“I just want people to take time to take care of themselves and to feel that they can create beautiful moments throughout their day even in the middle of not-so-pleasant times.”
Five years ago, Sara Panton and her brother Sean launched Vitruvi, a company focused on producing all-natural essential oils, from their home in Vancouver Island.
“We grew up in a little farming community and our parents were early adopters of the organic movement so from a young age we understood the importance of products that go on our skin and what we eat,” says Panton over the phone. “Definitely before it was trendy, I was really curious about wellness and ended up doing a degree in Global Health and through that was able to travel abroad and learn about the different health and wellness practices of different cultures and places.”
Rituals discovered on these travels made their way into her new book, Essential Well Being. In it, Panton outlines 100 different ways that essential oils can be used to create a more positive, mindful experience at home. Some of the “recipes” in the book include a brightening face steam using grapefruit, sweet orange and lemon essential oils; a lemon and olive oil foot soak; and a towel spray.
“The book is split into three sections—beauty, body and home,” she explains. “It’s about how we can transform small moments and rituals and habits that a person is already doing and make them more pleasurable and indulgent, yet cost-effectively.”
Essential oils, she says, are multi-purpose with various chemical properties. Some, like sweet orange oil, can help to break down grease while others like grapefruit are anti-microbial. (Her Herbal Tea Face Toner recipe, for example, utilizes organic peppermint tea plus a few drops of lemongrass essential oil for its spa-like fragrance and grapefruit oil for its astringent and anti-microbial properties.) And of course, the Vitruvi co-founder learned over the years that simply using essential oils to diffuse scent in a room can have a powerful effect.
“Scents are a great way to change the state of a space,” says Panton, sharing a handy tip to help transition from “work” mode to “off-duty” despite work and home being essentially the same place. “Something we’ve been doing is diffusing one thing in the mornings and then at 5 o’clock we switch it. We maybe have citrus in the mornings, and something cozy and woodsy in the evenings like cedar or bergamot. It’s a nice way of changing the state of your space.”
To help with relaxation during this highly stressful time, Panton suggests a brightening face steam (recipe below). “I just want people to take time to take care of themselves and to feel that they can create beautiful moments throughout their day even in the middle of not-so-pleasant times,” she says.
Brightening Face Steam
2 drops grapefruit essential oil, 2 drops sweet orange essential oil, 1 drop lemon essential oil
Run a face cloth under hot water. Wring it out and open it across one hand. With the other hand, apply the essential oils to the face cloth by dotting them randomly on its surface. Then, close the two sides of the face cloth together. The warmth from the hot water will heat the essential oils, which helps disperse the aroma and properties throughout the cloth.
1. Place the warm cloth over your face while leaving space for your nose to breathe.
2. Close your eyes, take a big inhale through the nose, pause, then exhale. Repeat this breathing sequence 3 times. This may seem like a long time, but if you are like most of us, these will likely be the most present and deepest breaths you take all day – so enjoy. Take this time in the morning to ground your feet on the floor, lengthen your spine and fill yourself up with positivity and motivation for the day. With each exhale, let go of whatever negative thoughts, energy or worries you have about what the day will bring.
3. After you face steam, use the same face cloth to wipe away any excess dirt. If you are applying makeup after, rinse your face with cooler water to ensure the pores are closed. If not, continue with your regular facial routine.