Essential oils known for their drawing properties are useful cosmetically and medicinally. Also known as astringents, these essential oils help tighten skin tissue and close pores while drawing excess oil from greasy and acne-prone complexions. Essential oils that draw also help remove pus and blood from wounds, and coax phlegm from flu-wracked chests and sinuses. Always check with your doctor before using essential herbs. Even though most are applied topically, they can still cause side effects.
Cedarwood’s drawing action makes it useful for dealing with oily hair and skin, as well as for illnesses that involve excess mucous in the chest and sinus passages, notes aromatherapist Jeanne Rose. Add one to two drops to face masks, face and body washes or shampoos, and consider adding a drop to “vapo-rub” massage oil. Look for Atlas cedar oil rather than cedarleaf, or thuja, oil, which is sometimes a skin irritant. All of the cedars should be avoided by people with high blood pressure, Rose warns.
Like cedarwood, cypress combines the resinous aroma of the forest with drawing properties. Rose recommends its astringent action for face and hair preparations. Consider applying the essential oil to rub on your hands and feet if excess perspiration is a problem. Dilute the oil in water first, or mix it with body powder. Balancing the body's oil and sweat glands is one of cypress' primary advantages, and it doesn't have the potential negative effects on hypertensive patients that cedarwood may, according to Rose. Use it in diluted form on hemorrhoids.
Sage’s drawing powers make it useful in herbal formulas for antiperspirants and foot powders, as well as facial toners and aftershave splashes. Use a drop or two of the essential oil in homemade formulas, or add to commercial products to help control perspiration, oily skin and acne. Common sage may be too strong for skin contact for some people because of its high thujone content. Consider using Spanish sage instead.
A common ingredient in herbal face masks and hair tonics, rosemary essential oil is well-known for its drawing properties, notes herbal beauty author Dina Falconi. Use it to clean the scalp quickly by adding a drop or two to your hair and briskly working it into the scalp. Rosemary oil also works well in facial steams and face masks. Use it in diluted form on hemorrhoids.
Herbalists prize this “degreaser” for its drawing power, especially in cosmetic applications. Lemongrass is the perfect choice for those who want an astringent oil with a citrus scent. Falconi notes that the scent of lemongrass essential oil is stronger than other lemon essential oils, so use it sparingly to achieve the right balance. Add lemongrass oil to deodorants, facial tonics, body powder and shampoo.
- "The Aromatherapy Book": Jeanne Rose; 1992
- Aromaweb: Spanish Sage Essential Oil Fact Sheet
- "Earthly Bodies & Heavenly Hair"; Dina Falconi; 1998
With a focus on food, nutrition, cocktails and the latest dining trends, Melissa J. has been a freelance writer for more than 15 years. Her specialties include articles for such publications as SF Chronicle and National Geographic Green Living, as well as blog posts for the hospitality industry. Her previous positions include newspaper staff reporter and communications specialist for a nonprofit agency.