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If you’re new to the world of essential oils, you may be curious about what they are, how to use them and the many benefits associated with them. Although essential oils have been used in aromatherapy for centuries, they are currently experiencing a renaissance in the holistic health and beauty spaces, with more and more consumers realising how versatile they can be.
Data suggests that the global wellness market was valued at $4.75 trillion last year, and essential oils saw a surge in popularity that doesn’t look set to slow. The market value of essential oils worldwide is forecasted to reach $27 billion by 2022, which would mean a $10 billion increase in value over five years. So, what’s all the fuss about?
If you’re curious about why essential oils are so popular or interested in trying them out for yourself, our knowledgeable team is here to help. This ultimate guide to essential oils covers everything you need to know and provides expert tips to help you get the most out of these natural substances.
If you’re interested in essential oils, you may also like to learn more about how vegetable oils can benefit the skin. For more information, check out our book, Unlocking the Powerful Health & Rejuvenation Benefits of Vegetable Oils.
Essential oils are highly-concentrated liquid plant extracts. They’re created by distilling various parts of a plant to capture the compounds that produce fragrance — most often through a process of steaming.
Oxford Languages defines essential oils as “a natural oil typically obtained by distillation and having the characteristic odour of the plant or other source from which it is extracted.”
Essential oils are best known for their aromatherapeutic properties, but as well as being used within holistic health to promote positive wellbeing, essential oils are also utilised within cosmetic and cleaning products.
Aromatherapy is a complementary and alternative medicine in which plant extracts are used to support health and wellbeing. In aromatherapy, essential oils are used to provide therapeutic benefits, typically by inhaling essential oils, using them in massage or incorporating them into skin, hair and bath products. One of the great benefits of essential oils is that they are incredibly versatile and can be used in many different ways.
Experts think aromatherapy activates smell receptors that send messages to your brain, activating certain areas such as the limbic system and hypothalamus, which play a role in your emotions and the release of feel-good hormones. Some aromatherapists also believe that when you apply diluted essential oils to your skin, they cause a response in your skin and other parts of your body.
Essential oils don’t just smell great — they’re also associated with countless health and wellbeing benefits. In aromatherapy, essential oils are used to promote therapeutic benefits, such as calm and relaxation, stress relief, improved concentration and better sleep, among others. Each oil is thought to possess distinctive properties and may be used in cosmetics to soothe and relieve or in fragrances to improve mood.
Essential oils are easy to work with and completely safe, if used correctly. For some essential oils, this means diluting with a carrier oil before applying to the skin, while others will need to be diluted and added to a finished product. As they are highly-concentrated extracts, a couple of drops of your chosen essential oil will go a long way, and you can use them in a variety of products.
Aromantic essential oils are intended for use in skincare and beauty products. Please note that when we give examples of how aromatherapists may use essential oils, these are for external use only. When using essential oils for aromatherapy, we suggest you contact a qualified aromatherapist for guidance.
You should always blend an essential oil with a carrier oil before applying it to your skin; otherwise, you may suffer from skin irritation. Less is more when working with essential oils, and proper dilution is always recommended. To make getting started with carrier oils even easier, we’ve created a range of carrier oil kits that offer a selection of oils for you to experiment with. Kits include the luxury skin care carrier oil selection and gentle skin care carrier oil selection.
A simple way for beginners to experiment with essential oils is by breathing them in. If you want to feel relaxed during busy days, you may choose to keep a bottle of chamomile essential oil with you to sniff when you feel overwhelmed. At home, you could use a diffuser or humidifier to infuse any space with your chosen oil, whether that’s peppermint essential oil for a burst of energy or ylang ylang essential oil to lift your mood.
Essential oils should be stored in a cool, dark place to avoid oxidation and extend their shelf life. Keep your essential oils away from sunlight, and make sure you screw the lid on tight after use. You should also keep essential oils out of reach of children and pets. Some essential oils are fatal to animals, so consult a vet before diffusing them in your home.
Essential oils are highly concentrated, meaning you don’t need to use a lot of them in your cosmetic recipes. A maximum of 1% essential oil dilution is generally considered safe for topical application, but this will vary depending on your chosen oil and the type of product you’re making. Be aware that if you’re creating skin care products to sell, there may be further restrictions to adhere to. If in doubt, we provide guidance for use on all our product pages, and you can also explore our range of skin care recipes for instructions on how to make specific products. For more information on percentage-based recipes, read our product troubleshooting guide.
Try to keep track of when you bought each of your essential oils, as they do expire and can lose their therapeutic properties in time. Essential oils generally have a shelf life of a couple of years, but you should check the “best before” date on each bottle before use to make sure it hasn’t expired.
While essential oils are a personal choice, some are typically more popular than others. Lavender is by far one of the most popular essential oils. It has a gentle fragrance that is well-liked by most people and has a range of benefits. Lavender oil is ideal for products intended for sleep or relaxation.
Peppermint oil is also a popular essential oil, again because of both its fragrance and properties. Some essential oils can be divisive in terms of smell, but peppermint is considered inoffensive and generally popular. It has soothing properties, making it ideal for lotions and balms.
Black pepper essential oil is popular amongst men as it is considered to have a more masculine scent. Black pepper works great in massage oil and has revitalising properties.
If you’re unsure where to begin, these versatile essential oils are an excellent place to start:
Known for its anti-microbial properties and energising scent, tea tree has been used in skincare for centuries. Try using our organic tea tree essential oil in skin balms, creams, massage oils or shampoos to give your products an invigorating boost, or diffuse at home to keep the air fresh and clean. You can even use a couple of drops in the washing machine to freshen up your laundry.
Lavender essential oil is an excellent choice if you’re looking for something with relaxing properties. Use it to make a pillow spray for a calming effect at bedtime, incorporate it into a night cream for therapeutic effects on the skin or try this refreshing body wash recipe. For more suggestions of effective night-time treatments, check out our blog, What Essential Oils Are Good for Sleep?
Eucalyptus globulus essential oil is a versatile option to experiment with. Add a couple of drops to hot water to create a warming steam treatment, or take advantage of its skin conditioning properties by incorporating it into a hand cream.
With its fresh, clean fragrance, rosemary verbenone essential oil is associated with improved focus and invigoration, making it great for diffusing in any office space. You can also use this essential oil in skincare to create nourishing creams, lotions, gels and masks.
Our organic blood orange essential oil is uplifting yet also has a calming effect that may help you unwind on stressful days. Its refreshing properties make it a versatile essential oil to use in a range of everyday skincare products, from rich creams and lotions to lightweight gels. Try using orange essential oil in our bath bombs recipe to add a cheerful boost to your next bit of me-time.
If you’re interested in using essential oils to create beauty products, you’ll love ouraromatherapy kits. Each set contains all the essential oils you’ll need to create a range of products and comes complete with a beautifully-crafted wooden box to keep your oils protected.
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These notes are not meant to replace medical guidance and you should seek the advice of your doctor for your health matters. The formulae are given in good faith and are intended for educational purposes only. They have not been evaluated or tested in any way and Aromantic Ltd. makes no claim as to their effectiveness. It is up to the reader to ensure that any products they produce from these recipes are safe to use, and if relevant, compliant under current cosmetic regulations.
For more information and guidance on making your own skin care products please see Aromantic's books and eBooks in our Publications section.
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