A Strong Association Between Essential Oils and Cosmetics!

Association Between Essential Oils and Cosmetics

Can users think of a cosmetic item that is without fragrance? The answer is self-explanatory and shows the importance of fragrance in them. The aromatic component not only increases the desirability of the product but also masks the unwanted smells arising from the useful fatty acids, resins, oils, and surfactants used in commonly used cosmetic formulations. 

Essential oils are vital ingredients for imparting charming aromas in different end-products. They also act as preservatives and wellness substances. Also, the trend for natural ingredients has raised the interest and demand for natural essential oils in the cosmetic and wellness industries. The spearheading cosmetic brands endorse natural fragrances and minimally processed ingredients in their products for ensuring wellness without health risk.

The common people come across countless diverse flavors and fragrances in many foods, beverage and confectionery items,  personal care products such as soaps, toothpastes, mouthwashes, deodorants, shampoos, and lotions, perfumes, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic formulations. The flavors and aromas make end products more appealing for consumers, and the green consumerism and emphasis on plant-based natural products have paved the way for use of natural essential oils in the beauty and wellness industries.

Fragrances, Essential Oils and Their Sources

Enjoyable fragrances affect the comfortability, the effect, and overall review of the cosmetics besides its outer packing shape and design. The natural fragrances – essential oils are the most popular. They contain terpenes and other aromatic or aliphatic secondary metabolites compounds secreted by aromatic plants. These compounds, when present in plants, protect against insects, herbivores, & microorganisms, the release of growth-inhibiting substances by other plants, and attract pollinating insects & fruit-dispersing animals. After harvesting plants, the essential oil manufacturers deploy different methods of extracting oils from the target parts of the plants, steam distillation is the widely used method. The cold-pressed or expression method is used to derive oil from the peels of citrus fruits.

Nearly 4 lac plant species of aromatic and medicinal exist, out of which 2000 species come from approximately 60 botanical families of essential oils bearing plants. The major plant families deployed for essential oils are Cupressaceae (Ex. Cedar, juniper), Pinaceae (Ex. Fir and pine), Acoraceae (Ex. Calamus), Apiaceae (Ex. coriander, fennel), Asteraceae (Ex. Tarragon, chamomile, wormwood), Geraniaceae (Ex. Geranium), Illiciaceae (Ex. Star Anise), Lamiaceae (Ex. Lavender, mint, patchouli, oregano), Poaceae (Ex. Vetiver, Aromatic grass), Zingiberaceae (Ex. Ginger & cardamom), Lauraceae (Ex. Litsea, cinnamon, camphor, sassafras), Myristicaceae (Ex. Mace, Nutmeg), Santalacease (E.g. Sandalwood), Oleaceae (Ex. Jasmine), Rosaceae (Ex. Rose) and Myrtaceae (Ex. Allspice, clove, myrtle).

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Different plant parts are the sources of essential oil in several plants. Some plants such as chamomile, jasmine, lavender, ylang-ylang, and rose have flowers and inflorescences, while basil, laurel, lemongrass, peppermint, and rosemary plants have leaves to extract essential oils. Black pepper and nutmeg plants have fruits containing berries that are used to derive EOs. Besides, essential oil manufacturers also derive oil from the seeds of anise, cumin, fennel, and cardamom, berries of laurel and allspice, the bark of the birch, cinnamon and cassia and wood, rhizomes, and resin of some plants.

Usage of Essential Oils in Cosmetics

The volatile nature of EOs makes them useful for fragrance and other functions. The EOs can be combined to produce special scents for products. More than 300 different essential oils are commercially available in flavors and fragrances markets. The essential oils predominantly used for industrial purposes are orange, corn mint, eucalyptus, citronella, lemon, and peppermint. 

