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SOAP – Is it time to ditch the bottle?

SOAP – Is it time to ditch the bottle?


Over the years the humble bar of soap has become increasingly less popular.  Since the introduction of the pump dispensed hand wash in the 1980’s, the soap bar has been viewed as a less convenient and even a less hygienic way to get the hands clean.  But is that true?

Ok, so as a maker of bar soap, it could be said that I’m a little bit biased on this subject, but hear me out.   Whilst I can see that having the soap in a handy dispenser may be easier to use.  I’m not entirely convinced that is it more hygienic?  So let’s take a look at the facts?

Way back in 1988 a study was conducted to determine whether or not bar soap was unhygienic.  And it found that “washing with contaminated bar soap is unlikely to transfer bacteria”.  That’s good to know!  So why do people still believe that it can?

Presumably it’s because the soap is being touched directly with contaminated hands, usually after using the loo.  So it would be reasonable to assume that undesirable germs were being transferred directly to the soap.  However, the very action of washing itself then goes on to remove the germs, rinsing them away down the plughole.  Problem solved!  The soap is then returned to the soap dish, cleansed of all germs by the end of the washing process.  Hence, the findings of the study, that it is unlikely for bacteria to be transferred.

But what about the liquid soap dispenser, could the same be said?  After all one has to use a possibly contaminated hand to operate the pump dispenser.  How many people will go to the trouble of cleaning the pump nozzle after each use?  My guess is very few.

So it seems more likely that the bottle soap, would be the least hygienic option.

However, maybe you’re still not convinced.  So let’s look at some of the other great reasons to return to bar soap.

It’s better for the environment

Liquid soap comes packaged in a plastic bottle and we all know what that means.  It’s bad for the environment!   Whereas, our handmade bar soaps are wrapped only in fully recyclable card.

There are no added preservatives

Bar soap needs no preservative, but liquid soap most definitely does.   So bar soap is likely to be  a more natural product.

It’s gentle on skin

Some people believe that bar soaps are too harsh for the skin but not all bar soaps are made equal.  We use good quality plant oils and butters to make our soaps.  Including Shea butter, Coconut Oil & Olive Oil.  Plus many other skin loving ingredients such as Oatmeal, Clays and Milks.


So perhaps the only advantage, pump dispenser hand soap has over bar soap after all, is convenience.  Which I realise can be a big factor for some.  And ok, so bar soap is slippery, there’s admittedly not much can be done about that.  (Unless we revisit the soap on a rope idea!).   But if you value, the environment, hygiene and natural products over convenience, here are a few tips, to make using bar soap a more convenient experience.

  • Allow the soap to dry out completely between uses
  • Don’t leave the soap sitting in a puddle of water. This will make it soft and slimy!
  • Use a good soap dish, which completely drains and doesn’t allow the soap to sit in water. I have found the best soap dishes are the ones with open bottoms or sides, which let the moisture drain away.


If you would like to find out for yourself, just how great our handmade soaps are visit






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Aromatherapy & the mind: My top 10 essential oils for stress

AROMATHERAPY & THE MIND:  My top 10 essential oils for stress

As we go about our daily lives, we experience many different emotions.   Some good, such as excitement, happiness, love, serenity and hope.  And some not so good, like sadness, grief, irritation, stress and anger.  It’s normal for us to have these feelings, even the negative ones.  As they are important for our survival and help us to deal with difficult situations.  However, sometimes we can find ourselves becoming overwhelmed by these emotions and that’s when they become a problem.  Chronic stress, anxiety, tension and depression can all eventually lead to bad health.  So it makes sense to nip them in bud as soon as possible.

Aromatherapy is a great way to do this.  It’s not only relatively safe but it’s a very pleasant way to deal with unpleasant situations.

Essential oils are highly concentrated plant chemicals. And just a few drops of the oils can have powerful mood altering effects.

When we inhale the scent of essential oils, the aroma is carried directly to the brain.  In particular,  to an area known as the Limbic system.  The part of our brain which effects emotions.  This results in the release of various neurochemicals and hormones.

