Perfumes are not a concentration of pure aromatic compounds, in fact the most commonly sold form of perfume (Eau du Toilet) only has 5%-15% concentration of aromatic compounds. Aromatic compounds are not essential oils either, so what exactly are essential oils? And how do they differ from these aromatic compounds commonly found in perfumes?
Essential oils are concentrated extracts containing aromatic compounds, and they must be from plants. The name holds a lot of clues to essential oil, as it is an oil that needs to contain the essence of whichever plant it is extracted from. They are most commonly extracted through steam distillation. Steam distillation allows for temperature sensitive material, which a lot of essential oils are to be extracted safely without decomposing. Which many organic compounds tend to do. Other methods such as expression, solvent extraction, absolute extraction are also used. Like cooking oils essential oils can also be cold pressed. The advantages are similar in as it will preserve some nutrients that can be lost in heat induced extraction. This can also affect the fragrance of the oil.
Essential oils serve not just as a fragrance, but they also contain numerous medical, anti-fungal, and anti-insecticidal benefits. It is use as in modern recorded medicine has been found to be as early as 1188 by what is now modern Spain. However it is use as medicine predates even that, with the Ancient Egyptians famously using it not only as medicine, but also for seduction. Cleopatra was famous for her signature lavender scent, which legend claims helped seduce Julius Caesar. The Indian folk medicinal branch know as Ayur Veda were one of the most well known and famous pioneers of essential oil as medicine.
Aromatherapy which is a form of alternative medicine would not be the same without essential oils. Aromatherapy uses these scents to promote both psychological, and physical well being. Essential oils by their definition are strong concentrates, so only a small amount is often needed, and it is commonly diluted. It is often used complimentary with other forms of therapy such as massage therapy, or acupuncture. This practice has of aromatherapy has been documented in many ancient civilizations from the Greeks all the way to the Chinese. The modern branch of Aromatherapy started at around 1907 and first appeared in print in 1937 in France on a book by René-Maurice Gattefossé called Aromathérapie: Les Huiles Essentielles, Hormones Végétales. Essential oils by their definition are strong concentrates, so only a small amount is often needed.
Essential oils are even used in foods as flavouring agents. Although it is not to be taken lightly as the type of oil, and its concentration must be correct, otherwise I could be toxic.
How, and what the function of your essential oil is will be dependent on what you want. From silky smooth skin, healing infections, curing an upset stomach, to simply smelling divine. Whatever it is you are looking for there is probably an essential oil lying in wait for you. So dive in the the colorful world of plant essences, and start your journey with Utama Spice.
How to Blend Using Essential Oils
Whenever you decide to start blending essential oils, you want to create harmony. Some essential oils evaporate faster than others, and this can change the aroma of the blend you have created. That is why it is so important to understand the difference between the notes.
You should also start out by creating new blends with no more than 25 drops to begin. When you start smaller, you waste less oil as you work on finding the ideal and most harmonic essential oil blend for you.
One of the more basic rules to remember is to combine the top note, middle note, and base notes together.
For example, a good fragrance blend will combine 15-25% of your top note, 30-40% of the middle note, and 45-55% of the base notes. These come together to create a perfume accord – simply put, it is the balanced blend of three notes that create the basic character of any fragrance.
It is important to remember that you should first mix the essential oils to find the smell you want before you add the carrier oil. Once all the essential oil drops have been added, and you love the smell, fill the rest of the container with the carrier oil.
Depending on how strong you want the smell, you can use a 10% or 5% blend. You should also consider your skin type and how sensitive it may be. Always perform a patch test before applying essential oil blends to the skin.
The top note is the first smell you notice. It typically has antiviral properties and has a very light, fresh, and uplifting scent. It gives you that first impression of the scent and represents the overall story of what you are creating.
Some common top notes include:
The middle notes of the blend have balancing effects, and many essential oils actually fall into this category. The middle notes are also often called the heart of the fragrance. Since these notes last longer, they are typically made from the more potent floral and spicy oils. The middle notes influence the base notes and are much more complex than that of the top notes.
Some essential oils in this category include:
These comprise more of the heavier oils that are rich and relaxing. These notes work with the middle notes to deepen the scent you are creating. They are also used to create a much longer-lasting impression of the fragrance.
Some of the more commonly used essential oils for base notes are: