Where Do Essential Oils Come From?

distillation of essential oils
Original Artist: Stradamus – Hulton Archive / Getty Images

I’m doing some cleaning and organizing in my essential oil closet. I find myself sniffing every bottle and just reveling in how lucious all of these scents are! I’ve stated many times how much awe and appreciation I have for essential oils. They are amazing and powerful natural elements! We may know that they come directly from the plant’s “essence” – but how do they get extracted from the leaves, flowers, stems, roots or other parts of the plants? Here’s more information about water and steam distillation of essential oils.

“When we peel an orange, walk through a rose garden, or rub a sprig of lavender between our fingers…what exactly is it that we can smell? Generally speaking, it is essential oils that give spices and herbs their specific scent and flavour, flowers and fruit their perfume.” – Julia Lawless inThe Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils

Where Do Essential Oils Come From? originally appeared on About.com Candle & Soap Making on Sunday, April 6th, 2014 at 14:40:07.

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Blending Essential Oils – Follow Your Nose

essential oils
Robert Tardio / Getty Images

I’ve said many times that working with essential oils is one my favorite things about soap and candle making. And if you’ve been making soap (or candles) for very long, you’ve probably amassed a cabinet (or at least a shelf) full of essential and fragrance oils – samples, small vials, ounces you’ve shared with others. But too often, folks are afraid to experiment with blending. Creating your own fragrance and essential oil blends is easy – and really rewarding. How does one come up with the various combinations of blends? First, get to know the individual characteristics of the oils – through books on essential oils, or just from experimentation. A drop of this…mixed with a drop of that. Don’t get too caught up in having to have a balance of top notes, middle notes, and base notes. Use them as guides for your blending – just follow your nose…and be sure to take good notes!

Blending Essential Oils – Follow Your Nose originally appeared on About.com Candle & Soap Making on Monday, March 17th, 2014 at 21:05:41.

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Clary and Dalmatian Sage Essential Oils

clary sage
Quarto, Inc. / Getty Images

I recently participated in an essential oil co-op where we bought several essential oils I hadn’t tried in a long time. Two of the oils I bought were clary sage and dalmatian sage. I have always loved clary sage for its mix of herbaceous, woodsy and green – with some hints of floral and citrus as well. The dalmatian sage was a yummy surprise. Similar to the clary sage in that it’s an herbaceous green scent – but it’s much more dark and woodsy with a bit of bright camphor in it too. It reminds me of a really bright, energetic cedarwood.

I love using sage essential oils in my essential oil blends – folks aren’t as familiar with them as they are with florals, lavender or vanilla, so the scents have more mystery, more complexity. Give them a try!

More about clary sage essential oil.

More about essential oil blending.

Clary and Dalmatian Sage Essential Oils originally appeared on About.com Candle & Soap Making on Thursday, September 5th, 2013 at 20:54:52.

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Mailbag Monday – Substituting Oils in Soap Recipes

cow and sky
Digital Zoo/ Getty Images

Paula from Dallas writes: “I would like to try your lavender dream soap recipe, but I have some beef tallow that I got from the grocery store that I want to substitute. The butcher was going to throw it away, so I asked him if I could have it for soap! I’ve always used palm oil as my “hard stable oil” but I’d like to try tallow in soap. How do I adjust my recipe? And how hard is rendering tallow?”

Rendering your own tallow is not difficult at all – and not even as stinky as it’s gotten a reputation for being. The key to substituting the tallow for the palm oils is in creating your own custom soap recipe. It really is one of the most rewarding aspects of soap making, and you should try it…tallow makes really wonderful soap. BUT – do not just substitute the same amount of tallow for another oil…and use the rest of the recipe as is! Be sure to run the revised recipe through a lye calculator if you change the recipe! Each oil you use in your soap recipe not only has its own unique qualities…but also its own unique lye amount.

On a related note…you could add the “lavender dream” essential oil blend to ANY soap recipe…not just this one…this just happened to be the recipe I used when I first designed and marketed that soap.

For more information about Mailbag Monday – or to send me a question – visit All About Mailbag Monday. You can also check out previous questions I’ve answered in the Mailbag Monday Archive.

Mailbag Monday – Substituting Oils in Soap Recipes originally appeared on About.com Candle & Soap Making on Monday, August 12th, 2013 at 20:00:33.

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Where Do Essential Oils Come From?

distillation of essential oils
Original Artist: Stradamus – Hulton Archive / Getty Images

I’ve stated many times how much awe and appreciation I have for essential oils. They are amazing and powerful natural elements! We may know that they come directly from the plant’s “essence” – but how do they get extracted from the leaves, flowers, stems, roots or other parts of the plants? Here’s more information about water and steam distillation of essential oils.

“When we peel an orange, walk through a rose garden, or rub a sprig of lavender between our fingers…what exactly is it that we can smell? Generally speaking, it is essential oils that give spices and herbs their specific scent and flavour, flowers and fruit their perfume.” – Julia Lawless inThe Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils

Where Do Essential Oils Come From? originally appeared on About.com Candle & Soap Making on Tuesday, June 18th, 2013 at 23:21:07.

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Infusing Oils for Soap & Bath Products

Herbal Oil InfusionIn the cold of winter, I tend to cook more, bake more, and use the crock pot more. One of the things you can use your crock pot for that’s not dinner-related is making infused oils. Like making a cup of tea, letting herbs or other botanicals steep in fresh oil transfers some of the scent and other properties into the oil. You can infuse calendula petals, lavender, eucalyptus, patchouli and others. It’s a wonderful way to add some extra herbal goodness (and some marketing interest) to your soaps, lotions, bath oils, massage bars and even bath bombs.

