With summer about to burst onto the scene, we can finally get excited about our summer vacation, particularly after the disruption to travel over the past couple of years.
Although travelling may be exciting, it can also be stressful on the nerves and body, what with travel delays, anxiety regarding flying or visiting a new place, time differences, stomach upsets, motion sickness, sunburn, bites, allergies, and frazzled hair and sensitised skin or breakouts due to temperature and humidity changes, to name just a few.
So you’ve packed your essentials – sunglasses, sun cream and swimsuit, now’s the time to add your summer saviours, multi-functional 100% natural products which will have you covered for every eventuality:
The absolute must-have in anyone’s suitcase, irreplaceable for the first-aid kit and beauty bag.
Best known for its use as an aftersun treatment, aloe vera is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to skin healing and has been shown to increase skin repair by up to eight times. It is also an extremely proficient moisturiser, absorbing into the skin quicker than water and penetrating up to three epidermal layers.
Aloe vera binds water to the skin, minimises itchiness, discomfort, redness and general inflammation. In addition to it’s cooling, soothing and restoring effect on sunburn, it can relieve eczema, psoriasis, seborrhoeic dermatitis, rosacea, allergic reactions including heat rash, nettle rash and shaving rash, insect bites, chaffing and blisters from rubbing of skin, clothes or shoes, plus first or second degree burns. It has a gentle cleansing effect to flush dirt, sebum, sweat and bacteria out of the pores, and can remedy and deter acne and breakouts.
A first-class antioxidant, aloe vera inhibits the oxidation process in cells to protect against premature ageing, plus stimulates collagen and elastin, skin repair and rejuvenation. Used regularly it reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, blemishes, stretch marks and hyperpigmentation, diminishes scarring, and accelerates wound healing. It is also effective against the herpes simplex virus to treat/deter cold sores, is a soothing topical treatment for haemorrhoids, has analgesic properties to diminish joint, muscle or nerve pain, reduces bruising, and minimises haematoma.
If you’ve had a hard day’s sight-seeing, aloe vera can cool and soothe tired and sore feet, add hydration, repair cracked heels and alleviate callouses. Aloe vera is a great substitute for shaving cream to deter razor bumps or razor burn, treat ingrown hairs, and treat any nicks and cuts. It is also indispensable for infants, and can soothe and heal baby eczema, seborrhoeic dermatitis (cradle cap), nappy rash, heat rash, insect bites, or any other inflammatory skin reaction.
Tip: Feeling hot? Rub a little into the soles of the feet, back of the neck and wrists for an instant cooling sensation.
Synonymous with hair and skin care, coconut is one of the hardest working and most versatile natural oils. With restricted luggage weight and space, why take a multitude of products when coconut oil can proficiently replace a number of these items?
The natural antibacterial, antifungal and moisturising properties, plus omega 3 fatty acids and lauric acid which coconut oil contains, makes it a superb replacement make-up remover and cleanser. Dirt and cosmetics, including stubborn mascara, are melted away, whilst the acne causing bacteria is inhibited and the skin repaired.
Coconut oil hydrates the skin, stimulates collagen to prevent/resolve premature ageing, and restores the skin’s protective barrier. It can also help to relieve eczema and psoriasis. For best results apply after washing in cool/lukewarm water to help trap in moisture. Use before and after sunbathing to protect the skin and reduce sun damage. As well as being full of antioxidants, the barrier it creates helps to reduce skin dehydration, adds nourishment to prevent dryness and peeling, and encourages skin cell renewal.
Use as a shaving lotion to achieve a close and smooth shave, whilst adding hydration, and minimising ingrowing hairs and razor burn. Add a sachet of sugar to a little coconut oil to make a gentle scrub to exfoliate away dull and dry looking skin, and create the perfect canvas for a long-lasting suntan. This scrub can also be used on the lips to relieve dryness and flaking skin. Put some coconut oil on the lips to act as a balm to deter and relieve dry, chapped or cracked lips due to the sun, sea and heat.
Overexposure to the sun, sea and chlorine, or a change in sleeping habits can cause dark circles under the eyes, puffiness, dryness or sensitivity, which can be diminished by gently patting some coconut oil on the eye area before bed. Nails can also become dry and brittle but this oil will nourish and rehydrate the cuticle and nail to increase nail strength and flexibility and reduce splitting or breakage.
