By Ian Chow, Certified Massage Therapist
With a bit too much time at hand due to the lockdown, I started reading, experimenting and doing my own DIY stuff that I do use on regular basis. Moreover, I do already have the basic ingredient at hand, my essential oils that I use for my massage therapy. Why not put it to good use while waiting for the industry to restart.
So, here you go, I am going to share four ingredients from my DIY items that I made using essential oils:
i). Hand sanitiser – figure out that rather than keep on buying, why not just make my own and it smells better too.
ii). Insect repellant – this is more for my children when they go to the garden / playground just right outside our house
iii). Pillow mist – nothing more soothing than a nice smelling pillow or fabric. If you want, this can also be used as toilet freshener especially after your guest uses it.
iv). Hair tonic – yeap, age is catching up and need to do something before I go bald. LOL
I). Hand sanitiser:
Essential oils to use: Clove, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Wild Orange, Geranium, Eucalyptus, Lime, Thyme and Tea Tree
What to choose if you only have three oils? Clove, Eucalyptus and Peppermint.
Note: Due to Covid, you may want to consider using alcohol (isopropyl alcohol 99.9% which is easily available via online marketplace) to mix the essential oil with disstilled water. And it is recommended that the alcohol should be at 50% to 70% dilution. Yes, I do understand that the essential oils used do have antimicrobial and antibacteria property but I am in the opinion that usage of alcohol is needed for the sanitiser to do its job 100% well.
And instead of distilled water, you may choose to replace that with aloe vera gel.
In general, the essential oil ratio used should not be more than 4%. If it is usage for children below 6 years old, it should not be more than 2% and baby below 1 year old, it should not be more than 0.5%. Of course, there are more accurate recommendation for different type of products but this for me is a no-fuss ratio that I can safely follow for all my items.
ii). Insect repellant:
Essential oils to use: Lemongrass, Lemon, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Spearmint, Thyme, Clove and Geranium
What to choose if you only have three oils? Lemongrass, Spearmint and Eucalyptus
Note: Unlike sanitiser, I don’t use alcohol to mix the essential oil with distilled water, but I use an emulsifier (Polysorbate 20). I can also use aloe vera gel in replacement of disstilled water.
Then, instead of Polysorbate 20, you may also consider using Witch Hazel or Himalayan pink fine salt. I do not know the effectiveness of these two as the substitute but it does work to a certain extent for sure. But what I didn’t like about using salt is if I don’t dissolve it well, the fine particles may clog up and spoil the spray head. Plus, I don’t know how to measure the ratio for this (how much salt should I put vs how much water to dissolve).
iii). Pillow mist:
Essential oils to use: Geranium, Clove, Cypress, Clary sage, Lavender, Ylang Ylang
What to choose if you only have three oils?: Lavender, Geranium, Ylang Ylang
Note: This is of course very subjective cos this is based a lot on the smell that you like and not the property of the oils like the other DIY items. So, this oil composition is purely based on what I like.
Based on how quick an essential oil evaporate (in layman term, which oil do you smell first), the oils are categorised as Top, Middle, Base note. For a good pillow mist, it should comprises one oil from each category.
I find this site has very good information about the categorisation of the oils: https://www.aromaweb.com/articles/aromaticblending.asp
Then, you also need to think of what type of smell that you want; whether it is citrus, herbal, spicy, warm, floral, fruity or a combination. Later, which oil(s) to put more so it can be the leading smell. All this will influence the final conconction that you want to whip out.
iv). Hair tonic:
Essential oils to use: Rosemary, Lavender, Peppermint, Lemongrass, Tea Tree, Clary Sage, Thyme, Cedarwood
What to choose if you only have three oils? Rosemary, Lavendar, Cedarwood
Note: You can add on vitamin E acetate to this. Smell wise, I find that this hair tonic formula has an unpleasant smell. Well, as long as it works, the smell doesn’t really matter I guess.
To mix the oil, aloe vera gel and vitamin E, once again, you can choose to use either an emulsifier, Witch Hazel or Himalayan salt. I definitely avoid alcohol for this cause my scalp can’t take it (I have red patches on my scalp after using, which is also the reason why I avoid commercial hair tonic that has high chemical or synthetic ingredient)