Natural Soapmaking (once Soap Naturally) Natural Skin Care Handbooks
Ingredient Information

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Essential oil usage basics: Nequid nimis, or the perfect measure

Nequid nimis (which translates as "no excesses", or "everything in moderation") is the Temperance motto in the Pythagorean Tarot, and summarises in two words a concept many of our contemporaries seem to have long forgotten in many areas of their existence. In the past, when times were tougher, temperance, or the ability to use and consume commodities in moderation, was highly valued, and the skill of never using more than strictly necessary passed down from generation to generation. Out of necessity, our ancestors were applying a safety rule that effectively protected them from over-exposure to potentially allergenic and sensitizing substances, such as for instance unhealthy foods, or perfumes and fragrances.

These days, in the so-called "developed countries", where everything is so easily and readily available, often at a very low monetary cost, the concept of less is best is sadly grossly overlooked. Mesmerized by TV ads and media campaigns, we let ourselves be taken into a vicious circle where compulsive buying and using bring to overuse and overexposure, which create in turn an apparent need for buying, using and overusing even more in order to counteract the ruinous effects of the original overuse. A typical example can be found in the many fads about "unhealthy foods" (think sugar for instance), which, instead of being assumed in moderation, are replaced, with similarly catastrophic effects, by excessive amounts of "healthier alternatives" (think sugar replacements or "diet foods", and the threats they pose to our general wellbeing).

At a global level, health concerns go hands in hands with environmental considerations, and a return to temperance, in all fields, is the one and only way to protect both our badly damaged planet, and the personal wellness of all human beings. Excessive use of fragrances in personal care products, as well as spraying perfumes in our homes to cover the stench of pollution, are just small examples of how we often avoid looking at the implications of our choices, and end up actively making the problem worse.

Of course, promoting moderation is far from being in the best interest of either manufacturing or media corporations, and we cannot expect to learn about temperance through the same channels that have brainwashed us so we can use, abuse and overuse to the maximum advantage of some shareholders' pockets. Temperance is not fashionable these days, but we do have the power to change the trend and create a difference that works to everyone's advantage, and it is high time we start doing so by making responsible choices.

So before deciding usage ratios for essential oil blends in your skin care applications, let us stress once again that less is always best. If you really think good soap, creams and lotions need to be strongly scented, and 3% fragrance is the very minimum amount you will use, please take into consideration the possibility you have been overexposed to fragrances, and might benefit from a detoxifying plan before judging subtler scents as "not strong enough". Your health, your purse and the whole Planet will thank you for this!

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Editors & maintainers:
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Marina Tadiello, Patrizia Garzena
[ Soap book authors: Soap Naturally - Ingredients, methods and recipes for natural handmade soap]
[ Soap book authors: The Natural Soapmaking Handbook; The Natural Soapmaking Cookbook ]

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This page was last updated on 5th March 2006

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