Lavender is as timeless as it is cutting edge. It whispers grandma to you, while it simultaneously exudes exotic French romance in an infinite meadow of purple blooms. It is like the renaissance woman of modern times.
Lavender is a perennial plant that keeps on giving, giving, giving. As a perennial, it gives the soil healthy structure while serving as a stable crop1. For us humans, it gives us its delicate, unopened blossoms to distill into a powerful essential oil. This oil, that once protected the plant from pests, now protects us from germs, anxiety, and sleepless nights2.
While the aroma itself is enough to calm down a school bus of rowdy children — studies have also found it useful in treating what feels like a textbook of nervous system disorders. Insomnia, depression, anxiety, stress, infection, the list goes on and on with the benefits of lavender3.
The concept of a multifunctional product is one of the cornerstones of zero-waste living. Why own 10 different commodities, when there is 1 item that can do all those things? Owning a well-sourced, organic bottle of lavender essential oil will reduce waste and plastic consumption in your house.
Here are 10 zero waste things to do with that bottle of lavender essential oil!
1. Room & Pillow Spray
This has got to be the easiest, most multifunctional use of lavender essential oil.
- Repurpose an old spray bottle.
- Fill with water and add 10-15 drops of essential oil per ounce of water.
- Shake well before each use.
Keep this bottle in your bathroom, your car, your bedroom or make one for every room and nook you can think of. Spray on your pillow before bed, spray in the room before your yoga sesh, spray in the bathroom after, well, you know…just spray away!
2. DIY Toner
Say goodbye to plastic bottled toners made of synthetic ingredients. Instead, make your own blend and place it in a refillable bottle. While the base of a facial toner depends on your skin type, lavender essential oil is beneficial for all4. Check out the following suggested base blends for a DIY toner:
- Dry Skin: Water infused with rose petals. Strain and add 10 drops of lavender essential oil per ounce. Keep refrigerated.
- Acne Prone Skin: One third witch hazel, one third green tea, one third water. 15 drops of lavender essential oil per ounce. Keep refrigerated.
- Sensitive Skin: One quarter chamomile tea, one quarter aloe vera gel, half water. 10 drops of essential oil per ounce of water. Keep refrigerated.
Mix ingredients together and store in a spray bottle. 1-4 ounce bottle is recommended. Mist the healing toner on your face generously throughout the day. It is especially great to use after washing your face — as many face washes can be a bit drying.
3. All – Purpose Cleaner
Eliminating toxic ingredients that come packaged in single use plastic is a critical step along your zero-waste voyage. Ditch the conventional cleaning products and make your own! Invest in a glass spray bottle (you can find online zero waste stores if you don’t know where to look near you) that can be reused time and time again for your all-purpose cleaning spray. Lavender has proven antibacterial properties that make an aromatic cleaning experience in the home5. We are all about using what you have on hand as the base ingredients, so check out the following options:
- Distilled white vinegar & water: A ratio of 1:3 here works well.
- Vodka & water: The ratio here should be 1:1.
- Isopropyl alcohol & water: If your isopropyl is 99%, use a ratio of 1½ :1 to retain the sanitising effects of the alcohol.
Generously add 20-30 drops of lavender essential per ounce of base liquid. Shake well before use.
Beware — you may actually enjoy wiping down counters and mopping the floor!
4. Sachet for drawers
Muslin bags, old pantyhose, tightly woven or triple layered cheesecloth, and empty tea bags all work great for sachets.
Crafty? Sew up a sachet bag out of an old garment.
- Fill a bag of choice with a bulk bin grain like rice or barley.
- Top with 20-30 drops of lavender essential oil and tie off to seal shut.
- Store this sachet wherever you’d like! In a garment drawer, under the sink, in a bathroom, by your pillow, in your car, in your toddler’s room out of reach….the list goes on!
5. Oil Cleanser
Do you have an old tincture bottle?
- Rinse out and let it dry completely (dries best in the sun).
- Fill with a base oil that you have on hand, such as olive, avocado, almond or sesame oil.
- Add 10 drops of lavender essential oil per ounce.
- Massage onto face for about one minute.
- Soak a washcloth in warm water and place it over face for a few seconds.
- Wipe off excess oil.
Oil cleansing can fully replace your regular face wash, or be used intermittently. It is moisturising for the skin and a great way to take off makeup, dirt and excess oil!
