Essential Oils for DIY Skin Care
An essential oil is a liquid that is extracted from the leaves, stems, flowers, bark, roots, or other plant elements by steam distillation or cold pressing.
Essential oils are said to provide psychological and physical therapeutic benefits by either applying to the skin (diluted) or through inhalation.
These oils are so strong and concentrated that the majority of skin care recipes recommend containing a maximum of 1% – 2% in any given formula.
Amyris Essential Oil • Amyris balsamifera
Amyris essential oil is a deep base note that is useful in balancing and relaxing blends. It is often used as a scent substitute for sandalwood, though it doesn’t share all of the same properties.
Amyris is popularly used in anti-aging skin care recipes, said to reduce the appearance of fine lines and texture of mature skin.
Basil Essential Oil • Ocimum basilicum
Basil essential oil is most well-known for its use in relaxing aromatherapy blends. It helps to calm and focus the mind – helpful if used throughout the day, though it can be also be used as a relaxing nighttime routine.
Basil oil benefits natural skin cleansers due to its antibacterial properties that help to remove excess oil and treat small infections.
Bergamot Essential Oil • Citrus bergamia
Bergamot essential oil is a must for oily and acne-prone skin. This antibacterial oil helps to unclog pores, balance oil production, and can be used for overnight spot treatment on painful blemishes.
When diffused or added to a roller ball blend, bergamot oil may calm anxiety and provide a mental boost throughout the day.
Black Pepper Essential Oil • Piper nigrum
Black pepper essential oil is most commonly used to improve circulation and increase alertness in diffuser blends. It is also considered one of the best essential oils for quitting smoking when used in an aromatherapy inhaler.
In skin care, black pepper oil benefits mature skin with its antioxidants and ability to fight free radicals. A great oil to blend with lavender and frankincense.
Camphor Essential Oil • Cinnamomum camphora
Camphor oil is made from steam distilled wood from the camphor tree. Known to be a beneficial disinfectant and insecticide, as well as relieving menstrual cramps and itchiness due to insect bites.
Camphor is one of the main ingredients in our popular muscle balm recipe, a warming lotion bar that helps soothe aching joints and muscles.
Cardamom Essential Oil • Elettaria cardamomum
Cardamom has a rich scent that is uplifting and may help to combat stress, fatigue and motion sickness.
In skin care, cardamom essential oil is known to improve skin elasticity. It is a useful toner (when diluted) and may help to shrink pores and even out overall complexion.
Carrot Seed Essential Oil • Daucus carota
Carrot seed essential oil is a long-loved ingredient in skin care formulas known for its anti-aging properties and reputation of repairing damaged skin.
Carrot oil is best used on mature skin, as it increases water retention, is anti-inflammatory, and has antioxidant properties. It’s strong scent is most enjoyed when toned down with a carrier oil and other lightly scented essential oils.
Cedarwood Essential Oil • Cedrus atlantica
Cedarwood is a deep, rich smelling oil that is a common component in relaxing and meditation blends. Often described as a ‘masculine’ scent, though also popular in sultry romantic synergies.
One of the greatest benefits of cedarwood is its ability to treat dry skin, making it a great choice for hair serums and beard oils, treating follicles and skin at the same time.
Chamomile (German) Essential Oil • Matricaria chamomilla
German Chamomile is a deep blue color due to the distillation process, and most often used in skin care formulations and muscle ailments.
Though it is helpful in relaxing blends, similar to Roman Chamomile, German is the best chamomile oil for skin due to its ability to penetrate deeply into the skin. It soothes most skin irritations, including acne, inflammation, rosacea, and even mouth sores.
Chamomile (Roman) Essential Oil • Chamaemelum nobile
Roman Chamomile is said to be calming and helpful in combating insomnia and irritability, making it a popular choice for diffusing at bedtime or in other relaxing synergies.
Roman chamomile oil calms irritable skin as well, reducing inflammation and redness (especially helpful for individuals with rosacea). Full of antioxidants that help to minimize fine lines and wrinkles – a great addition to under eye creams and rollers.
Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil • Cinnamomum verum
Cinnamon leaf is a warming oil and heats the skin upon contact. This makes it a great oil for muscle balms and topical applications for aching joints.
