A Quick Guide to Natural Beauty Products
If you are an avid fan of natural cosmetics or aromatherapy, chances are that you have frequently heard the terms carrier oils and essential oils used together. You may have even assumed that the two could be used interchangeably. While both are used in holistic products and practices, they are actually quite different. It is crucial to understand these differences to ensure proper usage.
Carrier oils are commonly utilized in situations where oil is applied directly to the skin. Generally, this includes oils used for massage, pain relief or beauty treatments.
The oil is derived from the fatty portion of a nut, seed, fruit or kernel of a vegetable or other plant using one of two main methods of extraction: maceration or cold-pressing. Maceration is a method that involves placing a dry plant in warm oil to extract the properties of the desired plant. Cold-pressing, however, is the preferred method.
Cold-pressed carrier oils use expeller pressing, which consists of pressing the nut, seed, fruit or kernel at temperatures under 122 degrees Fahrenheit to extract oils. Cold-pressing preserves more of the desirable properties of the plant than other methods. The extracted cold-pressed carrier oils are suitable for direct skin application and can be used with essential oils to dilute essential oils.
Essential oils are more concentrated than carrier oils and are often too strong to apply directly to the skin. Because of this, they are frequently used in aromatherapy but must be diluted with a carrier oil or water for most other purposes. To extract the potent oil, a process known as steam distillation is used.