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All About Essential Oils

Your complete guide to essential oils: what they are, which ones to use, and how to use them on your hair and skin

Written by: 100% PURE®
Essential Oils

What is an essential oil? It’s basically the distillation, or “essence,” of a part of a certain plant. Essential oils are usually created using a steam distillation process, while some other plant oils are cold-pressed. You can create essential oils in your own home using several ancient methods.


Essential Oils for Hair

Glowing skin isn’t the only thing essential oils are known for promoting; you can also use them for healthy hair growth! Here are some of the best essential oils for longer, thicker tresses.

Rosemary Oil for Hair Health
Growing as a woody perennial, rosemary is a popular herb in both traditional medicine and beauty–especially when it comes to hair.

One clinical review showed that rosemary may help with hair growth when massaged into the scalp on a daily basis, while a 2015 study found that rosemary may help protect against hair loss. You can learn more about the many benefits of rosemary oil in our article here.

Tea Tree Oil for a Flake-Free Scalp
Tea tree oil is extremely popular for damaged, irritated skin, but it’s great for scalp support, too. Thanks to its antifungal properties, tea tree oil has been successfully used to treat dandruff. In this study, there was a 41% decrease in dandruff severity, as well as in the symptoms of itching and flaking.

Peppermint Oil for a Thicker Mane
It’s likely that you’re no stranger to the cooling, invigorating aroma for which mint is known. One study indicated that a blend made with 3% peppermint oil created a considerable boost in hair thickness and growth, which was attributed to a deepening in the follicles, which promotes stronger hair.

Cedarwood Oil for Preventing Hair Loss
Cedarwood oil is made from the bark of cedar trees, and it’s known for its deep, warm, earthy scent. But did you know that it makes a great step in your hair regimen? Cedarwood is known to fight hair loss by promoting growth through follicle stimulation. Plus, it can fight the buildup of bacteria on the scalp.



Essential Oils for Skin

Many essential oils have beneficial properties for the skin. Some, like tea tree oil, have antibacterial properties--making them excellent for treating acne and preventing skin infections. Others, like rose geranium and pomegranate, are rich in antioxidant vitamin C.

While essential oils can have terrific benefits for the skin, it’s important to use them correctly. As essential oils are extremely concentrated by nature, they can be very harsh when applied undiluted to the skin, and can even cause sensitization, a skin reaction that’s akin to an allergic reaction. This is where carrier oils come in:


olive Carrier Oils and How to Use Them

Think of carrier oils as essential oils’ soulmates. These gentle, moisturizing oils can be used to dilute essential oils to concentrations that will not irritate the skin. Many carrier oils are also adept at penetrating deep into the skin, meaning that they’ll help deliver the essential oils’ nutrients deep into the skin tissue, allowing them to achieve their maximum impact.

Most skincare experts recommend using a 2% dilution of essential oil on your skin. We’ve included some rough measurements for the essential oils on our list, but we recommend reading up on essential oil safety and measuring with care.

Here are some of the best carrier oils to combine with essential oils:

1. Argan oil: Argan oil is full of essential fatty acids and minerals, as well as carotenes and squalene--so it will help to bolster your skin’s defensive barrier while it moisturizes and conditions your skin. Due to the properties we just mentioned, argan oil also makes a great addition to a DIY hair mask, conditioner, or serum. We recommend checking out 100% PURE’s pure Argan Oil as a base for your essential oils.

Jojoba

2. Jojoba oil: Jojoba oil’s composition mimics that of the natural oil (sebum) that your skin produces. This makes jojoba oil extremely helpful for balancing oily skin, as it can effectively “trick” the skin into producing less oil. Jojoba oil is the ultimate moisturizing oil for oily skin, and can also be used on the hair and scalp.

3. Vitamin E oil: Vitamin E is an important antioxidant that not only helps to moisturize your skin, but also helps to stimulate cell regeneration and healing. This makes vitamin E oil an excellent carrier oil for damaged skin.

Almond

4. Sweet almond oil: Sweet almond oil is packed with antioxidant vitamins to help nourish, moisturize, and soften your skin.

avocado

5. Avocado oil: Not only does avocado make a great base for salad dressings; its vitamin and fatty acid content make it a powerful moisturizer with intense healing properties.

coconut

6. Coconut oil: Coconut oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties, and can help to replenish the skin’s defensive barrier. While coconut oil has become a popular skincare ingredient in recent years, we don’t recommend coconut oil as the base for a DIY moisturizer with essential oils. Coconut has a high comedogenic factor, meaning that it tends to clog pores. For this reason, it’s best to use coconut oil as a base for face masks and cleansers, and stick to a non-comedogenic carrier oil for moisturizers and serums.

The Best Essential Oils for Skin

Now that you’ve got the scoop on the best carrier oils, let’s check out some of the best essential oils for skin health, along with some basic instructions for use:

1. Coffee arabica seed oil for mature skin

The caffeine in coffee arabica seed oil can help to fight inflammation, brighten the complexion, and promote collagen and elastin production. This makes coffee arabica seed oil the perfect essential oil for treating mature skin. We recommend combining coffee arabica seed oil with argan oil, sweet almond oil, or avocado oil: A good ratio to start with is about 1 drop of essential oil per 1 tablespoon of carrier oil.

2. Tea tree oil for acne-prone skin

Tea tree is one of the best essential oils for treating acne and balancing the skin’s bacterial balance. Research has shown that tea tree oil is an effective acne treatment due to its antibacterial properties. To use tea tree oil for acne, we recommend combining about 1 drop of tea tree oil with 1 tablespoon of jojoba oil (which is the perfect carrier oil for acne because it will help to balance the skin’s oil production). Gently dab this mixture into clean skin.

3. Ginseng seed oil for damaged skin

Ginseng seed oil contains gentisic acid, which brightens the complexion, and cinnamic acid, which helps to support cellular regeneration. These properties make ginseng oil an excellent option for treating skin damage from acne, sun exposure, and other factors. We recommend combining about 1 drop of ginseng seed oil with 1 tablespoon of vitamin E oil.

4. Eucalyptus oil for complexion

Eucalyptus oil can help to stimulate circulation and ease inflammation, clearing up redness and giving your skin a rejuvenated, refreshed appearance. We recommend combining about 1 drop of eucalyptus oil with 1 tablespoon of avocado oil.

You can get even more creative with your essential oils by combining them with plant butters to create essential oil body butters; or you could whip up some egg and banana with a few drops of essential oil to create a nourishing hair mask. The possibilities are pretty much endless when it comes to these multi-dynamic oils.

To discover more essential oils and their benefits for the skin, check out our previous post on the best plant oils for skin!

We carefully hand-select products based on strict purity standards, and only recommend products we feel meet this criteria. 100% PURE™ may earn a small commission for products purchased through affiliate links.

The information in this article is for educational use, and not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should not be used as such.


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