As part of my ongoing desire to share knowledge with the world (and to beef up my Resources page), I will break down the overwhelming realm of Essential Oils to clarify why it sometimes matters (and sometimes doesn’t) what is added to your body care products. Information will be broken down into multiple blogs and posted under Essential Oils. My understanding comes from books, online resources, and knowledge imparted upon me by very smart people (with less time to kill) who are in the know.
A Brief Description
Essential Oils (EO), the oils extracted from a medicinal plant (i.e. rose, lavender, chamomile, cedar, grapefruit, etc.), are the most potent form of therapeutic power for skin care products. To use, EO’s are diluted with carrier oils like avocado, jojoba, sweet almond, apricot, olive or coconut. This protects the skin and allows for better absorption of the essential oil. (Using EO’s for aromatherapy is another realm altogether, which I’ll briefly touch upon in another post.)
How EO’s Are Made
The essential oils market is overflowing with brand options. Purchasing from a reputable company will ensure you’re getting a high-quality product without added ingredients (and not a synthetic).
Price is NOT what counts, although prices range greatly with pure EO’s because of how easy or difficult it is to produce the oil. While most essential oils are affordable and only a few dollars per bottle, it takes 180 lbs of rose petals to produce one ounce of pure rose essence. A typical bottle of .125 oz of Rose Otto EO, (its oils are extracted using a gentle steam distillation), can cost from $60.00 to $120.00 making a product containing Rose Otto more expensive than one with Rose Absolute EO, (its oils are extracted by agitating the petals in a solvent, giving it greater yield and a bottle might cost $8.00 to $20.00). Plants can also be more expensive depending on their country of origin. Lavender grown in Provence, France (Lx angustifolia) is more expensive than Lavender grown elsewhere (Lavandin, Lx intermedia) because of their chemical make ups. But that might not be a big deal to you if you’re just enjoying it as a floral essence. And organic essential oils will always cost more than those that are farmed conventionally.
Quality is what really counts and that often takes investigating and ingredient label reading. Companies do all sorts of things to make a profit. Oils are sold blended with synthetics or carrier oils like jojoba to reduce the price. Plants are often exported from their country of origin and then irradiated for potential pests or microorganisms before being used to produce oils. This could change the healing potential of the plant, while making it cheaper to produce. Other companies tout “certified” this and that. It’s all a bunch of baloney. This is why buying from a reputable company can give you peace of mind, knowing you have a pure oil. Look for my upcoming post on recommended companies and their practices.
Skin types and ailments demand different types of essential oils. Dry Skin, Sensitive Skin, Oily Skin, Mature Skin, Children’s Skin – there are many different types, with ailments abound. Choosing the right EO will make a huge difference in your self-care.
- Dry Skin requires EO’s that are sweet, soothing, and warming with carrier oils like avocado, almond, and olive.
- Sensitive Skin enjoys EO’s that are sweet, soothing, and cooling with carrier oils like almond, coconut, sunflower, apricot, and olive.
- Oily Skin needs EO’s that are pungent, stimulating, and warming with carrier oils like grapeseed, almond, and apricot.
To follow in additional posts, I’ll explain different skin types and their needs, as well as safety information.
Blending essential oils can be very specific for therapeutic purposes, but there’s an art to its desired potency for fragrance. To each her own on the latter.
In my next posts I will continue with why, how and what to blend for specific needs and desires.
Purchasing essential oils is now a challenging game of popularity and bravado. Terms like “therapeutic grade”, safety information, and wether or not they actually have important information (like shelf life) mentioned on their website says more about the honesty of the company than most people realize. Aromatherapy is not actually regulated. You will read on their website about how certain big companies grow their own herbs with a “seed to seal” guarantee (when they mostly contract out to farms). Or how their product is “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade®“. Distilling practices will be touted, when really it’s all secretive. So much of it is disinformation for the sole purpose of marketing. Buyer beware!
I am not an aromatherapist. Since I started making body care products and, even more since simple. pure. love. I’ve researched essential oils and the companies that sell them – and trust me, it’s an overwhelming puzzle to solve. The essential oils used in our products are from Aura Cacia, which is one of the better companies. This list is just a judgement call. Please use your best judgement when buying essential oils.
Aura Cacia is a member of the independent brand Frontier Co-op, along with Simply Organic and Co-op Market. Frontier Co-op is a member owned company owned by their wholesale companies. Aura Cacia offers authentic and organic and non-organic essential oils. Their website also offers a wealth of information about essential oils and diy body products. Their essential oils are quality tested and highly concentrated 100 percent pure.
Much love and happiness,
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