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Essential Oils 101

Plants are crucial to our survival. They release oxygen into the atmosphere. They provide us natural fibers for clothing. They form an important part of a healthy diet, and increasingly, western medicine is accepting that the extracts contained in many plants are beneficial for our health and well-being.

As the benefits of essential oils become more widely accepted, these fragrant, nutrient-rich extracts are finding their way into many types of skin and hair care products. Today, I want to review some of the best of the best of these formulas, produced by some of the biggest names in natural skin care like L'Occitane and Art of Shaving.

Fighting the Effects of Aging with Essential Oils


The L'Occitane collection of skin care, bath and body products uses essential oils derived from plants found in the beautiful countryside of Provence, France, and other regions of the country.  One of the most well-known and effective lines in the range is the L’Occitane Immortelle collection, which features the oil obtained from the rare immortelle flower, which grows on the French island of Corsica.

Immortelle flowers contain nutrients that help protect the plant from environmental stress, and the oil derived from its stems, buds and leaves is rich in these antioxidants. When applied to the skin, the antioxidants form a barrier that limits the effects of free radicals, the reactive particles that cause wrinkles and fine lines to appear on the complexion.

L’Occitane Immortelle Precious Cream incorporates nourishing immortelle extract with a blend of rich emollients. Perfect for women with dry skin who are concerned about signs of aging, the formula releases moisture to the skin continuously for 24 hours.

The benefits of the L’Occitane Immortelle Precious Cream for the face are mirrored in the L’Occitane Ultra Rich Eye Balm with Shea Butter. This eye treatment softens the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes while fighting signs of dehydration. For those with normal to oily skin, the skin care, bath and spa collection also contains the L’Occitane Immortelle Eye Balm, which is lighter in weight.

Essential Oils for the Perfect Shave

The Art of Shaving focuses on luxury skin care for men, creating shaving and grooming products that are rich in essential oils. The collection is intended to make skin care easier for men and to help fight against the irritation caused by razors.

Two of the most effective and most glowingly reviewed products in the skin care range are The Art of Shaving Cream Lavender and The Art of Shaving Pre-Shave Oil Lavender.  As their names suggest, these formulas contain the essential oil of the lavender flower, which is commonly used in the treatments of practitioners of aromatherapy & essential oils therapies. Lavender has both a calming effect on the skin and on the senses, so it’s perfect for alleviating the symptoms of inflammation and redness that accompany shaving.

Made with 100 percent pure essential oils, The Art of Shaving Pre-Shave Oil Lavender has a softening effect upon the beard and readies the facial skin for shaving. Applying the oil prior to shaving greatly reduces the likelihood of razor burn, especially when the formula is paired with The Art of Shaving Cream Lavender. This rich cream combines glycerin and coconut oil with lavender extract to soften, moisturize and soothe the skin throughout shaving. The cream perfectly lubricates the contours of the face, making nicks and cuts far less likely.

Essential Oils for Beauty and Relaxation

Bath and body oils made with pure essential oils aren’t just beneficial for the facial skin. Essential oils can be used for alternative health care treatments, intensive hair care treatments, massage and relaxation.

Just like your face, your hair can become dry and show signs of damage due to the effects of sunlight, pollution and your lifestyle. The PHYTO Huile d’Ales Intense Hydrating Oil Treatment with Essential Oils Dry Hair is a hair care treatment designed to restore moisture to the hair stands, making your locks easier to style.  To deliver results, the formula contains a blend of wheat-strengthening rice proteins and essential oils like calendula, castor, sage, lemon, rosemary and juniper. The formula is ideal for anyone with dry, damaged hair, even those with color-treated locks.

Numerous studies have been conducted about the effects of pure tea tree oil, an essential oil that has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Because of its unique properties, natural practitioners use tea tree oil preparations like NOW Essential Oils Tea Tree Oil as solutions for acne, minor skin infections and lice. The essential oil is also very soothing when added to a bath or to warm water as a foot soak.

For those interested in leading a more natural life, products that contain essential oils can offer effective solutions. In addition to the products I’ve mentioned, there are dozens and dozens of others available on the market. By researching them on your own, you can discover new ways to use the best of what plants have to offer to improve your appearance.

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