What is an essential oil?

Essential OilEssential oils are the odorant chemicals extracted from plants. Aromatic plants grow in great numbers but not all of them yield enough essential oil to make it worthwhile to go through the extraction process. Some of them also have a very toxic effect and therefore cannot be used for therapeutic purposes in the practice of aromatherapy.

When one asks what is an essential oil, it is useful to think about their characteristics and appearance. Essential oils are fluidic, odorant, colored and volatile. This means they undergo chemical changes when they come into contact with sunlight, air and heat. They are not water-soluble but will dissolve in pure alcohol or chemical solvents such as fatty or oily substances, petroleum and ethers.

Essential oils have a density generally lighter than water which causes them to float on the surface of water. There are however some essential oils that are heavier and will sink to the bottom. They generally do not freeze, although there are some exceptions to this rule.

Always keep essential oils in cool temperatures, around 5° Celsius. They should be stored in dark glass containers that are tightly capped or sealed to stop evaporation and prevent oxidation. This will ensure they will keep their therapeutic properties for the length of their shelf life.

Essential oils must be kept away from direct sunlight and heat to prevent photocatalytic activity. When purchasing essential oils from a shop it is important to look out for where and how they are stored.

Essential oils are obtained from various parts of a plant including leaves (Thyme), roots (Ginger), seeds (Coriander), flowers (Chamomile), wood (Sandalwood), fruit (Grapefruit) and bark (Cinnamon).

Guide to Essential Oil Notes O-Y

The final guide for essential oil notes is available today and covers the essential oil notes from O-Y. The previous guides can be found at guide to essential oil notes A-E and guide to essential oil notes F-N.

These guides can help when blending many essential oil recipes including for natural skin care, aromatherapy body scrub recipes and bath and body recipes.

Guide to Essential Oil Notes O-Y

Guide to Essential Oil Notes F-N

Following on from yesterday’s guide to essential oil notes A-E, today we have the guide to essential oil notes F-N.

You can use these guides to help with blending your essential oil recipes. Not only for aromatherapy diffuser blends but it’s also handy for making aromatherapy perfume recipes.

Don’t forget, you can find out more about blending essential oils here.

Guide to Essential Oil Notes F-N

Guide to Essential Oil Notes A-E

Here’s a useful guide to essential oil notes which can help when making your aromatherapy essential oil blends. This first guide is for essential oils A-E, the rest will follow soon.

Ideally, essential oil blends should contain all three notes as this can create harmony within the blend. Once you’re arms with this knowledge, you can get creative and start making your own blends from your favorite essential oils.

You can find out more about essential oil notes and aromatherapy blends here.

Guide to Essential Oil Notes A-E

Essential Oil Extraction

Essential oil extractionSteam distillation is by far the most common form of essential oil extraction but there are other methods including enfleurage, expression, maceration and solvent extraction.

The method used depends on the part of the plant the essential oil is to be extracted from. For example, the delicate flower petals of roses, jasmine and neroli often requires enfleurage and sometimes maceration or solvent extraction.

Expression is often used for the rind of certain citrus fruit including lemons, oranges and grapefruit.

The steam distillation methods works well with leaves, seeds, roots, flowers and stems.

You can find out more details about the various methods of Essential Oil Extraction here.

7 best essential oils for your hair type

7 best essential oils for your hair type

Due to the popularity of the previous post ‘5 best essential oils for your skin type‘ this post now discusses the 7 best essential oils for your hair type.

Like skin types, there are also many different hair types and using the best essential oils recommended for each, is a great way to treat your hair. Many of the commercial hair care products on the market use chemicals that can actually damage your hair not to mention be detrimental to your health. By using natural hair care products with the addition of essential oils you can improve your hair’s natural state as well as look after your health.

A great way to do this is to make or buy a natural shampoo or conditioner base and add essential oils. Below is a list of the best essential oils for your hair type:

Oily: Clary Sage, Lavender, Lemon, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Yarrow

Dry: Carrot seed, Geranium, Lavender, Parsley, Rosemary, Sandalwood, Yarrow

Normal: Carrot seed, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Lavender, Lemon, Parsley, Rosemary

Problem: Basil, Chamomile, Cypress, Lemon, Sandalwood, Sage, Thyme

Fragile: Birch, Carrot seed, Chamomile, Lavender, Parsley, Sandalwood, Thyme

Aromatherapy for Beautiful HairIf you want to find out more about looking after your hair using aromatherapy essential oils, you may be interested in the ebook ‘Aromatherapy for Beautiful Hair‘. This ebook has over 40 recipes you can treat your hair with as well as many bonus tips for looking after your hair. There is currently a summer special on this ebook offering a 40% discount. All you need to do is add ‘SUMMER2013’ to the discount area at checkout and you’ll get 40% off. Click on the book to find out more.

5 best essential oils for your skin type

Coconut body scrub

Using essential oils for natural skin care is a great way to enhance your beauty regime. The tiny molecules in essential oils can penetrate the layers of your skin, acting quickly to improve circulation, eliminate signs of aging and improve the overall condition of your skin.

There are many different skin types and for each one there are specific essential oils recommended. Below is a list of the most common skin types with a selection of five of the best essential oils for each one.

Aging skin: Carrot seed, Fennel, Neroli, Rose, Yarrow

Combination skin: Chamomile, Geranium, Rosemary, Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang

Dry skin: Carrot seed, German chamomile, Myrrh, Palmarosa, Rosewood

Oily skin: Bergamot, Cypress, Juniper, Lemon, Tea Tree

Sensitive skin: Jasmine, Lavender, Neroli, Rose, Yarrow

Acne: Clary Sage, Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, Thyme, Tea Tree

Now you know the best essential oils for your skin type, check out some of these natural skin care recipes and experiment by mixing and matching the essential oils for your skin type with your favorite skin care recipe. Remember, just as important as choosing the best essentials oils for your skin type is to choose the essential oils that you love the smell of too!

Essential Oil Properties

Essential Oil Properties
Essential oils have many and varied properties and often these terms can be quite confusing. For example what does Analgesic mean? Or terms such as Bechic, Febrifuge, Sudorific?

Well Analgesic means to remove pain and essential oils such as Lavender, Peppermint and Rosemary are known to have Analgesic properties.

Bechic means to ease coughing and the essential oils with this property include Benzoin, Ginger and Sandalwood.

The term Febrifuge refers to combatting a fever and reducing body temperature. Examples of essential oils with this property include Bergamot, Lemon and Verbena.

Sudorific is a term meaning to increase perspiration and some essential oils that will help with this include Fennel, Juniper and Tea Tree.

You can find a full list of Essential oil properties and their meanings here.