My Essentials Series: The Timeless Lore Of Lavender Oil

My Essentials Series: The Timeless Lore Of Lavender Oil

Lavender is one of those transportative scents that never fails to spark serenity for me. Whether it’s the image of a large lavender bush a-buzz with bees in the summertime or the memory of lavender-scented pillowcases that subtly let me know it was bedtime, Lavender has been present in my life since I was a little girl. So, although the scent of lavender may not be immediately detectable in all of my skincare products, lavender oil is in all of them. Not only because I love the flower and the aroma, but because this purple-tipped shrub is made of incredibly powerful stuff.

What Is Lavender Oil?

Lavender oil is produced by the perennial flowering plant group, Lavandula. As part of the mint family, the shrub carries a potent and charming aroma. Hardy, easy to grow and versatile, lavender is a popular plant in many English gardens though it is also found in mountainous parts of the Mediterranean and is successfully farmed all over the world.

The use of lavender in medicine, beauty and ritual can be found throughout history. The Romans scented their bathhouses with it, traces of lavender were found in Tutankhamun’s tomb and it’s both been used in pagan ritual and as protection from the workings of witchcraft.

Lavender oil is gathered, through a precise process of distillation, from the flowering part of the lavender plant, and used for many purposes.

The Calming Effects Of Lavender

Spiritually, lavender symbolises healing, love, purification and protection. It’s been a staple in the cupboards and cauldrons of witchy women through generations and it’s been used around the home as well as on the skin, to induce calm.

Far from folklore, the very real effects of lavender on the nervous system are backed up by science. Both the scent of lavender and the application of lavender on the skin has been proven to have a direct impact on the parasympathetic nervous system, slowing heart rate and regulating hormone release and breathing as well as reducing adrenaline. All of which can be symptoms of and increase the effects of anxiety.

In having this calming effect on the reactions we have to stress, lavender is highly effective as an all-natural emotional stabiliser. It also makes it ideal for use in aromatherapy and as a sleep aid.

What Does Lavender Oil Do In Skincare?

Lavender does a lot of heavy lifting for such a delicate flower. You’ll find lavender oil in a lot of skincare and it’s not just for the fragrance. It’s an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial and antifungal, which means it can reduce inflammation, soothe irritated skin, protect against infection and other toxins, and combat environmental stresses such as pollution and UV radiation. 

Again, we pay testament to the calming quality that lavender holds, for it is this that helps to soothe skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis, as well as reduce redness and other irritations, including acne. Its potential to fight acne is also attributed to its ability to combat bacteria and help keep pores clear.

Here at Olive & Joyce, we celebrate ageing and see the beauty in wrinkles. However, we also recognise you may want to slow the physical effects of time down just a little. With its magical healing abilities, lavender oil can help to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, as well as minimise scarring.

Despite all these wonderful qualities, lavender oil should not be used directly on the skin as it is too intense and could cause a reaction. It needs to be diluted, usually by combining it with other essential or fatty oils that can help to enhance its benefits.

Other Ways To Use Lavender

Following that rave review, you’ll be unsurprised to find that I use lavender oil, in various quantities in all of my face creams and facial oils. You’ll also find Lavandula in my all-natural hair oil, Bloom and, of course, it makes an appearance in my sleep-inducing, most calming, foot cream, Sleepy Joyce.

Here are three other ways to capture and cultivate the magical powers of lavender:

  • Rub a little lavender oil into your temples when you feel a headache coming on or detect those first flutters of anxiety.
  • At the end of the season, pick and dry lavender. Fill up and sew shut small pouches, using material scraps, and place them in your drawers for lavender-scented clothing, or underneath your pillow to help induce sleep.
  • Add a few drops of any of my facial cleansers - they all contain lavender oil - to a bath for silky skin and an at-home aromatherapy experience.

Did you enjoy learning about lavender oil? Check out the other articles in this series -

Sweet Almond Oil - The All-Powerful Emollient

Shea Butter - The Luscious Balm Of Silk

Evening Primrose Oil - The Skin Replenishing Amber Oil

Turmeric - Nature’s Roots Of Remedy

The Purifying Powers Of Carrot Seed Oil

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