Infusing Oils for Soap & Bath Products originally appeared on About.com Candle & Soap Making on Saturday, January 19th, 2013 at 12:44:37.

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Bath Salts, Bombs and Oils

Woman in Bath Tub
Marga Buschbell Steeger / Getty Images

The weather has turned cooler…almost cool enough to take a long, hot bath. And to make your bath time extra special, extra relaxing, and/or extra sensual, add in some of your hand crafted bath salts, bath bombs or bath oils. They can transform a plain tub of hot water into a luxurious spa experience!

Bath Salts, Bombs and Oils originally appeared on About.com Candle & Soap Making on Friday, October 12th, 2012 at 19:49:22.

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How Essential Oils become Essential Oils

We all love using essential oils in our candles and especially in our soaps – but have you ever wondered just how they get from the plant into the glass bottle on your shelf?

Different essential oils are extracted/distilled from plants, roots, bark, seeds, peels and other plant parts. Some, like lavender essential oil,  yield a lot of oil per pound of plant, others, like rose essential oil, yield just a tiny amount.

Here’s more about how essential oils are distilled from plants.

How Essential Oils become Essential Oils originally appeared on About.com Candle & Soap Making on Sunday, June 24th, 2012 at 16:43:41.

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How to Blend Essential Oils

We have a really cool essential oil section in the Soap Making Resource warehouse where I can work on new natural aroma combinations to my heart’s content.  At Soap Making Resource, we carry more than 45 therapeutic grade essential oils as part of our soap making supplies inventory, so there are a ton of great scents that I can play with!

Here’s a picture of me in the warehouse working on an essential oil blend:

blending essential oils

So, have you ever seen essential oil blend recipes that look something like this:

3 parts X essential oil
7 parts Y essential oil
2 parts Z essential oil

I’m finding out that many soap makers just don’t know how to transfer information like the above into usable essential oil proportions.

Luckily, I love math… and I love teaching!  So let me give you a brief explanation on how the above blend works:

Let’s say your blend is 3 parts bergamot essential oil, 7 parts grapefruit essential oil and 2 parts peppermint essential oil.  Now for your soap batch, let’s say you want to create 3 ounces of essential oils total. By the way, I usually use 3 ounces for a 6 pound batch.  How do you know how much of each essential oil to include in your blend if you want to use the above recipe?

Well… the above “parts” tells you exactly that!

Let’s look carefully at the recipe.  You can see above that the entire recipe is made up of 12 parts.  3 parts plus 7 parts plus 2 parts equals 12… right?

So now, all you have to do is find out what percentage the different essential oils make up.  3 parts bergamot essential oil would be 25%.  Why?  Because 3 parts divided by 12 parts equals .25 or 25%.  So now we know that 25% of the 3 ounces is going to be made up of bergamot essential oil.  25% of 3 ounces is .75 ounces.

Using the same formula, we can see that 7 parts grapefruit essential oil would make up 58.3% of the blend.  We know this because 7 parts divided by the total 12 parts equals .583 or 58.3%.  58.3% of 3 ounces equals 1.75 ounces.

Finally, we have 2 parts peppermint essential oil.  2 parts peppermint essential oil means that peppermint will take up 16.66% of the blend.  16.66% of 3 ounces equals .5 ounces.

If you add up the amounts for all three essential oils, you will see that .75 ounces plus 1.75 ounces plus .5 ounces equals your total 3 ounces of essential oils.  It’s very easy when you think about it!

I will tell you that when using ounces to measure your essential oils, you will be almost forced to round your numbers.  Unless you have an AMAZING scale, you probably won’t be able to accurately measure 1.749 ounces of an essential oil.  You will have to round to 1.75 ounces.  If you want to be more accurate, measure in grams as I do!  The process is exactly the same, just use grams instead of ounces.

Now… If you want to experiment with different essential oil blends, just take a pipette and drop your essential oils of choice onto a piece of paper towel.  Put the paper towel in a jar and close the lid.  Let it set for a few days to give the aroma time to mellow out.  Each drop of essential oil represents 1 part.

Once you come up with a scent that you like, simply use my method above to create a batch of it that’s large enough to use in your soaps.  Whether you need 3 ounces 6 ounces or 25 pounds of a blend, you can use my method to figure out how much of each essential oil to use.

Have fun exploring all the wonderful natural aromas that are out there!


Soap Making Supplies Blog

Blending Essential Oils – Follow Your Nose

essential oils
Robert Tardio / Getty Images

I’ve said many times that working with essential oils is one my favorite things about soap and candle making. And if you’ve been making soap (or candles) for very long, you’ve probably amassed a cabinet (or at least a shelf) full of essential and fragrance oils – samples, small vials, ounces you’ve shared with others. But too often, folks are afraid to experiment with blending. Creating your own fragrance and essential oil blends is easy – and really rewarding. How does one come up with the various combinations of blends? First, get to know the individual characteristics of the oils – through books on essential oils, or just from experimentation. A drop of this…mixed with a drop of that. Don’t get too caught up in having to have a balance of top notes, middle notes, and base notes. Use them as guides for your blending – just follow your nose…and be sure to take good notes!

Blending Essential Oils – Follow Your Nose originally appeared on About.com Candle & Soap Making on Sunday, February 26th, 2012 at 12:38:41.

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