In facial care, cinnamon oil must be diluted to 0.6% to be safely used – it has been known to revive skin tone, increase circulation, and slow the look of aging.
Clary Sage Essential Oil • Salvia sclarea
Clary sage is a best option for dealing with a multitude of women’s health issues. It has been known to reduce discomfort during menstrual cycles and helps to balance out hormones when diffused. In childbirth, midwives and doulas use clary sage to induce labor naturally.
In skin care, clary sage is great for oily and dry skin types, rejuvenating skin cells and tightening the skin. A wonderful cooling oil full of antioxidants that balance oil production and calm rashes.
Clove Bud Essential Oil • Syzygium aromaticum
Clove bud is a powerful anti-aging ingredient in many skin care formulas. It removes dead skin cells, increases blood circulation, and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Though incredibly useful in skin care, clove health benefits are commonly known for helping toothaches, muscle sprains and strains.
Coffee Essential Oil • Coffea arabica
Coffee bean essential oil has stimulating properties even without the direct consumption of caffeine. A wonderful oil to diffuse as you wake up for an additional morning boost.
Coffee oil for skin care increases blood flow and restores moisture levels, making it a great component to under eye creams and serums. It has also been said to improve skin elasticity and lighten age spots.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil • Eucalyptus globulus
Eucalyptus is a common essential oil that is used for improving circulation, fighting colds and fever, and treating cold sores.
Using eucalyptus oil for skin care recipes is the most helpful when dealing with inflamed acne. Applying diluted eucalyptus topically can help to safely dry out painful blemishes while also eliminating the spread of bacteria.
Fir Needle Essential Oil • Abies sibirica
Fir Essential Oil is most known for its use in treating aching, tired muscles. However, its crisp scent (similar to a freshly cut Christmas tree) makes it very popular for seasonal and masculine blends.
Fir needle oil has also been used to prevent infections, reduce pain, and increase metabolism.
Frankincense Essential Oil • Boswellia carteri
Frankincense is abundant in properties that benefit mental health, skin health, and increased memory. It is used in serums and creams to rejuvenate skin cells and works well on most skin types. Frankincense oil has natural astringent properties that may help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and size of pores.
For aromatherapy uses, frankincense carteri is said to enhance mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve concentration – all reasons that it is a popular oil to diffuse during meditation practices.
Geranium Essential Oil • Pelargonium asperum
Though historically used frequently in perfumery, geranium oil benefits for natural skin care formulas far outweigh its use in any other category. It is helpful in treating acne, oily skin, and dull skin, improving skin complexion overall.
The benefits of geranium oil are also useful in wellness blends due to its calming properties. Great for tension and daily stress relief formulas. Note that the geranium smell is VERY potent and is to be used sparingly.
Ginger Root Essential Oil • Zingiber officinale
Ginger root essential oil has an energizing scent that is a great addition to more masculine formulas. It has been known to be useful in improving circulation, and used more traditionally for muscular aches and pains.
Its spicy, unisex scent makes it a great addition to seasonal blends and more dynamic synergies.
Grapefruit Essential Oil • Citrus paradisi
Pink grapefruit essential oil is an uplifting oil that is commonly described as having a ‘sparkle’ – a happy, easy scent with plentiful benefits. Uses for grapefruit essential oil are vast; it is a fantastic toner and can be applied all over the skin when diluted with a carrier oil (4%), and is ideal for oily and blemish-prone skin types.
For wellness, grapefruit reduces blood pressure and moodiness – diffuse with other citrus oils or add to a roller with calming oils such as lavender and patchouli.
Jasmine Absolute • Jasminum sambac
Jasmine ‘Essential Oil’ comes as a highly concentrated absolute extracted from jasmine blossoms. It is intensely sweet and romantic – a little goes a long way.
The benefits of jasmine oil are readily seen in skin care, where it helps lighten scars, age spots, and other discolorations. Jasmine absolute balances out skin tone and produces a beautiful, natural glow.
Juniper Berry Essential Oil • Juniperus communis
Most well known for creating Gin, juniper berry is also used for skin care and wellness recipes around the world.
