Vanilla-infused aromatherapy oil is relatively easy to make. However, there are a couple of ways to make it, and you may prefer one method over the other. Vanilla is an aroma that is often requested in aromatherapy blends, when blending for fragrance, so I recently experimented with two different ways of making vanilla-infused aromatherapy oil. Here’s a quick post on my results!
Vanilla Absolute and Vanilla CO2 Extraction
Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia) is available as an absolute and CO2 extraction (also called an essential oil) for aromatherapy bath and body products. It is usually solvent extracted from the vanilla bean to produce vanilla absolute – or extracted by CO2, to produce a vanilla CO2 extraction. Make sure that you don’t purchase a folded vanilla oil for aromatherapy purposes, as this type of oil has been chemically altered.
However, if you want to experiment with a different way to add vanilla into your aromatherapy bath and body products, you might want to make an vanilla-infused aromatherapy oil.
Vanilla-infused Oil with Vanilla Beans
One of the easiest ways to infuse vanilla into oil is to add vanilla beans to a base oil and heat it up on the stove top. Personally, I prefer to use jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) as my base, as it has no aroma and it has an indefinite shelf life.
The amount of vanilla beans to use will vary. However, I have found that if you want a slight vanilla aroma, using three to four vanilla beans in 4 oz of jojoba should work. Simply split the vanilla bean with a knife down the middle and empty the vanilla into the jojoba. Then, chop up the outer casing of the vanilla bean, into smaller pieces, and add those to the jojoba as well. Stir the vanilla beans into the jojoba and add the mixture to a heat-proof pot on the stove. Simmer on low heat (as low as you can get it; you do not want to boil the oil) for 3 hours per day. Repeat the process for several days until you are happy with the aroma. Take care not to burn, or overcook, the oil.
Point to Note: I have found that the vanilla aroma is not as potent as when mixing vanilla absolute or vanilla CO2 extraction to an aromatherapy blend, but it is a more economical way of making a blend, and a more successful blending process if your base product is an oil, and if you don’t want a strong vanilla aroma in the blend. It will also depend on which other essential oils/absolutes you are mixing with the blend.
Vanilla-infused Oil with Vanilla Oleoresin
The next method, for making vanilla-infused aromatherapy oil, requires the purchase of vanilla oleoresin. This method is simpler but the process is longer – in time, not work.
Once you’ve purchased the vanilla oleoresin, you will need to add it to your oil base; for example, jojoba. I simply added a small amount of the oleoresin to 4 oz glass bottle of jojoba. I then placed the bottle in a cool, dark place and left it for a week to infuse. The result was a fragrant, vanilla, jojoba oil, suitable for using on its own, combined with other essential oils, or added to an aromatherapy bath and body product base.
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Author is a 20 year veteran in the health care and aromatherapy industry, a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, a consultant, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.