oil add 5 drops

20 mls carrier oil add 10 drops

25 mls carrier oil add 12 drops

30 mls carrier oil add 15 drops

40 mls carrier oil add 20 drops

50 mls carrier oil add 25 drops

100mls carrier oil add 50 drops

200 mls carrier oil add 100 drops.

******Always put the essential oil drops in first so they can have a get together, gel, mélange and synchronise before you add the carrier oil.

Voila. You are creating your day with Aromatherapy. It’s easy as 1,2,3.