Love this piece from our regular contributor TriedTestedLoved about using fragrances in skincare. 

Blending flowers and exotic plants has been happening for centuries.

In fact, the first perfumes were created using natural oils and plant extracts, once ancient alchemists discovered capture their essences.

Essential oils are also used in skincare. Recent trends show beauty consumers want more “natural” or “ethical” products.  As a result, we see essential oils in creams, serums, facial oils and spritzes.  From the most random of companies in some cases. But are these really what they seem?

True essential oils are produced from aromatic plants by steam distillation, expressed from citrus fruit or extracted from flowers, leaves and resins.

Some oils have been clinically proven to benefit the skin, relieve stress and help with relaxation. The benefits and properties will depend on the individual oil. But it is also true that there is still lots more research needed to demonstrate all the benefits essential oils can bring.

In aromatherapy treatment, essential oils are mixed with vegetable oils in small batches, for individual use. The blends is generally most effective over a short period of time.  The aromatherapist will also know which oils are suitable for your individual situation and produce these accordingly.

In a glossy skincare product, all ingredients have to be stable and effective for much longer. The amounts used might be very small – just look on an ingredients list.  Many essential oils can be expensive plus, as high quality essential oils are very potent only, a little is needed. The levels needed for a therapeutic effect –as you’d get from an aromatherapist- may often be higher than those found in your product.

It’s about using the right balance, essential oils often work better in combination with other natural ingredients and with each other. So, some aromatherapists produce their own ranges, made in small batches and following holistic principles.

For anti ageing you’d expect oils used to be associated with skin regeneration or nourishing and so on. If not, I’d ask questions. Not all essential oils have the same properties so do check what the product is claiming and what is in it, especially before spending a lot of money.

The product images may focus on one ingredient but that can be slightly misleading.  Modern cosmetics are usually formulated with several ingredients, each adding value to the finished product. It is about balance as opposed to one star ingredient.

What essential oils definitely provide is fragrance, naturally. Your skincare will smell like it’s going to do a wonderful job and often this aroma alone feel like its helping.

Really “natural” products packed with essential oils and plant extracts will change appearance and smell over a long period of time. That is normal but means you may have to replace it more frequently.

As many large brands do not want this, essential oils and natural ingredients are kept at a minimum, to help keep the product looking and behaving consistently.

However if fragrance irritates your skin or your nose, there is great skincare without perfume. In fact, there is a growing backlash and many skincare experts are against products with essential oils or perfume for the reasons above. It’s all about choice.

Luxury products generally have luxurious smell, texture, feel and give you a wonderful experience. Natural products can deliver this too. Just be aware of what the product is claiming and what your skin actually needs.

So, yes to natural fragrance in skincare and yes to essential oils, but from brands that focus on aromatherapy and build their products around the oils instead of just adding a few drops to follow a trend.