Escape with Aromatherapy

Chatting with aromatherapist Jennifer Pedraza about the benefits of aromatherapy and body oils.

Pure Attar Luxurious Oils in “Oil of Damascus.”

There’s nothing quite as powerful as your sense of smell. It’s funny how a whiff of a certain perfume, food or beauty product can take you back to a place and time instantly. That’s why we were so excited to learn about aromatherapist Jennifer Pedraza’s all-natural Pure Attar Luxurious Oils and Flower of Tahiti Organic Hair Masque, which were inspired by beauty rituals from cultures including the Middle East and the Polynesian islands. When you’re stuck at home and want to transport yourself to another place, these luxurious treatments can do just that. Read on to find out more about how Jennifer developed the oils and masque, as well as the benefits of using them, with our Q&A.

Where did your inspiration for developing the line of oils and the hair masque come from?

I graduated as a certified Aromatherapist in 2000 and although the course I’d taken was strictly medicinal, I found great pleasure and a hidden talent in blending oils into wonderfully scented perfumes. I am especially drawn to rich, earthy, mysterious scents from the Middle East and India and was working as a massage therapist at a Middle Eastern-inspired spa when I graduated. I created four signature scents and presented them to the spa owner and they are still the product line for the spa today.

Flower of Tahiti was born on a very gloomy rainy March afternoon. I was at home and I decided to mix up a batch of my favourite hair masque. As I applied it, the tropical scent of coconut and the gardenia in the Monoi Oil lifted my spirits and I envisioned myself walking through a tropical rainforest.

What was it about the beauty rituals of other cultures that inspired your products?

There is a sacred aspect in the eastern cultures of taking time for yourself, to wind down from a busy day, to cleanse and heal. In the Hammams of Northern Africa and the Middle East (from which I draw inspiration), the Hammam is a place to cleanse the body before prayer as well as a meeting place for woman to socialize, laugh and enjoy each others company. When you open a bottle of Pure Attar Oils you can’t help but go on a journey to exotic places with oils like Frankincense, Indian Vetiver, Sandalwood, Persian Rose as well as other oils used in the line.

The Monoi Oil that I infused the hair masque with comes from the Polynesian islands where they have been making it for 2,000 years in the traditions of their ancestors. It is used in everyday life on the islands for it’s healing and softening properties for both hair and skin. I am always drawn to natural products (in this case organic and vegan) with botanicals from Mother Nature. No added nasties like mineral oil, sulphates, parabens.

Did developing the oils require you to travel?

I travelled to southern Spain and did have the chance to visit the Hammam there. “Marrakesh Home Fragrance” was somewhat inspired by this visit, as we actually found our way there by the scent of Frankincense they were burning in brass pots outside the Hammam. The breeze carried it through the narrow cobblestone streets.

How did you discover the Tahitian Monoi Oil?

I am very passionate about the use of oil for skin and hair because there is no other product with the healing, softening, nourishing properties that natural oils have. People believe lotions are moisturizing for the skin but a lot of them have mineral oil and other preservatives that actually clog the pores. This is why I started both lines (as well as the fact that I am seriously allergic to almost every non-natural beauty product on the market).

During my research into the base oils I would use for the lines, I read about Monoi (pronounce: ma-noy) and it’s benefits especially for hair, ordered a sample and started using it as a weekly hair treatment oil. I have almost waist-length hair and started noticing how the oil made my hair shiny and especially strong. I now only get a trim twice and year and need no more. It’s such a luxurious oil to use as well because it is made by handpressing coconut oil, macerating Tahitian Gardenia (known as Tiare) then blending the two.  The cocount oil infuses with the Tiare flowers for days and the aroma is reminiscent of the rainforest and tropical beaches.

Can you share some of the benefits of using the Pure Attar oils aside from the luxury of using them?

Our skin produces oil naturally and oil is what it needs to remained moisturized. Some of the benefits is improved elasticity of the skin, prevention of stretch marks, healing dry, cracked skin as the base oil in the line contain high content of naturally occurring antioxidants and vitamin E.

The essential oils added to the products also have many beneficial properties not only for the skin but for the nervous system and lymbic system, instilling a sense of calm, relaxation and promoting deep slow breathing.

The best part is that none of the products have added chemicals, parabens, sulphates, mineral oils.  We are also a cruelty free brand. We do not test on animals or use animal by-products in any of the oils.

I find it very luxurious to apply the oil to my skin straight out of the shower then lounge in my robe and let it sink into my skin. I also have a little insider trick: I bring the oil into the shower with me and use it to shave my legs…your legs with never feel softer!

What kind of benefits can you get from using the hair treatment?

The immediate result you’ll notice is that your hair is very soft, bouncy and manageable.  The long term results: shiny, strong hair with few split ends. It can be used as a daily conditioner or a weekly hair repair masque. I also have clients who are surfers who use it as a leave in conditioner to protect their hair from salt water, wind and sun damage. The hair masque is organic and vegan so you know you’re using something natural, that won’t damage or strip the natural oils your hair needs to remain healthy. Plus it smells soooo good!

What is your personal favourite Pure Attar oil to use? 

I use a different one each season. Right now, at the end of winter, I’m using Oil of Damascus because the Clove Oil in it promotes circulation to the skin which in turn gives a warming effect, perfect for a person who always has cold hands and feet. That said, my all time favourite is the Star of Istanbul because it reminds me of walking in the forest and the sweet smell of the earth after the rain.

You can find the Pure Attar Luxurious Oils online at JP Selects and Amal’s Room. The Flower of Tahiti Organic Hair Masque can be found online at Beauty Mark. You can also find both the oils and masque at select retailers in Vancouver, Victoria, California and Hawaii.