Lavender Deodorant

Lavender Deodorant

Making your own deodorant is easier than a pie. And as skeptic as I may have been - it's also results in a very effective product. I tried this one when teaching two back-to-pack Pilates classes, and was absolutely sure my armpits will overcome the superficial layer of essential oils. But I was proven wrong. I use this now all the time, and am almost out of the 4 little jars I made; so figure once I dig out my recipe, why not share it on SmellyBlog?

It's especially relevant now, because: a) it's summer; b) it's a hot summer; and c) lavender, who is getting plenty of attention this month on SmellyBlog, is one of the best natural deodorants out there!

But lavender is not the only essential oil that will help your armpits smell nice and fresh throughout the dog days of summer; here's a list of oils that can be used individually - or better yet, synergistically. When you combine two or more oils that have the same properties, not only will they smell nice; their action and effectiveness will also be amplified.

Deodorizing oils:
Bay Leaf
Clary Sage
Orange, Sweet
Tea Tree Oil

The following recipe is for a cream deodorant - you will need to use your finger to apply it. It's a bit awkward if you're used to stick deodorants, but totally worth it if you've nailed down a scent that you really love, not to mention it works really well and costs very little compared to the fancy deodorants you'll find in the health food stores (some of which are not only expensive, but also rather useless).

The key active ingredients here are the baking soda and the oils. Baking soda absorbs odours and will keep the armpit scent away. The essential oils neutralize the activity of bacteria (they are most antiseptic oils, so they stop the action of the bacteria that produces armpit sweat odour). The starch's role is to absorb the sweat and also it helps with the consistency of the cream, making it less runny (which is particularly an issue on hot summer days - which is when you need your deodorant the most!).
The coconut oil is non-comedogenic, and its role is to carry all the active ingredients. The butter's role is to bring it to a more solid state at room temperature. I'm still experimenting with other butters and waxes to formulate a stick-deodorant and researching what to put in a spray deodorant. As you can tell, I'm my lab' most eager test bunny.

Lovender deodorant

DIY Deodorant 
3 Tbs virgin coconut oil
2 Tbs shea butter or cocoa butter 
3 Tbs baking powder 
2 Tbs powdered starch (I used arrowroot in lieu of corn starch) 
25-50 gtts (drops) of lavender oil, or any combination of deodorizing essential oils of your choice (see list above), or use the following combination, which totals 50 drops:

"No Sweat" - Ayala's Deodorant Scent:
20 gtts lavender essential oil
10 gtts geranium essential oil
2 gtts myrrh essential oil
5 gtts patchouli essential oil 
3 gtts vetiver essential oil

- Measure the oil and butter, and warm up gently over a bain-marie, until just melted.
- Remove from the heat
- Stir in the baking soda and starch, until completely incorporated
- Add the essential oils drop by drop, stirring well between additions
- Pour into clean, sterilized jars, and close the lid
- Refrigerate until set (this is especially important in the summer - otherwise you'll end up with a runny paste that never quite settles down).

This Wednesday: DIY Aphrodisiac Massage Oil Workshop with Ayala @ Giving Gifts

Treat your special someone and yourself to a custom-made aphrodisiac massage oil!

In this 2hrs workshop with master perfumer Ayala Moriel you will:
- Discover the world of natural aphrodisiac essential oils and botanical turn-ons
- Learn about the properties of sensual and nourishing plant-based massage oils
- Design your very own blend, with those special notes to inspire passion and stir up the senses!
- Take it home with you, and be ready to get pampered!

* Complementary refreshments of aphrodisiac teas & chocolates will be served.

About the instructor:
Master perfumer Ayala Moriel of Ayala Moriel Parfums has been creating seductive scents since 2001. She creates custom perfumes, body products, fragrant teas, fragrant chocolates and candles, and teaches DIY aromatic workshops.


Giving Gifts & Co.
4570 Main @ 30th Avenue, Vancouver


Wednesday, February 12th, 6:30-8:30pm 

How much:
$50 including all materials, equipment, packaging and the massage oil bottle you'll be taking home with you, of course!

Space is extremely limited!

Please register with Ayala Moriel Parfums via email or call/text (778) 863-0806. 

Sexy Ginger

Naked Ginger by Ayala Moriel
Naked Ginger, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is the rhizome of a tropical plant, related to cardamom (as we mentioned earlier), only that it is the rhizomes, not the fruit or seed that is used – in herbal medicine, aromatherapy, as a culinary spice, and in perfume. Native to Southeast Asia, and cultiaved in tropical countries throughout the world - across Africa, the West Indies, Caribbeans, etc.

