Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The ABCs of Essential Oils: Lavender

Lavandula angustifolia

So ubiquitous, lavender is used to scent almost any product that can be fragranced. There's a good chance you already have an opinion on the odor. "L" presented many essential oil choices, and I chose lavender because while simple on the surface, it has much more going on once you dig deeper.

Lavender is a popular scent, with either the essential oil or fragrance oil appearing in a wide variety of products, from perfumes to floor cleaners. Lavender is a relatively inexpensive essential oil, but nothing is too cheap for adulteration. Many of the lavender products you have sniffed will either be fragrance oils, adulterated essential oils, or poor quality essential oils. Lavender also has a cousin, lavandin, that is often used in its place due to its lower cost. If you've sought various lavender oils and are still like "nope, don't like this stuff," then you can go on your way. But if you haven't, you should realize there are better lavenders out there.

Lavender oil is produced in many countries, including the United States, though you more often hear of French and Bulgarian. You can also find organic , wild-crafted, (as opposed to cultivated) and high-altitude lavender oils. Each factor can influence the scent of the lavender, and even a lavender from the same farm can smell different year to year. It's worth it to buy samples of several types to see which one you like best.

If you're willing to explore beyond the essential oil, lavender is available in many other forms. Lavender hydrosol is fairly common, and safer for those who are sensitive to essential oils (though anyone with a lavender allergy should avoid the hydrosol as well). It does have a different odor profile than the oil, and I tend to think of it as best for skincare and aromatherapy than for scent. If you are looking to purchase lavender for its fragrance, then you need to try lavender absolute. Not only is it a blue or green color, it has a scent quite different than that of regular lavender essential oil. It has a coumarin note, making it a perfect addition to chypre and fougere fragrances. Lavender concrete is harder to find, and not as enjoyable as the absolute, but if you need to sniff everything (like I do), then go for it. Lavender CO2 extracts are available as well, and are perfect for the lavender connoisseur, with a scent that most accurately captures the plant.

A versatile oil, lavender pairs nicely with many essential oils, and it's moderate cost makes it perfect for soap and bath/body products.

Bergamot Mint (Mentha citrata)
Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)
Lavandin (Lavandula hybrida/grosso/abrialis)
Petitgrain Bigarade (Citrus aurantium)
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Spike Lavender (Lavandula latifolia)

Ho Wood

No comments:

Post a Comment