Extraction methods used for active ingredients

Cold extraction, maceration, distillation, supercritical CO2… There are several processes and methods of extraction of active ingredients from plants used in the formulation of products. Each plant has its own type of extracts according to the part/support used which can be the flower, the fruit stone, the leaf, etc… Thus, one cannot extract an essential oil from the olive, but one can extract a vegetable oil. Not all extraction processes are equal since some can destroy the biological richness in whole or in part, not to mention that they can also generate very variable yields…

So, what are these different extraction methods for cosmetics, what are their differences, and especially what about the preservation of the biological richness?


This method consists in extracting the oil contained in the fruit or the seed of a plant by crushing or mechanical pressure without using heat or solvents. We thus obtain a pure oil qualified as virgin oil clarified exclusively by physical means. This technique allows to keep the biological richness of the oil since it does not undergo any heating or other treatment such as deodorization or refining. This method of extraction is common for food oils, but it is much less common for cosmetic oils because its yield is low and varies greatly depending on the seed used. Everything is obviously a question of cost and as you know, the use of a virgin oil for our active ingredients is a must for us, it is one of the fundamental bases of our history and our values, you don’t get something for nothing.

Useed for Prickly pear oil, Desert date oil, Apricot seed oil, Date seed oil; jojoba oil, moringa oil, date nectar, fresh aloe vera juice etc.


The chemical extraction is an extraction of the oil of a seed or an oleaginous fruit, by solvents thanks to a volatile solvent and makes it possible to obtain an oil which will have to be refined to eliminate the harmful components and/or volatile malodorous born of this type of extraction.

This extraction and refining process allows a yield rate of nearly 97% but considerably destroys all the precious nutrients naturally present in the original oil. The refined oil thus obtained is a denatured oil by modification of its fatty acids, thus loss of essential fatty acids (omega 3 and 6) and impoverished by the loss of its, so precious, unsaponifiable!

Indeed, let us recall that an oil is essentially made up of triglycerides of fatty acids and unsaponifiable components, i.e., that do not transform into oil. These components are made up of lipophilic active ingredients (carotenoids, vitamins, phytosterols, etc.) that provide additional valuable antioxidant and regenerating properties.

This is why the vegetable oils used in our active ingredients are always only virgin oils. This explains the choice of our brown glass packaging to protect these precious virgin oils from oxidation.

Advice, by the way, also pay special attention to your edible oils by opting for opaque packaging or brown or dark glass.


Supercritical carbon dioxide extraction is a method used to separate various components from the plant producing a pure, clean, and safe product. It uses natural carbon dioxide as a solvent. Carbon dioxide reaches a supercritical state under a certain pressure and temperature resulting in a liquid-like solvent. It is an Eco-friendly extraction of compounds without organic solvents so this method is non-toxic, nom-flammable, fast, and sustainable (low energy use). It is much more precious because it enables the preservation of its nutrient value.

This method allows the extraction of an active ingredient with supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2). Indeed, carbon dioxide, which is none other than carbon dioxide and therefore naturally present in the atmosphere, has this incredible ability to act as a solvent when compressed at high pressure and at a temperature of about 30°C. It then takes the fluid form with an increased solubilization power and becomes a pure „green“ solvent, neutral, non-toxic, non-polluting and without any degradation.

Used for Aleppo pine extract, acacia extract etc.


This method is used to extract, by steam distillation, a concentrate of aromatic molecules, called essential oil, from the flowers or leaves of aromatic plants. The flowers or leaves are placed in a tank with water, which is heated to produce steam. The steam is loaded with volatile aromatic molecules and is then cooled to a liquid. The liquid thus collected is composed of two immiscible phases: a distilled water (or hydrolat) on top of which the essential oil floats. In a very small proportion, the hydrolat has a much lower activity than the essential oil, but it is still very appreciable for the skin.

I cannot refrain from evoking with you the strong memories shared with our apothecary grandmother who taught us the art and know-how of mastering the different parameters of steam distillation (temperature, pressure, distillation time) to obtain the best quality essential oil without denaturing the compounds. Not forgetting, of course, the fabulous moments when, at dawn, we went to harvest the orange blossoms of the garden before they bloomed and dispersed in the air a part of their exquisite perfume.

Used for Rosemary essential oil, Neroli, lavender essential oil, orange peel essential oil etc.


This method consists in letting a plant macerate in a solvent (oil, alcohol, water) to extract its active principles. Different types of macerates can be obtained depending on the solvent used.

This technique is often used for aromatic plants with a low concentration of aromatic molecules, or which are sensitive to the heat of steam during distillation such as jasmine, frangipani, etc. …. to obtain a macerate in the form of an absolute after solubilization and filtration.


This method is like maceration but uses hot water instead of a solvent. The plants are immersed in hot water for a period of time to extract the active compounds. This method is common for extracting ingredients such as green tea, white tea and lavender.


This method consists of using sound waves to extract active ingredients from plants such as vitamins, polyphenols, etc. It is often used to obtain plant extracts from raw materials that are difficult to extract. It is a method that has several advantages, particularly on the ecological level, and which will undoubtedly grow in importance.

Thus, the extraction methods are to be adapted to the nature of the ingredient, but the extract obtained varies greatly in quality and quantity depending on the method chosen. This is why it is important to know the extraction methods used in the formulation of your cosmetic products, as their effectiveness depends on it.


The bio-fermentation process produces an active ingredient from the fermentation of bacteria.

Used for hyaluronic acid.

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