Also known as base or carrier oils, vegetable oils are made from seeds, fruits, kernels or nuts and are filled with an abundance of natural oils, vitamins and essential fatty acids for hair, skin and nail care, the benefits are endless with each individual oil holding its own unique characteristics.
What is the difference between cold pressed, extra virgin or refined?
Vegetable oils are extracted in many different forms depending on the type of oil and the process.
Cold pressed oils are extracted through a mechanical process with controlled temperatures to ensure the oil remains its purest form, retaining most of its natural colour, flavour and nutritional value.
Unrefined oils, virgin or extra virgin oils are extracted using minimal heat and haven’t been through the process of bleaching or deodorising, extra virgin oils are as close to their natural source from which they were derived.
Deodorised or Refined oils have been both deodorised and bleached to take away their strong colour and smell.
Organic oils come from farms that don’t use chemicals or pesticides on their produce. Fractionated oils are where the saturated fatty acids have been removed to make them softer or more liquid.
The many benefits of vegetable oils.
Vegetable oils are high in essential fatty acids that are not naturally produced by our bodies, and are usually introduced through diet or applied topically on the skin. Essential fatty acids are necessary for optimal skin health and can help to soothe and nourish dry or damaged skin. Oils high in linoleic acid will form a protective barrier on the skin to keep moisture locked in while an oil rich in squalene is almost identical to human sebum, the oil your body naturally produces to lubricate the skin. Other oils, can reduce the capacity of the skin’s barrier to allow more moisture to penetrate your skin.
Most vegetable oils don’t usually have a strong smell, some have a faint nutty aroma which make them a perfect addition to cosmetics and skin care. To increase the benefits of your vegetable oil you can include essential oils or absolutes, the term carrier oil is used to describe vegetable oils as they ‘carry’ the essential oil benefits onto the skin. Essential oils and absolutes should not be used on their own, these potent oils can cause skin irritations and are therefore blended with carrier oils to dilute the potency of the essential oil and increase its therapeutic benefits.
What do all the different terms mean?
Emollient – nourishing oils that help keep skin moist and reduce moisture loss from the epidermis which is the outer layer of skin.
Antioxidant – the vitamins and minerals found in vegetable oils can delay the damage of cells caused by free radicals.
Viscosity – is the way an oil is measured by the resistance of a liquid to flow and movement.
Absorption or feel – how we evaluate how quickly the oil is absorbed into the skin and how the skin feels after the application of the particular oil.
Comedogenic scale – Oils are sometimes given a rating on the comedogenic scale which is calculated on their ability to clog pores. Oils with low ratings are used for all skin types and if an oil has a high comedogenic score it will be suitable for dry skin.