Monday, 21 April 2008

3 wonderful days of Aromantic courses!

I've just spent three wonderful days on Aromantic's courses in Natural Skin Care run by Kolbjorn Borseth. Here is a man determined to share as much of his knowledge and experience of complementary health and cosmetics as he can - and with such a passion and love of what he does. I have come away not only with lots of ideas for my own products, but also with the 'tools' to be able to materialise them!

The first day certainly felt like stepping onto a roller coaster as the fast pace of the course combined with Kolbjorn's sometimes-difficult-to-grasp accent (I'm sure it gets more Scottish in the afternoons?) and the sheer amount of information to be absorbed. I think it took me this first day to get into 'rollercoaster tempo'. This is cookery classes for cosmetics!  And with the sessions alternating between learning about the recipes and ingredients and then rolling up our sleeves and making them! 

One of the really rich aspects of the whole experience is the wide variety of skills, interests and knowledge that the participants bring - aromatherapy, herbalism, conventional cosmetic science, bee keeping, kiniesiology... to mention but a few that I bumped into! 

By the end of the three days, my coffee table was covered in pots and bottles of all the wonderful products we made! So, if I may introduce the potions...

Day 1 - Beginners. I'd already made some of these products, especially the shampoo which I've already blogged about. Nevertheless, there were lots of useful 'little' tips and tricks that I picked up and which you just don't get from a book. There was also an introduction to some of the oils and some general information about the cosmetics industry. For example - cosmetics companies only have to list the ingredient name on their products, but NOT the (undesirable) source of the ingredient. As for the lip balm... it's really gorgeous, definitely better than anything I've bought from a shop before. I sheepishly threw away my Vaseline based Lypsyl when I got home (after learning about the negative impact of petroleum based products on the skin). :-o

Day 2 - Intermediate. In the morning Kolbjorn gave us detailed information about treating eczema holistically, illustrated with stories from his experiences with Lily Johanssen (I love stories! :-).  This included how to get an acid-alkaline balance in one's diet (Ok, ok I went out and bought some carob today and it's not bad! LOL), how to apply compresses, and use herbal baths/ teas. I only know one person with eczema right now but I know the knowledge will come in useful, and the recipes can also be adapted for other therapeutic purposes. For example, I'm going to make a version of the Vitamin A cream with added Calendula for skin damage on my father's fingers from exposure to strong printing chemicals over many years. (I'm also planning to try making a propolis cream - but more about that in another post!).

Day 3 - Advanced. In the morning we looked at a holistic approach to treating psoriasis. I understood that some of these treatments can also be used for scabies (I only wish I'd known this a while back as my brother's dogs were suffering badly from it). The compress demonstrated was with green cabbage, which is used to draw out infection/ impurities from the skin.

By lunchtime of day 3, when you enter the room it's like walking into a wall of essential oils! And by the end of the day, information overload is setting in as we try to absorb every last bit of the course. I'm not sure how coherent I was by the end of the day, but for sure I went away ready to make some new recipes. And I'm happy to announce that I've now replaced everything in my bathroom with my own products! :-) (Well, apart from the toilet cleaner - but that's on the list! LOL)

When I think about all of the knowledge involved - I mean Kolbjorn's knowledge, all the knowledge of the participants each from their own field or country or walk of life, and all of the new knowledge that will be generated as we each make up our own recipes and experiment... that's something quite amazing! :-) But I believe it could have a much wider reach if we all have a means to share this knowledge on an ongoing basis. Some kind of online forum for all those who have participated in at least one course (for example) would be brilliant. In this way, we can share our ideas, ask each other questions, network etc. etc. Something like Ning or YahooGroups, which are both free, would work.

And lastly, a simple but very big THANK YOU to Kolbjorn, Benj, Aromantic and everyone I met at the course! :-)

PS - for anyone reading from the course in the UK. I found that Lakeland sell those curly whisks in their online store (a bit pricey) and also Dunelm Mill (99p) if you can't make it to IKEA.

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