It’s Lavender season and we are loving it…
Before the rich purple colors starts to fade away, visit a lavender garden and gather some fresh flowers. You can make a whole lot of beauty things from this flowers, including Balms, oil, soaps (external uses) but lavender is also used for many other products that are ingested like Tea, Ice cream, coffee and also to cook. For now we will focus on the external uses, first lets see the different ways to make Lavender Oil.
Step 1: For this method you have to use dry lavender, some of the benefits of this kind of steps is it reduces the possibility of your Oil going rancid, or getting bad very quickly. Drying your lavender helps it loose the water content in the plant not the aroma or any other beneficial elements. If you will beauty products that needs to stand the test of time then you must use Dry Lavender. There is a trick to this step that I recently noticed. If you gather the fresh lavender and just dry them immediately, it tends to loose the rich purple color, so my method will be simply gather the stalks, tie them together and wrap it up with a cloth or kitchen tissue for 3 days, then hang it upside down in a dry area that the sun reaches indirectly. placing the lavender directly under the sun dries it faster but could break the aroma.
Let the stalk hang there for the next 10 – 14 days. Usually that is how long it take to dry out completely and eliminate the possibility of the oil going rancid. Afterwards we can begin making the oil process. Don’t forget that not just the flowers holds the aroma, so be sure to keep some stem with it.
Step 2: Crumble the lavender with clean hands or use a mortar and pistil to pound gentle to expose its fragrance. For the buds, open them up with your fingers or user a knife,Then place it in a clean jar, you have to remember that mixing water into the oil will interfere with the infusion and also reduce the shelf life.
Step 3: Pour mineral oil, Almond oil, Safflower oil, Sunflower Oil or even Olive oil, basically any kind or carrier oil enough to completely cover the lavender inside your jar. Basically you need any non-scented or lightly scented oil, anything too strong can overshadow the lavender or have a mixed scent. You should also smell them and avoid bottles with strong smells, most from packaging others from previous product, this could change the scent of lavender. I do not recommend Coconut oil unless the outcome you want is Coconut Lavender Oil.
Step 4: Cover the jar tightly and leave the mixture to soak in a place where the sun can reach it, perhaps by your window. After 2 days you may start to notice the difference in the oil and more typically the oil is left out for three to six weeks. If you do not have enough sunlight or time to use this method, then you may want to try another method : Put the jar of oil and Lavender in a double boiler, basically a pot of water with the jar inside. This method is tricky because you have to maintain the temperature between 100–120ºF (38–49ºC). so this is not recommended if you do not have a proper cooking thermometer and if the temperature cannot be controlled and kept low, because too much heat can negatively affect the aroma and even the potency of the oil.
Step 5: After 4-6 weeks, Strain the oil using a cheesecloth or muslin, simply pour the mixture over it. Now you can discard the used flowers and other lavender stalks outdoors or degrade in a compost. Pour the sieved oil into the last jar, remember that transferring from one container to another can introduce external element, so be careful.
If for some reason you want a much stronger oil you can do same process again with the same oil, but that will mean another couple of weeks. This can be repeated as many as eight times if you want a powerful oil.
Step 6: Add a few drops of vitamin E (optional). This is not compulsory but Vitamin E can be added at the end of the process once you have strained the mixture, this helps to increase the shelf life of the oil. If you do not have a cool, dark place to store the oil this is highly recommended or if the carrier oil you used is old or has a short shelf life or you are unsure of the shelf life. Just Stir in a few drops of vitamin E oil you can buy this from the local drugstores in a bottle or in capsules.
How Do You Store Your Lavender Oil?
You can store it anywhere but preferably a dark place and perhaps in an amber bottle. Lavender oil should last you a lifetime in any bottle. But I’m probably just going to keep mine in a regular mason jar, remember to squeeze the muslin or cheesecloth material to extract as much as you can. You can store this in a dark glass bottle or container made from dark glass or good opaque plastic, just to avoid too much exposure to sun and other light sources that could break the aroma. The shelf life for lavender or any infused oil depends on the freshness of oil, the type and exposure to contaminant but it can last long.
Uses of Lavender Oil
- Relaxing oil
- Home scent
- Bath and body products
- Home remedy for inflammation
- Sleep inducer
- Aids hair growth ***Shocking
- Helps Nausea & motion sickness
- Dry or chapped lips
- Cold sore
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