When I smell lavender I think of lemons, clear sunshine, and most of all, falling asleep on clean white sheets with my windows thrown open to let in a cool breeze. No matter where I am or what I’m doing, if I catch a whiff of lavender I immediately feel a sense of calm and clear-headedness wash over me.
What is it about lavender that makes it such a distinctive scent? This sweet-smelling herb has been associated with cleansing and calming for thousands of years, with evidence of its use showing up in Ancient Egyptian, Iranian, Greek, and Roman texts. Even it’s name comes from the Latin “lavare,” meaning to wash. Lavender has a long history of being used in everything from laundry to medicine, and today, over 20 different species of the plant and it’s oils are still in use around the world for countless applications.
While adding lavender to cleansing products is wonderful for just the scent alone, it is actually a powerful antibacterial and antiseptic as well. Lavender essential oil is perfect for applying directly to wounds, bug bites (it can help prevent these, too!), burns, and acne because it fights off bacteria and keeps the area sanitary, while simultaneously soothing inflammation. In fact, the flower’s anti-inflammatory properties make it perfect for applying to almost any skin condition. Lavender essential oil can be mixed with chilled water to make a spray that provides relief from painful sunburns, or added to a moisturizing cream to alleviate itchy and uncomfortable eczema flare-ups. We love to include lavender in our skincare products because it is gentle and healing for people with sensitive skin.
Lavender’s healing properties go beyond skincare, too. The flowers can be used to make a tea (only use flowers, not the essential oil here - see our Essential Oil Safety Primer for more information) to ease indigestion, as certain compounds in lavender work to stimulate bile production and help move digestion along without discomfort or bloating. Because lavender acts as a light sedative to the central nervous system, it can also be used as a wonderful tool to ease headaches, de-stress, and relax into a restful sleep. It is ideal to take lavender as a tea for this purpose, as directly inhaling the essential oil can be too powerful and cause the opposite effect. You can also try putting the oil in a diffuser in your room, burning the flowers as incense, keeping dried flowers in a sachet nearby, spraying a bit of diluted essential oil on your pillow, or rubbing a lavender-infused moisturizer under your nose for a softer sense of aromatherapy.
Lavender is one of those ingredients that we could talk about all day long, as it has countless uses and benefits for our lives. We love using it for gentle and effective skincare as well as inhaling its sweet and herbaceous scent for the aromatherapeutic benefits. If you have sensitive skin and want to test lavender’s wonderful properties for yourself, we recommend our Lavender Lemongrass Body Oil as a gentle moisturizer, our Pink Rose Clay Facial Soap as a balancing cleanser, and our Lavender Baking Soda-Free Deodorant Cream for stink-free pits.
Written by Faye Lessler, a California-born, Brooklyn-based freelance writer and founder of lifestyle blog, Sustaining Life. She loves to write mission-driven content while sipping black tea in a beam of sunshine.