Absolute - Volatile products, technically not essential oils, that are obtained through a chemical solvent extraction process. It's common with plants that do not steam distill easily, such as rose, jasmine and neroli. The final product includes both the oil soluble material you get from steam distillation and the water soluble constituents. These oils tend to smell more like the original plant, as they contain more constituents than those that are steam distilled.
Adipic Acid - Cyclohexane/cyclohexanol. A non-hydroscopic acidulent.
Adulteration - The addition of a substance to an essential oil after distillation. This is generally done to make the final product greater in volume; being mixed with extraneous material.
Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Extract - Derived from the leaf; aloe is rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, proteins, humectrants, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Aloe nourishes and protects the skin.
Aromatherapy - The art and science of using pure essential oils extracted from natural botanicals to relax, balance and rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit.
Aromatherapy Benefit - The emotional or physical effect evoked by aromatic essential oils. Examples include balancing, energizing, rejuvenating, cleansing, deodorizing and purifying.
Aromatic plant - A plant that produces essential oils and has a distinct and unique smell.
Attar - A term, first used in the 18th Century, for perfume or essential oil obtained from flowers or petals, as in "attar of roses" for rose oil.
Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Powder - Ground from the whole grain containing all of the natural counter-irritants and skin soothing properties that oat is known for.
Base Notes - The aromatic components of essential oils that do not readily evaporate and are used as fixatives to provide permanence and stability.
Base oil - A vegetable oil. Also called a carrier oil or fixed oil.
Bergaptene - Many plants contain furocoumarins such as bergaptene, which are known photosensitizers. Bergaptene is a naturally occurring component of bergamot essential oil. When bergamot oil is applied, the skin can become very sensitive to ultraviolet light. Severity of the reaction depends on length of exposure and individual sensitivity. Mild cases can be a reddening of the skin while severe cases can result in acute lesions known as bullock dermatitis. The dermatitis will resolve itself in a few weeks; however the accompanying hyperpigmentation (brown spots on the skin) can take months or years to fully disappear.
Aura Cacia offers a bergaptene-free version of bergamot essential oil. There is not evidence to indicate that removing the bergaptene in anyway affects the aromatherapy benefit of the essential oil and we recommend using bergaptene-free bergamot whenever possible.
Boswella Spp Resinoid - Derived from the resin of the frankincense tree. Balsamic, incense-like aroma. Centering and meditative.
Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Nut Butter - Yellowish butter expelled from the nut-like fruit of the Karite tree of the Ivory Coast of Africa; shea butter adds a rich buttery consistency to the product while also providing relief for superficial irritation, dryness, dermatitis, eczema and other skin conditions.
CO2 Extraction - A method of extracting essential oil using liquid CO2 as a solvent.
Calcium Silicate - Lime and diatamaceous earth. Absorbent. Bulking agent.
Camphoraceous - Being or having the properties of camphor.
Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride - A blend of three glycerides derived from coconut oil; assists in the solubalization of ingredients while acting as an emollient and skin lubricant.
Carbomer - Toxic-free synthetic ingredient; assists with thickening the product.
Carrier - A substance used to dilute essential oils.
Cetyl Alcohol - Derived from coconut and/or palm kernel oil ; the dry, waxlike fatty alcohol acts as a co-emulsifier, bringing the oil and water phases together to form a cream.
Character - A description of the aroma of an essential oil.
Chemotype - Visually identical plants with significantly different chemical components, resulting in different therapeutic properties.
Cocamidopropyl Betaine - Derived from coconuts. Serves as a gentle surfactant compared to more harsh sulfated surfactants. Cleansing agent.
Cocamidopropylamine Oxide - Derived from coconut oil; produces rich foam. It is a gentle and mild cleansing agent.
Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil - Extracted from the nut meat of ripe coconuts; serves as an excellent moisturizer with high fatty acid content.
Cold Press Extraction - (See Expression.)
Cymbopogon Schoenanthus (Lemongrass) Leaf Extract - Derived from the leaves of lemongrass; used as a natural preservative. Lemongrass brightens the complexion.
Dead Sea Salt - Softens the water and provides a gentle, mineral-skin treatment.
Diffuser - An aromatherapy accessory used to gently disperse essential oils into the air for olfactory benefit.