The oils all have different qualities and benefits, so here is a quick summary of some of my favourite mood enhancing oils:



Rose absolute is extracted from rose petals and has a floral aroma, that is both soothing and calming for the nerves. It has an uplifting quality which makes it great  for depression and grief.  In fact, one particular study found it be particularly useful in the management of postnatal depression.


Also extracted from flowers, the floral aroma of lavender oil invokes a sense of calmness and relaxation.    It is mostly used for sleep issues and mental restlessness.  And can be particulary good for anxiety and general tension.


Frankincense oil is extracted from the resin of the Frankincense tree.  It has strong spiritual connections, having been used in religious ceremonies worldwide.  And it’s reputed to aid meditation, focus the mind and invoke a feeling of peace and calmness.  Also great for anxiety and stress.


Bergamot essential oil is extracted from the bergamot orange.  So it has a sweet smelling citrusy aroma.  It has been found to exert a relaxing effect on the central nervous system, making it useful for stress, anxiety and depression.  It is also uplifting and energizing.


Geranium essential oil, is extracted from the stems and leaves of the plant.  It has a pleasantly uplifting aroma and is said to brighten the mood, lift depression and reduce stress.  A recent study also concluded, that it may be beneficial for neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia and alzheimers.


Chamomile has a calming, mild sedative effect on the mind  and is ideal for feeling of panic, anxiety and stress.  It is a general relaxant and particularly useful for stress conditions related to the gut.


Cedarwood also has sedative properties, so it can be helpful for sleep issues.  It calms and soothes the mind and is great for generalised anxiety and stress. It is also claimed that it can calm anger and irritation.


Jasmine invokes a feeling of happiness, which can lift the mood and help depression.  It boosts serotonin, the happy hormone and can help you to relax and prepare for a good nights sleep.


Ylang Ylang also has a pleasant, floral aroma, which is both soothing and slightly sedating.   It helps with depression  and sadness by lifting the mood and can also lower stress levels.


Like many of the citrus oils, Sweet Orange has an uplifting, cheering quality.  It can evoke happy feelings, so it’s great for both anger and depression and for whenever you need to give your mood a boost.


So the next time you find yourself overwelmed by negative emotions. Consider reaching for one of the above essential oils, to restore calm to your day.


If you’d like to try out some of these aromatherapy oils for yourself, why not start with a long relaxing soak in one of our Bath Soaks

or maybe fill your home with the uplifting aromas of our Aromatherapy Room mists



Conrad P, et al. The effects of clinical aromatherapy for anxiety and depression in the high-risk postpartum woman – a pilot study. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2012 Aug;18(3):164-8.





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The benefits of Himalayan salt baths

The benefits of Himalayan Salt Baths

Salty baths aren’t exactly a new discovery.  In fact the benefits of using salts in bath form, have been recognised as far back in history as (460 -370 BC).   An ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates, noted that mineral salts were useful, for healing infection and reducing pain.  Then later, in the 16th Century, another physician Paracelsus, regularly recommended soaking in saline baths, as part of a healing treatment.   So how do they work?




Perhaps the most obvious benefit of a salty bath, is relaxation. Bathing allows a time for stillness and calm, so can be great for relieving stress and muscle tension.  Many people find that bathing before bed, can help with sleep.  This has been recently backed up with evidence.   Research has found that relaxing in a warm bath before bed can help to raise the body temperature and assists with the relaxation effect.

Mineral Absorption

Bath salts are packed full of natural minerals, 84 in total. Including magnesium, iron, copper, calcium, iodine, manganese, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, selenium and sodium, to name but a few.  These minerals are absorbed directly into the body via the skin.

Reduces inflammation

Research has shown that regular salt baths can be beneficial for arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.  This is due to the salts having a dehydration effect, on the joint tissues, leading to reduced swelling. This process effectively helps to regulate the fluid levels within the body and helps keep joint supple and flexible.


