All about Essential Oils
Where do you get your essential oils from?
The essential oils we use to make our fragrances are made by chemical companies who extract these oils for us. Depending on the effect that we want to create in our fragrances we choose certain oils over others. The essential oils we use are quite standard – all perfumers typically work with the same catalogue of essential oils, just like painters work with colors from a pantone chart. Depending on what you need to accomplish in your fragrance, whether it is a top note or a heart note, you will choose between an oil or an absolute, as they evaporate differently and will have different effect on your fragrance. It all depends about what you want to do as well as your budget.
How do you make an essential oil?
Most of the essential oils that we use in perfumery are extracted using steam distillation. Some other oils are extracted using solvents and other more modern methods such as CO2 extraction. In the case of citruses, the oil is extracted through expression, by squeezing the oil out of the skin of the citrus.
What is the difference between perfume and essential oil?
Perfumes are alcoholic solutions made with essential oils. Usually a perfume will be made from a formula containing many essential oils. The alcohol is used to dissolve the essential oils to allow them to blend with each other. When you apply your perfume on your skin, the alcohol dries immediately and what is left behind is that blend of essential oils which will also evaporate at a much slower pace.
Essential oils are extracts from plants and everything that smells. Some of them are extracted from flowers, fruits, spices, leaves, roots and wood. Not all essential oils are safe to put on skin and some will need some processing to remove potential allergens or irritants for safe human consumption. Perfumers are very careful when they formulate fragrances, to ensure that the levels of allergens are kept to a minimum.