In Hawaii, the hoola dancers use the fragrant ginger flowers (or "lilies") in their leis along with plumeria, tuberose and gardenia. In aromatherapy, ginger is considered a nerve tonic, especially effective for nervous exhaustion and fatigue, and - similarly to its used in Chinese medicine and Ayurveda - it is used to aid digestion and to fight colds, flu and other "moist and cold" respiratory and gustatory conditions.

Ginger Dry by Ayala Moriel
Ginger Dry, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.

The dry roots can be cooked in soups, stews, chai teas and ground for herbal preparations, including some over-the-counter drugs against nausea. In countries where the root cannot be grown - it is mostly the dried rhizomes that were used, as a spice. Throughout North Africa and Arabia, dried and powdered ginger roots found their way to many spice blends such as Hawaij (Yemen), Baharat (Arabia) and Ras el Hanout (Morocco). The Druze in Lebanon, Syria and Israel/Palestine enjoy a warming drink throughout the winter made of dried ginger roots and a hulnejan root, that is believed to protect the body against colds and flu.

However, in European and Western cuisine, the dry roots (usually ground) are more widely used - for practical and historic reason: ginger is not native to those countries, and was introduced to them as a spice, imported from far away tropical countries aboard ships. Therefore - most of these cuisines have used the dried ginger root in spice mixes for breads, bread puddings, cookies, etc. - gingerbread and pumpkin spice being the two most popular and widely recognizable forms of ginger. And only later, as the cuisines of those countries became more versatile and open to the use of spice (with influences from North Africa, India, etc.) - they've also incoporated dried ginger roots in soups, stews and so-called "curry" blends from pre-ground (and usually un-roasted) spices.

The fresh root is better for chai, in my opinion (the dry one having a more musky, peculiar, and somewhat unpleasant after-note), and is used in countless Chinese, East Indian and South East Asian cuisines.

Ginger is good for indigestion, and is wonderful thing to add to bean stews to prevent discomforting gases that are often associated with this excellent-otherwise plant-based source of protein. It's used in countless Indian curries, including Rajam Chawal (beans and rice). Fresh ginger is easily incorporated in any stir-fry and in present in countless Chinese, Korean and Japanese stir-fries, soups, stews and dumplings. And of course - the slices of ginger are pickled in rice vinegar as an acidic accompaniment to sushi and sashimi. Fresh grated ginger - as well as its close relative, the galangal root - are an essential component in Southeast Asian curry pastes along with lemongrass and other citrusy components (kaffir lime leaf and zest, for example) - giving Thai and Malaysian curries their distinct freshness and balanced flavour.


Although for culinary and medicinal use both the dry and the fresh roots are used almost interchangeably, as far as aroma goes – there is quite a big difference between dry and fresh ginger: Fresh ginger oil smells Sharp, peppery, root-like, citrusy-fresh, earthy, woody, dry, a tad floral, grassy. Ginger oil from the dry roots smells rather unpleasant in my opinion - rather sharp, grassy, and even a little oily. However, ginger CO2 from the dry root smells candied, spicy, warm, sweet, overtones with hints of fresh-citrusy, tangy character, resembling closely the sensation when enjoying crystallized or candied stem ginger. Tart, sweet, warm and refreshing are a few of the adjectives that come to mind when experiencing a high quality ginger essence.

As an aphrodisiac, ginger works like most other warming spices – increase circulation and create a warm fuzzy feeling when smelled, inhaled or enjoyed in beverages and delicious foods. Ginger is also one of the main ingredients in pumpkin pie spice - which a famous study found that men found the scent to be most arousing. But most importantly - ginger tones the nervous system and dissolves nervous exhaustion and fatigue, neither is particularly sexy or appealing... In her book "The Fragrant Mind", world renown aromatherapist Valerie Ann Worwood recommends it against sexual anxieties, and recounts the oil's personality as very sexual and confident.

Using ginger in a menu for an aphrodisiac dinner would be a great idea – and also will help ease digestion, so that it does not get in the way of other things later on…It imparts a unique fresh and subtly pungent flavour to masalas, stir fries and curries. The fresh ginger root can be incorporated into beverages - cool or warm. warm ones, such as the classic chai tea or hulnejan I mentioned above, or more innovative concoctions such as Aftelier's Rose Ginger oolong, and my own Zangvil tea. Or cool ones - such as your own aphrodisiac "ginger ale" with fresh ginger juice, some honey or raw sugar and sparkling water and a slice of lemon, or add some ginger juice to a white wine like the Romans did. Ginger juice is quite a revitalizing beverage as long as it's balanced with less pungent fruit or vegetables - try juicing it with carrot, pineapple, orange - or any combination of these four that strikes your fancy!

Ginger Fresh by Ayala Moriel
Ginger Fresh, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.

