Posts filed under ‘Essential Oils’

The New Essentials

The hottest selling item at the Alberta Gift Show


Continue Reading August 20, 2010 at 3:43 am Leave a comment

Does Citronella really work?

Botanical name: Cymbopogon nardus 

Citronella essential oil has long been used as an effective insect repellent. It is considered a natural choice for health conscious consumers who are concerned about the dangers of using products such as a Deet on their skin and who steer away from fragrance based candles. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency Citronella essential oil is not considered harmful to humans or animals and can be safely used as an insect repellent. Read more.

Citronella essential oil is most commonly used three ways:

  1. As a plant – Citronella plants can be planted around your garden, deck or patio to keep insects away. The perennial plant is related to lemongrass (Cymbopogon) but is not edible. Cymbopogon nardus grows between 1 to 3 feet tall with very aromatic leaves. For instructions on planting click here
  2. In a candle – Not to be confused with typical bright yellow fragrance based Citronella candles often found in drugstores, essential oil based candles contain Citronella extracted from the plants leaves.  Our Citronella Outdoor Candle is subtly scented and doesn’t overwhelm, the scent is both woodsy and lemony and smells similar to lemon grass.
  3. Used topically in lotions, sprays and rubs – I find using a small drop of Citronella essential oil on my wrists is very effective in keeping mosquitoes away. When essential oils on your skin, be careful to use a very small amount or mix with olive oil or sweet almond oil. Citronella is very strong and can cause an allergic reaction to those with sensitive skin. The Canadian government warns against using large amounts topically as it can be harmful in large doses.

Government regulations prohibit companies with Citronella products to say “Insect repellent” or any terms that makes similar claims. When shopping for all-natural Citronella based products, make sure the product ingredient list says pure Citronella essential oil.


July 22, 2010 at 8:08 am 1 comment

Essential Oil Candles are a hit!

Essentials Tins GroupWe are so excited about the positive comments we’ve been hearing about the new Honey Candles® 100% pure beeswax essential oil candles we decided to share what our customers are saying so far:

“I absolutely love my essential oil candles, they burn evenly and the smell is so nice and calming. I really liked the way you packaged them. I gave one to a girlfriend and one to my boyfriend, and they loved them too. I will put in another order soon to try out the scents.”  (Sylvie, Castlegar, BC)

“I love your lavender tin. I love how it has more than just lavender. The other scents make it more interesting but still soothing.” (Dawn, Victoria, BC)

In response to the wonderful feedback, we are thinking about expanding this line and need your help! Do you think the essentials would be better in Pillars, Votives, T-Lites or in a glass jar? Are there any other scents you’d like to see? Please leave a comment below or post your idea on our Facebook Page. If you are not familiar with the essentials here’s a list of our current scents:

Citronella: This is a great candle for summer with the benefits of citronella. Unlike synthetic fragrance candles, this candle has a soft subtle scent that doesn’t overwhelm and is a popular choice for health conscious customers. Pure Citronella Oil has a delightful grassy lemony scent similar to lemon grass.
Essential Oils: Pure Citronella Oil (Cymbopogon nardus)

Country Lavander: The combination of lavender and sweet orange is both citrusy and flowery. A dash of Black Pepper gives Country Lavender a subtle spiced finish. Essential Oils: Lavender (Lavandula angustifolium), Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis) and Black Pepper (Piper nigrum)

Mulled Spice: A winter favorite! Mulled Spice invokes feelings of sipping a hot apple cider in front of a fireplace with snow falling outside. A great way to add warmth to any room. Essential Oils: Cinnamon (Cinnamonum zeylancium), Clove (Eugenia caryophylatta), Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) and Ginger (Zingiber officianalis)

Kootenay Forest: Transport yourself to the pristine alpine wilderness of the Kootenay Mountains with this nature inspired blend. Essential Oils: Pine (Pinus pnaster), Fir (Abies siberica) and Cedarwood (Cedrus deodorata)

Rosemary Mint: For those who enjoy a simple, clean blend, refreshing peppermint combined with herbaceous rosemary is absolute bliss. Makes a great air freshener. Essential Oils: Peppermint (Mentha arvensis) and Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis)

Evening Bloom: The scent of this candle is inspired by a floral breeze on a warm summer evening – this candle is sure to delight your senses. Essential Oils: Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata) and Rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora)

June 17, 2010 at 4:59 am 3 comments

How to make your own Lip Balm, Lotion and Perfume

Honey CombWe are selling beeswax blocks and medallions like crazy! It seems more and more people are opting to make their own lip balms, lotions, soaps and more at home. A good reason to create your own personal care products is to make sure the ingredients are free from the dangerous chemicals so prevalent in mainstream beauty products. Below are some of the best recipes we’ve come across. If you don’t have time to create your own products we recommend Rocky Mountain Soap, All Things Jill and Mountain Sky Soaps. They are great companies who make sure each ingredient is clean, pure and natural.

Note: We cannot guarantee these recipes will turn out perfectly. It takes lots of testing to find the right recipe and mixture that works for you. Make sure you sterilize all your equipment and containers and lids before you begin. Store your products in glass containers, not plastic. When using essential oils, use top-quality oils and organic when possible. Check out Saje for wonderful essential oils and useful information on each oil.

Lip Balm
1 tablespoon beeswax (shredded with a cheese grater or cut into smaller pieces.)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 large vitamin E capsule
1-2 teaspoon of honey
4 drops essential oil (your choice – peppermint, orange etc.)

