grapesVitis vinifera

Family: Vitaceae

Part Used: seed

Base oil: can be used 100 percent

The grape is a climbing vine native to Asia. The vine grows to about 30 feet and has green flowers that develop into sweet green or purple-red fruits. Grapeseed oil is produced from the residue of grapes that were pressed for wine. The oil is widely used in creams, massage oils, and on people who are allergic to other oils.

Contains: vitamins, minerals, proteins

Practical uses: general skin care. The carrier/base oil is used to dilute essential oils in aromatherapy for massage oils and other formulations. Grapeseed is a light oil and has a smooth texture.

Therapeutic Properties: anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, antioxidant, cardiotonic

The oil is pale green and extremely high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, making it light-textured and easy for the skin to absorb. This oil is especially useful for complexions that are well-lubricated, such as olive or darker skins, which have higher levels of their own natural oils. These skin-types tend not to absorb richer carriers, resulting in very slippery skin. Massaging with a light carrier such as grapeseed leaves no residue and created a smooth, soft finish.

*Special Tip: to smooth away hard skin on your feet, use a Grapeseed and sea-salt foot scrub. Place 90ml / 3 fl oz grapeseed oil in a small bowl and add 25g / 1 tablespoon course sea salt. After a bath or shower, rub the foot scrub all over both feet, then wipe away any excess.

Special Blends

Add these essential oils to 20 ml / 4 tsp Grapeseed oil:

To tone normal and oily skins:

  • 2 drops Cypress, 6 drops Grapefruit, 2 drops Fennel

To smooth normal skin:

  • 4 drops lavender, 4 drops lemon, 2 drops vetiver

*Source: Harding Jennie, The Essential Oils Handbook. Duncan Baird Publishers, 2008 is free to access and use.
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Making a Skin Mousse

Take a clean glass jar that is big enough to hold up to 20ml/4 tsp of the finished mousse. Add 15ml/3 flat tsp Aloe Vera gel, then 5ml/1 tsp jojoba carrier oil and stir the mixture with a small spoon. The oil and gel will start to combine and thicken. At this point, add another 2.5ml/ ½ tsp Aloe Vera gel and keep stirring. The mixture will suddenly go smooth and slack, taking on an opaque, pale cream colour. You will have approximately 20ml/4 tsp mousse in total – enough for around ten applications to the face.

You can use the mousse unfragranced, or you can add essential oils to the mousse blend and stir again. The mousse will last between four and six weeks at a cool room temperature and will leave your skin feeling calmed, restored and soft.

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Skin Oils and Lotions

The essential oils are prepared in much the same manner as they would be for a massage, except that the base oil should include the more nourishing oils such as jojoba, avocado or apricot kernel oil. The focus here is on treating the skin itself and dealing with particular problems. A gentle circular movement of the fingertips is often enough for the oils to be absorbed; it is important not to drag the skin, especially in the delicate areas of the neck and around the eyes.

Rose and neroli are good for dry or mature complexions; geranium, bergamot and lemon can help combat acne and greasy skin.

A few drops of essential oil can also be mixed into a bland cream or lotion, or added to a basic face mask, which might include oatmeal, honey, or clay together with the pulp of various fruits.

In some conditions, such as cold sores (herpes) and athlete’s foot, it is better to use an alcohol-based lotion instead of an oil or cream. This can be made by adding 6 drops of essential oil to 5 ml of isopropyl alcohol or vodka. This mixture can be further diluted in a litre of boiled and cooled water for treating open cuts or sores, such as those caused by chickenpox or genital herpes.

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