"Lavender has been used for centuries for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties," says Sara Panton, co-founder of essential oil brand Vitruvi. "And in aromatherapy, it's used to calm and center." (Hence why it's used in so many linen sprays, bath oils, and beauty products—people love to feel relaxed.)
Because of its uber-soothing and calming prowess, it's also often incorporated into people's bedtime rituals (lavender, meet diffuser). "It's great for when you're getting ready to go to sleep," says Panton ."But be warned—it could mellow you out a little too much.... It's been said that it was used hundreds of years ago by women who wanted to decrease the libido of their husbands; they put lavender flowers under their husband's pillows to make them fall asleep faster." Yikes.
Since it's so multi-functional, lavender's got a multitude of uses—from your beauty cabinet to your home cleaning regimen. Looking to put the plant to use? Keep scrolling for 8 brilliant ways to use lavender in every part of your life.
1. Treat a pimple
Studies show that lavender's an all-natural antibacterial agent. That means: It's great for your skin when it's breaking out. "Lavender's antibacterial properties make it an excellent and gentle spot treatment," says Panton. "Just add a few drops to some coconut oil and then use a Q-tip to dab the problem area." She explains that it works similarly to tea tree oil in skin care, but it's a more gentle alternative.
2. Do a face steam
Facials are nice, sure—but you can bring that luxe feeling home via a face steam. "A daily face steam can be an incredibly relaxing part of your beauty routine," says Panton. "Combine lavender with sweet orange, geranium, and tea tree to create a natural glow. Just add a few drops to a warm, damp face cloth and feel fresher instantly." Yes, please.
3. Use a cold compress
The purple plant can work wonders when you're sick, too. "When you're feeling under the weather, add a few drops of lavender to a wet face cloth," says Panton. "Place it in a sealed plastic baggie and chill it for an hour or so in the fridge. Then lie down and place the sweet-smelling, cool cloth on your forehead or on the back of your neck." Let sweet relief ensue.
4. Make a body lotion
You don't have to turn to beauty shelves to get a body cream—plenty of pantry staples (along with lavender, of course) can provide you with the essentials to nourish your skin. "Simply combine a cup of unscented shea butter, a fourth of a cup of coconut oil, a half teaspoon of organic honey, and 20 drops of lavender essential oil into a bowl and mix with a spoon," says Panton.
5. Freshen up your laundry
Laundry detergent can be full of not-so-good-for-you chemicals, which is why essential oils are great as a booster for your dirty clothes. "I love adding essential oils to my washing machine for a fresh scent," says Panton. "Use 10-20 drops—lavender and frankincense are a great pair." While this is great for t-shirts and everyday clothing, don't add EOs to the wash when you're cleaning your intimates.
6. Use your diffuser
Of course, using the relaxing scent of lavender aromatherapy is great at nighttime. "Lavender's incredibly soothing," says Panton. "As part of your bedtime ritual, add 10 drops of the essential oil to a diffuser on your nightstand and shut the door." She advises to do this about an hour before you go to bed, so by the time you fall asleep your room's its own little oasis.
7. Take a dreamy bath
It comes as no surprise that lavender goes hand in hand with a relaxing self-care bath. "Add 10 drops of lavender and one cup of epsom salts to a warm bath," recommends Panton. "Soak, relax, and feel oh-so-good." Sounds divine.
For more plant-based magic, these essential oils make alleviate PMS symptoms. And these two essential oils elevate your eyebrow and lash routine.
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