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Différence huiles essentielles et huiles végétales

Essential oils, vegetable oils... what's the difference?

In recent years, vegetable oils and essential oils have become firm favourites in the cosmetics industry. However, it's crucial not to confuse the two. While both imply a greasy texture, it's important to note that vegetable oils come from cold-pressed seeds, in order to extract the lipids contained in oil-bearing plants, whereas essential oils are a concentrate of volatile molecules from aromatic plants obtained after distillation. Here are the details that differentiate these oils, to help you choose the most suitable for your skin type.

How are vegetable oils and essential oils produced?

Vegetable oil from oil-bearing plants is extracted from the fruits, kernels, and seeds that have been previously washed, crushed, and prepared before being ground and pressed by machine. A cold press is more beneficial for preserving the active ingredients of the plant. These are the vitamins, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids of the plant that work to hydrate, nourish, protect, and repair the skin. In artisanal factories, mechanical pressure is still used to obtain a premium quality virgin oil, which is filtered before bottling to remove any impurities.

The generic term "essential oil" refers to preparations derived from a steam distillation process. Distillation begins with a passage into a vat that heats the water at high temperature before transferring the resulting steam into another boiler previously filled with leaves, stems, bark, root or sap of the plant to be exploited. Upon contact with the steam, the plant will release its aromatic molecules which will travel through the conduit to the cold vat to be condensed and regain a liquid form. Because essential oils are a concentrate of molecules, they require the presence of another fatty substance such as oil or vegetable butter, with the aim of making it less aggressive and easier to use. The essential oil is primarily a concentrate of volatile substances with very high chemical components, which condense the therapeutic virtues of the plant: hence the need for increased vigilance with young children, pregnant or breastfeeding women and sensitive individuals, who may react poorly to inhalation or contact with the skin.

The benefits of plant-based oils.

The soft and creamy texture of vegetable oils is generally well tolerated by the skin. These virgin oils are utilised as a base to produce cosmetic products rich in antioxidants, vitamins and fatty acids. Thus, the vegetable oil will hydrate the skin, provide it with more elasticity, protect it against dryness and wrinkles. The wide variety of vegetable oils makes it easy to choose for a personalised treatment, whether they are used as they are or diluted in a face cream, a body lotion or a hair serum.

To regenerate, the skin and cells require an intake of essential fatty acids such as unsaponifiables. Therefore, the benefits of oils adapt to the deficiencies of the skin and the body:

Uses of Essential Oil.

Essential oil is a concentrate of active ingredients and should never be used in its pure state. It must always be diluted in a base, such as your regular shampoo , your face cream or a vegetable oil. The properties of essential oils depend on those of the original plant:

  • Astringents: The lavender, the Bourbon geranium or the myrtle.

  • Regenerative: The oils of Damask rose, rosewood and everlasting.

  • Antibacterial: Thetea tree is an excellent antibacterial.

  • Softening: Fine lavender, Egyptian geranium, and Roman chamomile.

  • Moisturisers: Sandalwood, myrrh, or neroli.

Essential oils accompany you in your daily life, serving as curative treatments, stimulants, antiseptics, analgesics, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, astringents, tonics, and so on. Given the wide range of essential oils available on the market, it is advisable to establish practical selection criteria. The content of active ingredients, the origin, the reputation of the manufacturer, and the environmentally friendly production method should therefore be taken into consideration.

Tips for effectively blending vegetable oils and essential oils.

The active ingredients of vegetable oils and essential oils are greatly enhanced when combined. Indeed, vegetable oil often serves as a base for essential oils. However, for the resulting treatment to be truly effective, it is better to stick to a composition of 3 or 4 oils to avoid any risk of antagonistic effects. Moreover, there is a dosage to adhere to: 0.1 to 1% of essential oil in dermocosmetics and 0.5 to 2% for body or hair care.

To create a natural oil-based perfume, a neutral vegetable oil such as jojoba is required, to which you can add 15 to 40% of essential oils. It is also important to note that the penetration power of vegetable oils is not the same. While the avocado reaches the horny layer, argan and jojoba reach the level of the epidermis.

When mixed with vegetable oils, the essential oil significantly enhances their active power on the skin and body, ensuring a healthy and safe use. Do not hesitate to conduct a few tests in the crook of your elbow to detect any potential allergic reactions before applying the resulting treatment to the face or sensitive areas of the body.


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