You might have heard me mention oils in DIY treatments or products, but there is a very significant difference between some of the oils I have mentioned. Some of them are essential oils while others are carrier oils. What’s the difference? Let’s talk about it! It’s really a lot easier to understand that people make it seem.
ESSENTIAL OILS AND CARRIER OILS
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
Known as essential because it is directly derived from many plants through distillation process. They are known as ethereal or volatile oils which means they are not really oils but rather hydrophobic liquids that can evaporate. Essential Oils are also highly concentrated and are not recommended to be applied directly onto the skin; they are not fragrances or perfumes. When applied to skin, just add a few drops to a carrier oil. This allows your skin to safely absorb the essential oil properties without causing severe irritation.
To protect essential oils from sunlight and temperature changes changing or affecting the oils, it’s best to store in dark glass bottles (it can eat through plastic) and/or temperature controlled environments, otherwise the oil can evaporate quickly when exposed to light. Here are some of my favorites, along with some of their hair care properties:
Peppermint – Great for hair growth because it increases blood flow to the root.
Tea Tree – Improves blood circulation to the scalp. Anti Fungal and helps to keep your scalp free of bacteria. Also good for getting rid of dandruff.
Lavender – Helps to strength the hair and control breakage. Also known to treat alopecia areata which is a condition that causes you to lose patches of hair.
Rosemary – Stimulates the hair follicle which can help grow hair stronger and longer. Also very good for itchy scalp or dandruff
These are otherwise known as base oils but are called carrier oils because they basically carry the essential oil onto the skin. Primarily used to dilute other stronger oils (like essential oils) and usually come from the fatty portion of plants or can be derived from nuts or seeds, sometimes even animals. Carrier oils are usually extracted through a method called cold pressing. Carrier Oils are usually thick in consistency and generally don’t have a scent.
Unlike volatile essential oils, carrier oils do not evaporate. This is why you can usually find them in clear plastic bottles. Because of the consistency, some of them make for great moisturizers for the hair. These are some of my favorites:
Jojoba – It’s the oil that is closely related to sebum, the natural oil that your scalp produces. It quickly penetrates the hair shaft and scalp to loosen any product build-up. It’s also an excellent moisturizer for dry hair.
Castor – Helps to visibly thicken the hair. Can be used to lock in moisture and nourish the hair. Improves circulation allowing for a boost in hair growth.
Coconut – One of the most popular carrier oils because of its excellent conditioning properties, not just softening the hair but conditioning the scalp itself. Helps to strengthen damaged hair because it has the essential proteins needed to nourish damaged hair.
Avocado – Rich in Vitamins A, D, E and Potassium. Excellent in helping to retain moisture.
Olive – If it is Extra Virgin, that means it is cold pressed and in its truest form without any chemicals. It helps to prevent the production of DTH which is a hormone that causes hair loss.
Check out a few examples of hair care recipes using both carrier and essential oils.
Do you have a favorite carrier or essential oil? Let me know what it is in a comment below!
Xoxo Un Besito,