Face magic: aromatherapy facial oils

We asked aromatherapist Kay Cooper to prescribe some facial oils especially for Beauty Bible…

Kay, who describes herself as an alchemist, says that the joy of using oils rather than creams is that oils penetrate more deeply into the dermis. Meanwhile, the brain is awakened and soothed by the aromas. So aromatherapy is doubly potent.

Essential oils are the concentrated essences of fragrant plants and flowers, distilled into oils. For massage, the oils are mixed in minute quantities with carrier/base oils. Pure vegetable carrier/base oils are best for your face, ideally cold-pressed.

Mix a ratio of 30ml of carrier/base oil with no more than 15 drops of a single essential oil, or a combination of no more than four oils (again, not exceeding 15 drops total).

carrier/base oils
Choose the one which seems most applicable to your skin:
Peach kernel oil rich in vitamin A; nourishing
Apricot kernel oil rich in vitamin A; good for wrinkles as well as stretch marks on the body
Wheatgerm oil rich in vitamin E and phosphorus;soothes, heals and helps to smooth out wrinkles and lines
Almond oil lubricates and smoothes skin and reduces red veins; good for sensitive and dry skin
Coconut oil acts as a cleanser, can have a drying effect on skin; good for oily skin

Essential oils
Kay suggests choosing the oil or oils most appropriate to your skin. Or, she says, simply opt for the smells which please you most:
Benzoin has a toning effect, acts as an antiseptic; very good for dry skin
Lavender has a stimulating and antiseptic effect; good for oily skin and spots or any blemishes which need healing
Patchouli soothes dry, flaky skin
Frankincense rejuvenating and regenerating
Neroli rejuvenating and regenerating, this is the only one to use around the eye area; very good for broken capillaries
Myrrh nourishes mature skin (aged 50+); especially good for any areas of inflammation
Geranium balances combination skins, as well as your emotions