How to make bespoke Christmas gifts using essential oils
Christmas can be an expensive time when people worry about buying the perfect gift for family and friends but it doesn't have to be a burden. You can make your own personalised Christmas gifts using essential oils and some organic products and I can assure you that the recipients will be just as delighted because of the thought, time and effort that went into their production. Then you can wrap them beautifully and enjoy the whole process. A win win situation!
Qualified aromatherapists are able to create blends especially for their loved ones using the correct oils and correct oil dilution ratios and ideally you do need to have had training in essential oils before attempting to make these natural products. Just because they are natural does not mean they are totally safe and there are precautions that need careful consideration when making up products. As well as an aromatherapy diploma, we also have an online essential oil diploma if you would like to learn how to blend oils safely and make bespoke products.
It is important to clearly label products stating their contents and a use by date. This blog is not advising on setting up in business making products as that requires quite a bit of work and some legislation to follow. I will write more up on that another time. For those of you who are qualified, here are some recipes and oil suggestions you might like to try. Enjoy!
Bath Bombs The basic recipe for all bath bombs is quite simple: 2 parts Sodium Bicarbonate 1 part Citric Acid 1 part Corn Starch, Sea Salts, Epsom Salts etc.
You will need to buy a bath bomb mould or set of moulds, which is an initial outlay but once you have them, they will last you for many years. You will also need a mixing bowl, some floral water in a spritzer and a hand whisk for mixing.
Get your mixing bowl and add all the sodium bicarbonate and citric acid. Mix it all together into a smooth mixture. Next add your essential oils and mix again. If you are going to add any other liquids such as colourants, add only a drop at a time. You do not want to get your mixture too wet. Your mixture needs to be like soft, damp sand. A good test is that when you pick it up in your hands and squeeze, it sticks together - then it is perfect. You can spritz the mixture until it does this. Now pack the mixture into your mould and leave it for 5 minutes. Then gently tap the mould to release the bomb and leave it to dry and harden overnight.
For skin softening, ingredients you can include a variety of light oils, or butters such as mango, coconut, or shea. Just melt about 2-3 teaspoons and add in to the wet mix. You will need to use less spritzed water when you use extra wet ingredients and it is a good idea to have a correct mix of sodium bicarbonate and citric acid standing by in case you need to add some dry mix should things go wrong.
You can also add lots of dried products (note here NO wet products as this may decay in your product) such as:
• Dried flower petals
• Oatmeal • Honey powder • Epsom salts • Dead sea salts • Cosmetic colourants • Natural colourants (such as turmeric, coffee powder) • Ground vanilla pods • Hydrosols/hydrolats for spritzing • Dried citrus peel • Mustard powder • Poppy seeds • Dried herbs chopped small • Dried cinnamon sticks crushed up • Ginger powder • Powdered milk for a milky bath
It is really up to you to experiment and find different ways to enhance your bombs. However, remember that although they will look pretty, the dried products will float around in the bath. Add up to 10 drops of essential oils depending on your choices. Obviously if you are using Rose, Neroli or Jasmine you will need only a couple drops because they are so concentrated. Think carefully about for whom you are making these and therefore your choice of oils. Rose is a very safe oil, as is Lavender.
For making bath bombs, you can buy everything you need very reasonably from: http://justasoap.co.uk/. This includes the moulds as well as all the ingredients, water based colourant, dried plants and even the shea butter and aloe vera at very competitive prices. Delivery is quick too in 1-3 days. They also have packaging you can buy to pack your products into and some of these are really nice. You can also buy clear wrapping cellophane too and tie it up with gift ribbon. Really get your creative juices going and attach attractive festive labels too.
Moisturising Scrubbie Bars
100g of Epsom Salts 20g of Shea Butter 25g of Cocoa Butter 20 drops of your favourite Essential Oil As a 'Scrubbie Bar' -this will moisturise the skin beautifully whilst the Epsom salts will gently exfoliate the skin. As a Bath Melt - the butters will slowly melt release their skin loving oils to the water, whilst you have the benefits of the Pure Epsom Salts to help relax the muscles, a perfect combination! Directions - Gently melt the butters, until just melted, add the Epsom Salts and lastly add the Essential Oils, pour into your chosen mould, an empty ice cube tray is perfect, and you create perfect sized scrubbie bars for the bath or shower! Alternatively you can simply pour into an empty sandwich box and cut out when solidified using biscuit cutters. Wrap 6 of these for each gift. For Christmas I use 4 drops of Orange or Mandarin and 2 drops of Clove oil for a lovely Christmassy aroma.
Aromatic Soaps If you do not want to make soap up from scratch, you can opt for melt and pour soap add add cosmetic glitter for a Christmas sparkle. Use 5 drops of Frankincense and 5 drops of Myrrh with Gold glitter for a traditional soap. Alternatively, use the red dye and red glitter and add Clove and Orange – 5 drops of Orange and 3 drops of Clove.
Aftershave Lotion - something for him Aloe Vera Gel is an excellent soother for use after shaving, but this blend is aimed at a present for men. Aloe is good if they have cut themselves shaving as well because it forms a temporary skin to stop bleeding and helps healing after.
Essential oils cannot be put directly into aloe because they are insoluble in water. Therefore we use a little Jojoba first. Put your essential oils into the jojoba and mix. For a 30g dark glass jar, add 3 drops of Black Spruce and 2 drops of Peppermint oil to 1 ml of Jojoba. Place the aloe in the jar and then stir in the blend very quickly and voila you have made a lotion!
Youthful Face Cream – turn back the years!! Here we are going to make a beautifully rich face cream that will be very moisturizing and add essential oils known to be good for the skin on the face, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. In a 60g dark glass jar add some already prepared vitamin E cream from Absolute Aromas. Add some melted shea butter, about a heaped teaspoon’s worth. Then stir in your essential oils; 4 drop of Palmarosa, 4 drops of Pettigrain, 4 drops of True Lavender and a few drops of jojoba. This is a luxurious cream that will have everyone coming back for more.
Making your own lip balms is very easy. Make them up in little 5ml pots as this is my favourite way of doing it, but you can now buy lipstick style containers for creating the more traditional lipstick style balm.
First melt shea butter by melting it over a pan of boiling water as you would melt chocolate for cooking. It will turn into a liquid, easy for pouring into the little pots. Next add 1 drop of Peppermint essential oil.
5ml lip pots with white or black lids are available from Justasoap and a 10 pack costs £1.38. Also check out Sheabutter Cottage (www.akuawood.co.uk) for raw ingredients.
Bath Dispersing Oil Absolute Aromas (www.absolute-aromas.com), sell a great product called bath dispersing oil, that I think is better than the base bubble baths, which do not foam very well anyway. In the bath, it goes milky, which is really nice. It is fragrance free and is also free of minerals and gently disperses essential oils into the bath water. Its ingredients are Prunus Amygalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Oenotheral Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E) and Polysorbate 20. All you need to do to make a nice bath blend for Christmas is to pour the dispersing oil in 30 ml bottles and add 8 drops of Orange and 6 drops of Geranium essential oil for a wonderfully relaxing and de-stressing bath. Remember to put on the label that they should use 10ml per bath. You can buy glass jars and bottles from any aromatherapy supplier. A 30 ml bottle and cap will cost around 67p.
I hope this article as inspired you and please do send me some images of your creations.