Plant oil vs essential oil – what’s the difference?

By the 29 April 2020

Modifié le 18 May 2020

Too often confused, essential oil and plant oil are two completely different products in terms of their uses and benefits. So it’s very important to know the difference in order to avoid any nasty surprises!




A plant oil is nothing more complicated than a fatty substance that comes from seeds or oleaginous fruits like almonds, macadamia nuts, olive, or borage! The seed or fruit is pressed and/or chemically treated in order to obtain the oil with a generally fluid, oily texture. We also refer to plant macerations (like carrot) as plant oils, which are actually plant extracts that have been soaked in a neutral plant oil (like sunflower). :)


How to choose a high-quality plant oil

It’s important to use cold-pressed plant oils, this means that the primary matter isn’t heated and denatured in the process and ensures that all of the essential fatty acids and natural antioxidants are preserved.


There are no counter-arguments for the use of plant oils. Some of them, like sweet almond oil, are also recommended for use on babies.


But, you should avoid using refined plant oils, which are extracted using solvents and which cause changed to the fatty acids that exist within. As a result of this process, the antioxidant vitamin E with regenerating nd anti-inflammatory properties disappears! This is why it’s important to opt for a virgin plant oil that hasn’t been treated and which keeps in all of its benefits! 😉


Finally, make sure to choose an organic oil which specifies its origin, and its storage methods. Basically, you won’t find any solvents or pesticides in an organic plant oil!


How to use plant oil in skincare

Plant oils are well known for their magical effects on the skin. Full of vitamins, omega 3 and omega 6, all plant oils hydrate the skin and offer it numerous different benefits:
firming: argan, meadowsweet, evening primrose, borage…
regenerative: musk rose, avocado, milletia pinnata, camelia…
anti-ageing: evening primrose, argan, borage, prickly pear, macadamia…
nourishing: camelia, marula, sweet almont, flax…
purifying: nigella, noisette, jojoba, cape chestnut, sesame …
radiance: carrot, tomato, raspberry, sea buckthorn…
To boost their powers, you can use a blend of plant oils! 😉


Essential oil is extracted from aromatic plants by distilling the different parts of the plants (bark, leaves, flowers), or by cold-pressing citrus zest. In other words, an essential oil is the distilled essence of aromatic plants. :)

How to choose a high-quality essential oil

First of all, you should look for the oil’s botanical certification which specifies the type, species, and the grower of the plant.


Next, check that your essential oil is 100% pure and natural by verifying how it has been harvested or cultivated.
It is equally important to find out about which organ has been distilled (flower, stem, leaf, root…) as well as the stage of botanical development. Essentially, the essences produced can differ according to the part of the plant that is distilled, and the stage of the plant’s development.

Geographical origin is also important. Undeniably, the country or region can give the aromatic plant’s biotope some interesting characteristics and can also determine a unique biochemical composition.
Finally, choose an ORGANIC essential oil to avoid the appearance of pesticides! 😉


How to use essential oil in skincare

First of all, remember to read the manufacturer’s instructions for use which can vary from oil to oil. An essential oil can be really strong, so you need to ensure you’re using them correctly and avoiding using them on children under 5, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Essential oils should always be diluted with plant oil, cream, shampoo, or clay. Remember, water is not sufficient to dilute an essential oil!
Essential oils have different properties with numerous benefits:
astringency: lavender, petitgrain, rosha, myrtle, rose geranium
anti-wrinkle: lavender, incense, rosemary, sandalwood, neroli, ylang-ylang
anti-cellulite: cardamom, nutmeg
regenerating: rosewood, helichrysum, Damascus rose, incense, Arizona cyprus
softening: chamomile, lavender, Damascus rose, Egyptian geranium
hydrating: myrrh, neroli, Damascus rose, sandalwood
antibacterial: Tea Tree
Like plant oils, feel free to mix them to create your own essential oil blends! 😉

This post is also available in french.


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