Our Himalayan bath salts

We use Himalayan salts in our bath soaks and teas.  Partly because of the distinctive colour.  But also because they are considered the purest salts, due to the lack of pollution in the area in which they are mined.  Himalayan salts are mined from a salt mine at the foot of the Himalayan mountains and are an orangey, pink colour due to the high iron content.

Our salt blends are enriched with Extra Virgin Coconut oil to moisturise the skin and a selection of aromatic botanicals and essential oils to further relax and detox.  You can find the full range here and here


The best way to take a Himalayan salt bath is to keep the water around body temperature and soak for approximately 20 – 30 minutes.  Then after bathing, rest for 30 minutes or so.






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Stress awareness: 5 tried & tested ways to tackle stress

April is Stress Awareness month, so I thought we could take this opportunity to look at what can be done to help  combat stress.

streamWe all experience stress at some point in our life and some would argue that a little stress is necessary, in order to get things done.  However, left unchecked stress can very debilitating.  In fact, long term chronic stress, can lead to major problems with health and well-being.  So it’s important to have strategies in place, to help you to reduce your stress levels and thereby prevent it from affecting your health.

So here are my top 5 tips for lowering stress:

  • Embrace nature. Get outside, go for walks and breathe the pure, fresh air.    Connecting with nature is a great way to clear your head and completely disconnect yourself from the stresses of your day to day life.  So, even if it’s only for a few hours every week, set aside some time to get out there and explore the natural world and all it has to offer.


  • Exercise. Exercise gets the blood moving and increases the production of those feel good endorphins, making it great for stress relief.  Whether you go to the gym, swimming, running or attend a class, it can really make a difference.  Ideally you want to be doing a minimum of 20 minutes exercise a day. 20160226_135846


  • Relaxation.  Whether it’s a relaxing bath, a soothing massage or a regular meditative practice.  Relaxation is most beneficial when done regularly.  Just taking 10 – 20 minutes out of every day, to completely immerse yourself in a relaxing activity can work wonders. We have some relaxing bath soaks  here which you could try to help you relax.


  • Sleep. Are you getting enough sleep?  If you’re not getting enough good quality sleep, that could actually be contributing to your stress.  Try some natural ways of improving your sleep.  Maybe some deep breathing exercises, whilst laid in bed or a progressive muscular relaxation to release tension from your muscles.   Lavender is also great for promoting sleep, so check out our lavender sleep pillows here




  • Essential oils.  There are many essential oils which can help to relieve stress but my favourites are: Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Rose, Chamomile, Frankincense and Bergamot.  For more info on how to use essential oils, you can find my last blog post here, which is all about essential oils and how to use them.


Whilst we can’t make stress magically disappear, we can change how we allow it to affect us.  So for Stress Awareness month, take this opportunity to make a change to your own lifestyle.  Try to adopt some of the tips above and see if you notice a change.

Or perhaps you have some tips share?  What do you like to do to relieve stress?






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Essential Oils – What they are and how to use them

ESSENTIAL OILS – What they are and how to use them


20170316_131356Over 20 years ago I received a gift.  A gift which I think it’s fair to say, changed the course of my life.  It was an essential oils starter kit, together with the book “Practical Aromatherapy” by Shirley Price.  I had no idea back then, that 20 years later I would actually be an Aromatherapist, producing my own range of Aromatherapy products.  In fact, a lot has changed since then, both with me and with the world around me.  Yet despite that, sometimes when I smell Ylang Ylang, I am reminded of that exact time 20 years ago, when I opened my first ever bottle of Ylang Ylang essential oil.  No doubt you’ve experienced something similar, when a familiar smell, evoked past memories and instantly took your mind back to that time and place.

Scent memory is perhaps one of the strongest of feelings we experience.  And no matter how many years have passed, often the feeling associated with the smell can be just as strong.  This incredible process is controlled by the Limbic system.  The part of the brain responsible for emotions and memories and it’s one of reasons why essential oils can be so beneficial.  When we smell an essential oil, the scent is picked up by the neurons in the olfactory centre and transported to the brain. The brain then stimulates the release of hormones and neurotransmitters in the bloodstream. This can lead to a number of effects, such as happiness, stimulation, relaxation, calmness or other mood changes.  In fact, such is the power of these aromatic oils that, they are being used for their healing properties all around the world.