6. Neat on Pimples
Lavender essential oil is one of the few essential oils that can be applied undiluted onto the skin. And wow does it have some incredible benefits for acne. Not only has it proven antibacterial against the specific bacteria that causes acne, it can help heal scars, balance sebum production and skin tone6.
Before applying it to your face, however, it is recommended to place one drop on your inner arm to ensure no sensitivities.
Once you know your skin likes lavender (which, let’s be real, most skin totally love it), you can apply a single drop onto pimples. This will dry them out, calm inflammation and redness, and ward off bacteria.
7. Wound Care
Ah the incredible benefits of lavender for wound care! From small cuts and scrapes, to itchy inflamed bug bites, and even to weird fungal patches – lavender essential oil comes to the rescue7.
Spray your toner onto the wound, apply neat, or use apple cider vinegar mixed with lavender essential oil for that toe fungus. Reapply often to help expedite healing.
An incredibly simple and effective use for lavender essential oil, is to add it to your laundry!
- Add 5 drops to your washing machine as it is filling with water and detergent.
- Ditch the synthetic and single use dryer sheets and instead get a wool dryer ball and drop lavender on it.
9. After Sun Soak
After time spent in the sun, little feels as cooling and soothing as aloe vera gel with drops of lavender in it. Fresh aloe vera is best and luckily a good bit of grocery stores sell it. Better yet — buy an aloe plant from the nursery for your garden or to keep as a houseplant so you always have it handy!
Strip off the gel from the leaf into a bowl, and add a few drops before applying to your skin.
10. Body Scrub
- Take a 4 oz mason jar and fill with sugar about ¾ of the way.
- Pour your go-to oil over it. Olive oil, avocado oil, or sunflower oil all work great.
- Drop about 30 drops of lavender essential oil.
- Massage onto the whole body and rinse off in the shower.
This scrub is exfoliating and moisturising. It can be done about once a week.
Pretty awesome, pretty easy, super low-waste, right?!
Can’t get enough lavender? Want to consume it? We recommend not to consume essential oils. They are highly concentrated and can be harsh internally. Instead, buy loose-leaf lavender buds from your local health food store. Add to teas, baked goods, seasoning mixes, and whatever your clever mind can concoct 😉
Feel lazy to DIY with lavender? Get this unparalleled perennial-plant body care balm that is truly zero-waste and multifunctional ~ wound care, scalp treatment, dry skin miracle worker, eau de toilette, you name it.
Images credits: Angelica Echeverry, Daiga Ellaby, Dana Devolk, Jonathan Francisca, Kelly Sikkema, Priscilla du Preez, Nathana Rebouças, Edward Howell, — thank you.
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|↑1||Glover, J. D., Reganold, J. P., & Cox, C. M. (2012). Plant perennials to save Africa’s soils. Nature, 489(7416), 359-361.|
|↑2||Dudareva, N., Negre, F., Nagegowda, D. A., & Orlova, I. (2006). Plant volatiles: recent advances and future perspectives. Critical reviews in plant sciences, 25(5), 417-440.|
|↑3||Lee, I. S., & Lee, G. J. (2006). Effects of lavender aromatherapy on insomnia and depression in women college students. Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing, 36(1), 136-143.|
|↑4||Sharma, L., Chandra, M., & Ajmera, P. (2019). Health benefits of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia).|
|↑5||Lodhia, M. H., Bhatt, K. R., & Thaker, V. S. (2009). Antibacterial activity of essential oils from palmarosa, evening primrose, lavender and tuberose. Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 71(2), 134.|
|↑6||Yoo, Y. S., & Na, M. S. (2010). Inhibitory effect on acne using anti-bacteria of lavender essential oil in adolescents. Kor J Aesthet Cosmetol, 8(4).|
|↑7||Djemaa, F. G. B., Bellassoued, K., Zouari, S., El Feki, A., & Ammar, E. (2016). Antioxidant and wound healing activity of Lavandula aspic L. ointment. Journal of tissue viability, 25(4), 193-200.|
Robyn is an herbalist, ocean-lover, and redwood forest dweller based in Santa Cruz, California. She currently works with Anato — a tree-based skincare line that is paving the way for regenerative and zero-waste green beauty.