An essential oil is a highly aromatic and concentrated compound that evaporates in warm temperatures and can be dissolved in vegetable oils. Essential oils are not actually oily but are highly flammable and volatile compounds. The oils are extracted from various plant materials; flowers, leaves, roots, resin, peel or bark, and are produced in one of three ways.
The extraction method varies according to the essential oil being produced:
- Steam distillation is the most common process and involves steam being passed over the plant parts in a still. The steam then passes into a condenser, where it produces a liquid containing both oil and water. The steam is then cooled back to water and the essential oil floats on top.
- Expression is the method of extraction used to obtain essential oils from citrus fruit. Basically the essential oil is squeezed out of the peel.
- Solvent extraction is a complex process used to extract the essential oils from delicate flowers such as rose, neroli and jasmine. The petals are soaked in a chemical solvent, which dissolves the aromatic fragrance out of the plant fibres. This sticky mass is called a "concrete". The concrete mass is then processed to remove the fats and waxes. The liquid that is left is called an "absolute".
Expensive essential oils such as Rose and Neroli are very difficult to extract because a large number of flowers are required to produce a small amount of essential oil. The price of the essential oil can vary depending on the method used for extraction, the geographical location and weather conditions.
A carrier oil is also known as a fixed oil as they do not evaporate when exposed to heat and light. They are extracted from plants, flowers, seeds, nuts and vegetables. They have a light smell and have varying properties. Carrier oils that are cold-pressed are purer and have a higher vitamin content. Where possible Absolute Aromas select only cold-pressed carrier oils.
Carrier oils have different properties and uses, but are generally good all round skin conditioners. They can be used alone or in a blend with other carrier oils.
Absolute Aromas organic essential oils are derived from plants that have been grown without the use of pesticides, on land that has been certified by the Soil Association.
When considering the effects the use of pesticides have on the environment and ourselves, many aromatherapists have now opted to use organic essential oils in their clinical treatments.
All our Organic Essential Oils have been analytically tested for purity and certified under the official regulatory authority - The Soil Association.
Each beautiful finished product can be traced back through each stage of production to the farm where the plant was grown. In fact, Absolute Aromas has visited many of the organic farms to ensure that the high levels of quality and purity that have made Absolute Aromas stand out in the market place, remain the forefront of the company ethos.
These are produced during the distillation process. When the oil is removed the water which is left contains small quantities of the essential oil. These are known as hydrosols, hydrolats or floral waters.
They are very gentle and safe to use neat. Floral waters make an excellent skin toner or additions to creams and lotions.