Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Natural Dyes for Escential Wellness Products

Escential Wellness products use only natural dyes, unless you request otherwise. Of course, you can always leave the products with their own natural coloring. Most products are clear, or white, or cream colored if left untouched.
But, in a world where one's decor does matter, there is nothing wrong with using natural dyes ~ the kind that have been used since pre-recorded history.
I offer 3 colors, and, of course, colors can be mixed from these three.
The first is green. It is a bright green, though it can be adjusted by quantity to be a lighter or darker green. It is derived from mulberry leaves. This dye contains chlorophyllin, which comes from chlorophyll in the plant.
I also offer yellow, derived from the herb turmeric. For the cooks out there, you may be familiar with the use of turmeric in Indian dishes. It is a natural, bright yellow.
Finally, I have orange. The orange color comes from annatto seeds, which come from the annatto tree. This is the same orange that is used to color cheddar cheese.
All colorants conform to both the United States Food and Drug Administration standards, as well as British Standards. They have been tested by many different types of sophisticated equipment, such as UV-VIS spectrophotometers. They are safe for consumption, and, consequently, safe for use in soaps and lotions.
Need more information? Contact me at: nancy@Escentialwellness.com

Friday, September 11, 2009

Support for the Efficacy of Bandit's Blend

One of my best selling products, Bandit's Blend, is based on a medieval formula which thieves used to avoid catching the plague (literally) while robbing dead bodies. In the Hamilton Spectator, Sept. 11, 2009, an article was published citing that cinnamon oil does indeed have antiseptic properties! A pediatrician quoted in the article recommends using a blend of cinnamon, lemon and eucalyptus (which is, of course, in Bandit's) to use as a hand sanitizer!
I suggest using Bandit's to disinfect one's hands, or hard surfaces. My favorite way of using Bandit's, however, is for reducing the symptoms of a cold or flu, and hopefully, shortening the length of the illness. To do this, bring a bowl of water to steaming (using the microwave,) spritz in a few sprays of Bandit's, cover your head with a towel, and very carefully lower your head until you can breathe in the steam comfortably. Steam is hot! Be careful!! Ten minutes of this as often as you can during a cold or flu will help relieve nasal congestion. Or, you can use a diffuser with Bandit's spritzed into it to help reduce airborne virus in a room. Great if you have a sick person!
Bandit's retails for $18 (tax incl.) for 30 ml.
Read the entire Spectator article yourself here: http://thespec.com/article/632676

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


What's the big deal with phalates, anyway? Well, the first problem, is that they're not required to be on the list of ingredients in products. This is because certain ingredients are considered "trade secrets." However, their primary function is to extend the staying power of scent. So anytime you see "fragrance", "perfume", or "parfum" on the contents list, you can be fairly certain that the product contains Phthalates.
Consequently, they are in almost all of your beauty products that smell nice. Hand soaps, lotions, cremes, facial cleansers, deodorants, after shaves...you get the idea.
Many studies have linked phthalates to a number of health concerns. The biggest one pertains to their role as hormone disruptors. Hormone disruptors can be implicated in everything from various cancers, to birth defects, to premature puberty.
Try to choose personal care products that are unfragranced, or, are fragranced with natural essential oils.
A whole chapter in the book, "Slow Death by Rubber Duck" is devoted to phthalates. I have a book review on that book in an earlier blog entry.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Help for Hair Loss using Essential Oils

A client requested that I make up a blend to help with diffuse hair loss. To be honest, I did not think that essential oils would improve this condition. But, as usual, I set off to do research. Much to my astonishment, a "westernized" study had indeed been carried out, and, in fact, published in the American Medical Association journal in 1998. It turns out that a certain blend of essential oils actually do help alopecia areata - or hair loss!! (To read the study for yourselves, please go to this site: http://archderm.ama-assn.org/cgi/gca?submit.x=147&submit.y=10&submit=Get+Checked+Abstracts&gca=134%2F11%2F1349)
I was easily able to duplicate the oil used in the study. It was recommended to use the oil once daily, and do a 2 minute scalp massage with the oil. In addition, I have put together a shampoo and conditioner containing the oil blend. The pure shampoo and conditioner, without the oils added, are a wonder on their own: free of irritants, and derived from natural sources, primarily sugar cane and coconuts. The shampoo itself tends to volumize hair a bit. I have tried it myself, and it leaves your hair feeling very nice and a bit fluffy. Although the shampoo and conditioner do indeed wash out, and the oils included are not in contact with the hair very long, a residue may exist that certainly won't hurt the situation any. For ordering information, see my contact and product price pages at www. Escentialwellness.com

