Despite the name, orange blossom doesn't come from orange trees, but rather the bitter orange, a shrub native to India, which was introduced to the Mediterranean during the Crusades. These shrubs are now found throughout southern Europe (Italy and Spain in particular) and Morocco. They produce stunning little white or pale pink flowers often referred to as neroli. Orange blossom (or flower) adds an exotic twist to pastries and is famed for its distinctive perfume.
As with all floral waters, orange flower water is produced by steam distillation. Steam is passed through the petals and captures molecules that are released. The steam's then cooled to form a liquid that condensates in to two layers: an upper layer from which neroli oil is produced and, underneath, a hydrolat or floral water. Neroli essential oil has regenerating, antioxidant properties, whilst the hydrolat is moisturising, soothing and toning.
Calming, refreshing, regenerating orange blossom is a natural toner that works equally well on our face, body, hair and nails. This super gentle ingredient soothes even the most sensitive of skins. Orange blossom is a gentle cleanser that soothes the epidermis and softens skin. It brightens dull skin, combats the signs of ageing, whitens nails and boosts growth, strengthens hair whilst giving it a healthy shine and helps make up to set.
Orange blossom is an excellent face and body moisturiser. As a hydrolat it soothes, refreshes and tones our skin. It wakes up tired complexions and leaves us with a radiant glow. You can easily whizz up a toner at home! Just mix the juice of two oranges (without the pulp) with half a glass of orange flower water and 20 drops of lavender essential oil. Add rose water if you have sensitive skin or rosemary water if your skin's on the oily side.
Neroli essential oil is a great wrinkle-buster. Packed with flavonoids, its powerful antioxidant action protects and regenerates skin.
By combating free radicals, it slows down the signs of ageing. For a DIY anti-wrinkle lotion, mix a tablespoon of wheatgerm oil with two drops of neroli oil. Apply to your face, avoiding the eye area.
Neroli oil can be used in scrubs to exfoliate skin and boost skin cell renewal. It'll get rid of dead cells and grime so that your skin can breathe!
Plus it'll boost your circulation to leave you with a healthy glow. For a homemade scrub, mix some cane sugar with a neutral vegetable oil. Add two drops of neroli oil and a teaspoon of colourless henna. Test your homemade treatments by applying a small amount to the inside of your elbow or wrist, where your skin's more likely to show any allergic reaction.
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