Heat beeswax and coconut oil to 160F. Add the vitamin E and stir until ingredients are melted and well mixed. Remove from heat. Add honey slowly and stir until the mixture starts to cool and thicken, at around 140F. Once thickened add the essential oils and continue stirring. Pour into jars and let cool.

Moisturizing Day Cream
4 oz. sweet almond oil
1 oz. beeswax
2 oz. water (sterilized or rose water)
10 drops vitamin E oil
10 drops essential oil (your choice – lavender, ylang ylang etc.)

When using water make sure the water is sterilized first (bring to a boil and cool). You can also use rose water, purchased from a health food store.

Melt the beeswax and add almond oil. Remove from heat, add water and stir. Add vitamin E and essential oils and stir continuously until cool.

Easy Natural Perfume
This recipe makes a large 9 oz. batch – a perfect size for gift making! If you are making the perfume for yourself use a smaller amount as the olive oil will go rancid over a longer period of time.

2 oz. beeswax
3 oz. shea Butter
4 oz. olive oil
.5 to 1 oz essential oil of choice (lavender, vanilla, patchouli, neroli, etc.,)

Melt beeswax and shea oils, add olive oil together and stir. Add essential oils when the mixture has cooled slightly. Pour mixture jars.


Essential Oils: is a great resource and tells you what each oil is good for.
Containers: They have lots of nice glass containers.

Beeswax has many other uses:
-To line baking pans to prevent certain pastries from sticking and to create a crispy crust
-To create textile designs in the art of Batiking
-As an ingredient for making natural tree grafting wax
-To rub on garden tools to prevent rusting
-To wax thread for sewing, beading and leatherwork
-As an important component in the beautiful Ukrainian art of decorating eggs
-To coat nails and screws to prevent the wood from splitting
-As a lubricant on drawers, hinges and oven racks
-To make children’s toys and crayons
-As part of a blend with other oils for furniture polish
-As weather and water proofing on hats, jackets and boots
-To polish shoes
-As an ingredient in moustache and dreadlock wax

June 10, 2010 at 8:40 am 1 comment

Not So Sexy – Study

Leah and I just returned from a trip to Vancouver and Seattle. We met with many of our stores in Vancouver and had a booth at the Whole Foods Pacific Northwest Holiday Show. We had a great time and learned a lot about the natural products industry. Because we live somewhere so isolated we sometimes feel a tad “out of the loop”, visiting our west coast stores helps us feel more connected to our stores and the industry.  While away, a fascinating study came out by the EWG (Environmental Working Group) about misguided ingredient labeling on colognes and perfumes.

I wrote about this issue in the past, but the study proves that toxic petrochemical fragrances are being secretly used in mainstream products. On our trip, we were very disappointed to see a candle company call the scents in their candles “essential oils.” I believe this misrepresentation is unfair to the consumer.  Just because a candle says scented with essential oils does not mean it is not blended with dangerous fragrance oils. This company should be required to fully disclose if they use any synthetic scents. The EWG study points out that some of the secret chemicals are known to cause hormone disruption and allergic reactions.

As consumers, we have to be very careful when purchasing products that say essential oils.  You can usually tell by the strength of the scent as most essential oils are subtle and smell purer than fragrances. If you’re not sure call the company and ask.  As good consumers we need to be discerning when purchasing products – it is our responsibility – as you’ll see in the study below,  manufacturers don’t always tell the truth.

Read the Report


May 27, 2010 at 6:07 am Leave a comment

Fragrance vs. Pure Essential Oils

Like many people I am very sensitive to scented candles, perfumes and scented household products. Sometimes I get a headache if I’m around someone wearing perfume or in a house where scented candles are burning. There is lots of buzz right now about the dangers of perfumes in personal care products such as shampoos, soaps, shaving creams, dish soaps, laundry detergents, but what about fragrance candles?

In the search to better understand why scented candles are so bothersome I came across information on how they increase indoor air pollution and release toxic compounds into the air.

Fragrance – Fragrance candles contain toxic chemicals including acetone, benzaldehyde, benzyl acetate, benzyl alcohol, camphor, ethanol, ethyl acetate, limonene, linalool, and methylene chloride. These chemicals can cause minor issues such as dizziness, drowsiness, lung irritation, headache and fatigue. And more serious complications such as reproductive disorders, nervous system disorders, kidney damage and respiratory failure. Candles with fragrance may also have chemicals which “throw” the scent making it fill a room and making the scent stronger.

Phthalates – Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to make plastics like PVC more flexible. Phthalates are found toys, hoses, shower curtains, vinyl flooring and are used in scented candles to uphold fragrances. Phthalates can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs and cause reproductive issues in men.

Pure Essential Oils –Luckily, pure essential oils are a great alternative to synthetic fragrance. Pure essential oils are extracted plant leaves, stems, flowers, peels, bark or roots, generally through the process of steam distillation. They are considered pure and natural and don’t contain chemical compounds (not to be confused with botanical fragrance, natural oils, aromatherapy oils etc., which are synthetic.) Paraffin candles cannot be scented with pure essential oils as the petro-chemicals in paraffin wax will break the oils down. To see our 100% Pure Beeswax Candles with essential oils click here.

TIP: When shopping for products containing essential oils, make sure the label says pure essential oils. Some products hide the use of fragrance by making the chemicals sound better i.e. botanical fragrance, natural fragrance, perfume oils, natural oils etc. If you’re unsure whether your product contains pure essential oils or not, you can research how toxic it is at The Skin Deep Database is such a great resource where you can look up your products and see their toxicity rating. You might be surprised what you find! Andrea

For more information about the dangers of fragrances:–sniffing-out-the-dangers-in-fragrance

April 1, 2010 at 4:29 am 1 comment

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