Essential Oils for Natural Fragrance
It has become more and more important to today's consumers to have their personal care products be as natural as possible, including the fragrance. Many consumers are demanding that the products that they use be scented with only therapeutic grade essential oils or natural fragrance. There are multiple ways to add natural fragrance to your products, whether you purchase synergies or single notes and create your own natural fragrance. The most convenient is through the use of therapeutic grade essential oils. It's important that they be therapeutic grade essential oils because there is as much variation in the quality of essential oils as there is in wines, with the quality being determines by, almost, the same variables ... region, climate, soil, harvest times and practices, growing conditions and so on.. The range of fragrances, from floral to medicinal...sweet to spicy...woody to musky, that may be created utilizing essential oils is unlimited...it just takes practice, patience and perseverance.
Using Essential Oils for Natural Fragrance is a very easy way to make your natural products more pure. Natural Fragrance is made up of a variety of plant oils, utilizing a variety of extraction methods: Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils, Absolutes, CO2 Extracts, Enfleurage, Infusions, and probably a few methods that we are not even aware of, as the utilization of plant materials for fragrance has been done since the beginning of time when perfumes were made by adding plant material to alcohol, then called spirits, and then combining a variety of these 'tinctures' to create a pleasant natural fragrance.
All plants create a variety of chemicals in response to their growing environment in order to manage their survival and ability to thrive. Among these chemicals are aromatic chemicals, which are highly volatile and, whose combinations are unique to each plant . These protective and nourishing chemicals, essential to the survival of the plant, circulate through the plant in oil glands. Because these aromatic chemicals are produced in response to their growing environment the actual aromatic compounds will change from region to region, just as the chardonnay grape grown in Italy differs dramatically from one that is grown in Texas, so does the Lavender grown in Texas differ dramatically from the one that is grown in Italy. In the world of Aromatherapy it is well known that only the species of plants grown in the proper region will produce the essential oil containing the properties for which it is being used...the sweetest variety of Lavender is the angustifolia species from the high altitude region of France, this is, in part, due to a chemical produced by the plant to allow the heat to be absorbed and emitted without damage to the plant. So, it is easy to understand that Lavender angustifolia grown in Texas is not going to be the same, in part, because of the lack of that chemical which is not needed, since it is not at a high altitude, for the survival of the plant. This is what makes the difference between effective, and in-effective. When your oils are pure, therapeutic grade essential oils, you can rest assured that they will deliver the known therapeutic activity that made you seek them out, in the first place.
- Essential Oils: utilized in Aromatherapy, are extracted through water (steam distillation). This is the most common, and efficient, type of extraction. Most plants will yield their oil through distillation, though not all.
- Pressed Oils: these are commonly referred to as essential oils but, need to be recognized as being different because their safety guidelines are different. Almost all citrus oils are pressed, unless otherwise indicated in their "method of extraction", from the peel of the fruit. For this reason it is very important that they be organically grown as whatever is on the peel will be a part of the oil and all citrus is highly prone to infestation and is usually highly sprayed as a common practice. These pressed oils are not alone but, are almost all highly photo sensitizing (they will intensify the sun's rays and can burn the skin) and should be used with care when going out into the sun. Follow safety protocols.
- CO2's: utilized in Aromatherapy, are extracted through the use of carbon dioxide, is the latest technology in extraction which results in an oil which is the closest, in fragrance, to the original plant material because there is no degradation from heat, i.e., the well known anti-inflammatory power of German Chamomile essential oil is due to the chemical chamazulene...which is a heat related de-gradation of the the starting chemical matricine...which has approximately. 10X the anti-inflammatory power and is abundant in the CO2 extract.
- Absolutes: utilized in Perfuming, are extracted through the use of a solvent which is then evaporated off with an alcohol, is utilized for those plants which do not give up their aromatic chemicals easily, usually flowers. These are some of the most costly, and tenacious, natural fragrances which also result in an oil similar in fragrance to the plant, i.e., Rose centifolia, Jasmine, Honeysuckle...a single drop of these precious oils goes a long way.
- Infusions: utilized in personal care products and massage therapy, are extracted through the use of heat and oil, is one of the oldest forms of extraction which results in a carrier oil that is infused with the scent of the plant material, i.e., a classic example of this method of extraction is the ever popular "Monoi" which is a beautiful infusion of Tahitian gardenia in virgin coconut oil.
- Enfleurage / Maceration's: utilized in perfuming, are extracted through the use of saturated fats, is another of the oldest forms of extraction which results in a carrier that is highly fragranced by the plant material. Some of the oldest forms of beauty treatments called for these products.
Within the world of essential oils there are 5, recognized, classifications which indicate the essential oils main chemical components. These classifications are used by Aromatherapists to determine the basic performance of the essential oil based on their specific chemical components. We will offer a brief description of each of those classifications, and label each essential oil blend with its classification, in order to help you to choose the essential oils appropriate for your application. Some will cross over into several classifications and be appropriate for many applications, which is the real beauty of therapeutic grade essential oils, the same oil can serve a variety of purposes.
- Esters - these are usually sweet appealing aromas which are abundant in most of the essential oils distilled from the flower, esters are some of the most balancing and gentle phyto chemicals which are healing and soothing to the skin and relaxing and calming to the mind
- Alcohols - these are usually soft and herbaceous or woody and sometimes even sweet aromas which are found in most essential oils, alcohols are some of the most user friendly and gentle phyto chemicals which are balancing and toning to skin, may be calming to the mind and stimulating to the body, many of the alcohols are also antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory
- Aldehydes - these are usually tart citrus aromas found in nearly any lemon / lime scented essential oil, the Aldehydes are toning, calming and anti inflammatory to skin, stimulating to the body and uplifting to the mind, these should be used with care and in low dilution as some may be irritating to the skin
- Oxides - these are usually very sharp clearing aromas found in many essential oils as 1,8 Cineol, the oxides are decongestant to the skin and the body and are usually used in diffusers for respiratory conditions
- Phenols - these are usually very strong herbal aromas found in nearly all of the essential oils from the leaves and flowering tops of the culinary herbs, the phenols are very powerful antiseptics reserved for use in treating specific conditions such as in linaments, they are extremely stimulating to the nervous, circulatory and immune system and should be used highly diluted, in short duration and not during pregnancy
- Ketones - these are usually dry, green aromas also found in nearly all of the essential oils from the leaves, flowering tops and sometimes the seeds of the culinary herbs, the ketones are very powerful cellular regeneratives reserved for use in wound healing and skin care geared towards congested skin types because they have the ability to break down congestion and fat, they should be used highly diluted, in short duration and not during pregnancy
Canadian Customers please contact us, via email, before purchasing any essential oil blends containing mandarin or tangerine so that we can tell you how much of the blend may be used in your leave on cosmetics as these are restricted ingredients and you will need to produce your products following those guidelines.
Keep all essential and pressed oils out of the reach of children.
Store tightly closed, in dark glass bottles, as they will arrive, and away from heat and light.
Use with respect to established safe use levels.
Always know the main chemical classification of every oil that you work with. This will help you to know the behavior of the oil, from the therapeutic perspective.
All citrus oils should be used with respect to their potential skin irritation and photo sensitization potential.
Use all essential and pressed oils, absolutes and CO2 extracts in dilution.
Not to be applied to the skin undiluted.
For more information on the safe use of essential oils there are many good authors whose books may be referenced and there are several good Aromatherapy schools.