Intro to Beneficial Oils
Essential Oils vs. Carrier Oils
Essential Oils are oils that have been extracted and distilled from plants. They can be found in many soaps, lotions, perfumes and hair products. In their distilled orm, they concentrated and extremely potent. They should not be used directly on the skin or scalp as they can cause severe irritation. They must be diluted in a vegetable Carrier Oil. Essential oils oxidize over time and lose their therapeutic benefits.
Carrier Oils are pressed from the fatty portion of plants or vegetables. They do not contain concentrated aromas, and do not evaporate. They are used to literally “carry” essential oils onto the skin or hair. Carrier oils will go bad over time. They usually have faint scents as opposed to strong odors. So, if your carrier oil smells overly strong, it has probably gone bad.
Mineral Oil and Petroleum Oil are synthetic and should not be used as they are not absorbed by skin. They clog pours and destroy the skins needed vitamins like A, D, E and K.
The ratio of Essential Oil to Carrier Oil really depends on what oils you are mixing. As a guideline, most will recommend 1-3% of Essential Oil in a Carrier Oil. If you are non-mathematical like me, you are probably thinking “how does that help me”. It translates to about 8-10 drops of Essential Oil per ounce (30ml) of Carrier Oil. If you watch the 8 little droplets come out of the bottle and think, as I did, that “this can’t be enough oil to actually do something to my hair”, you will be wrong. Do not be tempted to add more than is recommended, because they are extremely potent and in large doses can do more harm than good.
DO NOT use Essential Oils while pregnant! They can negatively affect a growing fetus and initiate contractions. Some Essential Oils such as Rosemary stimulate blood flow in the pelvic area and uterus and stimulate menstruation. Other Essential Oils such as Calamus are toxic. There are many that are fine, but to be safe, I recommend avoiding all.
Carrier Oils are perfectly safe for use during pregnancy and some can prevent stretchmarks!