What are Essential Oils?

An introduction to the essential oils used in Mervue Organic products.

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are extracted from plant materials to obtain their active botanical constituents. The oil-soluble components of the plants are hugely beneficial to your skin while providing a gentle fragrance to our products.

How are essential oils extracted?

They are extracted either through steam distillation, expeller pressed or sometimes solvent extraction.

Steam distillation is the most popular method of extracting and isolating essential oils from plants. During steam distillation the steam vaporises the plant materials volatile compounds, they then go through a condensation and collection process. This method of extraction also provides floral waters, also known as hydrolats, which are used widely in cosmetic formulations.

Expeller pressing, also known as oil pressing, is a mechanical method for extracting oil from raw materials. Expeller pressing uses a press to physically squeeze the oil out of the seed, rather than use chemicals. An expeller press is a screw type machine which presses oil through a caged barrel-like cavity, using friction and continuous pressure. The screw drives forward to literally squeeze the oil from the compressed seeds. While there is no heat added in this process the pressure and friction involved in the pressing process creates heat. Ranging from 60° - 100° Celsius. This process is not classified as being “cold pressed”.

Solvent extraction uses food grade solvents to isolate essential oils from plant materials. Suitable for plants that have low amounts of essential oils or for delicate aromatics that cannot withstand the pressure of steam distillation.


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