Newby Hands talks to Geraldine Howard, co-founder of Aromatherapy Associates.

What’s the best way to use essential oils?

“There are so many ways to use them, here goes… In the bath either use a really good quality bath oil blend or combine a few drops of your favourite pure essential oil with a little bit of milk – it helps it disperse in the water rather than float on top. But do be sure to use a therapeutic grade blend for real results.In the shower you can mix a few drops of your chosen oil into a teaspoonful of vegetable oil and then massage onto your chest before stepping under the hot water and inhaling deeply. A citrus-based blend provides a great wake-up each morning.

Adding a few drops of oil to a bowl of boiling water can fragrance a room and is particularly great at night to help you sleep, or use an antibacterial/antiviral blend throughout the day, to help keep winter bugs at bay.

Using a few drops on a tissue to inhale is really useful when travelling. I always use our Support Breathe Essence when flying and I’m convinced it stops me picking up germs and viruses from those airless cabins.

Using oils on the skin is, in my opinion, the greatest single skincare product you can find – but do use those specifically made for the skin. Essential oils are made up of very small molecules and so penetrate into the bloodstream and so help directly treat skin. Older skins benefit hugely from a combination of rose and frankincense. Oily skins will see huge benefit from more antiseptic and antibacterial blends, such as lavender and ylang ylang.

For babies you have to be a bit cautious here as there are many that are not safe for little ones but others can be highly beneficial. For a cold, a few drops of Breathe Essence on a burner really clears the air and helps them breathe more easily. On the skin, evening primrose and english chamomile provide a wonderfully soothing combination to help treat eczema and dry skin conditions.”

What are your ‘essential’ essential oils?

“Frankincense is my lifesaver; in the midst of a busy day when the to-do list is rapidly growing and the emails are ploughing in, take a quick inhalation of this powerful oil – it really does the trick.I’m obsessed!

Lavender is fabulous for spot-application to insect bites, cuts and burns. It’s also soothing to inhale, or massage into the temples if you’re suffering from a headache.

Rosemary helps clarify thoughts and relax muscles, so can ease tension and soothe a busy mind at the same time.

Ylang ylang is the feel-good oil and great for a pre-party boost.

Rose is great in any skin oil for the face or body.  It gives skin a real healthy glow by stimulating the micro-circulation.”

What are your health and beauty essentials?

“The Rose Hydrating Mask – it has the most incredible effect, boosting moisture to really hydrate the skin. Use it twice-weekly as a pick-me-up, or more regularly when travelling – it really can transform the quality and appearance of the skin.

Swimming! It gives me strength and energy, as well as keeping me fit. Plus it gives me time to think, reflect and take a step back from a busy day. I often have some of my best ideas in the water, when my mind is clear.

Supplements; I am a big believer in supplements which need to be selected according to your needs. I take multi vitamins and minerals as well as things like serotonin and phosphatidyl serine.”

What’s your tip for a good night’s sleep?

“Use a blend that contains vetivert, it’s an instant knock-out. Our Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil contains vetivert, camomile and sandalwood and it’s so powerfully effective, it remains our No 1 best seller across the world. I find melatonin really helps to get into a good sleep pattern when changing time zones.”

What about for the face?

“Essential oils are fantastic when used in skin care products. I find that rather than just relying on a single cream/serum/oil, I always recommend layering a serum, followed by an oil and then ‘lock-in’ the goodness with a cream, leaving it all to absorb overnight. The effects are quite fabulous. You can go one step further and use a maskover the top.

Oils like lavender, tea-tree and ylang ylang can actually help to regulate an oily skin. While sandalwood and vanilla help the skin retain moisture, and geranium and rose are fantastic for all skins. As we’ve seen such an increase in people suffering from sensitive skins, our new soothing blend of camomile and evening primrose oil is very effective at quickly calming.”

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