Saturday, December 10, 2011

Essential oils: Orange

Orange essential oil can be found in so many places because it's inexpensive and it smells nice. It comes from the peels of oranges that have enjoyed some other use - juice, flavouring, and so on -

What do we find in orange oil? The main compound found in orange oil - about 90% of the oil - is limonene, a cyclic terpene that gives us that wonderful orange-y fragrance and flavour as well as acting as a great solvent for cleaning. It's good for removing grease and oil from people and objects.

We also find about 0.4% geraniol, a mono-terpenoid alcohol, that is the lovely smelling part of rose, geranium, citronella, and other flowers that is used as a flavouring agent and mosquito repellant. (Side note: It might repel mosquitoes, but it might attract bees as it's also found in the scent glands of honey bees!) We find about 0.7% ɑ-terpineol, a mono-terpenoid alcohol that offers some nice fragrance. (Also found in tea tree oil.) Citral, a powerful anti-microbial and starting point for the synthesis of Vitamin A, is found in very low amounts, almost too low to mention! But it's there!

Where might I use orange oil? I like to use it in rinse off products, like my shampoo for greasy hair - combine it with a little vanilla for a Creamsicle like fragrance - or my body wash for oily skin. Be aware that orange EO can thin out a surfactant mix, like my favourite body wash!

Orange essential oil is not photo-toxic, but it can contain other compounds that might have an impact on your hair and skin. (If you'd like to learn more about citrus essential oils, please click here for my article from Handmade Magazine.)

Join me Monday for more fun with orange essential oil as we add it to a few of my favourite recipes!


TygerMae said...

I was wondering about the 5 fold and 10 fold essential oils. I've read that you could use the 10 fold for a leave on product, but I haven't really tried it even though I like the scent. I'm worried about the photosentivity for some. What does the "fold" mean? Thanks!

Matthew said...

Hi, Susan

There seems to be a lot of conflicting information out there about the phototoxic effects of citrus oils. From my understanding the general consensus is that while bitter orange oil is considered phototoxic, sweet orange oil is not.

I've spent alot of time reading guidelines at IFRA which sets standards for the fragrance industry and have found no restrictions on using sweet orange oil in leave on products.

What do you think?

Nedeia said...

I was also scared to use citric essential oils in lip balms due to fear of being phototoxic. But... I only use one out two drops per lip balm (4.5 Grams).

A lip balm could have 50-100 uses... How harmful can this be ?

Anonymous said...

Does orange oil mask wheat germ oil well?