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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Notes and Carrier Oils in Aromatherapy

"Notes" of essential oils

There are three categories or classifications of essential oils: top note, middle note and base note. These terms describe the rate at which they evaporate, or how long the fragrance will last.

Top note fragrances are the most stimulating and strongly scented but the scent only lasts for 3 to 24 hours. Some top note essential oils are basil, bergamot, clary sage, coriander, eucalyptus, lemongrass, neroli, peppermint, sage and thyme.

Middle note oil fragrances last about two to three days and they affect the metabolic and body functions. The scent is less potent than top note fragrances. Some middle note oils are balm, chamomile, fennel, geranium, hyssop, juniper, lavender and rosemary.

Base note essential oils are the slowest to evaporate and can last up to a week. The usually have a sweet, soothing scent and a relaxing effect on the body. Some examples of base note oils are cedarwood, clove, frankincense, ginger, jasmine, rose and sandalwood.

Carrier oils

Carrier oils or base oils (not to be confused with base note essential oils) that are used to dilute essential oils, CO2s and absolutes before applying to the skin.

Some of the most commonly used carrier oils are:

Almond oil, which is easily absorbed by the skin, has little smell. It keeps well and has beneficial effects on hair, dry skin and brittle nails.

Apricot kernel oil contains vitamin A, which is great for dry skin and wrinkles.

Avocado oil is heavy, rich in nutrients. Good for dry, aging and sensitive skin.

Evening Primrose oil is good for skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis but only keeps for about two months after opening.

Grapeseed oil is light, good for oily skin and one of the least-expensive oils.

Hazelnut oil penetrates easily and is very nourishing to the skin.

Jojoba oil is light and rich in vitamin E. It is beneficial for acne, dandruff and dry scalp.

Olive oil has a strong smell that may compete with the fragrance of many essential oils.

Peach kernel oil is light, contains vitamins A and E and is good for facial use.

Sunflower oil contains essential fatty acids, is rich in Vitamin E and has a slightly nutty scent.

Wheatgerm oil contains vitamins A, B, C and E. It firms and tones skin, reduces blemishes and can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scar tissue. It has a strong smell.

Other carrier oils are borage, cocoa butter, kukui, macadamia nut, peanut, pecan, rose hip, sesame and shea butter.

Essential oils can be added to humidifiers, vaporizers, candle wax, diffusers, spray bottles of water, baths, light bulb rings, inhaled directly from the bottle or added to massage oils, bath oils, bath salts, powders or body lotions.

Here are several basic recipes and combinations for using essential oils:


For the bath: Use 6 to10 drops of essential oil mixed with ½ ounce or 1 tablespoon of unscented bath oil per tub of water or just add essential oils directly to bath water while it is running.

For massage: Use 6 to 10 drops of essential oil mixed with 2 tablespoons or 1 ounce of carrier oil.

Perfume and cologne: Mix 13 drops of essential oil with 1 teaspoon of jojoba oil for perfume. For cologne, mix with 1 tablespoon of alcohol.

Atomizer/Spray bottle: Mix 6 drops of essential oil with 1 ounce of water.

Inhalation: Mix 4 to 7 drops of essential oil in a large bowl of hot water, cover head with towel over bowl and inhale deeply for 5 to 7 minutes.

Diffuser: Follow the specific instructions for your brand of diffuser

Always consult a medical doctor before taking any essential oils internally.Store essential oils in a cool, dark place because light can damage the oils. Store them in dark, tinted glass bottles.

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