A couple of weeks ago I was kindly sent some products from the Naturally European bath and body range, created by UK brand The Somerset Toiletry Company to review. They had sent me some bath salts, an aromatherapy candle and some body lotion. Lovely. I thought to myself, I know exactly what I’m going to do… I’m going to wait for an evening when I have the house to myself and create an aromatherapy spa night at home. Perfect.
Years ago, before I was a teacher I studied complementary therapies, at the University of Greenwich. Specialising in the therapeutic use of Aromatherapy alongside conventional healthcare practices. As a result, I am a bit of a sucker for any toiletry range that is based on natural ingredients and incorporates aspects of aromatherapy, just as the Naturally European range does.
Naturally European is a range of luxury bath and body products available in a selection of scents including Lavender, Rose Petal, Ginger & Lime, Neroli & Tangerine, Verbena and Milk.
Formulated with essential oils and natural ingredients the range is also free from parabens and SLS. The full range includes hand wash, hand cream, shower gel, bath salts, lip balm, body lotion, room diffusers, scented candles and limited-edition gift sets. So all of your day to day essentials!
A little bit about Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy has become one of the most popular complementary therapies of the 21st century, and this is mainly due to the fact that essential oils are easy to get hold of and are easily incorporated into a huge variety of products, making aromatherapy accessible to the masses.
Unfortunately, this means that Aromatherapy is often used in a way that isn’t therapeutic. For aromatherapy to be effective on a physical and psychological level, there are 3 aspects you need to consider:
1) The pharmacology of the essential oils (the chemicals in the oils that have a physical therapeutic effect)
2) Olfaction (sense of smell)
3) How the essential oils will be absorbed e.g.: massage, steam, diffuser, bath
Personally, I think smell is the most important element of aromatherapy, because if you don’t like the smell, it doesn’t matter how great the pharmacology of an oil is or how great the massage is, it won’t be a pleasant experience for you.
How to create an Aromatherapy Spa Night at home
To create an effective aromatherapy spa night at home, that will give you all the lovely benefits of aromatherapy you need to think about the three aspects of aromatherapy and try to include all three in your spa night. Luckily this isn’t too difficult to do.
Firstly, Think about smells as your starting point. What are your favourite smells? How they make you feel? I love lavender, I appreciate it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I adore it. I also really like citrussy and woody smells, and I find them deeply relaxing.
Next, I start to think about ‘pharmacology’ and therapeutic effect I want to achieve. This helps to narrow down my choice of oils. For example, there’s no point choosing an invigorating oil if I want to wind down and relax! I need to choose an oil that will help me to do that. (Aromaweb is a great place to start to get more information about this.)
Finally, I think about absorption. I like to use a variety of methods, and sometimes more than one, for example: room diffuser, massage, bath, steam…
Combining more than one of these methods increases your rate of absorption. So, a candlelit bath followed by massaging in body lotion is a great combination.
My Aromatherapy Spa Night
The aim, for my aromatherapy spa night was to relax and unwind, (I’d had a stressful couple of weeks when we found that our shower room had a leak and the walls and floor under the tiles was rotten, so it all needed to be ripped out!)
I started off by lighting my Neroli and Tangerine candle. When I took it out of the box I could instantly smell the neroli and tangerine, but it wasn’t overpowering which I really liked. Once lit, it took a little while for the scent to get going but once it did, it was lovely, delicate and relaxing.
The candle gave off a lovely soft glow and lasted well, I had it burning for over an hour and it barely melted the top of the candle, so it definitely isn’t a fast burner!
The benefits of Neroli and Tangerine
Neroli is an excellent oil for relaxing. It has a sedative and antidepressant effect and is excellent for soothing the nervous system. Tangerine, has similar properties. From a ‘smell’ point of view, it really blends well with neroli, giving a sweet orangey smell.
I then ran the bath, throwing in a couple of handfuls of the lavender bath salts. The tub is quite large, so you would definitely get at least 5 or 6 baths out of them.
It’s fair to say, I LOVE these bath salts! The salts dissolved quickly, and I am pleased to report, no grains digging uncomfortably in your bottom. I absolutely hate that!!! Once they fully dissolved, the bath salts gave off a reasonably strong lavender aroma which mingled well with the scent of the neroli and tangerine candle, creating a really calming effect.
The bath salts, also had lavender petals, which really added to the spa at home experience. I appreciate they’re not for everyone, but I quite enjoyed crushing them to release even more lovely lavender fragrance! (However, when I emptied the bath, it required a good rinse off!)
I sank into the bath, closed my eyes and instantly relaxed, face pack and hair masque on, it was total bliss. Breathing in the lavender I could have quite easily drifted off to sleep…
The benefits of Lavender
I love lavender not just for the smell, but also the fact that it is the most versatile essential oil and has a host of therapeutic properties. It is calming, relaxing, great for pain relief, insomnia and anxiety. It is also amazing for burns, acne, eczema and wound healing.
Lavender is the only essential oil that you can use neat. I always have a bottle at home, it is a miracle for healing cuts and grazes, it can even heal extreme cases of sunburn speedily.
Now for the final step. Now, I am not a body lotion person. I hate the stuff. I usually find that I end up feeling sticky, no matter how long I leave it to sink into my skin. The most I usually use is either that Nivea wash off moisturiser stuff in the shower, or the Vaseline light spray one…
But I gave the Verbena body lotion a whirl. Now, having been in the bath for an hour, enjoying the relaxing sedative like effects of the lavender, neroli and tangerine… I have to say that the verbena body lotion was a bit of a shock to the system! It was super lemony, which I’m not overly keen on. It wasn’t sickly, it was a fresh smell, really citrussy, zingy and invigorating so it just didn’t work well in combination with the other products.
Like I said earlier, smell is the most important aspect in aromatherapy, closely followed by therapeutic effect!
The lotion itself, was lovely and could well convert me. It was incredibly light and soaked into my skin effortlessly, leaving no sticky residue. I didn’t even need to wait! By the time I’d finished rubbing it into my other leg the first one was silky soft to the touch with no stickiness! I was amazed.
On that note it was a massive thumb up from me. Not only that, but it is a huge bottle that would easily last you a year. Even if you were using it a few times a week, which really is great value for money.
This lotion would be the perfect pick me up after a morning shower. It would really wake you up and leave you raring to go. Which wasn’t what I was looking for after my lovely bath. Personally,I would have been better off with the rose or lavender body lotion as the verbena just wasn’t for me this time.
The benefits of Verbena
Don’t let my preferences put you off verbena! It is a really uplifting oil, great for alleviating tiredness stress and anxiety. Its lemony smell is fresh and uplifting great for an energy boost!
So, there we have it.
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the range. They compare well with a brand like l’Occitane, with stylish packaging (Not that this is something that really bothers me). The Naturally European range is also really competitively priced. The bath salts are £7.95, the body lotion is £7.50 and the candle is £11.95. the range can be purchased via The Somerset Toiletry Company website and is stocked through out the UK by a number of independent traders.
One of my challenges is to become an empty nest survivor. I think that some regular aromatherapy may well have to become part of that survival process!!