Q&A WITH TRISH RONNING: INTELLIGENT NUTRIENTS’ ESSENTIAL OIL EXPERT AND PRODUCT PERFUMIST. Image: Minnesota Monthy
This month we were lucky enough to sit down with the woman behind each and every Intelligent Nutrients aroma—Trish Ronning. Trish began working hair shows with Horst and the AVEDA team in 1986. Within her first year, she expressed an interest in product development and Horst sent her to study aromatherapy and re-assigned her to the lab where she began her (now nearly 20 year long career) as a fragrance consultant, perfumer and healer.
SO CAN YOU WALK US THROUGH AN AROMA STORY?
I worked closely with Horst to create the blend for Destress Express, an aroma we continue to extend into other IN products.
He said, “I need a scalp oil that is mentally stimulating, promotes hair growth, calms headaches and invokes memories.” He wanted people to feel it working, feel a little tingle and cooling sensation, but we needed something that would also be anti-inflammatory since we would be massaging this into the scalp.
The mint had to be just right. We started with peppermint, Horst wanted it sweeter, not too bitter. So after several trials, we found spearmint to work best. We added lavender and blue chamomile for their high ester content and their anti-inflammatory properties, rosemary for enhancing memory and hair growth, cinnamon for sweetness and a touch of a cardamom for its sweet yet camphoraceous quality.
Horst and I would go back and forth, he’d say, “The mint is still too bitter, not sweet enough” or “Too sweet, let’s balance it out.” And so on and so forth. We were balancing the stimulating properties with an element of calm. And after salon testing and that process, we reach the right balance.
This is how I approach developing fragrance to any new product, I begin by asking questions: What is the product it will go in? What aroma-therapeutic properties are needed? What is it called? What is the demographic? What is the price range?
SOME PEOPLE ARE STILL UNCONVINCED OF THE MAGIC POWERS OF ESSENTIAL OILS. CAN YOU EXPLAIN IN BASIC TERMS WHY ESSENTIAL OILS WORK?
Essential oils are energy based. Our bodies are energy. So just like other energy-based therapies essential oils stimulate certain areas based on their chemical structure.
HOW DOES IT WORK THAT SOME OILS MAY TRIGGER CALM AND OTHERS ARE MEANT TO INVOKE ALERTNESS OR INCREASED ENERGY?
It’s chemistry. All aromatics have a unique chemical structure that determines its inherent properties. For example, lavender is composed of mainly esters and monoterpenols, which contribute to its anti-inflammatory and calming properties, whereas citrus oils are comprised mainly of monoterpenes - giving them a more energizing quality.
SO, LET’S TALK ABOUT THE CHAKRAS. HOW DID YOU DEVELOP THE BLENDS FOR THE INTELLIGENT NUTRIENT AROMATICS COLLECTION?
There are oils that are more grounding, stimulating or more balancing. For instance, in our heart chakra, 4 - NURTURE we use more balancing oils such as geranium, yarrow and lavender.
WHAT IS THE SOURCING AND DISTILLATION PROCESS LIKE, ARE YOU INVOLVED IN SOURCING?
Each oil has it’s own unique process and this is why some oils are more expensive. Jasmine for instance—the blossoms may only be picked at night by hand. Then the maturation process uses wax to draw the essence out. Whereas the essence for citrus is in the peel, so these are simpler and less expensive oils to work with.
I have sourced and purchased essential oils in the past, now I rely on our sourcing department to obtain the finest quality of organic essential oils. Many of our essential oils come directly from growers around the world.
HOW CAN YOU DISTINGUISH QUALITY ESSENTIAL OIL OVER OTHERS?
The oils takes on different attributes depending on where they are grown, depending on the quality of the soil and the weather. After years of doing this, you get used to recognizing the notes and you can tell if the oil has been burnt in the steaming process.
HOW WAS WORKING WITH HORST?
I feel that I am the person I am today because of Horst. I have followed the healing journey and now use reiki, qigong, meditation and, of course, aromatherapy daily in my life.
Today, along with projects for Intelligent Nutrients, I’m also working on an aromatherapy project introducing, educating and supplying hospitals, hospice and home care with essential oils.
It’s amazing how much more accepted and welcomed aromatherapy has become in just the last five years, it’s an exciting time! Like they say, “the veil is coming down,” and I’m grateful to be a part of it.
Experience Trish’s work and discover your Certified Organic Aromatic here.