When it comes to naturally derived aromatics, essential oils tend to steal the show. Steam distilled extracts are growing in popularity with consumers and makers alike. However popular and abundant, essential oils are not the only natural ingredient available for adding scents to products. Aromatic CO2 extracts offer an exciting variety of aromas that are often not available as essential oil. These high-quality extracts allow artisans to expand their aromatic formulary beyond the basics – giving their products an edge on their competition.
What is an Aromatic CO2 Extract?
Basically, Aromatic CO2 Extracts are fragrant oil-soluble extracts derived from botanicals. They are often quite similar to essential oils both in nature and in texture and appearance. This is especially true for CO2 Select Extracts which contain only the most valuable components of the extract. CO2 Total Extracts are sometimes thick or sticky in texture since they also include non-essential components such as natural waxes, lipids, and esters.
To give you an idea of how CO2 Extracts are created, let’s compare them to a more familiar product, essential oil. Essential oils are produced through a process using steam distillation. While this tried and true extraction method works wonderfully for a huge variety of botanicals, the heat and moisture involved in distillation does not work well with certain plants. Certain aromas have a hard time surviving high temperatures and some plants simply don’t respond well to steam distillation. Instead of using heat to extract a plant’s essence, CO2 Extracts use pressure.
When a CO2 Extract is made, botanicals are placed in a chamber with high quantities of CO2 gas. The gas creates an intense amount of pressure which encourages the botanical to release it’s precious aromatic contents. The resulting extract is an exceedingly pure and unadulterated ingredient. Once the CO2 gas is released, the only thing left is the pure botanical extract.
It should be noted that in some cases, with particularly fragile or delicate extracts, producers may add a preservative to keep the extract fresh. At From Nature With Love we will always disclose this information in the product’s description. If you have questions about a particular Aromatic CO2 Extract, please feel free to reach out to us for an answer.
How to Use Aromatic CO2 Extracts
Aromatic CO2 Extracts can be used just like essential oils in aromatherapy or skin care formulations. In most formulations, Aromatic CO2 Extracts should be added at a rate of 1-3%. Like essential oils, these potent ingredients should always be diluted before use and never applied directly to skin at full strength.
Depending on the particular ingredient, some Aromatic CO2 Extracts may not do well in high-heat formulations such as soap. These fragrant ingredients really shine in low-temperature formulations or in formulations where aromatics are added at a low temperature. Our favorite products to use Aromatic CO2 Extracts are:
- Perfume Oils and Balms
- Perfumes, Body Sprays, and Splashes
- Whipped Body Butters
- Lotions and Creams
- Salt and Sugar Scrubs
- Liquid Soap Bases
- Lip Balms and Glosses
- Facial and Setting Sprays
- Leave-in Hair Conditioners
- Hair Gels and Pomades
Explore Aromatic CO2 Extracts
At From Nature With Love we are thrilled to carry an extensive (and ever-growing) line of Aromatic CO2 Extracts. Click through the links below to read more about each of these gorgeous extracts.
Looking for more information on formulating your own scents and products? Check out our blog posts on Blending Handmade Perfume Oils and Bath & Body 101: A Crash Course in Cosmetics Formulation.