Ditch the Botox
"After a friend of mine stopped breast-feeding she found that her bust measurement had shrunk to 32 inches," says Maggie Tisserand, essential oil expert. "So I decided to put the geranium oil theory to the test. Ylang ylang was blended with geranium in a sweet almond oil base and given to her with instructions to rub it in morning and night, massaging the muscles of the chest wall directly above the breasts. Now her bust measurement is 36 inches and the muscle tone is so good that a bra is an optional extra."
Essential oils have been around for centuries and date back to the time of the ancient Egyptians. Originally known for their healing and aromatic qualities, Cleopatra used oils to successfully seduce Julius Caesar and then Marc Anthony, which secured her tenure as ruling empress over all of Egypt. Helen of Troy, on the other hand, was fabled to have possessed a secret essential oil given to her by Venus, which was responsible for her incredible beauty… and ultimately the downfall of Troy to the warring Spartans who wanted their queen back.
So it's not surprising that using oils all but disappeared once the Church got involved, with religion demonising them as corruptible devices. Laws were even passed in England during the reign of King George III, in 1774, which forbade women to seduce and betray into matrimony any of His Majesty's subjects by the use of aromatic scents and cosmetics. Penalties were the same as those used against witchcraft.
In 1910, chemist and perfumer Rene Maurice Gattefosse was in his laboratory when he badly burnt his hand. Grabbing the nearest potion to him, which was lavender oil, he applied it to the wound, immediately relieving the pain. His hand quickly healed with no sign of infection. But what was more remarkable was that the scar disappeared, like it had never happened, leaving perfectly healthy, unmarked skin.
Today the devil's work is back at play, with essential oils becoming increasingly popular as transformational beauty products, to the extent that the oil industry has now become a billion dollar business. Clinical studies are currently underway in Europe, Australia, Japan, India, the United States and Canada studying the remarkable properties found within them.
Essential oils have the ability to plump and firm the skin, increase or decrease breast size, remove cellulite and slim the body, reduce stretch marks, give us lustrous flowing locks and puffy Angelina-style lips. Their power and potency are second to none yet their capacity is so extraordinary that some can be used gently and safely on children and babies to soothe and ease ailments. All this truly and incredibly harnessed from nature's war chest.
Iconic French actress Catherine Deneuve, considered one of the most beautiful women in the world, revealed her beauty secret to a German magazine. "For years I have been using rose hip oil on my skin," she announced, which explains her radiant beauty at the age of 66, because rose hip oil boasts some of the most effective nutrients used in modern skincare today.
Essential oils have the ability to plump and firm the skin. Their power is second to none.
A natural alternative
So far, so good. But can essential oils compete with lipo, fillers, Botox and surgery? Do they really have the same younger-looking effect that these alternatives do?
"One of the biggest myths about liposuction is that it takes away fat cells forever," says Dr Patrick Treacy, cosmetic doctor at the Ailesbury Clinic. "It does take away fat cells but the fat can return after liposuction. If you don't watch yourself in terms of exercise and diet, it's possible that fat can return to the same area again." So liposuction can give you a head start in looking fabulous but it's down to you to stop it coming back. This means you could be back to where you started if you're not careful.
On nature's side is juniper oil, a diuretic that can aid circulation and detoxify the body; and cypress oil, an astringent with the power to firm and tone muscles. Add them to jojoba, known for its ability to remove superfluous fat deposits and toxins lodged in the tissues and you have a slimming lotion for legs and thighs that not only gets rid of fat without stretch marks but can also also eliminate cellulite. A much cheaper alternative and pain-free.
When it comes to fillers and Botox, both are short-term solutions to anti-ageing and require regular top-ups to stay looking good. Once on the bandwagon the need to maintain your new look can become obsessive. One woman reported that when the Botox wore off, people wondered why she looked so tired. This is down to atrophy – once the paralysis has worn off, the muscles will sag from lack of use. She was straight back in the chair for more.
Essential oils have the capability to prevent wrinkles, rejuvenate skin and slow down the ageing process. They contain antioxidants, which are phytochemicals, vitamins and nutrients that protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals, keeping skin healthy and glowing. A mixture of lavender, neroli and frankincense together with sweet almond oil massaged into the face, will stimulate blood flow and help to tone and lift the face muscles, creating a naturally youthful, firm and plumped complexion. Fully operational and the way nature intended.
In the gold rush to stay young we've forgotten that one day we will indeed be old. Botox, fillers and lipo may come and go but surgery is forever. What we do today will still be there long after everything else has gone south. In Brazil it's almost part of the growing up process to get breast implants; every girl has them. Fast forward to 40 years' time, will we be seeing more pictures like the ones that circulated on the internet in 2007 of the bikini clad OAP walking along the beach, her breast implants still in place whilst the rest of her had aged with time?
Surgery can't compete
Maggie Tisserand concludes her story: "Needless to say, my friend's 36 inch bust is still as firm and soft today as it was when we tried the geranium test 25 years ago. In fact there's an elasticity and youthfulness that surgery just can't compete with. Nothing measures up to natural beauty at its best. The vitality it gives us is incomparable."
And talking of vitality, the very last word goes to Susan Sarandon who, at 61, is still the embodiment of female sexuality. "You can see I haven't had Botox or these lines wouldn't be here," she says. "I have an advantage if I'm the only one that actually looks 60 – I'll get all the parts because there won't be any actresses that look around 60. Some people have surgery and look fine and some people don't look anything like they used to. I've thought about it a lot of times, but I hope by the time you're 30 you shift your focus from worrying about how you look to worrying about what kind of person you are."
The Botox backlash
Jennifer Aniston recently revealed that she had tried Botox once, saying: "It felt like I had a weight on my head. I think it makes women look older. Harder. The warmth in their faces goes away. You see women and you know they're not young but you can't tell how old they are. That's what stopped me." Even Dannii Minogue has ditched the Botox for a more natural expression. And non-user Rachel Weisz is now calling for a ban on Botox in Hollywood arguing: "Acting is all about expression. Why would you want to iron out a frown?"
DIY ‘holistic surgery'
These recipes are taken from Aromatherapy for Women by Maggie Tisserand (£7.99, Harper Collins) maggietisserand.com
Try these recipes devised by Maggie Tisserand to enhance your natural beautyDon't forget...
Always use pure essential oils from a reputable source.
Follow the instructions and don't be tempted to add extra drops – the rule ‘less is more' applies perfectly to aromatherapy.
- 8 drops frankincense or myrrh
- 14 drops lavender
- 3 drops neroli
1. Add to 50ml base oil such as sweet almond oil or wheatgerm.
2. Use at night and massage the face for a good five minutes.
- 9 drops geranium
- 16 drops ylang ylang
- Add to 50ml base oil sweet almond oil
1. Use morning and night and massage for a good five minutes, paying attention to the muscles of the chest wall, directly above the breast.
- 10 drops cypress
- 10 drops juniper
- 5 drops lavender
- Add to a 50ml base oil jojoba oil then massage upwards, daily, to help circulation and drainage.
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