Natural Ingredients for DIY Skin Care

Natural skin care products are on the rise, and for good reason. Transitioning to natural personal care products in general is better for your body AND better for the environment.

Products made without fragrances, chemicals, and artifical colors are more gentle on the skin, cause less irritations, and ensure that harmful carcinogens aren’t absorbed into the bloodstream.

The most popular natural ingredients for DIY skin care are butters and waxes, carrier oils, essential oils, and natural colorants.

Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase. This is at no cost to you, and I only share products that I use and love myself.  Please read my disclosure for more information.

Butters and waxes are essential to natural skin care formulas because they deeply hydrate the skin, absorbing several layers down for cell regeneration and hydration.

While the specific properties of each butter and wax differ, they all contain antioxidants and nutrients that make skin more flexible and moisturized.

Natural waxes help to lock in moisture and thicken the consistency of skin care formulas. Many waxes also provide a natural SPF as well as extend the shelf life of other ingredients in a recipe.

Carrier oils are vegetable oils that come from seeds and nuts of a plant through a cold-processing (crushing) method. They provide vitamins, moisture, and protection to your skin.

Carrier oils are well-known for using with essential oils (as they help to ‘carry’ the essential oils to your bloodstream when absorbed), though they can also be used by themselves for moisturizing.

They are also very beneficial in skin care formulas to help products glide onto the skin more easily and may lengthen the shelf life of other ingredients (depending on the combined compounds).

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.

In natural skin care and cosmetics, colors are safely created with mineral pigments (micas and oxides) and ground herbs, roots, and seeds.

Micas are natural occurring minerals that have been purified and crushed/ground into very fine powder. They are popular in cosmetics and other handmade products since they add a natural shimmery finish. Cosmetic micas that contain ONLY mica minerals and iron/titanium oxide are considered natural – there are some available on the market that are colored with FD&C colorants, such as blue and green (which we do not promote on our site).

Ground herbs and roots can create a vast array of natural colors. While they can be added to handmade soap recipes directly, they are most effectively used in lip colors through infusion.

It is important to note that both micas and ground plant materials must be labeled as cosmetic grade to be used safely in any skin care or cosmetic recipe.

Butters & Waxes

Beeswax • Cera alba

Beeswax is a natural wax produced by honey bees. It locks in moisture and protects skin by creating a barrier from the environment without clogging pores.

Due to it’s high levels of Vitamin A, it is also said to aid in natural healing and cell development (added bonus: it’s high melting point keeps your products from melting in transit during warmer months or climates).

Cocoa Butter • Theobroma cacao

Pure cocoa butter is one of the most hydrating butters and is full of vitamins, antioxidants, and fats that no other natural skin care ingredient can claim.

There is no real cocoa butter substitute, as it has an amazing ability to lock in moisture, provide sun protection, lighten dark spots and discolorations, and has been credited for helping to diminish the appearance of stretch marks and scars. (Again, recommended that you use an unrefined, raw option.)

 Coconut Oil, 76°• Cocos nucifera

Coconut Oil comes in two forms: fractionated (liquid carrier oil…more on that in the section below) and 76° (solid). The infinite coconut oil uses make it the most popular oil in both forms due to its quick absorption, slight SPF, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.

Solid coconut oil has a low melting point (of 76° F) and is added to recipes that are meant to remain a bit thicker, yet melt on contact with skin for easily application.

Mango Butter • Mangifera indica

Mango Butter is a solid, thick butter that slowly melts when applied to skin due to body heat. It is similar to shea and cocoa butter, all higher in fatty acids and antioxidants (which makes them super moisturizing).

The most praise-worthy of mango butter benefits is its ability to promote cell regeneration, making it fantastic for dealing with scarring and stretch marks. A very soothing and healing butter for numerous natural skin care applications.

Palm Kernel Oil • Elaeis guinnesis

Palm kernel oil is used in cold process soap recipes because it helps to harden the bar and also creates a lather (when combined with coconut oil).