Hot temperatures, hot sand, inadequate hydration and open back shoes are tough on the feet and can lead to dryness or painful cracked heals. The hydrating and antibacterial effects of coconut oil render it a great foot cream to be applied after soaking the feet before bed. Overdone the beach sports? Done too much sightseeing? Massage some coconut oil into aching muscles and joints to diminish discomfort.
Forget about mouthwash, oil pulling is more effective and a few minutes of slooshing some coconut oil around your mouth will attract and trap pathogens which can cause plaque, tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. If you are finding that deodorant is causing sensitivity in the sun, use some coconut oil instead. The antibacterial properties will alleviate any bacteria and subsequently deter any unpleasant odours. Coconut oil also acts as a deterrent against some insects including mosquitos, flies and ticks. For enhanced care, mix in a couple of drops of lemongrass or peppermint.
The effects of coconut oil on the health of the scalp and hair are legendary. Massage into the scalp to alleviate dryness, scalp infections and dandruff, and to nourish the hair follicles. Applied to the hair before swimming in the sea or pool, it adds an impenetrable barrier to prevent chlorine or salt water damage, and to protect against the harmful effects of the sun. Use as a deep conditioning overnight hair treatment or as a pre-wash conditioner to reduce dryness, splitting and breakage. Between washes it can also be applied sparingly to the ends of the hair to reduce the appearance of split or dry ends. Rub a little of the oil in the palms of your hand and smooth over your hair to tame frizz and flyaways, and add shine. Or add some melted oil to a spray bottle of water and lightly mist the hair before applying heated styling tools to protect against damage.
Tip: Apply a little oil to a clean mascara wand to groom eyebrows and tame unruly hair tendrils.
Now add in some essential oils to the mix (note essential oils cannot be applied undiluted to the skin).
Peppermint essential oil
A must have for it’s ability to soothe headaches, digestive disorders, nausea, motion sickness, and as a cooling agent.
The scent of peppermint can eliminates stress, anxiety, fatigue, tiredness, irritability and bad mood, whilst simultaneously invigorating, energising and lifting the mood. It is able to promote mental clarity and alertness to help overcome the mental fog associated with jet lag. Alleviates headaches and migraines and suppresses feeling of nausea, including motion sickness. Relaxes muscles in the digestive system, facilitates digestion, improves digestive ailments and reduces cramping. When sprayed/diffused in the air it is a natural repellent for cockroaches, bed bugs, ants, mosquitoes and spiders.
Applied locally (a few drops in a carrier oil or lotion), peppermint oil has cooling properties and soothes inflammatory skin conditions, reduces swelling and puffiness, and relieves any associated itching in conditions such as allergic reactions, eczema, bites, sunburn, etc. It cleanses the skin and unclogs pores and relieves acne and skin infections, and also minimises large or open pores. Soothes, heals and protects chapped or cracked lips, and is effective against the herpes simplex virus that causes cold sores. Relieves muscle and joint pain. Applied to the temples, forehead and back of head peppermint oil can relieve headaches and migraine. Alleviates itching on the scalp, plus dryness, dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. Makes a cooling and soothing foot soak. Unsure of the cleanliness? Add a couple of drop to some water to clean and eliminate bacteria, fungi and bugs (also works as an insect deterrent). Sanitises the air as it cleans.
Tip: Make a cooling mist by adding a few drops to water in a spray bottle and apply to the wrists and back of neck to cool the body.
It’s ability to calm and relax, and aid sleep is acclaimed.
The scent of lavender instantly calms anxiety, nervousness and restlessness, and can help to allay the fears of nervous flyers. It induces relaxation, and can also help to calm overexcited kids. Well known for its ability to promote a good night’s sleep and diminish insomnia, lavender can help induce sleep if travelling through the night by bus or plane, and helps to address jetlag. Benefits respiratory health and relieves allergic inflammation. Relieves pain from headaches and reduces nausea. Alleviates hot flashes in menopause and relieves premenstrual emotional symptoms;
Applied topically (a few drops in a carrier oil or lotion) lavender oil treats blemishes, eases acne, eczema and general inflammation and promotes healing. Heals minor burns and skin afflictions such as scratches and bug bites and accelerates wound healing. Remedies fungal infections. Apply as a massage to relieve stiff and sore muscles.
Tip: Apply a few drops of lavender oil to bedding to ensure a quality night’s sleep.
A natural insect repellent and anti-histamine, don’t leave this one behind!
