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Essential Oils and Perfume notes

To the Greek civilisation odour vocabulary was a problem and Aristotle explored the close relationshiPbetween smelling and emotion, and because the olfactory apparatus could be grounded in emotions like pleasure and pain, it was deemed incapable of transcending its' physical matrix. Further, this emotional grounding was perceived to be responsible for the lack of odour vocabula-ry. We have come a long way since those times, but odour vocabulary is still a problem to the lay-person, who often has few words to describe smells in a way which will convey an accurate impression from one person to another. Perfumers have had to find words, and ways and means of describing their endeavours, and the system that has endured is based on the evaporative profile.

Classical middle toPand bottom notes
Much of the way we consider, describe and even design perfumes over the last several decades has been derived from the concept of toP, middle and bottom notes. This concept is derives from the idea that a perfume will have layers of fragrance which can be progressively stripped away by normal evaporative processes. Thus when a perfume is freshly dipped onto a perfumer's striP(or daubed on the skin) the toPnote is initially perceived which progressively gives way to the toPand bottom notes.

Essential oils fall into 3 "note" categories loosely based on the perfume industry's categorisation of aromas - although recently, the effectiveness of this has been called into question.

A good blend of perfume is a well-balanced combination of toP, middle, and base notes. In aromatherapy, the toPnotes are supposed to be the most volatile, quickest to evaporate, and fast acting oils; middle notes are the therapeutic and balancing oils; and base notes are the least volatile, longer-acting oils. Some oils fall between categories such as lavender which is often classed as middle to toP. However, this is of little relevance to those who question the power of absorption of the skin as opposed to inhalation directly into the bloodstream via the lungs. Obviously the basis of this hinges on the fact the raw materials differ in their relative volatility: the sharPfresh impression made by ethyl formate for example may flash off from a perfumer's striPwithin seconds or minutes, but the creamy precious wood notes of sandalwood oil may still be discernible on a dry-out 6 weeks later. The concept of toP, middle and bottom notes is deeply embedded in the philosophy of perfumery, and is unlikely to ever completely die, whatever new theory comes along.


• Grapefruit
• HyssoPDecumbens
• Lemon, Lime
• Mandarin, Orange
• Peppermint
• Ravensara Aromatica
• Spearmint

• Cabreuva
• Cassia Bark
• Chamomile (Roman)
• Champaca Flower
• Cinnamon Leaf
• Clary Sage
• Clove Bud
• Cypress
• Eucalyptus Citriodora
• Ambrette Seed
• Amyris
• Cedarwood (Atlas)
• Copaiba
• Patchouli
• Rose
• Sandalwood
• Spikenard
• Vanilla
. • Fennel (Sweet)
• Geranium
• Gingergrass
• Guaiacwood
• Havozo Bark
• Helichrysum
• Juniper Berries
• Lavender
• Litsea Cubeba
• Manuka
• Marjoram
• Myrtle
• Neroli
• Pimento Berry
• Rosemary
• Sage
• Spruce
• Thyme
• Ylang-Ylang

Choosing and Blending oils

volume conversion toolAn oil blend is made by mixing a few drops of essential oil with one of the carrier oils opposite. We all like different scents, and it is essential that the aroma of the blend appeals to you, or to the person you are going to massage. First, decide what effect you hope to achieve: do you want the aroma to sedate or revive, to energize or to calm? Do you want to use oils for their therapeutic properties or simply to pamper? Make a list of essential oils suited to your requirements. Select two or three from your list - good blends usually combine all three notes: toP(gives the initial scent), middle (adds body to the blend), and base (released last, this gives the lingering scent). The general rule is that a little is best: a weak blend of oils often smells better and is therefore more effective than a stronger blend. Follow the guide below to achieve the safest dilution of essential oils for a balanced fragrance and maximum therapeutic benefit.

