2016.. the year of the self-balancing scooter, the year of Donald Trump (you can’t turn on the television without seeing that toupee!), and the year of… OILS? You read correctly, oils. And I don’t mean the peanut oil you use to fry chicken. I’m talking about the oils in your beauty arsenal. So what’s the deal with oils, and why are they taking over the beauty market? Well, probably because they are all-natural and the possibilities are practically endless! Carrier oils and essential oils can be used for nearly everything ranging from skin care, hair care, body care, and aromatherapy. Hey now, don’t get all overwhelmed, I know you’re wondering, "what’s the difference between the two?" Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Carrier oils are BASE oils! They are used to ‘carry’ essential oils, hence the name. So what does this mean? Essentially, they ensure that essential oils will be delivered to the skin comfortably and most importantly, to their full potential. They don’t contain any strong or pungent aromas. The best carrier oils are ‘cold-pressed’, because this method helps to retain the aroma and nutritional value of the oil. Some popular carrier oils are jojoba oil, argan oil, rosehip oil, and fractionated coconut oil. Carrier oils can be used alone due to their abundance of nutrients and essential fatty acids.
Jojoba oil is my go-to makeup remover—heavy eyeshadow and dark liners don’t stand a chance! You can also use it as daily moisturizer (don’t over-do it, just a few drops will do it). It is a natural anti-inflammatory, absorbs easily into the skin, and is a close match to the sebum our skin produces… meaning it can outsmart our skin to produce less oil on its own (bye-bye blemishes). The possibilities don’t end there, use jojoba oil for chapped lips or dry cuticles.
Now onto argan oil… sound familiar? Probably because tons of high-end salons LOVE using it. Why? It works wonders for dry hair, because it works to combat dandruff and damaged hair head on (get it?). And yes, your skin will love it too. It is also known to eliminate scars and fine lines, resulting in noticeably smoother and softer skin! Acne scars ruining your complexion? No problem… Rosehip oil can bring dull and hyper-pigmented skin back to life, due to its natural and powerful cell regenerating abilities (anti-aging the all-natural way!).
Big side note: Carrier oils can also be used to ‘dilute’ another type of oil, called essential oils. When we say dilute, we mean take the edge off of their potency for a super-absorbent (and nutritious) skin remedy. "So…what’s an essential oil?" The biggest difference is that essential oils possess a highly concentrated body and aroma. They are typically steam-distilled and highly volatile, so keep them away from any source of ignition and of course, away from the kiddies. These oils are no joke! Pure undiluted essential oil can eat away or even melt plastic, and this is why they are usually stored in glass. Sounds harsh, right? Wrong. They can be applied topically (after being diluted with a carrier oil).
Why do you need to dilute essential oils? Using undiluted essential oils topically can result in severe irritation, and in some cases a skin allergy or itchy rash. Less is more when it comes to these oils—a few drops mixed with a carrier oil can get the job done. So what do I mean by a few drops? A good dilution is 2%, which would be 12 drops of essential oil to each fl. oz (30 ml) of a carrier oil. Also, beware of potential allergic reactions! Always patch-test on the inside of your elbow when trying a new essential oil.
Which essential oils have skin benefits? Tea tree oil is well-known for its antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a favorite of people with fussy and blemish-prone skin. Lemon oil has mild bleaching properties, which are perfect for acne scars, sun spots, and even stretch marks. If you don’t want to make your own beauty cocktails, no worries. Essential oils can also be inhaled from a diffuser for aromatherapy. For a 100ml diffuser, you can add about 8-10 drops to your diffuser water. Lavender oil is known for its calming, therapeutic effects, so its relaxing aroma is perfect for bedtime or after a stressful day. Feeling congested or under the weather? Eucalyptus or peppermint oil can save you from cold and flu symptoms, like sore throat and sinusitis. Frankincense oil can also eliminate phlegm buildup (yuck!), and help with respiratory issues like bronchitis. I’m not finished yet! Essential oils can also be mixed with a carrier oil to create the perfect massage oil. Fractionated coconut oil is a perfect base oil with essential oils to potion-up your own homemade massage oil. Have muscle pain? Add a few drops of peppermint oil to your favorite carrier oil, and get to rubbin’! Peppermint oil is known to be a very effective pain reducer and muscle relaxant. Rosemary oil is also great for relieving joint pain due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
So… YOU’RE SOLD! You’ve got your first carrier or essential oil, but now… How do you store them?
This is important, because oils can become rancid quickly (or lose their therapeutic properties) if not stored properly. They are bottled in dark glass to prevent deterioration from the outside elements and protect from UV light exposure. Keep them in a dark place, but also a COOL place. If you have room in the fridge, pop them in! This can expand the lifespan even more—just make sure you let them return to room temperature before using them so they can regain their natural consistency. Don’t be careless! Make sure the caps are on tight after every use, you don’t want your oils to oxidize OR evaporate.
That wasn’t too bad, right? HAPPY BLENDING!