Essential oils are interesting to me. Part of me thinks it’s voodoo witch doctor science, and part of me (the part that doesn’t like to research things) wants to say, let’s give it a whirl! A good friend of mine is all in, she regularly uses essential oils for health, house cleaning, pet calming, all sorts of good stuff. My hippie spirit guide Sherpa extraordinaire (and hairdresser, because she’s that good) has positive things to say about using essential oils especially to reduce the toxins we bring into our homes. And then it turns out, my sister is super into the house cleaning side of all this too.
You’re probably thinking this means I was sensible and listened to my tribe, leading me to make cleaning products to ease into the world of essential oils for the month of May. You are wrong! I bought 3 different oils and put them on my face. To be fair, I only put two of them on my face. I put the third one on my pillow and sheets.
My skincare routine centers around battling stress acne and desperately trying to minimize the hyperpigmentation that was gifted to me by a hormonal imbalance from birth control. The Chalkboard Magazine posted a great article about natural skincare and recommended lemon oil to reduce hyperpigmentation and tea tree oil to reduce acne. Sold. Now I have two fewer chemical laden products to rub on my head.
(Here’s the article: 7 Highly Effective Natural Skincare Products that Actually Work)
The only problem was, my skin didn’t care what The Chalkboard Magazine had to say about highly effective, natural skincare. It erupted into angry acne in a matter of days and the acne did not want to be tamed by tea tree oil, it wanted Neutrogena Spot Treatment. My skin got so bad, I was actually embarrassed. Even in high school I had never experienced acne like this. So, I gave up. No more lemon oil or tea tree oil on my face. Luckily, the lemon oil has been repurposed for my second May wellness goal – create a workspace that fosters creativity and serenity.
The lavender oil, however, was a HUGE success. I added a healthy amount to some water in a small spray bottle (purchased at Whole Foods, right next to the essential oils) and began spritzing my pillowcase and sheets right before bed. As previously discussed on this blog, sleep is difficult for me. I’d seen lavender mentioned in articles on how to get better sleep and figured, if I’m playing with essential oil, why not give lavender a shot. And you guys, it freaking works. And there is science behind it!
Lavender oil, in medical studies, has been shown to slow your heart rate, blood pressure, and to ease you into a relaxed state. Babies were shown to cry less and sleep better. I’ve sprayed my side of the bed every night since May 1st and I started falling asleep nearly immediately on the majority of evenings. It doesn’t necessarily help me stay asleep as I’ve been waking up around 3 a.m. and going in and out of sleep until 5 a.m., but it definitely helps me feel better rested. It seems that not only does it help me fall asleep, but it seems to have improved the depth of the sleep I get. I know. How can it possibly have such a dramatic effect? Well, it is coupled with a whole bedtime routine that I established to help prepare my mind and body to get rest. I can’t say it works as a stand-alone panacea, but for me, it has proven to have a dramatic impact since being added to my sleep hygiene. Hooray for Lavender oil!
If you're an avid essential oil user, will you leave me a note in the comments and let me know what you use and how you use it? I'd love to learn more!