460

Botanical or vegetable oils are made up of dense liquid lipids or fats. Whereas essential oils are ‘volatile’ in nature, all vegetable oils are ‘fixed’: this means that if you spill a little sweet almond oil on your sleeve it will stain your garment, whereas an essential oil which is naturally volatile, will gradually evaporate leaving no mark! Both essential oils and vegetable oils repel water, which makes them very compatible with each other. That is why vegetable oils are commonly used as carriers for essential oils in products like facial serums, massage blends or body oils. Vegetable oils are therefore often called ‘carrier’ or ‘base’ oils in the context of aromatherapy, simply because they are used as the ideal medium for the application of essential oils to the skin.

These so called ‘carrier’ oils are further divided into two main types: those containing mainly saturated fats and those containing mainly non-saturated fats. Saturated oils, sometimes called ‘vegetable fats’, tend to be solid at room temperature, such as coconut oil. In terms of the healing benefits, saturated fats are usually considered to be bad for our health. However, the naturally occurring saturated fats found in coconut oil have some amazing health benefits, including increasing metabolism as well as having superb skin and hair conditioner properties. Coconut oil also has a very long shelf life so is very useful as a base for making skin care preparations. Our light coconut oil makes a perfect facial serum ‘base’ and also makes a versatile make up remover.

Unsaturated oils tend to be liquid at room temperature and are well known for their nutrition-rich, health-giving properties. The highest quality unsaturated oils are cold-pressed from the fatty fruits and seeds whose names they bear. Oils such as olive, apricot kernel, grapeseed and sunflower seed are not only commonly used for their culinary benefits but are also frequently used in herbal preparations, natural cosmetics, skin products and in aromatherapy practice due to their outstanding healing qualities.

Many botanical or vegetable oils have outstanding skin care and hair conditioning qualities in their own right. For example, rosehip seed oil is one of the most useful oils for the face, which has come to the forefront in recent years. Packed full of vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids, rosehip seed oil is one of the richest plant sources of vitamin C. This makes it a primary choice for skin regeneration and nutrition together with providing a range of anti-aging benefits. It stimulates skin cell growth and renewal, promotes collagen production, while helping to maintain the elasticity of the tissue, thus helping it to stay soft, smooth and young looking. Above all, rosehip oil can protect skin cells from premature aging when used regularly and can act as a preventive measure against stretch marks or long term scarring. Rosehip oils anti-aging properties combined with its super light and non-greasy texture make it the ideal component in facial oils or serums. It also helps to keep the skin in optimum health when used as a ‘booster’ active ingredient in a body or facial oil blend.

Massage is also an intrinsic part of the art of aromatherapy, where the main ‘carrier’ oil – such as sweet almond oil - acts as the perfect base for specific essential oils to be applied to the skin. The skin is the body’s largest organ of our body and promoting good circulation via massage helps rid the body of harmful substances. Massage also enhances the secretion of natural oils, which naturally moisturize and lubricate the skin, helping to keep it keep healthy and youthful. Increased blood flow to the outer layers of the skin also transports oxygen to the surface blood bringing nutrients to the cells while the lymph fluid flowing away from the skin carries impurities away. One of the benefits of aromatherapy massage is that it increases the circulation, removes dead cells from the outer dermis and helps remove toxins from the body. In applying body and facial oils, it is therefore valuable to use self-massage as part of a daily skin care routine, being an important element in looking after the overall health of our skin. Massaging the face lightly with gentle circular strokes on a daily basis helps to keep the complexion glowing and youthful. Look out for our new range of skin care products coming soon, that includes a small jade facial ‘roller’ which aids circulation and feels divine on the skin!

Botanical or vegetable oils are generally produced by compression, from the seeds, nuts, fruit or kernels of a plant, such as sweet almond oil (kernel), grape seed oil (seed), coconut oil (nut) or olive oil (fruit). The light, sweetly scented oils produced from the kernels of the apricot and peach are especially suitable for sensitive skin as well as for babies and young children. In the case of avocado, the thick oil is made from the actual pulp of the fruit, which is full of natural, healthy unsaturated fats. Avocado oil is the very best oil to use for areas of extremely dry or cracked skin due to its rich moisturizing properties. Cold-pressed organically produced oils are of the highest quality since they retain all of their nutritional value. Our organic argan oil is one of the most versatile and nourishing facial oils, especially valuable for ageing skin, being rich in a wide range of vitamins including A and E and packed with anti-oxidants which aid in the regeneration of cellular tissue.

Jojoba oil belongs in a class of its own: it is actually a liquid wax produced from the seed of the jojoba plant (Simmondsia chinensis), a shrub native to the southern regions of America. The terms jojoba ‘oil’ and jojoba ‘wax’ are often used interchangeably because the wax visually appears to be like a mobile oil. It is very valuable healing substance, especially for skin care, where its unique composition accounts for its amazing shelf-life stability compared with many of the ‘true’ vegetable oils. It also displays an extraordinary resistance to high temperatures. Jojoba could be said to one of the most multipurpose healing oils being valuable for all complexions, including very dry, sensitive and irritated skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. It is especially valuable to nourish our skin over the winter months and with such a wide range of oils to choose from … such as jojoba, argan, coconut and rosehip seed … there is always an oil to incorporate into our daily skin care which is ideally suited to our complexion.