It’s no secret we’re in love with essential oils. From our aromatherapy treatments, to the complex fragrance profiles in our products– essential oils are involved in almost everything we do. We love that essential oils have the power to transform your mood, and therefore something as simple as a skincare routine can set the tone for your entire morning.
We wanted to sit down with essential oil specialist, Amy Galper– to ask some of your burning questions. Amy is an essential oil teacher, product developer, clean beauty expert, certified aromatherapist, and author of the book Plant-Powered Beauty. She also founded NYC's first Aromatherapy School which she will be transforming into an online platform this fall. Read on to learn more.
When did you first become interested in Essential Oils?
I was first introduced to essential oils in the late 90’s - through a friend. I was instantly captivated by their aromas and how they immediately calmed me and focused my attention.
What are your thoughts on essential oils in beauty products and skincare? How can they be beneficial?
Essential oils and beauty products are meant for each other. There are so many ways they balance each other, support each other, and enhance each other. Most powerfully, their beautiful aromas calm our nervous system, and de-stress us, - and make us feel beautiful. And therapeutically many essential oils are anti-inflammatory, balancing, skin-soothing, tissue reparative, and protective. The most important thing however is knowing the proper percentages - essential oils should always be at a very low percentage in any product used on the face.
Is it possible that essential oils can cause breakouts?
Essential oils, when not blended correctly into a carrier, or blended at a very high percentage, can cause irritation, dryness, itchiness, and reactiveness. I’ve never seen an acne breakout caused by it - but essential oils can have a tendency to be drying - so if used at a high percentage it’s possible that they could trigger more sebum production...perhaps. But when blended correctly, essential oils should not cause any irritation or adverse reactions.
What essential oils are best avoided during pregnancy?
Any essential oils that promote “release” or are strong antispasmodics - like camphor, wintergreen tarragon, Birch, Sage, Clary Sage - and other oils like Wormwood, Mugwort, Aniseed, Thuja, Lavender Stoechas, and Hyssop.
You founded the New York Institute of Aromatherapy! Can you tell us more about this and what people learn when they come there?
I started the first aromatherapy school in NYC back in 2013, because I saw there wasn’t a place in the city for people to get professional training in how to use essential oils, or to get guidance about how to blend them - and make natural/clean skin and body care products. We offered a wide range of classes that focused on essential oils, their therapeutic applications, and the best ways to use them. Due to COVID, we had to close - and I am launching a new platform in early September: amygalper.com where I’ll be offering a wide range of live video classes about essential oils and clean beauty wellbeing.
What inspired you to write your book Plant-Powered Beauty?
My co-author Christina Daigneault came to me with the idea, and we agreed it was a great vehicle for me to share years of my recipe making with our love of essential oils. We wanted the book to be accessible to everyone who was interested in using food-based, whole plant ingredients for skin and body care - and make it super easy for readers to make the recipes themselves - directly in their kitchen.
The book is a one-stop-shop of our favorite plant ingredients, along with a little info about the skin and how it works, while emphasizing why clean beauty is important and quickly becoming a movement -- plus has some amazing reference charts on dozens and dozens of different plant ingredients. Our new edition that just launched this month has a new bonus chapter about CBD and why it’s such a powerful and effective choice for skincare - we even share some easy CBD recipes!
What are some ways our readers can incorporate essential oils into their everyday lives?
The best way to incorporate essential oils into our everyday lives is by using them every day! Or just by carrying around a bottle of one that you love the aroma - and throughout the day, opening the bottle and smelling it -- and observing how it makes you feel. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to your lotion, creams, bath time, or even sprinkle a couple of drops onto your bed sheets or pillow. The easiest and simplest way is to literally just smell them every day! I carry a little pouch with me of 3 or 4 oils and sniff them throughout the day.
What are some of your favorite essential oils to use and for what purposes?
There are so many! But recently, I’ve been gravitating towards essential oils that come from seeds, like Coriander Seed and Carrot Seed. I love Coriander seed because it contains many of the same molecules that are also in Lavender...making it very soothing to anxiety, and calming to the central nervous system. Coriander is also a very gentle digestive, and I find it very relaxing for a nervous belly! I just drop a drop or 2 of the oil directly into the palm of my hand and then place my hand on my belly and I feel immediately relaxed! Carrot Seed is steam distilled from the seeds of the beautiful flower that grows like a weed along with disrupted landscapes, like sides of highways - the molecules of this oil are very reparative and calming - inspiring healing and nourishment. Also a gentle digestive. I like using Carrot Seed essential oil in my homemade face oils, it’s soothing and deeply nutritive - and supports cell rejuvenation.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Essential oils invite us to deepen our relationship to plants and to make connection emotionally to ourselves, others and the world around us - the beauty of their aroma remind us of the beauty and wonder in this world!
Thank you so much, Amy! Stay tuned for her website launch this fall and make sure to follow her on instagram.