The EOs are extensively incorporated into contemporary skincare products because of their complexity of active compounds, aroma, and natural marketing image. Besides, they also play the role of preservatives owing to their antimicrobial properties singly or in combination with other preservatives. They produce dual effects – prevent microbial(bacterial or fungal) dermal infection and increase shelf life. Moreover, they also offer wellness benefits to the skin such as anti-acne, UV rays protection, anti-aging, and skin-lightening, making cosmeceutical products more valuable to the industries and users.

The EOs prove far better than synthetic fragrances in terms of safety, content, and beneficial properties. The harmful synthetic fragrances contain endocrine disruptors and carcinogens benzene derivatives. So, natural EOs are high in demand. The global essential oil market is estimated to reach $14 billion with a compound annual growth rate of 9% by the year 2026. The renowned cosmetic brands use diverse essential oils in cosmetics, and the most precious perfumes contain pure EOs that provide them unique fragrance.

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Some of the most used fragrances are citrus, lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus, and floral oils such as jasmine, frangipani, rose, ylang-ylang, orchid, etc. In terms of components, linalool, limonene, citronellol, and citral are more preferred among multiple fragrance components.

The fragrances, aromatherapy, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical segments account for 44% of the demand for essential oils in the world. The EOs-based on citrus fruits fetch maximum revenues as they offer multiple health remedies such as skin elasticity, firmness, and treatment of scars, acne, and stretch marks.

Aromaaz International is the foremost name in the essential oil industry. It updates its product range as per the changing preference of the users. The aroma lovers can find the essential oils as per component and odor characteristics.

Essential Oil Constituents and The Associated Aroma Profiles

EOs obtained from the huge array of aromatic plants are significant sources of fragrance in cosmetics, offering unique aroma notes and color due to their principal components. Following are some major essential oil compounds, their odor characteristics, and the names of essential oils containing the same compounds.

Name of Individual ConstituentOdorEssential Oil
CitralLemonyLime, Lemon, Eucalyptus Lemon, Bergamot, Grapefruit
CitronellolStrong Floral, Rose-like, SweetCitronella, Litsea, Lemon balm, Geranium
LimoneneStrong Odor of OrangeMandarin, Tangerine, Sweet Orange
GeraniolFresh Sweet Rose-likeRose otto, Geranium, Rose Geranium
MentholSweet, Minty, Cooling & FreshSpearmint, Peppermint
LinaloolFloral, grassy, pleasant citrusBasil, Lavender, Neroli, Bitter orange, clary sage
TerpineolSweet, lilac odorPalmarosa, Cypress
Alpha PineneFresh, Camphor, Sweet, Pine, Earthy WoodyJuniper, cardamom, Frankincense, patchouli
Beta PineneWoody TurpentineRosewood
EugenolWarm SpicyAllspice, nutmeg, clove

Any essential oil may contain one or more of the above compounds in different proportions, but the compound in the greatest proportion dominates the odor characteristics. 

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Essential oil manufacturers highlight the major constituents present in the given essential oil. Certificate of Analysis and Gas chromatography and Mass Spectrometry documents of the companies offer details of the constituents, odor, consistency, solubility, chemical composition and safety concerns.

Aroma Notes

Essential oils provide top, middle or base notes as per their odorous characteristics, diffusion rate and volatility. Top notes are volatile initial notes that last for the shortest time and fade quickly. They are the selling notes of cosmetics. Such top notes are provided by bergamot, juniper, gardenia and cinnamon. The middle notes last for 1 to 2 hours and ylang ylang, clove, jasmine, lavender, and geranium essential oils provide such notes. Base Notes remain effective for a longer time and resinous or woody essential oils such as copaiba, myrrh, sandalwood, frankincense and sandalwood offer such notes.

Cautionary Words

Cosmetics manufacturers need to mention the concentration of the natural essential oil fragrance in the end-product packaging.  It should not be higher than the permissible proportion in the skincare product. Certain essential oils containing methyl eugenol, anisyl alcohol, benzyl alcohol, farnesol, hexylcinnamaldehyde, hydroxy-citronellal and other allergic compounds should be avoided or used in minimal proportion.

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