Use of palm oil is actually a controvery in the soap-making community due to conversations about it contributing to deforestation. The version shown here is a certified sustainable option (RSPO); Lovely Greens has an interesting take on using sustainable palm oil in soap.

Shea Butter • Vitellaria paradoxa

The benefits of shea butter are far-reaching and unparalleled in skin care. It is an intense moisturizer and deeply penetrates the skin. It goes so far as to revitalize damaged skin, making it a fantastic addition to recipes for postpartum skin care recipes and mature skin formulations.

To get the most out of shea butter benefits, it is highly recommended that you use an unrefined, raw option such as this one.

Carrier Oils

Apricot Kernel Oil • Prunus armeniaca

Apricot oil is a light carrier oil that provides moisture to sensitive skin. It spreads easily and is quickly absorbed, making it great for babies and mature skin.

Though apricot oil benefits skin on its own, it can also be blended with other carrier oils (such as almond oil) to improve skin tone and diminish the appearance of dark circles.

Argan Oil • Argania spinosa

Argan oil is light and easily absorbed into the skin, making it a crucial ingredient in moisturizing skin and hair care products.

This deeply penetrating oil softens dry patches and can protect from sun damage. It is considered one of the best anti-aging oils due to properties that help tighten pores and increase skin elasticity.

Avocado Oil • Persea gratissima

 Avocado oil is rich in vitamins A, B, D, and E. It is a popular oil for cold process soap making because it’s high fatty acids help to make a soft, rich bar that lathers really nicely.

This oil is also found in other skin care recipes as it is beneficial for many skin types; for dry skin in particular, it helps relieve itching, dry patches, and sun damaged areas.

Castor Oil • Ricinus communis

Pure castor oil is a natural preservative, a lubricant, and has emollient properties (which adds that nice ‘slip’ to products so they glide onto skin easily).

Other benefits of castor oil include softening and hydrating skin and is great for all skin types; due to its somewhat ‘burnt’ smell, it is best used in recipes that will have essential oils added to mask the scent a bit.

Coconut Oil, Fractionated • Cocos nucifera

Coconut Oil comes in two forms: fractionated (liquid carrier oil) and 76° (solid). The infinite coconut oil uses make it the most popular oil in both forms due to its quick absorption, slight SPF, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.

Fractionated coconut oil will never become a solid form and is a very popular carrier oil that is quickly absorbed. It is thinner than most carrier oils and doesn’t leave any residue on the skin. (This is the only organic version currently on the market!)

Evening Primrose Oil • Oenothera biennis

Evening primrose is in the top five carrier oils for use in facial care and is known to relieve itching, redness, roughness, and aid in hormone balance.

Primrose oil is also beneficial in hair care to help with dandruff – apply directly to hair follicles in the shower and rinse out.

Grapeseed Oil • Vitis vinifera

Grapeseed Oil is pressed from the crushed seeds of grapes after they have been de-juiced in the wine making process (yay wine!).

Grapeseed can help regulate your natural oil production; a gentle and light oil on the skin that is easily absorbed. A great oil for acne-prone skin and for decreasing redness in sensitive skin.

Jojoba Oil • Simmondsia chinensis

Organic Jojoba Oil is incredibly similar to the oil our skin naturally produces so it is quickly and easily absorbed, making it a wonderful carrier for essential oils.

Jojoba oil is actually a liquid wax rather than an oil. This carrier is not greasy and non-allergenic, safely used around the eyes and on the skin. One of the best benefits of jojoba oil for makers is its long shelf life of 2-3 years (if stored in a dry, cool environment). 

Olive Oil • Pomace

 Olive oil pomace is a staple ingredient in any soap maker’s inventory. It creates a thick, moisturizing bar without breaking the bank.

Compared to regular olive oil in cold process soaping, it creates a harder bar and helps butters and lye come to trace more quickly.

Rice Bran Oil • Oryza sativa

 Rice bran oil is another popular oil for soap making that is somewhat similar to olive oil.

For individuals with dry or flaky skin, adding up to 20% rice bran oil to cold process soap recipes will leave skin more moisturized and smooth.

