You’ve probably heard of the term essential oils being thrown around left, right and centre. As the deep-rooted, traditional Pakistani mindset we have, we think it’s absolutely, necessary to either give our opinion on everything and pass around totkas for it. I think you’ve put on a little weight, here’s a tonic that’ll help you shed it. Your skin’s breaking out, here’s a cream you can put on it. You look so tired and the bags under your eyes are not Chanel, here’s a fabric mist you can spray on your pillowcase to sleep better. More often than not, these remedies / cures / totkas involve the use of essential oils.
“I use essential oils two ways; firstly, in my diffuser and secondly, in my beauty products,” Salina Taqi of Salina Cosmetics gives her insight.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts.
Essential oils are obviously all-natural, therefore the common assumption is that they’re gentle and largely unreactive. This isn’t the case at all—by definition, it’s extremely potent stuff. Essential oils must be handles with care. A few drops can go a long way, it’s far too easy to go overboard with them.
“Essential oils are nature’s best kept secret and have been used in medicine as well as beauty and skin care products. Natural remedies are making a big come back. Essential oils are famous for their antidepressant, stimulating, detoxifying, antibacterial and calming properties. They serve as safe, cost-effective therapy,” shares Maliha Rao, Holistic Healer and Aromatherapist at Whimsy Beauty.
Here’s a run down of what oil serves what purpose to make things easier and more effective for you:
Tea tree oil:
“I love tea tree oil. I add a few drops of this oil to my facial oil if I’m breaking out or if I’m about to get my period because that’s when I know I usually break out a little. It takes care of the acne almost instantly,” Salina shares one of her top tips.
Effective for its anti-inflammatory, wound-healing properties, tea tree oil helps with:
- Skin conditions like acne, topical thrush or even dandruff
- Stimulates the immune system to help fight infections (bacteria, viruses, fungi)
“One of my absolute favourites when it comes to taking care of the skin or disinfecting. Do keep in mind that tea tree oil is not mild so it needs to be diluted in carrier oils like jojoba or coconut to avoid reactions,” guides Maliha.
Most common of the essential oils; other than its sweet, floral smell, it’s known to be:
- A good sleeping aid
- Great for stress relief and winding down your day
“If in doubt, always start with lavender oil as your very first oil. It’s very mild and can be used directly, on the skin without dilution – but in a small quantity,” advice from aromatherapy guru, Maliha.
Lemongrass oil is a very understated essential oil. It’s great for:
- Energising and rejuvenating
- Treating depression on surface level
“If you put this essential oil to your nose and take five deep, belly-breaths, you literally, feel yourself calming down and energising. It’s a favourite of mine and works hand in hand with lavender oil (another one of my favourites),” says Salina.
Peppermint is a very energising oil with tons of helpful uses. It’s does wonders in soothing headaches but requires proper dilution when applied topically because of its intensity.
You may go for peppermint oil for the following benefits:
- It’s an analgesic, which means it reduces pain when applied topically.
- It can aid digestion as an antispasmodic and carminative (reduces intestinal gas).
- It has decongestant and expectorant properties, making it a good companion to eucalyptus in older kids and adults.
- Muscle spasms
- Cramping of the muscles
“Another one of my favourites is eucalyptus oil which is incorporated in our Healing Glow Massage Oil. It’s really soothing and healing,” Salina.
“I love adding rose-hip oil to my beauty products because I find it very nourishing and hydrating – this oil works like magic. Not only does it almost instantly, clear up my skin, it evens out the skin tone. It’s also really great for dehydrating, aging skin. It works great as a beauty essential oil. Add a little bit of rose-hip oil to your rose oil and it’ll be such a treat for the skin,” shares Salina, the brains behind Salina Cosmetics.
There you are, that’s all the basics you need to start venturing into the essential oil world.