VO : Vegetable Oil // EO : Essential Oil
Choosing a VO should not be a big issue since they are harmless compared to EO. However, their texture is different, light or oily, they can make the EO they are mixed with more effective.
Frequently used in our daily life (massage, cosmetics or food), they have multiple benefits. What is VO, how can we make a difference by choosing a good VO?
What is a vegetable oil?
Oils are part of the fats family, a substance that doesn’t mix with water.
What role does it play?
Source of lipids for the body, a VO plays a very important role in caring for the body:
-It renews cell membranes
-It intervenes in the mechanism of several physiological systems (cardiovascular, immune, renal…)
-It channels several vitamins within the human body (such as vitamin E)
-It neutralises free radicals
-It therefore helps prevent cell ageing (dermis, red blood cells, blood vessels…)
How is it made?
Here is the manufacturing process of a classical VO:
1 – the seeds are washes and shelled in order to be ground and heated at 100°C (the heating produces a greater quantity of oil but they loose active principles in the process).
2 – they are pressed several times in raw presses, thus producing a crude pressed oil. The residue of the pressing is obtained by using a solvent (petrochemical in origin).
3 – the refining stage: in order to dispose of the solvents, pesticides or even moulds, the oil will be mixed with phosphoric acid and neutralized with soda. Finally, the oil will be sanitized by heating. It is easy to understand that many properties are lost in the process. However, these oils will be more resistant and will keep longer.
Here is the manufacturing process of an organic EO:
First and foremost, this manufacture requires products of organic origin. Therefore they do not contain pesticides from the start.
The seeds are cleaned then pressed mechanically.
The temperature will not exceed 50°C in order to retain all their qualities. The oil is then filtered through cotton cloths followed by blotting paper.
Which one should you choose?
The organic one is to be preferred. Why is that?
As explained above, it is always cold pressed. Another important point is that the seeds and sprouts come from organic farming => no pesticides.
The VO has to be organic to be totally sure that it is pure, not mixed with mineral oils, oily alcohols or perfume
It will retain all its benefits
When an VO bought in a supermarket and is stated to be organic, it is necessary to check its quality if one is looking for a quality product
In addition to all the good elements they contain, vegetable oils will have properties that come in very useful in aromatherapy:
Nigella VO: against allergies, asthma, bronchitis, the whole ENT area
Calophyllum or arnica VO: anti-inflammatory (muscular pain for ex) and anticoagulant (varicose veins)
Coconut oil: antibacterial
Neem oil: mosquito repellent
Evening primrose oil: used internally it is a woman’s friend. It rectifies menopausal problems and eases period pains. Used externally, it is a very good oil to prevent ageing of the skin.
Argan oil: anti ageing and to strengthen hair quality
Wheat germ oil: antioxidant, conservation
Avocado oil: nourishing
Apricot kernel or carrot oil: self-tanning
Macadamia oil: circulation problems (stretch marks, heavy legs)
Almond oil (beware of nut allergies): soothing and softening (especially for skins sensitive to cold and irritated skins, such as chapping. Suitable for all types of skin (such as that of young children).
Jojoba oil: acne care, oily skin and hair (non-comedogene VO do not lead to pimples (see the list here) ).
Rose hip seed oil: prevents wrinkles and reduces stretch marks and scars.
Olive oil (very viscous): ideal to help swallow a drop of VO if needed.
The benefits of true VO
Only natural VO have healing properties for the skin: nourishing, protecting, repairing, soothing or even antioxidant, numerous active components are present in most VO. Among these, the essential fatty acids are present, omega 3, vitamins A and E more or less concentrated depending on the plant.
Omega 3 is used in the cosmetic industry to help skin hydration and repair
Vitamin A acts on skin regeneration and healing
Vitamin E is known for it active action in ageing prevention
Depending on their plant origin and the distribution between the different fatty acids, VO also have inherent characteristics and are physically different:
The more an oil is rich in saturated fatty acids, the more it will be concrete, the more its texture will be close to that of butter (for example: shea butter)
The more an oil is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (example: walnut oil) or monounsaturated fatty acids (example: olive oil), the more fluid it will be.
In aromatherapy, VO are used in order to dilute EO that cannot be used pure, but also to help the EO to penetrate the skin. Some VO, heavier, more fatty, will deposit the EO on the surface, at the dermal level, whereas more fluid and lighter VO (they do not leave a greasy film on the skin) will allow the EO to penetrate deep into the skin. This is particularly useful for muscular or joint pains for example.
In cosmetics, you can replace your day cream and your night cream with a good skin massage with a few drops of VO (with or without EO).
Preservation conditions for VO
These VO are much more fragile than industrially produced VO. They need to be protected from light and heat and will be kept preferably in tinted glass bottles.
Tip 1: if you don’t use it for several weeks, pour it in a smaller bottle, in order to have less contact with air
Tip 2: add 1% of Vitamin E: it will prolong the life of your oil for at least 6 months and will stop its deterioration. It will thus retain all its qualities.
When you make your own mixtures of VO + EO and that you wish to keep it for some time, it is wise to choose VO that do not go rancid too quickly. The queen of VO is jojoba oil: it never goes rancid (can be kept for 10 years). Furthermore, it has no smell and does not leave a greasy film.