Rice bran oil can also be used in lip balms, body butters, bath bombs, and other skin care recipes.

Rosehip Oil • Rosa rubiginosa

Rosehip Seed Oil benefits mature and dry skin due to its properties that aid in cell regeneration. Rosehip seed is a delicate oil that is easily soaked into the skin and does not leave a greasy residue.

This is also a popular oil for skin discoloration, such as age spots and acne scarring; adding essential oils and vitamin E to your rosehip can provide even greater benefits.

Sunflower Oil • Helianthus annuus

Sunflower carrier oil is a lesser known oil but FULL of vitamins and minerals for gentle, natural skin care.

Due to its lower price tag, sunflower oil uses are seen more in massage oil blends (since more of the base is used) – however, the properties of this oil make it a fantastic addition to facial products and lotion bars, as it softens and conditions skin beautifully.

Sweet Almond Oil • Prunus dulcis

Sweet Almond Carrier Oil is extracted from the dry kernels of sweet (edible) almonds. Rich in Vitamin E, proteins, and numerous minerals and vitamins.

This oil is easily absorbed and can be used on all skin types for deep moisture and is used in serums, bath bombs, massage oil blends, lotion bars, soap, and more.

Essential Oils

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.

Vanilla CO2 Extract • Vanilla planifolia

 Vanilla CO2 is extracted from the seeds and beans of the vanilla plant.  It smells warm, inviting, and sweet.  

Vanilla extract is used mostly for fragrance purposes. Its scent is said to be helpful during times of stress, but this may be due to memories attached to seasonal smells rather than true psychological properties.

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.

Herbs, Clays, and Exfoliants

Activated Charcoal Powder

Activated charcoal powder (not to be confused with regular charcoal powder) is widely used in skin care recipes due to its detoxifying properties.

It can be used to make facial masks, which helps to draw impurities out of skin (making pores appear smaller).

Activated charcoal is also very helpful in cold process soaps for all over body use, as it absorbs bacteria and toxins from the body.

Alkanet Root Powder • Arnebia nobilis

Alkanet root creates a light to deep red color without shimmer and is commonly used to make natural cosmetics and handmade soaps. 

In addition to being a natural colorant for personal care products, alkanet root powder also contains antioxidants which benefits skin cell regeneration. A clean beauty win all around.

For a visual example, see our Alkanet Root Tinted Lip Balm by Treesnail Natural Essentials.

Arnica • Arnica montana

 Arnica is a perennial plant in the same family as the sunflower. It is widely used in topical salves for sore muscles, menstrual cramping, and surface bruises.

Arnica can be poisonous if consumed internally, but safe when applied topically after being infused for use as an oil, tincture, or ointment.

Not to be used on open skin, mucous membranes, children, or pregnant women.

Basil • Ocimum basilicum

 Basil is a fragrant herb that is most often used in cooking. However, it is a welcome addition as an exfoliant and natural fragrance in cold process recipes, such as our Herbal Coffee Kitchen Soap.

Basil smells minty and peppery at the same time, creating a lovely, well-rounded scent however it is used.

Calcium Bentonite Clay • Montmorillonite clay

Bentonite clay is used in a variety of skin care recipes, including facial masks, cold process soap, exfoliating body scrubs, and detoxifying lotions.

Our favorite use for this is in our fragrance free shaving soap, as it adds a nice ‘slip’ to the skin which is ideal when using a razor.

Though it feels like the bentonite would remain hard and sandy in a recipe (like pumice), it dissolves very easily when added to liquid.

Calendula • Calendula officinalis

Calendula is an herb made from dried petals of (nonornamental) marigold flowers.  Soak calendula in various oils for weeks at a time to make a vitamin-rich oil infusion. This infused oil can then be used in products to reduce inflammation and minor skin abrasions.

Dried calendula petals can also be used as ornamental pretties on soap by placing on top while it is still wet (before curing).

Chamomile • Matricaria chamomilla

Dried chamomile is from the flowers and buds of a German Chamomile plant.  Smells sweet, fruity, and herbaceous, and most often used in skin care formulations and muscle ailments. Fantastic in oil infusions, especially for sensitive skin types (including babies).

