Palo Santo’s Gone Topical—How To Use This Spiritual Ingredient In Your Skincare
Palo Santo (or Holy Wood), the mystical wood found in Central and South America, is a staple in the spiritual practices of many. Its distinct, grounding fragrance with notes of citrus, mint, and pine lend palo santo a rejuvenating, crisp aroma. Understandably, it’s featured in a variety of spiritual and new age rituals—from clearing negative energy in a space to creating a fresh, peaceful atmosphere that soothes anxiety and lifts the spirits. In most cases, small pieces of wood from the palo santo tree are burned like a smudge stick, but palo santo essential oil can also be diffused to fragrance your space.
Lately, palo santo essential oil has found its way into body care, elevating the vibes of body, beard and face oils alike. Here’s everything you need to know about the topical use of palo santo essential oil.
The aromatherapeutic benefits remain.
The sense of emotional clarity that accompanies palo santo smudging is also offered by the essential oil. Its dry, peppery, earthy fragrance may inspire focus, emotional peace, inner quietude, meditation, and life-affirming feelings. (After all, it’s a cousin to contemplative frankincense and myrrh.) Check out Alkemia Vespertilia Perfume Oil, a blend of wild apples, quince, black and jasmine tea, lilies, palo santo, and golden amber wood (created in small batches in Amherst, MA).
It’s a beautiful, unisex fragrance.
Folks of all genders can enjoy palo santo. Palo santo is sometimes the heart or base note of a fragrance, and it blends gorgeously with resins (such as myrrh) and citrus notes (like bergamot). Even when palo santo is on its own (like in this simple beard oil), it offers unique woodsy goodness that’s easily addicting.
Palo santo may ward off bugs.
The resinous scent of palo santo may work a bit like citronella and serve as a pest deterrent. Add a few drops to a spray bottle filled with water and give your clothes a quick misting before you head out the door.
Like virtually all essential oils, palo santo is full of “antis.”
Palo santo has strong antiseptic qualities like tea tree oil while also offering anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. Depending on the specific benefits of the carrier oils with which it’s blended, palo santo essential oil could theoretically complement an anti-acne or anti-aging skincare regimen.
Palo santo essential oil can be used to enhance the emotional benefits of massage.
Whether you’re performing a simple back rub or practicing some serious deep-tissue massage, a little palo santo essential oil in your massage oil can further relax your subject. When combined with lavender and black pepper essential oil, a palo santo massage oil can help simultaneously invigorate skin while soothing inflammation.
A test patch is a must.
Like all essential oils, palo santo essential oil is incredibly potent and should never be used undiluted. Even in properly diluted formulas, the oil may cause irritation, so do a small test patch before using in a large amount. I haven’t found any indication that palo santo essential oil is photosensitive/phototoxic (like many citrus oils that shouldn’t be combined with sun exposure–think bergamot, lemon, etc.), but it’s always a good idea to exercise caution when trying an oil that you’re not familiar with.
You can make your own heavenly palo santo essential oil creations with a few DIY tips.
By buying pure palo santo essential oil, you can craft unlimited varieties of palo santo body care products. Palo santo can be combined with other essential oils or serve as the sole essential oil in a formula. Be sure to combine palo santo essential oil with high-quality skin-friendly oils—like argan, jojoba, marula, sweet almond, and avocado, to name a few. At the maximum, palo santo should comprise only 3.4% of the overall solution.
Have you tried palo santo essential oil in your skincare routine?
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Photo: Respective Brands, Angélica Echeverry via Unsplash