A paper was published in Cosmetics, by a research team out of Spain and Argentina, Guzmán et al, which summarized the current body of knowledge on the use of essential oils, and components of essential oils, in cosmetics and beauty products.

Guzmán et al said natural ingredients have been long used in cosmetics, but recent consumer sentiment and international regulations have pushed the ‘natural beauty’ segment to grow, making up around 10% or $40 billion of the current global market.

Essential oils have long been used in fragrance, as they are high in aromatic compounds, but the research team said their antioxidant, bactericidal, virucidal, fungicidal, antiparasitic, insecticidal and medicinal properties offer broad utility in personal care.

“This has pushed the essential oil usage range beyond the fragrance world, and nowadays they are widespread in products for hair and skincare, as well as natural preservatives in many formulations, leading to an almost endless list of uses which is continuously growing,”​ Guzmán et al said.

Uses in fragrance, hair and skincare

Many essential oils have been an important part of fragrances for a long time, providing more than 300 base, middle and top note scents. They have also posed as a solution for covering strong and unpleasant smells of other ingredients, like in anti-dandruff shampoo, and can provoke “moods and sensations”​ like cleanliness, Guzmán et al said.

Outside of scent, essential oils like lemon and orange have antiseptic properties, which makes them promising candidates for cosmetic active ingredients. Other essential oils may prove useful in skincare with anti-acne, anti-aging, skin lightening, and sun protection characteristics.

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