Just like calendula, chamomile can be used ornamentally on soap by placing on top while it is still wet (before curing).

Coffee (Ground) • Coffea arabica

Ground coffee is an excellent exfoliant and a wonderful addition to neutralizing soaps, such as our Herbal Coffee Kitchen Soap recipe.

While we do have this particular brand linked here, the coffee itself doesn’t really matter (you won’t be tasting it, after all). What does matter is how finely it is ground and how much ‘grit’ you want in your soaps and scrubs. Your personal preference!

Colloidal (Ground) Oatmeal • Avena sativa

Oatmeal is made from hulled oat grains and is used in handmade recipes to naturally exfoliate and ease discomfort of many skin ailments. 

Colloidal Oatmeal is simply ground up oatmeal that is a very fine powder. This is helpful in soothing recipes such as sensitive skin soap bars and powdered milk baths.

Indigo Powder • Indigofera tinctoria

Indigo is a 100% natural colorant that is used to dye a very wide variety of things: fabric, hair, skin, and soaps.

This powder is used in our Fresh Indigo Moisturizing Cold Process Soap recipe, and the color can range from a light green to almost black depending on how much you use and if you insulate your soap.

A very fun colorant to experiment with for a huge range of handmade items!

Lemon Balm • Melissa officinalis

Dried lemon balm comes from a perennial herb in the mint family. It has a smell and taste like lemon and adds a layer of depth to any skin care recipe.

Lemon balm can be infused in oil for a vitamin rich topical application, or it can be added to cold process soaps for exfoliating purposes.

A lovely addition to tea bags or scented sachets as well!

Marshmallow Root • Althea officinalis

Marshmallow root comes from the root of the marshmallow plant and is most commonly known for use as tea, in syrups, and homemade lozenges.

This root is a key ingredient in our Lanolin-Free Nursing Balm for breastfeeding mothers, helping to soothe sensitive skin the first few weeks after childbirth.

A cooling, delicate herb that is safe for babies to ingest and gentle enough for tender, raw skin.

Moroccan Clay • Rhassoul Clay (Ghassoul) Powder

Rhassoul clay, a type of Moroccan clay, is rich in magnesium, potassium, and other vitamins to help nourish the skin.

It is added to soaps, scrubs, and masks to help even out skin tone, draw out impurities, reduce skin dryness, and make skin feel silky-smooth.

A FANTASTIC clay to have on hand for a number of DIY natural skin care recipes.

Variety Clay Set • Bentonite, Moroccan, Kaolin, Activated Charcoal, Mixed Blend

A mixed set of most of the clays mentioned above for a super bundle price. This is the perfect set to get started as you experiment with recipes and find out which products you are going to keep for the long-haul in your skin care line.

Most recipes (even 5 pound soap batches) only call for 3 Tbsp of clay or powder, so this set will last a very decent amount of time as you test what your audience wants more of.

Micas

Black Mica Mineral

This black mica powder is perfect to darken any shade and can also be used in handmade bath bombs, soaps, and candle-making.

Mica flakes by Eye Candy are ground up into an incredibly fine powder so that no texture is felt on the skin when applying lip products or using soap. The absolute best in the industry.

For a visual example, see our Espresso Bean Tinted Lip Balm by Treesnail Skin Care.

Bronze Mica Mineral

This bronze mica powder is perfect for adding an interesting depth to a variety of lip colors and can also be used in handmade bath bombs, soaps, and candle-making.

Mica flakes by Eye Candy are ground up into an incredibly fine powder so that no texture is felt on the skin when applying lip products or using soap. The absolute best in the industry.

For a visual example, see our Espresso Bean Tinted Lip Balm by Treesnail Skin Care.

Copper Mica Mineral

This copper mica powder is perfect for shimmery brown shades and can also be used in handmade bath bombs, soaps, and candle-making.

