Posts Tagged ‘essential oils’

A bit of history…

When I was a child I not only collected soap, I also loved and occasionally collected perfume.  Do you remember Evening in Paris in the early 1960’s? Somehow, as slim as the monetary situation was, my mother occasionally purchased a tiny little blue bottle of Evening in Paris for me.  Later in my childhood, I found myself combining perfumes, combining anything that smelled good (grass, flowers, etc…), even cooking essences.  Fragrance, and the natural the better, was definitely close to my heart.

Around 15 years ago, in the same small town where I purchased handcrafted soaps, I also had perfume made for myself, and cologne made for my sons (they always sent money with their mom).  One day the gentleman that owned the perfume shop offered classes to me.  At that time I lacked the go-get-it-done gusto that I have now.  I couldn’t see through the haze.  How could I take a week or two long class? How could I drum up $1,000? It was only $1,000! Ask me, have I regretted turning down the one-on-one class a few times? The answer is one big YES.

I studied and obtained a basic certification in aromatherapy at the Aroma Studio in New York a few years ago.  I thought my appetite for fragrance, now geared towards natural, would be satisfied.  It was not.  The course was excellent.  I refer to what I learned nearly daily.  But I am not interested in practicing aromatherapy.  My interest is fragrance.  On the plus side, my nose was well-trained!

So, this is what I am doing today.  What you see in the photo are bottles of natural perfumes that have aged for at least 24-30 days.  Why age? When natural essences are combined they continue to marry, they lose their sharp edges, they seem to warm to each other.

Natural perfume is very personal.  The wearer of a natural perfume is the one that benefits.  The scent generally does not waft freely through the air beyond the person wearing it.  Personally, the wearing of a natural perfume can change my entire day.  It feels to me (in theory) like placing liquid sunshine on the skin…uplifting, grounding, beautiful, soothing…depending upon the oils used in the formula.  One of my favorite blends contains tuberose and ylang ylang as the heart (middle notes).  I swore I did not like florals…oh yes, I do.

So, with the making of perfume comes many, many bottles of “duds.” I sniff the (duds) perfumes occasionally.  As they age they normally smell a lot different than they did the day the oils were blended.  Another drop or two of essential oil might give new life to the blend,  if not, they make good room fresheners.  Or, I wear them myself because I feel they continue to train my nose.

I plan to offer natural perfume in March 2012.  Jojoba oil based, all natural, until I get my hands on organic grape alcohol.

So…this post marks the launching of my natural perfume blogging.  I am definitely green around the edges.  I read a lot of perfume blogs and books.  They are interesting.  I need to learn an entirely new vocabulary! Better yet, I’ll just be different and talk about natural perfume my own way.  It will be fun.

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – Smell and Feel the Goodness

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Today I enjoyed my time in the soap shop.  I always do savor my time there, but today I was inspired a bit more than normal.

I have been studying natural perfume and soon will be ramping up the testing.

Today I organized the essential oils that I have on hand.  I organized by type (base, middle, and top note).

I will be receiving several shipments of new oils this week and am excited to test new recipes. 

Of course, I want more oils.  I will likely never be satisfied.  As soon as I think I have the oils on hand that I will want/need I discover a new one that intrigues me.  However, time, patience, and small (layered) steps are best. 

Aroma has been a part of me since I was a small child.  Perhaps it began during the years we lived in France when I was a young child.  I do not know. 

Soap was a passion that started at 7 years old. 

I am excited to bring the perfume forward for several reasons.  First, I find so many perfumes on the market to be obtrusive to the senses.  They are overwhelming. 

I believe perfume should be a personal thing.  You and just perhaps a person close to you should be able to smell the aroma.  I do not think perfume should permeate a room.

Perfume should not cause horrible allergic reactions for those that are near you. 

That is why I am focusing only on natural perfumes. 

More to come on this topic soon.  I am enthused, and hoping to share more with everyone soon.

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I have been temendously busy with the goats, the kidding season, and with helping my husband fire up his new business.  Yes, the blessing has arrived after a long 2 1/2 years, he is working! And he is happy. 

In the meantime, I also completed a foundation level aromatherapy course. 

I learned a great deal about essential oils including safety, blending, and aromatherapy benefits.

Purchasing essential oils has taken on a whole new meaning.  I look at the Latin name.  I look for purity (no adulterations).  I note where the crop was harvested, and the method used to create the essential oil (or absolute)

I have been studying and testing natural perfumes. 

It is hard work, believe me.  I love the learning.  Finding the time to study, and it will continue, is difficult.  I will always read new materials, and another course is going to follow.

I am going to apply what I have learned not only to my products, but also to my home, health and even to my animals.

My small garden (for now) will be filled with additional herbs and flowers that I can use in products.

I am hoping to receive my first certificate within 2 weeks, if I passed the exam and did well on the projects. 

I am excited, and I am very thankful!

Have you ever taken on something new and find yourself seeing things in a different light? How about the rush of enthusiasm?

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Lilac Goat Milk Soap

Today I am covering a valued question from a customer.

The soap that I normally purchase from Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps smells slightly different than the soap I purchased in the past.  Did the recipe change?

Essential oils are natural.  An essential oil can differ for various reasons.  Factors that play into variances in essential oils are:  the plant crop, the manufacturer (and distillation method), the region/climate the plant is harvested in, and the harvest practices. 

Essential oils, like a good perfume, can age somewhat in the bottle.  With good storage practices, essential oils can actually strengthen with time.

The creation of a natural soap requires careful measuring and tracking.  Each recipe is followed to a “t,” using an electronic scale that weighs the ingredients to the tenth of an ounce.  Even with careful measurements there are additional factors that can affect the soap from batch to batch. 