Juniper is a strong antiseptic, treating acne, general skin irritations, and inflammation. It also combats dandruff and softens hair, balancing out oil production.
Juniper oil is also used in aromatherapy due to being calming without having sedative effects.
Lavender Essential Oil • Lavandula angustifolia
Lavender essential oil is used for many personal care product recipes due to its anti-bacterial properties and its reputation to calm stress, promote sleep, reduce birthing discomfort, relieve itching, etc.
In skin care, lavender is used in balms, serums, and creams due to its ability to disinfect the skin, enhance circulation and skin regeneration, treat blemishes, and reduce the appearance of surface scarring.
Lemon Essential Oil • Citrus limon
Lemon is an energizing oil that is antibacterial, anti-fungal, an astringent, and antiseptic. Used most commonly in cleansers, both for the household and for skin care.
Lemon oil benefits also extend to aromatherapy due to its uplifting (yet calming) scent that is rejuvenating and energizing. One of the most popular essential oils on the market.
Lemongrass Essential Oil • Cymbopogon flexuosus
Lemongrass essential oil is made from steam distilled lemongrass. Smells citrusy, yet slightly toned-down and earthy compared to lemon.
Lemongrass is antibacterial and energizing, used frequently in insect repellents and formulations to treat muscle aches. This oil is phototoxic, and is best to keep to a dilution under 0.7% to reduce the possibility of skin sensitivites.
Lime Essential Oil • Citrus aurantifolia
Lime is an uplifting oil that is antibacterial and often used in skin care recipes to treat acne and dull skin.
The bright, cheerful scent of lime oil benefits aromatherapy blends that are used for concentration, uplifting, and energizing. A happy addition to any diffuser or roll-on oil blends.
May Chang Essential Oil • Litsea cubeba
May Chang, aka litsea cubeba, is a very strong smelling oil that is fresh and uplifting. It’s scent and properties are great for use in insect sprays and natural deodorants.
For facial care purposes, May Chang is a helpful addition to oily skin serums, especially when used in a base of Meadowfoam Oil.
Myrrh Essential Oil • Commiphora myrrha
Of all skin types, myrrh benefits dry skin the most – it soothes itchiness, redness, and relieves eczema symptoms. A great choice for postpartum skin care and mature skin care formulas.
The myrrh smell is enjoyable and relaxing to some and off-putting to others – its licorice scent is distinct worth noting on your product descriptions.
Nutmeg Essential Oil • Myristica fragrans
Nutmeg essential oil uses in skin care are best for dry, mature skin in need of intense moisture and rejuvenation. It is known to lighten age spots, help minimize fine lines, and keep acne-causing bacteria away.
As a warming spice oil, nutmeg uses are generally seen in the wellness category to improve circulation and digestion.
Orange (Blood) Essential Oil • Citrus sinensis
Blood orange is a variety of sweet orange, and has the same uplifting and antibacterial benefits as sweet orange essential oil – usage between the two is due to aromatic preferences only. Blood orange has a bit more tart scent.
Orange essential uses in skin care are plentiful, as it increases blood flow, collagen, and reduces inflammation. All useful properties for anti-aging formulas and products.
Orange (Sweet) Essential Oil • Citrus sinensis
Sweet orange is one of the most uplifting, happy essential oils you can have in your toolbox. Antibacterial and frequently used in natural cleaning products, orange is one of the most popular essential oils, coming in close second to lavender.
In skin care formulations, sweet orange oil reduces redness, brightens complexion, heals minor skin abrasions, detoxifies skin, diminishes appearance of pores, eliminates bacteria.
Patchouli Essential Oil • Pogostemon cablin
Patchouli oil uses are far reaching, yet in skin care recipes it works the best for dry skin issues such as eczema, dry chapped skin, and dandruff.
Patchouli is calming and grounding, said to reduce stress, depression, and anxiety (makes it a great addition to a diffuser or roll-on oil).
Petitgrain Essential Oil • Citrus aurantium
Petitgrain essential oil is frequently used in skin care recipes to help combat acne and oily skin. It is very gentle, yet effective on blemishes, inflammations, and overall problem skin.