Diffusion - Diffusion is the spontaneous movement of liquid, gas, or solid particles from an area of high concentration to low concentration. For example, uncapping a bottle of essential oil produces diffusion as the volatile constituents move from the bottle (an area of high concentration) into the environment (an area of low concentration) without being acted upon by heat or pressure. This could also be referred as spontaneous evaporation. Technically, all of the apparatuses used in aromatherapy vaporize or volatilize essential oils because they are acted upon by heat, and/or pressure, to produce fine separated particles or vapor.
Dimethicone - Sand derived raw material; improves lubricity in dry down
Disodium Edta - Derived from sodium chloride; serves as chelating agent.
Distillate - A product of distillation. For example, lavender oil is the distillate of the fresh, blooming lavender plant.
Distillation - The primary method of producing essential oils is through steam distillation. Distillation is an age-old process. While the crude still of the past (almost identical to the simple country "moonshine" still) is now often replaced with modern, stainless steel versions, the process is still basically unchanged. Water is heated to boiling and steam passes through fresh plant material stacked on a rack above the boiling water, causing the cell walls of the plant to break down and release the essential oil. The water and essential oil vapor then pass through a cooler that condenses the steam and the oil into a liquid. The liquid is collected and the oil separates from the water. Most oils are lighter than water and thus collect on the surface of the water where they are siphoned off. Oils heavier than water sink to the bottom of the collector where they are removed. Some stills use "direct," or "water" distillation where the plant material is mixed with the boiling water with the same effect.
Enfleurage - Ancient method for extracting essential oils, commonly used before steam distillation was created. It involves using odorless fats and oils to absorb the oil from the plant material.
Essential Oil - The highly concentrated, volatile, aromatic essences of plants.
Expression - Method of obtaining essential oil from plant material, such as citrus fruit peel. The complete oil is physically forced from the plant material. Also known as cold press extraction.
Extra - The highest, most expensive grade of ylang ylang which is also distilled the shortest length of time. The result is a stronger aroma.
Extraction Method - The method by which essential oils are separated from the plant. Common extraction methods include distillation, expression and solvent extraction.
Fixative - A fixative is a substance, often an essential oil, but possibly an herb or animal product, of low volatility that serves to draw together and hold the aromatherapy formula together. Most blends include fixatives, as they will slow the evaporation process and preserve the aromatic qualities. Common essential oil fixatives include vetiver, patchouli, sandalwood, amyris, myrrh and others.
Fixed Oil - See Base Oil
Food Grade - Considered safe for use in food by the Food and Drug Administration.
Fractional Distillation - A distillation method that is interrupted every few hours; the different grades produced are sold separately. This is most commonly used with ylang ylang.
Fragrance - Aroma. Products labeled as fragrances are not pure essential oils. They are derived by synthetic means.
Gas chromatography (GC) - Gas chromatography (GC) is a method of measuring the volatile chemical constituents of a substance. It is one of four objective tests that Frontier uses to determine the quality, identity and purity of every essential oil. GC analysis produces a "fingerprint" of the oil by showing the quantitative presence of each chemical compound. The results can be compared to established standards and reveal oil purity and other information (even the country of origin) which helps validate the oil quality. GC readings that are inconsistent with established standards can be the result of contamination, adulteration, the use of wrong plant parts or species, "off season" harvesting, improper distillation techniques, or product enhancement practices that Frontier finds unacceptable.
Glycerine (in body care) - A vegetable derived ingredient that serves as a humectant in skin care products by drawing moisture from the environment. It is also used in cosmetic formulations for its smoothing and softening properties.
Glyceroil Stearate - A vegetable oil, usually coconut oil derived; serves as a co-emulsifier and helps create a creamy appearance. Also helps to build rich viscosity. Glycerol stearate is lubricious and acts as a humectant by attracting moisture to the skin.
Guah Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride - Derived from rubber tree; serves as a natural thickening agent.
Herbal, Herbalism - Pertaining to natural botanicals and living plants.
Hybrid - Natural or artificially produced plant resulting from the fertilization of one species by another; indicated by ‘X’ as in lavandula x intermedia or citrus x paradisi.
