Love Your Summer Skin

Words by Blanka Priddle

One of the toughest choices Balance Garden columnist Blanka would have to make, would be to choose only three essential oils to take with her if she was ever leaving for a deserted island. Here, we find out which three would make the cut, and why.

My three deserted island essentials

You know how people are often asked during interviews: “What three books / products / tools would you take to a deserted island?” Don’t you love reading the answers? They can give you such an insight into who this person really is in their everyday life.

In my head, a deserted island is always a beautiful place in the middle of the ocean, with lots of exotic delicious fruit and coconut palms laden with delicious green coconuts leaning lazily over the waters edge, a fresh spring burbling in the forest not too far from the white sandy beach… so, with my basic needs taken care of, which three essential oils would I take? To truly understand the weight of the question, you have to understand that I have been using essential oils since early 1990’s, and you can find them everywhere in my house – my bathroom – of course, but also kitchen and living room, the yoga studio, and to make sure I have all the oils I might need, I even have a drawer in my bedside table full to the brim with to these botanical treasures!

I mix my own body and face oils, pop a drop or two in my iron to scent my clothes and protect my sweaters (Cedarwood), spray my bed every day to freshen up the linen for the next night’s rest…. I even took the “essential few” (12 to be precise) with me on round-the-world-trip some years back, and was very grateful for the help they offered at various points on that journey.

But to bring you back to my original question, if I was really only allowed three, with sunshine and heat in mind, here are my choices:

The first must of course be Lavender

Often called ‘the Swiss army knife’ in the essential oils world, this is a definite number one. I often tell people, if in doubt, use lavender. While it is very soothing to our skin (and our nervous system), at the same time its herbaceous, almost bitter-sweet aroma helps to clear our mind and brings focus to the task at hand (a handy quality whether you are setting up on a deserted island, or working against a deadline at the office). It’s superb regenerative qualities speed the healing of our skin and will help calm down itching or sunburn. It is also antiseptic and so will help to clean minor wounds, bites or scratches. It promotes sleep, lowers stress and anxiety, and has a calming and balancing effect on our body, mind and spirit. You can simply pop  a drop into your hands and inhale, let yourself drift on the refreshing cleansing scent for a few moments, and then rub what is left in your hands to your hair, scalp, temples and forehead. Your skin will be nourished, your hair will flourish, and you may just be able to deal with the task at hand with an inspiring levelheadedness.

NB: Please make sure that your Lavender is pure and unadulterated Lavandula Angustifolia, and not the much cheaper Lavandin,  or Lavandula x Hybrida, which has different bio-chemical structure and a very different effect, especially when applied on skin. Sadly some companies blend them or even interchange them completely to save money, so it is a good practice to check exactly what you are buying.

The next top-priority essential oil is Frankincense

Distilled from what is often referred to as ‘the tree of life’. Whenever the bark of this gnarly looking tree is hurt, scraped, cut or peeled, the tree sends its powerful healing resin to cover the wounds and allow healing to take place. It’s from this resin that Frankincense essential oil is distilled. This gorgeously soft and gentle oil keeps this healing, regenerative quality and generously provides the same to our skin when we apply it. It smooths uneven skin, softens wrinkles, soothes dry skin and speeds up healing. Applied undiluted it may lighten pigmentations, and a single drop, distributed gently with your pinkie fingertip, it is the best, lightest eye cream you can get your hands on. Frankincense has been a part of my morning routine for some time now, and once I dab and press and smooth the golden drop into the gentle soft skin around  my eyes, I rub my hands together and for a few moments inhale deeply of this magnificent botanical wonder. The scent opens the lungs and invites deepening of the breath, in a gentle manner, rather like a loving mother softly waking up her child in the morning, inviting them to join the new day with gentleness and love.

Frankincense has been used in spiritual practice and in meditation for millennia, and with good reason. It reconnects us to our deeper selves, it lifts our mood and our spirit and soothes our nervous system.

My last Summer botanical must-have is Peppermint

Once you experience her cooling, refreshing effect, either by inhaling or by application, you will understand that this is another summer essential. You can combine a drop of Peppermint with a drop or two of Lavender and dab on your temples, back of your neck and other pulse points to receive immediate cooling to your entire being. You can use the same blend and dilute it with some delicious jojoba oil to apply all over your body; it will also soothe and revive your skin if you have overdone it a little in the sun. When diffused, it will bring coolness to any room, and it will support a healthy digestion, too, so it is a beautiful one to use to scent the dining area at mealtimes. For the city dwellers amongst us, it is just wonderful to carry a small glass spritzer bottle with you filled with pure water and a drop or two  of Peppermint essential oil, and spray it generously all around you when you feel the heat is going to get the better out of you. Peppermint also soothes and supports digestion, and so should you overeat on your tropical island fruits, dilute a drop of Peppermint with a few drops of carrier oil, coconut or jojoba will do the job well, and gently massage around your belly. The same can be done to make you feel more comfortable if you get travel sick or sea sick. And if there are insects around and you end up with itchy bites – a drop of Peppermint will take care of that in no time at all.

NB: I recommend using only glass bottles as essential oils are very powerful and can interact with plastic. I also hope that we will learn to use less and less plastic and choose reusable materials to take care of ourselves as much as of the planet. This is a good resource for any size, colour and shape glass bottles.  (LINK: )

And so – here you have it. Three little bottles full of glorious, powerful and potent essential oils to take with you when you are setting off to your own deserted island (or going on holiday or surviving the heat of summer in a busy city).

Remember that essential oils are super potent, and so one tiny little drop is often all you need, more does not always mean better. On top of that, keep your oils away from your eyes and ears, and the bottles away from direct sun to keep them happy.

If I have piqued your interest and you have questions, tag me in the comments on social media or get in touch, I am always happy to share and to help other discover the amazing world that essential oils can open for us.

Please note: I use Young Living essential oils, because I feel I can trust that they are created with the best care from the moment the seed goes into the ground to the moment the oils is sealed in the bottle, a process guaranteed by the ‘Seed to Seal’ promise of Young Living. Their oils are always pure, organically or wild grown, untreated with harsh chemicals and unadulterated with anything that does not naturally come out of the plant matter in the distillation. Unfortunately even the oils marked as ‘pure’ in general shops may not be pure at all, so I invite you to do your research and only buy oils from companies that you can trust. To open your free membership account and explore everything that Young Living has to offer, you can follow this link.

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Blanka has been passionately learning about all things natural and alternative since her teens and has been on this exploring journey for almost three decades now. She discoved essential oils back in the 90s, fell in love with raw living foods in the noughties, and played with many other things in between. She is a Kundalini as well as Hatha yoga teacher, enjoys cooking, makes her own beauty products, and is always on a quest to find the best coffee in town.

Originally from the Czech Republic, she now lives with her Husband and a cat called Chloupek in SE London, where she teaches from her cosy yoga studio.

If you enjoy her Balance Garden musings and are looking for more, find her on her website or over on facebook, twitter, or instagram

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