Balance Massage and Bath Oil is my favorite product from Essence of Vali, a small, New York-based company created by trained aromatherapist Valerie Bennis. Bennis has been offering her botanical formulas since 2000, and her thoughtfully focused product line includes various concentrations of a blend called Sleep, for a “Bedtime Ritual,” and a citrusy, uplifting Eau de Parfum simply named E.O.V., as well as a range of nine Massage and Bath Oils. These multi-use oils, composed of various plant essences, are intended to evoke different moods and responses, including Calm, Detox, and Passion.
Balance, my choice from this spectrum of Massage and Bath Oils, is scented with a mix of lavender flowers, grapefruit peel, clary sage and geranium leaves. The grapefruit is most evident as a top note, and it is sweet enough to remind me more of a blood orange. It is followed by a clean, soft lavender essence, with a healthy dose of earthy clary sage woven into the base. These cheery citrus notes and more soothing herbal notes complement each other well, achieving an equilibrium — a balance — that does indeed seem to induce a similar emotional state.
I was pleased to see that jojoba oil is the carrier for these essences, since they are high quality and they deserve a worthy base. Jojoba soaks easily into the skin without any greasy residue, because it is very similar to the skin’s own protective fluids, and it has a longer shelf life than other oils. I also appreciate Essence of Vali’s packaging, for both visual and practical reasons: the plastic bottle is unbreakable, even when dropped by slippery fingers, and its deep cobalt blue coloring protects the ingredients from the light.
I’ve been using Balance in the evening, as body oil, smoothing it onto damp skin after a warm shower. The oil absorbs in a few minutes, leaving a supple, moisturized feeling, and its scent gently evaporates and diffuses. The fragrance is indeed so relaxing after its initial sunshiny burst of orange that it makes a perfect choice of a scented product for bedtime. However, I would also enjoy applying Balance’s scent during the day, particularly if it existed in a more portable form. Several other Essence of Vali blends are additionally available as pulse-point balms; I’m hoping that the Balance offerings might also expand someday.
Lastly, I should note that Essence of Vali recommends its Balance blend to “ease the discomfort of monthly symptoms and hormonal fluctuations.” I recently read about a study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2006, which concluded that a particular combination of essential oils, when administered through massage or in a bath, reduced the pain of menstrual cramps in female subjects. The aromatherapeutic oils used in the study included lavender and clary sage. I have no medical training, alternative or otherwise, but I may conduct my own, nonscientific study with the similar ingredients of Balance Massage and Bath Oil.