The refreshing aroma of lemongrass helps to renew the body and mind, uplift a negative mood to prevent depression, and relieve stress, anxiety, irritability, nervousness and lethargy. It is ideal to overcome nerves when travelling to an unknown destination as it boosts confidence and self-esteem, and can also help to allay the fears of a nervous flyer. It also offers a sedative effect, to relieve tension and promote calm and is a perfect remedy to relieve insomnia, or resolve sleep issues when travelling through the night or into a different time zone. With its ability to improve circulation, lemongrass is excellent for use when seated in cramped areas for extended periods, such as a plane seat. Lemongrass has antihistamine properties to prevent sneezing and nasal congestion, and additionally can combat a fever, relieve dizziness and fatigue, and dispel respiratory ailments. It provides relief from nausea, including motion sickness, and its analgesic properties can help to relieve headaches and migraine. When sprayed in the air/diffused, lemongrass is an effective natural insect repellent and can repel mosquitoes, flies, and other bugs.
When applied topically (a few drops in a carrier oil or lotion), lemongrass cleanses the pores, removes impurities, tightens and tones the skin, strengthens the skin tissue, and reduces acne and redness. It acts as an antiseptic to prevent wounds and burns becoming infected, and supports wound healing. Lemongrass has antifungal properties for the elimination of fungal infections, and is known to prohibit the candida species, and can also relieve athlete’s foot, plus nail and skin fungal infections. When applied in massage it can relieve aching muscle and joint pains caused by overexertion through exercise. Address aches and pains with a hot or cold compress made by soaking a cloth in water and adding some lemongrass oil, and applying to the affected area. It is also a natural deodorant as it prevents the development of bacteria to remove and deter unpleasant aromas. Helps to regulate sweating and makes a particularly good foot deodoriser. Lemongrass is a perfect beard oil, nourishing and conditioning both the beard and the skin underneath, eliminating beardruff, itching or irritation, and promoting growth. Leaves the facial hair feeling soft and manageable.
Tip: Dilute lemongrass oil in some water and rub or spritz onto the skin as a natural chemical-free insect repellent to keep mosquitoes and other bugs away.
Nicknamed “medicine cupboard in a bottle”, tea tree oil is indispensable for your travels.
When inhaled, tea tree oil helps to allay anxiety, reduces stress and relieves insomnia. It is known to boost immunity and fight infections. Tea tree oil can prevent nasal and respiratory congestion, combat a fever, relieve dizziness and fatigue, and eliminate harmful bacteria.
When applied topically, tea tree oil helps to combat and heal skin conditions and fungal infections, such as thrush or ringworm, and soothe cuts and burns. It soothes skin irritation and inflammation, relieves contact dermatitis, eczema, insect bites, diaper rash, hives, poison ivy, shaving rash, and prickly heat, eases the symptoms of psoriasis, and supports wound healing. Tea tree oil restores the complexion, deeply cleansing, toning, and purifying the pores, and helping to regulate sebum to balance oily or dry skin, and is effective against acne and breakouts. It also combats the herpes virus which can help with cold sores, and it is an effective wart remover. Tea tree oil is an effective home treatment for haemorrhoids to reduce itching, burning, pain and discomfort and promote healing, and also helps to strengthen and stimulate the immune system, and eliminate bodily toxins. Applied to the scalp, tea tree helps to regulate oil production, soothes dry and flaking skin and treats dandruff. Add a few drops to some water to use as a mouthwash (do not swallow) to support oral health, relieve fungal or bacterial infections, and freshen breath. It may also be used as a gargle to treat a sore throat. Tea tree is also a natural chemical-free insect repellent, and is excellent for repelling mosquitoes, and also deters bees, bed bugs, fire ants, fleas, flies (including horse flies), spiders and ticks. After a hard day’s sightseeing or a long night of dancing, use as a foot soak to soothe and revive tired or swollen feet. The foot soak will disinfect and deodorise, relieve inflammation, boost healing of any cracks or cuts, remedy fungal infections, and relieve painful bunions. Tea tree can also be used as a warm compress to relieve muscular aches and pains, cysts and boils, or as a cold compress to soothe bites, bumps and bruises.
Tip: Mixed a few drops of oil in water and use to disinfect your toothbrush, hairbrush, comb, make-up brushes and sponges.
Next time you travel, with the inclusion of the above oils, be prepared for every eventuality, no matter where your travels take you. Plus with these multi-tasking oils you’ll free up valuable space in your suitcase for that extra pair of shoes! Stay gorgeous and stay protected with the power of 100% natural products.