Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Carrier Oil Books and Shelf Life (Aromatherapy/All Natural Skin Care Resources and Information)

A couple FAQ on carrier oils :)

I am looking for a book on carrier oils but haven't been able to find one; any suggestions?

Most aromatherapy and natural skin care books have a small section on carrier oils but there are only two books that I know of that are devoted solely to carrier oils. Both are kind of hard to find and are a bit pricey (mainly only easily available in England). They are Liquid Sunshine by Jan Kusmirek (2002), and Carrier Oils by Price, Price, and Smith (Len Price is the main author; 3rd edition 1999. There may be a 4th edition, see below). They are both very good resources; many people talk about Liquid Sunshine, and Len Price and Shirley Price are well known British aromatherapists.

I recently got my hands on these books, but have only read part of Carrier Oils so far. It has profiles for over 40 oils, including my beloved kukui nut oil, but it didn't have camellia oil which I thought is strange since that is quite a popular skin care oil! It also didn't have a complete profile for shea butter (only a couple sentences on it). Overall I love this book--Price makes the chemical composition of carrier oils easy to understand, better than my undergrad chemistry books! And one of the best things about this book is that at the end of each profile, Price lists the sources/references he used for each profile/chapter (of course now I want to go find the ones I haven't read! LOL!). In my opinion this book is a must have for understanding oils.

I haven't read Liquid Sunshine yet but it has many oils that aren't in Price's book, including some that I've never heard of. It also has a profile on camellia (though a species I haven't used yet) and shea butter :) I'll post more on it once I read it :)

To buy:

For Liquid Sunshine, I got mine at Sun Rose Aromatics (right now it's being sold for $35 plus shipping and handling. Handling is $4 and shipping for me was $6, but you can request essential oil samples with each order, and the samples are extremely generous, so they off set the cost of shipping and handling fee). You can also try England's Amazon site, and can get it for cheaper (though you'd have to wait longer to receive the book). I do not recommend getting it from the U.S. Amazon site since people were selling it for ridiculous prices there, but sometimes someone will sell it for a decent price, so it's still worth a look. NAHA (National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy) presently sells it for $30, but I haven't bought from NAHA before so can't comment on their shipping (I could not find any information on their shipping costs on their site).
Nature's Gift is also currently selling this book for $30 (sale price). It is a great price and now I am wishing I had known that they were going to reorder them (they hadn't carried this book in a while).

For Carrier Oils, I got mine at Amazon for an awesome price a couple months ago (about $25). The thing about Amazon, you have to wait for a decent price. Currently, there's this one British company (called the_book_depository) that sells it from time to time on the U.S. Amazon site for $25-34, and the other times other sellers charge anywhere from $50 to over $100 for it. This company ships fast so I got my copy in a few days. You can also try the British Amazon site, but may have to wait up to 2 weeks for it to ship. According to the British Amazon site, there is a fourth edition that was released a couple months ago but it is listed as unavailable, so I am not sure if this actually came out or not.

Other suggestions: If you can't get your hands on these books (either by buying them or from your local inter-library loan :)) I highly suggest reading the profiles that many vendors list online. Good companies include Mountain Rose Herbs, Nature's Gift, From Nature With Love, and also Garden of Wisdom's site has a little information on it as well (and you can always ask me or everyone :) on the forum about a particular oil if you have a question)

What is the shelf life of carrier oils/butters, such as camellia oil, shea butter, and coconut oil? And how do I store them?

Carrier oils last 6 months to 3 years, depending on the oil. Camellia: I'd say about a year, maybe longer. Shea butter: 1-2 years. Coconut: 2 to 3 years. But shelf life is just an estimate. For example I've had rosehip seed oil last for 3 times as long as the expected shelf life, and I've had coconut oil go rancid on me after 1 and 1/2 years, so if the oils smell rancid (like stale nuts or french fries), toss them out.

I highly recommend not storing any natural product in the bathroom. It is too humid and warm and will greatly shorten shelf life. Refrigerating oils and butters can (in some cases) double shelf life (from personal experience, refrigerating my oils has tripled shelf life for some oils).

I usually keep all my oils and butters in the fridge, and just put a little in a glass container for daily use.

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