Oils (essential or carrier) are a big thing now. Actually, they've always been a big deal. They hit the mainstream a few years ago. Cave paintings suggest essentials oils were used as far back as 4500 B.C. However, the use of the term aromatherapydates back to the early 1900s.
If you're familiar with essential oils, you're probably also familiar with the term carrier oils. These two terms usually go hand in hand. So you're wondering, "What's the difference?" Carrier oils come from the fatty part of the plant and do not carry a strong aroma. Think of olive, coconut, jojoba, sweet almond, grapeseed, avocado, etc. when talking about a carrier oil.
Essential oils are the aromatic compounds that are distilled from various parts of plants. They are EXTREMELY concentrated. Essential oils must always be diluted with a carrier oil before use. Applying an essential oil directly to the skin can cause irritation. Many times you'll find at least one essential oil in natural skincare products. These are used instead of artificial ingredients to help give these products their scents and as active ingredients.
Creating your Oil Kit
When starting your aromatherapy journey, you don't need much. A carrier oil and a few essential ones will do.
- Coconut (carrier): Coconut oil is not just a superfood. It's touted as the "healthiest oil on earth". Coconut oil is antibacterial, non-toxic, and anti-inflammatory.
- Olive (carrier): More than just a cooking oil, olive oil has a light fruity aroma which helps it blend well.
- Jojoba (carrier): This oil comes closest to mimicking the natural secretions of our skin.
- Lemon (essential): This essential oil is anti-bacterial, invigorating, and an immunity-enhancer.
- Lavender (essential): Lavender's calming properties make it a great addition to bedtime products.
- Tea Tree (essential): This oil supports and enhances the immune system.
- Peppermint (essential): Peppermint oil is great for reducing nausea and acts a pain reliever.
What's in your oil toolbox?