Hydrosol - Hydrosol, also called hydrolat or floral water, is the name for the water remaining after the steam distillation of an essential oil. A hydrosol is composed mostly of water, with small amounts of the water-soluble parts of the plants being distilled. Because hydrosols contain components that differ from their corresponding essential oils, their uses are not the same. Hydrosols are often used in skin care products and body sprays for their skin-soothing or purifying effects. Because of the very low levels (or even absence) of the more potent and sometimes skin-irritating constituents of the essential oils, hydrosols are very gentle and safe to use on all skin types. Although hydrosols can exist for any distilled essential oil, many are not widely used or available. Some of the more popular hydrosols include rose, lavender, orange blossom, chamomile, neroli, melissa and elder flower waters. One of the problems with true hydrosols is creating a shelf-stable product. Because they are primarily water and do not have naturally occurring preservatives (such as essential oil) as a component, they do not store for very long. Hydrosols without any preservative listed on the label may be suspect. Products that are not true hydrosols, but rather essential oil mixed with water, with or without the addition of stabilizers and surfactants, are sometimes sold as hydrosols.
Insoluble - Unable to be dissolved in a liquid such as water.
Jasminum Officinale Absolute - An absolute derived from freshly picked jasmine flowers. Rich, exotic-floral aroma. Sensuous and calming.
Lauramidoyl Insulin - Derived from an inulin moiety (chicory) and a lauryl moiety (from coconut oil or palm kernel oil); functions as a straight chain polysaccharide natural emulsifier.
Limbic System - A part of the brain that regulates emotion, appetite, and survival responses.
Lipid - A fat or fat-like substance insoluble in water and soluble in organic solvents.
Maceration - The extraction of substances from a plant by steeping in a fixed oil.
Magnesium Stearate - Stearic acid. Bulking agent.
Mass Spectroscopy (MS) - A lab technique used to identify components in a substance by determining their atomic or molecular masses.
Massage Therapy - A hands-on therapy in which essential oils are applied to the body for emotional and physical benefits.
Melissa Officinalis (Balm Mint) Leaf Extract - Derived from lemon balm leaves; used as a natural preservative. Lemon balm brightens the complexion.
Middle Notes - A category of aromatic components of essential perfumes and oils with intermediate permanence and volatility properties.
Milk Powder - From whole dried organic milk. Contains potent skin-nourishing proteins, acids, and vitamins.
Natural - There is no legal U.S. definition for "natural," and neither the FDA nor the USDA has rules regarding the term. Unlike the USDA-regulated term "organic," the designation "natural" can be applied to products at the unregulated discretion of manufacturers. Frontier has established a Natural Products Standard for our products that covers post-harvest treatment and processing. We do not purchase any herbs or spices that have been treated with irradiation or chemicals such as ethylene oxide (EtO) and there are a number of other ingredients and processes that are not allowed.
Neat - A "neat" drop refers to a drop of liquid that is unmixed, or undiluted. Generally applies to the act of applying an essential oil to the body undiluted. Since dilution is nearly always recommended, using oils neat is very uncommon.
Olfactory - Of, relating to or connected with the sense of smell.
Oxidize - To react with oxygen, usually causing rapid degradation or deterioration.
PPG-3 Methyl Ether - Derived from glycol ether. Serves as a carrier for essential oils. A powerful solvent with a low evaporation rate and low viscosity.
Patch Test - Some people have reactions to certain oils and cannot use them. To test an essential oil you have not used before, do a patch test by adding 1 drop of oil to 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil and apply to the inside of the arm. Leave on for 24 hours, and if any redness or itching develops, don't use the oil.
Percent Dilution - The percentage of essential oil to carrier.
Photosensitizing - Referring to a substance that increases the sensitivity of the skin to UV light. Also referred to as phototoxic.
Potassium Sorbate - Plant derived ingredient; functions as a toxic free preservative.
Potpourri - A fragrant mixture of dried herbs and flowers. Usually scented with synthetic fragrance oils.
Prunus Amygdallus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil - High in oleic and linoleic acids. Similar to apricot kernel but slightly more lubricity and glide. Probably the best choice for most massage applications. Appropriate for dry skin, massage and bath.
Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil - Provides a medium thickness, glide and lubricity. Use in higher amounts for standard massage, less amounts for friction and heat building massage. Appropriate for combination skin, massage, moisturizing bath oil, after shower nourishing skin care oil.
