Discover the wonderful benefits of incorporating oil into your beauty regimes, with Chinese, Yogic and Ayurvedic techniques.
Homer referred to virgin olive oil as liquid gold. Hippocrates called it the great healer. I started taking the healing effects of oil seriously when I trained as a massage therapist. We learned about how plant based oils were able to penetrate the skin, rather than many lotions that never make it beyond the top layer. There are many healing applications of various oils in yoga and ayurveda (the medicinal side of yoga) too. As we come into Autumn, a time of self-healing and nurture, I thought I would share some of these practices with you and some of my own experience.
Face: Available now in the Members Area is the Gua Sha facial tutorial with Dr Crystal Chanderbhan ND. Gua Sha uses oil to help the stone move more easily. Crystal recommends olive oil or sea buckthorn oil for the face. The latter certainly has a cult following but I can’t pass comment as I haven’t tried either. I like to use rosehip oil for my face – it suits my skin type which is combination and provides lots of antioxidants. I use it a couple of times a week, either before bed as part of an extended facial massage or for Gua Sha. I like to mix in a couple of drops of rose essential oil or rose water if I want to lighten the oil.
Hair: Sunday is my “oil” day! Very often on Saturday night, before bed, I douse my hair in oil, plait it and put a towel over my pillow so I can keep it in overnight. I reckon this has probably saved me a number of haircuts over the years! Argan Oil is my choice of oil for my hair. It’s amazing and really moisturises dry ends. Cosmetic Argan Oil shouldn’t smell – I once bought a litre of the stuff in Marrakech only to find on my return to the UK that it was cooking quality and my hair smelled like a chip pan! Take care with coconut oil too – I once used that on my hair before heading into London to catch up with a friend at a posh restaurant. The oil set on my hair and despite 3 or 4 attempts at washing it out, I still met my friend with hair that felt like a waxed jacket!
Body: Sesame Oil! Every time. This is a yogic technique that I have wholeheartedly embraced. On a Sunday morning I dry brush my skin, moving towards the heart. I then apply warm sesame oil, put on some old clothes and relax for a few hours with some Yin, meditation or a good book. Sesame oil is warming, nurturing and leaves my skin glowing afterwards. Quite often I will add a drop or 2 of an essential oil like ginger for circulation or lavender. When you’re done shower off the remainder and voila! New you! Sesame oil is anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. It can also act as a natural SPF.
Teeth: I was introduced to oil pulling a few years ago by an ayurvedic practitioner. Again sesame oil is often recommended for this. I prefer the other option, coconut oil. You’re supposed to do this upon waking – quite often I forget, but I think that any time before brushing your teeth is ok. Take a teaspoon of oil (I don’t melt the coconut oil – it dissolves soon enough in your mouth) and rinse it around your mouth for about 5-20 minutes. It can take time to build tolerance – I wasn’t keen on it at all to start! Don’t take too much oil, keep it at a teaspoon, no more. The idea is that the oil kills harmful bacteria in the mouth while nurturing the helpful ones (often harsher mouth washes kill all the bacteria. As the mouth bacteria forms part of the gut micro-biome so this can have an adverse impact on digestive health). The oil nurtures the gums, helps prevent tooth decay, addresses bad breath, and is said to whiten the teeth.
There are so many other wonderful oils that I haven’t mentioned – hemp oil (CBD or otherwise), sweet almond oil. jojoba, avocado…… And I haven’t even touched on the benefits of consuming oil in smoothies, salad dressings and so on. Embrace oil! Experiment and find what works for you. As we come into an uncertain Winter, with more possible restrictions, there is no reason not to take the time to DIY pamper and nourish. Oils are a great, low cost way to stay radiant and healthy. I hope you enjoy your adventures in oil.