I still have that book and refer to it often, although admittedly it is well thumbed now.  And over the years my essential oil collection has grown from those 8 mini bottles that I started out with, to a collection of over 50 different scents, all amazing and all different.



Essential oils are not actually oils at all, at least not in the way we think of oils.  They don’t have the same greasy feel as oil, but they have been classified as oils because they are not water soluble.  They are extracted from aromatic plants, including flowers, herbs, trees and fruit, using either cold pressing or steam distillation techniques.

Some plants contain lots of essential oil (e.g. citrus fruits), whilst in others the yield is fairly small in comparison and so the price of essential oils can vary greatly.

The oils are categorised into either TOP, MIDDLE or BASE notes and a well – rounded aromatherapy blend would consist of oils from each note. oils

TOP NOTES are generally light and stimulating. They are usually the first note you will detect in a blend.  Citrus oils can be found in this category.

MIDDLE NOTES are considered balancing and are usually floral or leafy.

BASE NOTES are usually woody, earthy or resinous and have a deeper, longer lasting aroma.

Essential oils are susceptible to heat, light and oxygen so need to be stored in a cool, dark place, preferable in dark glass and always tightly sealed.  If left out in the open air they will over time evaporate.  They should never be stored in plastic containers as they are so strong that they will penetrate the plastic container.  This will eventually leading to degradation of the plastic and possible contamination.  We use glass containers where possible for our aromatherapy products to ensure that this isn’t a problem.



Essential oils are versatile and can used in a number of ways.  They enter the body / bloodstream either through inhalation or through skin absorption or both together of course.  Here are a few of usual ways in which they are used: 20170305_150210

INHALATION – whether in a diffuser / oil burner, scented candle, room spray / spritzer, sachet or directly with an aromatherapy inhaler. This is a great way to surround yourself with your favourite aromas.

MASSAGE / SKIN APPLICATION –  diluted essential oils can be used to enhance a massage treatment.   Or they can be added to a salve, balm, cream or oil, specifically to apply to problem areas.

BATHS – this method works in a similar way to the skin application, as the oil is absorbed through the skin, whilst also be inhaled.

Essential oils should always be diluted before applying to the skin.  In fact, even when used in the bath the oils need to be blended with a carrier oil first.  Oil and water do not mix, so the oil will sit on top of the water rather than dispersing.  So to avoid neat essential oil coming into contact with the skin, you will need to dilute it first.

When diluting essential oil in a carrier oil, a good ratio to use is 12 drops of essential oil to 25ml carrier, although this would need to be reduced for children, the elderly or vulnerable individuals.

Which leads us to…



20160705_093845Essential oils are made up of phytochemicals, some of which you may have heard of such as menthol, which is present in peppermint.  Chemicals are not exclusive to synthetic items, they are all around us in nature (think back to your school science classes and the periodic table).  All living things are made up of chemicals and so are plants and some of these chemicals are very potent, in fact too potent.

For this reason, it is also important to consider the safety of a particular oil before using it and also the dosage. Some plants are simply too toxic to be used in aromatherapy at all (e.g. camphor, pennyroyal, wintergreen).  And others which may generally be safe to use for most, may cause problems with certain medical conditions or medication (e.g. rosemary).   This is why it is important to either ask the advice of a trained Aromatherapist or do your research before embarking on the use of essential oils.

Another important thing to remember is that essential oils are highly concentrated.  One drop packs a mighty punch, so they should be used sparingly.  In fact in many cases, with regard to essential oils, less really is more, not just in terms of safety but in scent terms too.

And never ingest the oil.  Some sources claim that essential oils can be added to food & drinks to enhance the body. But due to the risk of damage to the mucous membranes of the gut, it is safer to refrain from such practice.

And as you would with any medication, keep out of reach of children and pets.