Petitgrain is also used to help reduce stress and anxiety due to its relaxing, calming aroma. These properties make it a win for any nighttime diffuser recipe or aromatic pillow spray.
Peppermint Essential Oil • Mentha piperita
Peppermint oil is widely known for its help with headaches and muscle ailments due to its cooling affect upon application.
However, peppermint benefits natural skin care in a variety of ways. It has antiseptic and antibacterial properties, which is incredibly useful when fighting acne and other skin inflammations.
Rose Absolute • Rosa centifolia
Rose Absolute is made from steam distilled rose petals. Smells floral and sweet.
Rose is a very popular oil to use (diluted) on mature skin and for a variety of female hormonal issues, such as menopause and menstrual cramping.
This is one of the more expensive essential oils and a little goes a long way. For skin care formulas, there is no need to include more than 1% for anti-aging benefits.
Rosemary Essential Oil • Rosmarinus officinalis
Rosemary essential oil is made from steam distilled leaves of rosemary. It smells fresh and herbaceous and is said to improve circulation and increase memory retention.
Rosemary is a fantastic oil to diffuse before work or a test, for massage blends (increases skin circulation, making a warming sensation when rubbed in), but not safe for children to inhale. Only to be diffused around adults (18 years old and up for safest use).
Sage Essential Oil • Salvia officinalis
Sage is a very potent essential oil, and care need to be taken to use only up to 0.4% (and never mothers that are pregnant or breastfeeding).
While sage oil doesn’t have any known skin care benfits, it can be used (in proper dilutions) for scent blends in items such as lip balm or lotion bars for a unique, deep aroma.
Helpful when applied to the abdomen – again, diluted – for help with digestive issues.
Sandalwood Essential Oil • Santalum spicatum
Sandalwood essential oil is made from steam distilled sandalwood. Smells rich, woody, and sweet. A balancing oil that skin care, sensual blends, and mental health.
This gentle oil is great for all skin types, but is especially effective on oily skin and managing blemishes.
Sandalwood is a bit pricey; if being used for scent only, can easily be substituted with Amyris.
Spearmint Essential Oil • Mentha spicata
Spearmint is a potent, sweet, minty oil this is in the same family as peppermint.
It is stronger than other essential oils; while there aren’t direct cautions for use in facial skin care, it is best diluted to under 1.5% and other effective oils can be used instead.
This is a fantastic option for improving concentration in roller and diffuser blends, as well as warming benefits when added to muscle salves.
Star Anise Essential Oil • Illicium verum
Star Anise essential oil is made from steam distilled seeds of Star Anise. Anise smells just like black licorice and is said to help digestion, bronchitis, and muscle aches.
People tend to either really like or really dislike the scent of Anise. It has gotten great reviews when paired with peppermint, as in our Activated Charcoal Detoxifying Soap recipe.
A helpful blend for women during menopause in helping to control unexpected heat and sweating.
Tangerine Essential Oil • Citrus reticulata
Tangerine essential oil is made from cold-pressed tangerine rinds. It smells sweet and tangy, similar to orange.
Tangerine is an uplifting oil that is used to help manage stress and anxiety. For a quick uplifting diffuser or roller blend, mix with other citrusy oils (such as lemon or grapefruit) and a minty oil (such as spearmint or peppermint).
Tea Tree Essential Oil • Melaleuca alternifolia
Tea Tree essential oil is made from steam distilled leaves of the tea tree. It smells somewhat medicinal and earthy, a scent that takes getting accustomed to for some.
Tea Tree oil is used for a variety of skin irritations and treatments, disinfecting purposes, athlete’s foot, and much more. Mixed with witch hazel, it can be directly applied to open blemishes to reduce risk of infection and calm down any irritation and redness.
Ylang Ylang Essential Oil • Cananga odorata
Ylang Ylang Essential Oil is steam distilled from the flowers of the ylang ylang plant. Smells floral, sweet, and exotic. A known aphrodisiac that is also used in recipes that help combat stress, anxiety, depression, and oily skin.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If using for aromatherapy and aphrodisiac purposes, make sure you are purchasing Ylang Ylang Complete. Ylang Ylang Extra is used more for perfuming purposes.
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