  • Season – humidity and temperature play a role in the soapmakers crafting practices.   A difference in room temperature can greatly affect the first 12-24 hours of soap, changing the insulation needs, which could greatly affect the hardness and scent of the soap.
  • Milk – varies from season to season.  Have you heard the term “grass fed beef”? I can attest to grass fed milk.  It is sweeter.  Sweeter equates to more sugar in the soap recipe, which in turn affects the entire stability of a batch of soap. 
  • Age – of the actual soap bar itself.  The curing process  (4-6 weeks) not only allows the soap to become more mild, it also gives the soap time to harden (the moisture content in the soap drops drastically).  I personally prefer an older bar of goat milk soap, especially one of my all natural soaps (some soaps contain man-made fragrances). 

So…to wrap this up, with all of the careful intentions in place,  natural soap can differ slightly from batch to batch!

I love questions, please keep them coming!

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romantic_perfume www.sxc.hu

I recently did a study on scent.  I thought I would learn additional fragrance blending methods, taking the skills to the shop with me.  I picked up on more than that.  Very interesting!

How does a person detect scent? We breathe in tiny molecules that carry scent.  The molecules travel through our nose, landing on receptors that are on a direct path to our brain (our olfactory system).   No other sense is detected directly by the brain as is the sense of smell!

We are constantly alert to scent, we live by it.  We smell food cooking and we get hungry.  We smell smoke and we instantly think danger! The nose is always at work. 

Scent is closely attached to memory.  This experience can be good, and for some, a particular scent brings forward memories that they might particularly want to bury.  From a very early age, our memories are glued to particular scents.  This, in turn, directly affects our moods!

Walk into a pristine drug store.  Have you noticed the scent that wafts past your head as you enter the doors? It is piped in…piped in to make us feel comfortable, taken care of, creating a mood that makes us feel good about buying products from that particular store.

But…scent isn’t just about what our nose smells, nor is it all about memory.  It can also bring forward exact physical reactions within our bodies.  Essential oils contain types of molecules that our bodies easily process.  We breathe in the scent directly from an essential oil, picking up the molecules.  The molecules travel to our lungs.  A physical process transpires as our lungs begin to absorb what we have inhaled.  As we absorb, the physical reaction that occurs is related to the properties of that particular essential oil.  Take lavender, for example, calming and relaxing.  A safe calm, without drugs.  It makes a person think! It also brings forward a good reminder, when working with pure essential oils, know your allergies and special medical conditions.

And lastly, speaking of scent, how does an animal detect our thoughts (such as fear)? They can smell it! Yes, they can.  Our noses, as humans, cannot detect subtle hormonal or adrenalyn changes that are released (the odor of our body changes) when we become frightened or excited, but an animal can detect the tiniest of change.  When we say animals have a sixth sense, literally, could it be that they simply have a keener sense of smell? It is definitely something to consider!

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Fragrance Blending Supplies
Fragrance Blending Supplies

Did you know the human sense of smell is 10,000 times stronger than any other sense we have? Amazing fact! And we love to savor our world with our noses…from our fresh brewed morning coffee, to our dishsoap, shampoo, hair spray, cleaning supplies, and it even extends to the delicious aromas of the food we consume. 

As I waited for the oils to cool down for the goat milk soap I made today, I satisfied my love for scent by working on some fragrance blending.  I am NO master perfume blender! I am self-taught from reading piles of books.  I have fun with blending.

My fragrance blending supplies consist of:

Blotter paper, glass eye droppers, essential oils (fragrance oils as a last resort), and alcohol to clean the droppers (to prevent contamination from bottle to bottle).  If I do not have blotter paper on hand I cut up coffee filters.  Yes, inexpensive coffee filters!

The Body of a Perfume or Fragrance Blend:

When describing a scent or blend, perfumers often use the term “notes.”  Notes are directly related to the evaporation rate of a single fragrance (or a group, or bouquet of fragrances that bond) within a blend. 

The base note, for example, can last for hours (or days) on the skin.  A base note evaporates very slowly.  Base note fragrances are often dark and thick, like patchouli or sandalwood.

The middle note can last up to 3 hours.  The middle note normally rounds out, or binds the fragrance blend. 

The top note is very short lived.  It normally lasts about 30 minutes.

How I Blend:

When I decide what “mood” or thought I am trying to project, I select oils that compliment the “painting” (ex:  juniper-sweet or musky, lavender-relaxing and clean, orange-uplifting).  I called it “painting” because the creation of fragrance blends does feel very much like artwork!

I begin by adding my base notes to the blotter paper.  Depending upon the intensity of the essential oil, I add a few drops at a time.  I then move on to the middle note.  Again, adding a few drops at a time.  Once I have obtained the desired effect, I move on to the top note, adding a few drops at a time.  I always take notes…notes are a must!

I end up carrying the blends with me throughout the day.  It is a good way to know whether I will love a blend, or be sickened by it! Today, in my left pocket (fragranced blotter paper wrapped in wax paper), is my holiday blend.  It contains a little cedar, vanilla, frankincense, orange and juniper.  In my right pocket is a lavender, citrus, cinnamon and anise blend.  I smell pretty aromatic today! The blends are getting the benefit of my body heat, helping the scents to bloom.  And, I enjoy checking the blend throughout the day to see how the notes change, and they do!

So, there you have it, basic perfuming 101…Mary Humphrey style!

I wish you had sniff-a-vision!!! These blends make me think about the natural potpourri that I used to find in a little shop in Nashville, Indiana.  Talking about scent and memories…another blog post!!

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