When formulating my products, I take great care to ensure that they are completely safe.  Using correct dosages, safe and non-phototoxic oils, so that they can be enjoyed by all with no risks.  However, if you have a condition you should always check the ingredients, to ensure that the product is the right one for you.  And in the case of home fragrancing products, also take into consideration the people around you.  Is the essential oil right for them too. Essential oils are a valuable addition to any household for health and wellbeing, provided they are used responsibly and safely.




Limbic system info

PRICE.S. (1993) Practical Aromatherapy Harper Collins

TISSERAND. R. (1989) The Art of Aromatherapy The CWDaniel Co Ltd







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How Roses became the language of love

2337190327_ab4aa315-1e32-4ee7-b556-ef3c8ccdb889The Rose, is synonymous with Valentines Day, particulary the red rose but have you ever wondered why? What is it about Roses that makes people think of love, passion and romance.  To find out, we have to delve into myth and legend, so let’s go all the way back to Greek mythology.

According to Greek mythology, Aphrodite who was the Greek Goddess of love, rose from the foam of the sea and as she did the foam fell to ground and turned into white roses, which grew all around her.  Then in a later myth, she was said to be running to the aid of her lover Adonis, when she caught her leg on the thorns of the rose bushes and the blood from her wounds turned the roses red.  This myth was carried through into Roman mythology years later, although the name of the Goddess of love was changed to Venus.  Further,  in Roman mythology we hear of her son Cupid, the Roman God of desire, who was said to drop nectar as he flew by, which also turned into roses upon hitting the ground.  There is also a connection between Ancient Egypt and roses, as it is said that Cleopatra would fill a room with a foot deep layer of rose petals, before her visits from Mark Anthony.  So it’s easy to see where the connection of roses with romance came from but to discover how they became a Valentines gift, we perhaps need to look to Victorian times.


‘The Language of Flowers’

The language of flowers, also known as ‘Floriography’, was an old Victorian tradition which involved the use of flowers to send secretive messages to a lover or someone you admired.  Of course Roses weren’t the only flowers which could convey meaning but due to the links to the Goddesses of love in mythology, the rose became the obvious choice for sending messages of love.  The colour of the rose, also has meaning, as does the amount of roses one sends.  For instance 12 red roses, means “I love you”.  Below is a list of Roses and the meanings, according to colour:

2337190327_a77e4994-7594-40f8-9526-36c0d9d04284Red roses symbolise deep love, longing or devotion.

Pink roses are considered more gentle and can convey endless love.

White roses symbolise a sacred love or a love that is eternal.

Orange roses suggest passion and desire.

Violet roses can convey adoration.

Lavender  means love at first sight.


The scent of the Rose

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
-William Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet) 2337190327_4a0fa08c-0026-4ac0-9b87-38eeccd26aa1

As beautiful and diverse as the rose is in appearance, it’s main attraction to most is the aroma.  The scent of the rose can vary, depending on the type of rose, the soil pH, time of day or year, and the water and humidity levels.  Hence when people are asked to describe the scent of a rose, answers can range from fruity, floral, musky to spicy.

The scent of the rose comes from it’s delicate petals and it takes approximately 20,000 roses to produces one 10ml bottle of Rose Absolute.  That’s a lot of roses!  So as you can imagine it’s quite an expensive oil and as a result is considered a luxury oil.

It also has great benefits to the health and is a valuable oil in Aromatherapy as a stress and anxiety reliever, helping to lift the mood and reduce symptoms of depression.  It’s also useful for skin due to it’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  If you would like to see our Rose inspired creations you can visit our Rose Collection page here


Boskabady et al – Pharmalogical effects of Rosa Damanscena –Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2011 Jul-Aug; 14(4): 295–307.

