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Both, essential oils and plant extracts, can be used in natural skin care products. However, it is the essential oils that carry the most beneficial and medicinal properties, the best ones being the anti-inflammatory ones and other powerful properties that can help treat and prevent skin ailments. Extracts don’t contain medicinal properties and are mainly used for flavouring or perfumes.
The process of extraction
The different of Essential oil and Extract are the process of extracting it. Both are extracted from different parts of the plants and is therefore both natural. The process of acquiring a plant’s essential oil is a bit more complex as it must be obtained through distillation.
The plant’s primary aromatic features (its leaves, flowers, and roots) go through a steam distillation process to extract the oil. The liquid that is obtained in the process is called the plant essence or hydrosol (such as Buchu Elixir). The very small quantity of volatile oil that is left behind is the essential oil. It takes a larger amount of plant parts to get a small amount of essential oil, which explains why essential oils are more expensive than extracts.
When plant materials are soaked into liquids such as water or alcohol solutions for a longer period of time in order to infuse their flavors, medicinal properties and aroma to the liquid, then they are called extracts. Extracts are typically used for perfumes, but they can also be used for cooking or as part of medicine (tinctures). In skincare where water is needed to make a product, such as a cream or lotion, it could be beneficial to use a water-based extract to enhance the product.
Essential oils are highly concentrated, very volatile, and much stronger in aroma. Through the process of distillation, a simple essential oil undergoes a process of metamorphosis into a complex essential oil. Each essential oil has a unique aroma as well as main medicinal value, but consists out of a spectrum of chemical constituents. This can include a range of vitamins, essential fatty acids, antioxidants and antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Because essential oils are so highly concentrated, they need to be diluted in order to be safe and effective on the skin.
Here at Le Bleu, we distill our very own essential oils and our products are made by a certified Advanced Aromatherapist, so you can be sure our products’ efficacy and safety.