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How Essential Oils are Made

Essential oils are extracted through distillation from a variety of plants, trees, and fruits. Because plants only contain a little amount of extract, it takes a lot of plants to make a single small bottle for a client.

After that, the essential oils are purified and distilled before being stored in containers that help keep the perfume fresh for a long period. The treatments and extraction techniques that create essential oils for use in aromatherapy or cosmetics are listed below.

Steam Distillation

Steam distillation is the most widely used and oldest distillation method. Traditional aromatherapy practitioners think that this procedure is the most effective for producing high-quality extracts. The plants are placed in a steam chamber, whether they are dried or fresh.

Pressure is applied to the steam, which is subsequently cycled in and out of the plant material. The plant’s cellular structure opens as a result of the heat from the pressured steam, and the essential oils stream into a holding container. This is a difficult process since the heat must be just right to open the plant while not being too hot to destroy the precious oil.

The steam returns to a liquid after being distilled into a container, while the oil forms a film on the surface of the solution. The liquid, as well as the oil, are medicinal by-products of the procedure.

Pure essential oil extracts may be made from the oils. Because the water retains many of the oil’s qualities, cosmetic businesses utilize it in toners and skin treatments.

Cold Pressing

Different types of processing are used to extract bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, and lime extracts. Because the essential oils are mostly found in the skin of the fruit, they must be pierced.

The peel of the fruit is rolled over a variety of sharp surfaces, causing it to rupture and the oils to be removed. The fruit is then pressed, and the juice is collected.

Similar to steam distillation, the essential oils float to the surface of the juices as a film. Centrifugation divides them into containers for custom packaging.


This technique of extraction is utilized for particularly fragile flowers or plants. Some plants are too fragile to endure the high temperatures of steam distillation.

Animal fat is used in enfleurage to absorb essential oils from fragile flowers. As the oils in the petals are depleted, more is applied to the animal fats until they are saturated with the extract.

After the fat is saturated, the fat is treated with alcohol which solvates the essential oils. Once the mixture is contained, the alcohol will evaporate leaving behind the essential oil product.

Solvent Extraction

Separating the extract from the plant via solvent extraction is the most efficient and cost-effective method. A solvent is used to saturate the plant and absorb the oils in this process.

It is then treated with alcohol after saturation. The alcohol gradually evaporates, leaving just the essential oils for packaging, similar to enfleurage.

This approach is particularly beneficial for more costly extracts when each plant must be pressed as much as possible for its extract. Although this process is the most cost-effective, it may leave a solvent in the product, which may have negative consequences.

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