And of course - we can't forget about dessert! Besides the usual suspects (pumpkin pie, ginger snaps, candied ginger and ginger-spiked chocolate truffles or bars) - there are also more unusual ones to discover that I would have never dreamed of myself! When I saw Steamed Milk with Ginger on the menu of Sun Sui Wah (one of Vancouver’s finest Dim Sum restaurants), it sounded peculiar – as it sounded more like title of a a hot beverage in a coffee shop. When I finally mustered the courage to order it, I discovered that in fact it’s more like a pudding – and further research into the matter (when looking for a recipe) revealed that it is actually a Ginger Milk Curd - an unusual hot dessert that takes advantage of a chemical reaction between hot milk's proteins and fresh ginger juice, forming it immediately into squiggly, slippery pudding. I strongly urge you to try this at home – it is quite the delicacy, and there are even YouTube tutorials to guide you step by step!

For a sensual aphrodisiac massage with ginger, try this:

1Tbs light (aka unroasted) sesame oil

1 drop ginger essential oil or CO2

2 drops jasmine absolute

3 drops frankincense essential oil

You can may also use this blend to condition and perfume your hair.

For a revitalizing room scent, place in the diffuser one drop of each ginger, jasmine and lemongrass. You may also use this combination for a scented bath, to overcome fatigue - one of the worst mood killers after stress.

And of course - there are some perfumes that were already prepared and ready for you to revel in before you embark on your seductive adventures. Here are a few suggestions for aphrodisiac perfumes with a noticeable ginger note: Bois des Îles (Chanel), Camille (JoAnne Bassett), Classique (Jean Paul Gaultier), Cognac (Aftelier), Eau de Reglisse (Caron), Ginger Ciao (Yosh), Ginger Essence (Origins), L’Herbe Rouge, Lys Méditerranée, Orcas, Réglisse Noire (1000Flowers), Sahar (The Scented Djin), Tilda Swinton Like This (Etat Libre d’Orange), Zangvil.

Smelly Gifts, The DIY Way

I had an elaborate plan for three consecutive gift guides for this holiday season, with an environmentally-friendly spin. Unfortunately, I got drowned in the Ayala Moriel holiday rush before I was able to post any of them. Now we are just a little over a week away so it’s time to improvise and get creative in order to make it to the bottom of the to-do list.

How about some crafty and fun holiday activities and gifts, some of which you can make yourself, others will inspire and encourage others to be creative. With the days shortening and the temperatures dropping, we are spending much more time at home. Better get those creative juices going instead of turning into couch potatoes, right?
I’m even going to try to convince you that these gifts are less time-consuming than shopping around endlessly.

Inspire a young family member to delve into the art of natural perfumery with this introductory and simple Perfumery Kit from Elmer’s science kits (available via ArtSuppliesOnline.com). It includes 5 different blends – 5 single notes (apple, jasmine, heliotrope, lily, and one which is plainly peppermint). These are not natural essences by any means (even if the labeling may imply so, by having the Latin name of each plan in the short ingredient list)). However, they are all based in sunflower oil. The package comes with the 5 essences, 5 empty plastic vials and 5 plastic pipettes. It will fascinate any youngster who is interested in science or perfume, or both. Recommended for ages 8 and up, and requires adult supervision.

For the grown-up obsessed with the world of aromatic, Nature’s Gift offers many different kinds of aromatherapy and natural perfumery kits, for the amateur perfumer (i.e.: Perfumer’s Kit One) or the fragrance connoisseur (i.e.: Wood Lovers Sampler Kit; Chai Spice Kit).

I’ve been really enjoying making greeting cards with Tamya using the Paper Fashions kits by Klutz Press and than of course there is the fancy edition which might be more appropriate for this time of the year. These designs can be glued to a blank greeting card. I've also found really colourful ones at Essence du Papier (available at Sears in Canada). If you want to make those even fancier, dab a drop of perfume to the inner spine or corner of the card, or a simple blend of festive, wintery essential oils, for example:

2 drops Allspice Essential Oil
1 drop Cinnamon Essential Oil
2 drops Balsam Fir Essential Oil
1 drops Rosemary Essential Oil
4 Juniper Essential Oil
5 drops Bitter Orange Essential Oil
4 drops Pine Essential Oil

A fine way to dress up any paper – and in particular hand-made paper embedded with botanicals is to immerse it with essences. Cut the paper to the desired size. If you have a scented sachet, place the sachet in a Ziploc bag along with the paper. If you start now, they will be ready for December 25th with a subtle pleasing aroma. Another way of scenting them is to pour an essential oil blend (i.e.: the one above, or even something simpler, such as some rose oil or vetiver oil alone) and place those on a cotton ball. Just make sure the essential oils don’t come into direct contact with the paper, as that would stain the paper.
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