Essential Oils: Essential oils are volatile, aromatic substances that are derived from the leaves, stems, flowers, berries, fruit, nuts, seeds, bark, roots of plants. The three most common techniques used to obtain oils are steam distillation, cold expression and solvent extraction. Steam is used for spices (cinnamon & clove), woods (cedar & sandalwood), grasses (citronella & vetiver), herbs (basil & rosemary) and resins (frankincense & myrrh). Expression (pressure) is used to extract oils from citrus peels(bergamot, lemon, orange, grapefruit, mandarin). A solvent is used on delicate flowers (rose & jasmine) to produce an 'absolute'. Most are watery in consistency while others are more viscous. They are not greasy or oily.
Essential oil compounds have a variety therapeutic properties including anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and even anti-viral. Some are uplifting & invigorating, while others are calming & soothing. In addition to being used in soaps, body care products & perfumes, they can be diffused in the air or used in candles. Unless prescribed by a medical expert, they are not recommended for internal use as they are highly concentrated and could have serious side-effects.
Carrier Oils: Carriers are used to dissolve as well as dilute essential oils before applying to the skin (the oils do not mix in water). They include seeds (rosehip & grape), nuts (sweet almond & coconut), fruits (avocado & jojoba) and leaves (aloe vera).
Care: Aromatics are highly volatile which means they evaporate quickly. They must be well capped when not being used. They are vulnerable to light, heat & air so should be stored in a cool, dark place.