Monday, June 15, 2009

Book Review: Slow Death by Rubber Duck

For those of you with a keen interest in environmental toxins, this is a must read. The authors, Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie are two Canadian environmental activists. The good news is that the book is a fairly easy read, humorously written, and not really fear mongering. The bad news is, when you realize how insidious toxins are, and how prevalent they are, it's a bit depressing. Nonetheless, the book does not convey a sense of hopelessness, but offers some easy tricks and tips on how to avoid many toxins.
I confess that I did throw away my non-stick fry pans, and am now storing food in glass rather than plastic.
I have been using Dr. Bronner's soaps and my own glycerin soaps for years, anyway!!
If you have any inclination to be kind to yourself and the environment, read this book!
I assume it is available at Chapters, Indigo, Coles, and your public library.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Five Ingredients to Avoid in Personal Care Products

These 5 ingredients have no value to your skin; but are often added because they increase profit by "stretching" the contents volume; or they lower cost as they are less expensive than the "good stuff." #1 - Mineral Oil. This provides a luxurious feel, but has no benefit to the skin. Mineral oil is a by product of distillation of gasoline from crude oil and does nothing to nourish the skin. It may even inhibit moisturization. It just "sits" on the skin surface. Look for oils which contain natural components that benefit skin, like jojoba and/or sweet almond oil. #2 - Propylene Glycol, or PG. It acts as a surfactant, allowing the product to spread evenly over the skin. It's also used in anti-freeze and brake fluid. It protects products from extreme temperatures, so that they do not freeze or melt. Natural surfactants, like disodium coco-glucoside citrate, made from sugar, or decyl polyglucose, from corn, coconut and/or palm extracts, leave skin moist, will not irritate, and are non toxic. 3# - Polyethylene Glycol (PEG). It cleanses, attracts moisture (a humectant) and emulsifies (mixes oils and water together). Although often in skin products, you can also find it in oven cleaner and other industrial cleansers. Natural alternatives include vegetable glycerin or cetyl alcohol (from palm oil.) #4 - Sodium laryl sulphate. In fact, all the "sulphates" should be avoided. They are known skin irritants. #5 - Avoid artificial fragrances. Not only are they skin irritants, but when listed as "fragrance," or "parfum," they often contain phthalates, which are known hormone disruptors. Stick with unadulterated essential oils for fragrance, and reap the benefit of their therapeutic value, as well as scent. Or, go fragrance free!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Green Cleaning Laundry Tip

As you may, or may not, know, I teach a seminar called "First Aid and Green Cleaning with Essential Oils." (If interested in attending this course, please look on my "Learn" page for information on how to do so.) At any rate, I have slowly been modifying my cleaning habits that have formed over my lifetime. My newest spectacular discovery is to do away with fabric softener in the laundry. Now, my machine (which is a front loader), has an automatic softener dispenser. Instead of adding synthetic, purchased softener, which is loaded with chemicals bad for me and bad for the environment, where it ultimately ends up, you need only add a small capful of inexpensive, common white vinegar!! ( I think I paid $1.29 for a litre at the grocery store.)
To make the vinegar extra yummy, just add 20-40 drops of your favorite essential oil to a litre of white vinegar. I am currently using lavender, but, you can use tea tree for disinfection, or eucalyptus, or lemon, or orange. Shake the vinegar well, before pouring a capful of this into your dispenser. (That would be about 1 tablespoon.) Your whole wash will be fluffy, static free and soft, soft, soft!!!
A bonus, for those of us with front loaders, is that the washer no longer gets that "skunky" smell that can occur if you don't let the interior dry completely between uses.
Keep in mind that a top loader may need 2 capfuls, as more water is used in a top loader.
If you try this, and love it like I do, feel free to leave a comment on this blog, or, to provide me with an email that I might post on my "testimonial" site. Thanks! Happy laundry!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Why was this Blog created?

My work often requires research, and, frequently, what I find out would be of interest to the people who visit my website. So, I have decided to provide a format that would enable me to share the many little tidbits of trivia that I uncover. It is my hope that what I learn will help me to provide better services and products to you, my clients.

Essential Oils & Autism

Saturday, May 23, I spent the day in Guelph, Ontario, at the Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Federation of Aromatherapists. We had a guest speaker who talked about her research project. She is trying to determine what the inhalation of essential oils can do to encourage or prolong attention span in children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Her research is in the earliest stages, but, it was fascinating to hear how she devised the program, and what small insights she has gained at even this preliminary stage. It seems possible that inhaling different essential oils may very well provide up to 20 minutes of quieter, more focused behavior. Encouraged by her work, I have already tried two inhalers on youthful clients.
For those of you who don't know what an inhaler is, let me explain. It's just a small plastic tube, about the size and appearance of a lip balm tube. When you open it, you only see a smaller, plastic inner tube. Inside this inner tube is a cotton roll that has had essential oils dripped onto it. You can't access the oils, but, the inner tube has a slotted tip that allows the scent to waft out of the top of the tube. You are meant to place this tube under your nose, wave it gently, and inhale the fragrance.
I'll keep you posted as to the results, if there are any!