Plant oils – the do’s and don’ts

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There are both fragrant and non-fragrant plant oils used in skincare. Fragrant plant oils (not to be confused with fragrant or synthetic oils), more commonly known as essential oils, shouldn’t be applied onto our skin. The word ’essential’ in essential oil actually refers to the distillation of plant essence (from the root, flower, bark or leaf of a plant), meaning it isn’t in any way essential for our skin but rather a highly concentrated liquid with aroma compounds derived from a plant.

In skincare, essential oils can occur hidden as a ’fragrance’ or ‘natural fragrance’ on the ingredient list, used to make a product smell better. In small amounts used as a fragrant essential oils are safer, but can if not visibly still damage your skin long term. Essential oils used on their own can among other things cause allergic reactions, irritation and sun damage to your skin. In other words, fragrant plant oils don’t do anything to improve the wellbeing of our skin.

The term essential oil in modern skincare is often confused with non-fragrant plant oils. Non-fragrant plant oils are also derived from plants, but contrary to the essential oils (fragrant plant oils) they contain fatty acids and can be worked into your skincare routine to safely keep your skin well hydrated. Non-fragrant plant oils are good antioxidants, but work best when combined with other moisturisers.

Some common examples of fragrant plant oils or essential oils are: lavender, rosemary, lemongrass, peppermint, tea tree, eucalyptus, rose, lemon, jasmine, grapefruit.

Here’s some oils you should look for instead: coconut, olive, rosehip, jojoba, grape seed, argan.

I will let you know my most used oils as well as my full skincare routine in the next post.

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