Aromatherapy 101: Lavender

Aromatherapy is nothing new. For thousands of years, aromatic plants have been used in resins, balms and oils, for their physical and psychological benefits. Since scents are what we do best, we’re collecting everything you need to know about aromatherapy in one place - to help you make the right choice when it comes to the aroma you use in your fragrance and skincare.

The term “aromatherapy” was coined in 1937 by a French perfumer named René-Maurice Gattefossé, when he was looking for the right word to start a conversation about the skin-healing potential of lavandula angustifolia. So when we were hunting for the subject of our first aromatherapy lesson, Lavender seemed like a very good place to start.

Lavender has become the most popular fragrance used in aromatherapy - and for good reason. The oils extracted from lavender flowers are reported to help with stress, anxiety - and even mild pain. This is a multipurpose oil that comes with an extremely long list of benefits.

Benefits of Lavender

  • Lavender is calming
  • One of the reasons everybody’s obsessed with lavender is the comforting effect it has on people who use it regularly. This soothing fragrance has a calming effect on the nervous system, so if you’re prone to stress, depression or anxiety, you might find some relief in choosing a touch of lavender for your bath oil, and letting your worries melt away with a long soak designed to calm your senses. We love L’Occitane’s Lavender Foaming Bath for a relaxing blanket of bubbles.

  • Lavender improves sleep
  • Beauty sleep is no joke - but if you find yourself counting sheep into the thousands each night, don’t underestimate the relaxing power of lavender. You might have noticed that a lot of room fragrances, fabric conditioners and pillow sprays have a lavender fragrance - it’s because the scent helps you wind down, relax and prepare your body for a restful night. Aromatherapy using lavender oil can also increase time spent in deep sleep - which is where all the really good stuff happens. Try working a lavender-scented night concentrate into your evening skincare routine, and it could improve your overall sleep quality. We also recommend Seascape’s Soothe Sleep Oil with 100% natural essential lavender oil, and L’Occitane’s beautiful Relaxing Pillow Mist for a quick spritz.

  • Lavender nourishes your skin
  • It’s not just about the fragrance. Because lavender has a lot of antioxidants, it’s perfect for protecting and nourishing your skin - which is why you’ll find it in a lot of skin care formulas. Beauty experts get excited about lavender because it also has antimicrobial properties - which means a lavender body oil can be really good at healing skin, soothing dry-skin related ailments like eczema and dermatitis, and even reducing the appearance of spots. If you’re struggling with acne, investing in a lavender-infused clay mask could help you save face. For a smooth shave, try D.R Harris’ Lavender Shaving Stick, or give your hair and body a boost with L’Occitane’s Hair and Body Wash with lavender and peppery nutmeg.

  • Lavender can soothe pain
  • Because lavender is a natural pain reliever and antibiotic, a lot of clever people have invested time in studying how lavender can help in the fight against things like headaches and migraines, toothache and osteoarthritis pain. It doesn’t take much - a whiff of lavender was enough to offer immediate and long-lasting relief to regular migraine sufferers. So, if you’re struggling with aches and pains, try bringing lavender into your skincare routine and see if it helps you, too. Keeping a scented hand cream nearby is a good way to find that soothing scent– try Scottish Fine Soaps’ Geranium and Lavender Hand Cream.

  • Lavender can keep bugs at bay
  • Unlike us, bugs hate the scent of lavender, so if you’re bothered by mosquitoes and other buzzy beasts in the summer months, you might want to consider a lavender-based hydrating mist to keep them at bay. Lavender oil can also be used to take the itch out of bug bites, and is very soothing for sunburn - so it’s definitely something to pack in your picnic basket. L’Occitane’s Relaxing Candle is a great way to infuse the scent of lavender in your home, while the Lavender Clean Hands Gel is perfect for staying sanitised on-the-go.

    Lavender is extremely popular in aromatherapy because it has so many uses - it can help you sleep, nourish your skin, calm your nerves and soothe pain. So, if you’re only going to invest in one essential oil, you’ll probably find that you get the most use out of lavender. Your homework for this week is to look for ways to bring lavender into your skincare and fragrance, and discover the benefits of this versatile herb for yourself. Class dismissed!