Hongratanaworakit T – Relaxing effect of rose oil on humans Nat Prod Commun. 2009 Feb;4(2):291-6








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Oil Cleansing Method

The biggest lifestyle change for me last year was the way in which I care for my skin.  I have always looked after my skin as much as I could but on entering my 40’s (I’m 46 now), it was becoming more of a struggle, as changes were happening to my skin which were leaving me perplexed.  No matter what I did or tried, the problems (tightness, irritation, redness, acne) just seemed to get worse.  Then at the beginning of 2016, I stumbled across a facial cleansing method that had been under my nose the whole time.  20160517_133345As a massage therapist, I have lots of amazing natural oils at my disposal and I am aware of the many benefits that these oils have on the skin but I had never tried them on my face before, at least not in this way.  Yes it’s true that I have used them on my clients faces plenty of times as part of a massage treatment but until around a year ago, I had never actually heard of the Oil Cleansing Method.  At first I was sceptical; after all, I had developed spots, so I assumed that my skin was already oily enough.  However, I was wrong and after just one day of using my chosen blend of oils, my skin was already feeling more nourished than it had felt in a long time, so I presevered.  After 2 weeks of this method I didn’t need any further convincing.   The spots and the redness had reduced noticeably and my skin just felt so much better, less tight, less sensitive and generally better nourished.   The oils I chose for my cleansing oil blend are Avocado, Sunflower & Castor oil and here’s why:

Avocado oil is rich in Vitamin E and is highly moisturising and soothing, so it’s great for dry, chapped, sensitive skin.  It penetrates deep into the skin to keep it soft and hydrated. It has anti-aging properties and protects the skin from free radical damage.

Sunflower oil is high in essential fatty acids, in particular Linoleic acid which has been found to decrease inflammation in the skin and enhance skin cell renewal.   It is also rich in Vitamin E, so has that same anti-aging activity, as avocado, helping to nourish the skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

Castor oil is also skin soothing and moisturising but it is one of the most cleansing oils and has been said to help smooth the skin.  It is particularly useful for acne and skin blemishes.

So as you can see, it’s a simple, natural formula, with absolutely no harsh chemicals or artificial ingredients. 20170105_091005

So how do you use it?  Well it’s so gentle and effective that it can be used to remove make up, including eye make-up and general skin impurities but that’s not all, because it has such good slip qualities, you can give yourself a reviving, toning facial massage whilst you cleanse.  So start by securing back the hair, then pour a small amount in to the palm of your hands, then evenly spread the oil over the face.  Using small circular movements work upwards from the neck, along the jawline and cheeks, gently round the eyes and across the forehead.  Then when your massage is complete, get a warm wet (and most importantly clean) facecloth and wipe in an upwards motion, to remove the oil, this can be repeated if you wish but I like to leave a bit of oily residue to moisturise.

If you would to try my Cleansing oil for yourself you can find it here.

I’m aware that everyone is different and that while this method worked for me, it may not be suitable for everyone, especially if your skin is very oily already.  However, if you have aging dry, irritated, or sensitive skin I think you’ll find it will work well for you too.

Let me know how you get on in the comments or if you have any experiences with oil cleansing yourself I’d love to hear them.



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New Year, New You, New Blog

20160711_1250431Hello everyone and welcome to Wildflower Aromatic’s blog page, where you can expect to find info on all things natural, healthy and aromatic.

The start of a new year always brings out a desire in us for self improvement. Whether that’s a new diet, new fitness regime, a plan to relax more, enjoy life more, or just to live an all-round healthier lifestyle.  I myself, don’t have a list of resolutions as such, more an intention to make improvements in all of the above, as and when I am able.  This has been my approach year on year, taking small steps towards a healthier lifestyle, in the hope that I will one day reach perfection.   In other words, there is still so much that I can improve upon and I’m sure I’m not the only one.  So the intention of this blog is to share with you any tips, advice and information that I gather along the way about healthy, natural aproaches, which will help you (and me) to live a cleaner, more natural, healthy life.




ABOUT ME 25653_423640441368_2331322_n

My name is Stephanie Cahill-Jackson.  I’m a Complementary Therapist based at the Holistic Health Clinic in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, with over 20 years experience in Aromatherapy, Massage and Herbalism.  In 2014 I started Wildflower Aromatics, which is a range of aromatic and natural home, bath & body products.