A little about my practice
So. I’ve been wanting to share a bit of my regular practice when exploring a new essential oil or new blend. My morning shower routine includes using a fairly abrasive nylon cloth (more like a scarf in dimension, really – an odd amenity from China, if I recall correctly). I’ll place a sample of an oil or blend on the cloth and then wash with it normally, paying attention to how the oil/blend affects me on inhalation, during the shower itself, and afterward.
Over time I discovered that many soaps labeled ‘unscented’ really mean ‘no added fragrance’. The soaps themselves often have distinct intrinsic aromas that ultimately I found to interfere with my experience of the oils and blends I was testing. Olive oil-based soaps in particular tend to impart their aroma to whatever oil or blend you’re sampling, but most other ‘unscented’ or ‘fragrance-free’ soaps have some degree of underlying aroma basic to their formulation. Much the same can be aid for shampoo, too.
After much experimentation I found a soap that for me contributes no noticeable aroma, an unscented glycerin soap made by Clearly Natural Soaps shown above. I believe it is fairly widely available at retail and can certainly be found online if any reader would like to try it. Though I don’t often include shampooing in these oil/blend trials, I’ve found Stonybrook Botanicals Unscented shampoo and conditioner almost completely absent aromatically, and as such excellent for any aromatherapeutic use.
Some days I’ll extemporize with the cloth, adding individual oils directly to it. Practically this means a simple blend of only a few elements, lest the experiment be overwhelming with too high a ratio of oils to carrier (in this case the cloth/soap). Usual these days I will blend according to inspiration, intent and/or whim and then sample the combination as usual with my cloth & soap routine. (I’ve come to prefer using 9 drops of the 100% blend, but that’s entirely personal. Use whatever volume you find effective should you give this method a try.)
This same cloth-and-soap technique serves me for re-evaluating older blends to see how they’ve fared on aging. In the first few years of working with oils I blended directly into carrier oils. Some of those early blends haven’t survived the oxidation of their carrier oil, so they’ll have to be recreated. Some blends have improved greatly on aging. Over the last year I’ve taken to creating a blend and keeping it at 100% until the need presents to make it up for a particular purpose in a particular carrier. Here too I’ve been finding some wonderful surprises effected by aging.
The last thing I use my cloth-and-soap method for is working with one of my blends devotionally. I recently attended the Between the Worlds festival, at which I played a role in a ritual for Hekate. My oil blend for Hekate, Hard Choices: For the Mother of the Crossroads is an early one that has proved vital and powerful still. In the days leading up to the ritual, I used this blend every day and bathed myself in Her energy, preparing to serve Her.