As one of the most multi-functional products in any home, infused & essential oils are commonly used in a variety of ways, from body care, skincare, hair care and more. With many different types available, each contains its unique benefits and purposes.
Even if you’ve heard the terms infused oils and essential oils, you might be unsure of the differences between the two. While both are created using the scents of various plants, the process of creation is very different, as too are its applications.
Understanding the difference between these two types of oils means you can get the best out of them.
An infused oil, also known as a macerated oil, is a basic vegetable or carrier oil infused with plant matter, such as herbs or flowers. This is usually done by steeping with heat or for a long time.
A key benefit of infused oils is they contain the properties of the carrier oil and plant matter they were infused with.
Common oil bases used for creating infused oil include sweet almond oil, natural Vitamin E oil, olive oil, coconut oil and safflower oil. Natural Vitamin E oil contains powerful antioxidants, which can help maintain the skin’s suppleness and diminish the appearance of blemishes, fine lines and wrinkles. Sweet almond oil features various proteins and Vitamin D, which help nourish the skin.
Some of the most popular infused oils also include ccalendula, arnica, St. Johns Wort, mullein and comfrey. Calendula is known for its soothing properties, while St. Johns Wort is often used to treat itchy, sensitive or damaged skin.
Infused oils are commonly used in many skincare and body care products, such as moisturisers and soaps, and can be added to homemade lotions and creams. They are also sometimes used in aromatherapy as massage oils, depending on the ingredients.
Unlike essential oils, infused oils can be created at home. They are fairly mild and generally safe to use directly on the skin, though you should always consult with your dermatologist before using new ingredients.
Essential oils are a natural oil, commonly sourced from various parts of plants. It is extracted via steam distillation, resulting in highly fragrant and highly concentrated oils.
Essential oils must be combined with a carrier oil or mixed with shampoo, body wash, or soap, before applied to bare skin. Even when mixed with carrier oils, you should patch test a small area of skin, or consult with a dermatologist before use.
Essential oils are well known for their versatility and are used for a variety of applications, including skincare, diffusers, aromatherapy, soaps, bath bombs and household cleaning products.
Each essential oils has unique properties, uses and fragrance. Some of the most popular include frankincense, tea tree oil, lemon and lavender essential oils.
Lavender essential oil contains calming and soothing properties, making it perfect for sleep sprays and diffusers. Tea tree oil can be helpful to soothe skin inflammation. Lemon essential oil is often used within household cleaning products or as a fragrance in bathrooms and kitchens.
To maintain their beneficial properties, essential oils should be stored in dark coloured bottles, away from direct sunlight. Otherwise, they will oxidise and deteriorate. Ensuring essential oils are stored correctly will extend their shelf life.
When buying essential oils, choose a pure product and not one mixed with chemicals or artificial ingredients, as this could hinder any benefits.
Understand the difference
It’s important to understand the difference between infused and essential oils, as they feature different characteristics and are used in different ways.
While infused oils are gentle enough to use directly on the skin, essential oils are not, so you don’t want to get them confused. No matter which you use, you should check with a dermatologist first to make sure the product is safe for you to use.
Infused and essential oils can even be used in combination, with the infused oil acting as the carrier oil. This can carry additional benefits to your essential oils.
Due to being more potent and concentrated, essential oils are generally more expensive than infused oils. They also have a longer shelf life.
Whether buying infused or essential oils, it’s important to buy the best quality you can to get the best benefits.