Prussic acid - Many fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and pasture type grasses that are a daily part of human and animal diets contain naturally occurring cyanogenic glycosides such as amygdalin, which when ingested, break down into three substances; sugar, cyanide (prussic acid), and benzaldehyde. Benzaldehyde is the substance used as a flavoring and fragrance material. It has an almond or cherry taste, and an almond-like aroma. The kernel (also referred to as the pit or stone) of almonds, apricots, plums, peaches, contains the prussic acid, although the fruit is entirely unaffected. The kernels of these fruits are used to make almond essential oil. The oil produced from these pits intended for food use is treated to remove the prussic acid, and is designated as FFPA (free from prussic acid). The Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR 582.20) states that prussic acid-free bitter almond oil is considered GRAS (generally recognized as safe) as a food flavoring.
Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A) - Derived from palm kernel oil (Vitamin A alcohol and its esters); adds skin-nourishing properties to the product, aids in dry skin treatment, essential for growth and maintenance of bones, glands, teeth, nails and hair.
Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract - Derived from the leaves of rosemary; used as a natural preservative.
Rubefacient - substances for external application that cause redness of the skin through dilation of the capillaries, which allows for increased blood circulation, resulting in a warming sensation.
Sea Salt - Purified, simple sodium chloride isolated from sea water. Creates a buoyant, skin-softening bath water.
Sebaceous Glands - Present in the dermis. Open to the surface at pores located in the epidermis. Produces sebum (oil).
Sebum - The oily substance produced by the sebaceous glands which function to lubricate the skin and seal moisture into the cells. The level of sebum production determines whether your skin is normal, dry or oily.
Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil - Light-textured, pH balanced liquid wax pressed from the jojoba nut. Mimics natural pH and function of the skin’s own sebum.
Sodium Bicarbonate - Naturally derived from minerals. Cleansing agent.
Sodium Borate - A naturally occurring mined desert mineral, sodium borate has a mild, soap-like cleansing action.
Sodium Carbonate - Sodium carbonate, water, and carbon dioxide.
Sodium Carboxymethyl Betaglucan - Derived from yeast cell wall;
protects against UV-A induced oxidative stress, restores skin function, promotes cell renewal and enhances skin’s self-protection mechanism.
Sodium Cocoylisethionate - Coconut-derived. Cleansing agent.
Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate - Produced from sodium chloride; serves as a safe, broad spectrum, paraben-free preservative system.
Sodium Myreth Sulfate - Derived from coconut oil; produces rich foam and builds viscosity. Excellent cleanser that is compatible with all skin types.
Soluble - Able to be dissolved in a liquid such as water.
Steam Distillation - A method of essential oil extraction using steam.
Still Note - An unpleasant odor connected with a freshly distilled essential oil.
Synergistic - A characteristic in which the total effect is more effective than the individual parts.
Synthetic - An artificially produced substance designed to imitate that which occurs naturally.
Theobroma Cacao Butter - Cocoa beans.This natural butter melts into skin at body temperature and provides rich emollience and moisture retention.
Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) - Powerful and skin-supporting. Safe and natural preservative.
Top Notes - Highly volatile category of aromatic components of essential oils that are penetrating and sharp. These are the first odors that the olfactory system perceives.
Trigonella Foenum-Graecu Absolute - An absolute
derived from the seeds of the fenugreek plant. Distinctive, bitter aroma.
Tromethamine - Toxic-free synthetic ingredient; serves as a pharmaceutical neutralizing agent.
Vanilla Planifolia Absolute - An absolute derived from the fruit or bean pods of the vanilla orchid. Sweet, balsamic aroma. Comforting and calming.
Viscosity - Pertaining to the thickness or thinness of a liquid, it especially relates to the speed at which an essential oil pours from the bottle. An example would be vetiver, having a high viscosity, pours extremely slowly from the bottle.
Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil - Has a light and absorbent feel. Good choice for heat-building, friction massage. Appropriate for all skin types. A natural alternative to petroleum derived mineral oil.
Volatilization - The rate of evaporation of an essential oil. See 'Notes' for more information.
Water (Aqua) - Pharmaceutical grade by reverse osmosis. Water serves as a carrier substance for the matrix of ingredients. Water hydrates the skin.
Yield - The amount of essential oil extracted from a plant.
Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract - Derived from the roots of ginger; used as a natural preservative. Ginger is warming and activating.