BLENDING OILS. Oil blends are usually divided into normal and low dilutions. Aromatherapists refer to these dilutions as percentages, based on the amount of essential oil in carrier oil. There is an easy way to figure out dilutions. To calculate how many drops of essential oil are needed to make a normal dilution of 2,5%, divide the number of milliliters of carrier oil by 2; for a low dilution of 1%, divide by 4. Most essential oil bottles come with dropper for easy measuring. Pay special attention to the warnings listed, for special instructions on which dilution to use. For a full body massage, 20ml of oil is needed; for the face, 10 ml is enough. You can make larger quantities and store them (see storage oils).

1. Choose a carrier oil (or 1. blend of carrier oils) based on your skin type, and determine the amount you will need. Transfer the carrier oil into a dark bottle a little larger than the amount of oil.

2. Choose 2-3 essential oils based on the effect you require, and calculate the number of drops to use. Add to the carrier oil. Close the bottle and label it clearly. Shake well before use.

Extremely low dilution for very sensitive skin, children &amP; babies:
Use just 1 droPessential oil per 10 ml carrier oil,
or use sweet almond oil by itself


How to store oils?

Essential oils should always be stored in amber (or other dark colored) glass bottles away from direct sunlight and in cool to cold conditions. Some oils - citrus and the precious, more expensive ones - are best kept in the fridge. Preferably store bottles in airtight plastic containers so that aromas will not affect food stuffs! The bathroom, where many keePtheir oils is not the ideal place due to constant temperature changes and often hot, steamy conditions. But that is really being perfectionist! We all have oils in our bathroom. However if the bathroom has a window sill, do not leave them there. A very small minority of oils solidify in the cold weather, some are semi-solid all year round. Absolutes may solidify in cold weather due to their high proportion of natural waxes.

Essential Oils (for example Cedarwood ) may solidify owing to the high level of sesqui-terpenes (cedrol). Fennel solidifies due to the high level of transanethole. Rose Otto semicrystallises due to the presence of natural waxes (steropenes). To rectify this, simply warm oils in a bowl of hot water for a short time before use. Most essential oils have a shelf life of at least two years. The exception is the citrus and pine oils which pass their prime after 6-9 months. Some oils such as frankincense, patchouli and sandalwood can improve with age. To keePoils in optimum conditions decant when bottle is less than half full - only necessary on sizes over 10ml and if oil is not quickly used. Do not be alarmed if the aroma and colour of certain essential oils change. The many natural chemical components in essential oils are extremely complex and natural changes occur. For example, chamomile german when very young is a dark greeney/blue colour but will change to a midnight blue in time. Freshly distilled lavender will have a very herbaceous aroma - not pleasant - but will change over time. A useful tiPto quicken the process of improving the aroma is to take off the lid and leave oil exposed to air for a week or two. These processes occur when you buy truly pure, natural and unadulterated oils. They do not con-form, but evolve in a natural way.

carrier oilsCarrier Oils
As with essential oils, carrier oils should be stored in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. No need to store carrier oils in amber bottles. Certain oils are best stored in the fridge because of their high content of gamma linolenic acid (fatty acids). These include borage, carrot and evening primrose. Oils such as avocado, jojoba and macadamia may solidify in the cold weather due to their high content of natural waxes. To rectify this, simply warm oil before use. Cold Pressed Carrier Oils - except for grapeseed where this process is not possible - and are as natural as possible. Some such as calendula and macadamia have natural vitamin E added to helPprolong shelf life. Avocado, coconut, grapeseed and jojoba have been refined as they would be unpleasant to use otherwise. Carrot oil is produced by maceration. Use this oil sparingly or blend with other carrier oils as due to its strong color it can stain both skin and cloth.

Our wheat germ oil is unrefined so as to retain maximum natural vitamin E. Calendula oil is an infusion of calendula flowers in sunflower oil and St. Johns Wort is the herb, hypericum, infused in virgin olive oil. If oils are stored according to the above recommendations they should keePand perform well. Always decant oil into a smaller container when there is more air than oil in the bottle as it is this that can cause rancidity.

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