From facial oil to deodorant: Beauty Editor Anna recommends five natural beautifiers that rely on the healing power of essential oils
Most of you probably know that we are big fans of natural cosmetics here at hey woman! After all, why would we choose chemicals like mineral oils, silicone, parabens, or other synthetic fragrances that can irritate and dry the skin over beauty products that grow naturally in fields and meadows?
Essential oils are often featured in natural cosmetics, not only for their scent but also for their healing effects. But, first, a few facts: Essential oils are also known as ethereal oils. The term “ethereal” comes from the Greek word “aither,” meaning “the air of heaven.” A beautiful name, I find, and very fitting. Essential oils are really quite ephemeral – the plant’s fragrant essence.
These precious essences are extracted by distilling the flowers and leaves and sometimes the plant’s outer layers or roots with steam. If in addition to massaging them into the skin, you inhale the oils as well, you double the benefits: The fragrance molecules make their way through the nose directly into our brain’s limbic system – the control center for all of our emotions. Then increased endorphins, for example, are released as a reaction to the aromas. The perfect hit of happiness!
I find the variety of ailments that can be relieved with aromatherapy impressive. To name a few: Eucalyptus and peppermint oils are effective helpers for colds, tea tree oil is a classic for skin irritations, and lavender and ylang-ylang oils knock out stress. Lemongrass and orange oils may not make cellulite and stretch marks vanish (that would be too perfect), but both oils promote circulation, which is essential for firm skin.
The following are a selection of our current beauty favorites that rely on the healing power of essential oils.
1. Body oil from Grown Alchemist
In the winter, I become one big icicle (no joke, I probably want a heating blanket most for Christmas this year!) and so I take a bath to warm myself up almost every evening. The only drawback: Long baths in hot water draw a lot of moisture from the skin – proper care afterward is a must.
At the moment, I really love the Body Treatment Oil from Grown Alchemist: It contains beneficial camellia seed, sallow thorn, and tamanu oils that are quickly absorbed into the skin and leave it soft and nourished. The essential oil from the ylang-ylang plant, whose flowery but not-too-sweet scent takes me off to sleep, also promotes the production of happiness hormone serotonin.
2. Deodorant from Aurelia Probiotic Skincare
When it comes to deodorants, I’ve actually already found my favorite: the deodorant from Fine that contains no harmful aluminum salts and yet still works reliably. It now has some tough competition from the Botanical Cream Deodorant by Aurelia Probiotic Skincare, which turns into a fine powder as soon as it’s applied. It has an antibacterial effect with essential oils from tea tree, eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender, and bergamot, and keeps sweat in check thanks to white clay. It also contains nourishing shea butter – so there definitely will be no burning, even on freshly shaved armpits.
3. Anti-stress oil from Ryoko
I first read about beauty and massage therapist Ryoko in The Weekender. At that time, I had just left Hamburg and was very happy to learn that her store with the same name, which Japanese Ryoko opened three years ago in Neukölln, was just two streets away from my new apartment.
I stood before her door one Saturday (the only day the store is open – the others are dedicated to massages and facials), still a bit exhausted from the week, and rang the bell. The moment my foot was through the door, all my stress melted away. Ryoko is an unbelievably sweet, delicate woman with an enormous amount of knowledge, and her store is an oasis of well-being the likes of which I have rarely experienced. I could spend hours browsing through the shelves filled with fine porcelain and all kinds of tools for incense, as well as Ryoko’s own fragrances and her 100 percent natural care line based on essential oils.
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She shared so many interesting things about her care line that I bought three bottles right then and there: the Anti-Stress Botanical Essence, the Hydrating & Balancing Oil, and the Witch Hazel Astringent Toner. I think they are all fantastic, but the Anti-Stress Oil with lavender, ylang-ylang, bergamot, and lime is the most beneficial. When I’m on the go, I often place a drop on my wrist, close my eyes quickly, and breathe in the calming herbal scent. It’s amazing – these few seconds can have the effect of a mini-wellness trip! Good news for all non-Berliners: Ryoko now has an online shop.
Ryoko, Friedelstraße 11, 12047 Berlin.
4. Facial oil from Kypris
With the Healing Bouquet from Kypris, the name says it all: The Indian jasmine as well as rose geranium and lavender essential oils calm irritated skin areas and accelerate cell regeneration. I use it when I’ve done too much experimenting in the beauty department and my skin is taking revenge with redness and spots. It should be said, however, that some people have allergic reactions to essential oils in facial care. For that reason, it is best to start slowly.
My sensitive skin puts up with the Healing Bouquet very well – maybe because it’s also fortified with baobab and kukui essential oils: both have been used for centuries to calm inflammation. Vitamin C also polishes the complexion. The price might scare you, but this bottle does it all and it lasts forever. Two to three drops mornings and nights are enough.
5. Room scent from Raaw by Trice
I first discovered the natural cosmetic brand Raaw in a Jar thanks to – surprise – their fantastic Blue Beauty Drops facial oil. The label was founded by Danish film producer Trice Christiansen, who got into cosmetics after a skin rash that she traced back to an expensive luxury product with a lot of chemical ingredients and ended up completely switching.
The label just expanded their selection to include a line of scents and also changed their name to Raaw by Trice. My favorite from the new collection is the Blackened Santal room scent spray, which smells warm and soft with sandalwood and cedar essential oils, as well as cardamom, vanilla, violet, and iris. The black glass with the activated carbon stick that diffuses scent through the room also looks pretty great in the apartment!
Anna Bok was born and raised in Berlin. After stops in Freiburg and Florence, she made her way to Hamburg in 2007 to study journalism and art history – where she stayed and worked as a freelance journalist with various publications including Harper’s Bazaar, Süddeutsche Zeitung, and Blonde. She’s now returned to Berlin after nearly 10 years in the Hanseatic City. When Anna isn’t writing about beauty, fashion, or traveling, you’ll often find her on her yoga mat (recommendations for studios in Berlin welcome!).