Plant extracts contain high levels of active ingredients. They are taken from parts of plants using a range of extraction methods. Plant extraction is carried out by macerating solid matter (e.g. leaves, flowers or fruits) in an aqueous, oily or alcoholic solvent – or in a water/glycerine mixture (hydroglycerine extracts). The plant part and liquid medium chosen are key to extracting the desired active compounds.
After several days of maceration, the plant-solvent mixture is filtered and just the liquid kept. This liquid is rich in active compounds from the plant. Filtered liquids obtained using this method are what we call “plant extracts”.
For example :
Organic white tea extract, used in our Nectar Régénérant, face cream, is a leaf maceration produced using a mixture of organic glycerine and water. It is rich in antioxidants which help protect the skin.
Macerated oils are plant extracts that have been produced using vegetable oil as the solvent. Macerating in oil makes it possible to obtain a high concentration of certain fat-soluble active ingredients, such as carotenoids (e.g. beta-carotene), fatty acids, vitamin E and aromatic compounds.
The macerated annatto oil used in our Lumière d’or oil and Sublimation,face cream is made by macerating organic annatto fruit in organic macadamia nut oil for several days.
Plant oils &
Plant oils and butters are natural products that come from a plant’s kernel, fruit or seed.
To preserve their exceptional qualities, vegetable oils and butters are produced using first cold pressing, without any solvent. This extraction method involves crushing the seeds or nuts in order to release the oil naturally.
For example, shea butter:
Shea nuts are collected and their pulp removed, leaving only the kernel from inside the nut. The shea kernels are washed and dried, then placed directly into a press to extract the butter.
Plant oils and butters are particularly high in fatty acids (essential lipids, antioxidants and other nutritional elements), which makes them extremely nutritious for the skin. They also have healing and protective properties.
Depending on the fatty acids they contain, natural fats extracted from plants can have a variety of textures at room temperature.
- Liquids are called “oils”.
- Solids are called “butters”. These may have a “soft” or a “hard” texture.
In phytotherapy, essential oils are known for their high concentration of active ingredients. The essence of a plant is made up of aromatic molecules which have well-known properties.
For centuries, steam distillation has been used to extract aromatic compounds from plant matter without using chemicals. The plant is placed in a tank and flushed with steam. This draws out the aromatic molecules. The steam, now packed full of aromatic molecules, then passes through a coil where it cools down. It then condenses into a liquid with two separate parts: the distilled water (or hydrosol) and the essential oil, which rises to the surface.
The damask rose essential oil used in our Eau végétale cleanser and our Rosée d’énergie, toner is produced by steam distilling damask rose petals.
Hydrosol is the aromatic water that is produced during plant distillation. It contains a small amount of essential oil. Floral waters are quite simply flower hydrosols.
We use this instead of water in our formulas to ensure we are maximising the benefits.
Orange blossom hydrosol is the aqueous phase, separate from the essential oil, obtained by steam distilling orange blossom.
Naturally derived fragrances, extracted from plants, are made of essential oils and aromatic isolates (purified odorous compounds from an essential oil).
Our fragrances therefore contain no synthetic compounds.
Fées en Provence takes a proactive and responsible approach to beauty by prioritising the use of ingredients derived from organic farming.
Discover all the secrets of our botanical active ingredients…