Mica flakes by Eye Candy are ground up into an incredibly fine powder so that no texture is felt on the skin when applying lip products or using soap. The absolute best in the industry.

For a visual example, see our Iced Java Tinted Lip Balm from Treesnail Skin Care.

Coral Mica Mineral

This coral mica powder is perfect for shimmery pink shades and can also be used in handmade bath bombs, soaps, and candle-making.

Mica flakes by Eye Candy are ground up into an incredibly fine powder so that no texture is felt on the skin when applying lip products or using soap. The absolute best in the industry.

For a visual example, see our Rose Dew Tinted Lip Balm by Treesnail Skin Care.

Crimson Mica Mineral

This crimson mica powder is perfect for adding slight red tones and can also be used in handmade bath bombs, soaps, and candle-making.

Mica flakes by Eye Candy are ground up into an incredibly fine powder so that no texture is felt on the skin when applying lip products or using soap. The absolute best in the industry.

For a visual example, see our Rose Dew Tinted Lip Balm by Treesnail Skin Care.

Dark Brown Mica Mineral

This deep brown mica powder is perfect for darker shades and can also be used in handmade bath bombs, soaps, and candle-making.

Mica flakes by Eye Candy are ground up into an incredibly fine powder so that no texture is felt on the skin when applying lip products or using soap. The absolute best in the industry.

For a visual example, see our Espresso Bean Tinted Lip Balm by Treesnail Skin Care.

Gold Mica Mineral

This gold mica powder is perfect for adding a unique shine to neutral shades and can also be used in handmade bath bombs, soaps, and candle-making.

Mica flakes by Eye Candy are ground up into an incredibly fine powder so that no texture is felt on the skin when applying lip products or using soap. The absolute best in the industry.

For a visual example, see our Cafe Latte Tinted Lip Balm by Treesnail Skin Care.

This light brown mica powder (which is actually a muted cherry red) is perfect for creating a sheer barely-there base and can also be used in handmade bath bombs, soaps, and candle-making.

Mica flakes by Eye Candy are ground up into an incredibly fine powder so that no texture is felt on the skin when applying lip products or using soap. The absolute best in the industry.

For a visual example, see our Cafe Latte Tinted Lip Balm by Treesnail Skin Care.

Red Orange Mica Mineral

This red orange mica powder is perfect for deeper pink shades and can also be used in handmade bath bombs, soaps, and candle-making.

Mica flakes by Eye Candy are ground up into an incredibly fine powder so that no texture is felt on the skin when applying lip products or using soap. The absolute best in the industry.

For a visual example, see our Rose Dew Tinted Lip Balm by Treesnail Skin Care.

Satin Lace Mica

This satin white mica powder is perfect for colorless lip products and lightening bolder colors, and can also be used in handmade bath bombs, soaps, and candle-making.

Mica flakes by Eye Candy are ground up into an incredibly fine powder so that no texture is felt on the skin when applying lip products or using soap. The absolute best in the industry.

For a visual example, see our Diamond Freesia Lip Shimmer by Treesnail Skin Care.

White Sparkle Mica Mineral

This white sparkle mica powder is perfect for pale shimmery shades and can also be used in handmade bath bombs, soaps, and candle-making.

Mica flakes by Eye Candy are ground up into an incredibly fine powder so that no texture is felt on the skin when applying lip products or using soap. The absolute best in the industry.

For a visual example, see our Frosted Lily Tinted Lip Balm by Treesnail Skin Care.

Miscellaneous Ingredients

Borax • Sodium tetraborate

Sodium tetraborate is a key ingredient in our natural laundry powder, and this version comes from the most environmentally stable mine in the United States.

There are some individuals that claim borax is not safe and should not be considered a green product addition. In our laundry soap recipe, it is incredibly safe with the recommended ingredients. Read this article about borax safety by Crunch Betty to determine if you can stand behind using sodium tetraborate in your product line.

Castile Soap Bars • Fragrance Free, 100% Coconut Oil

Castile soap is a vegetable-based soap that is free from animal fats and synthetic ingredients.

This highly cleansing soap can remove germs, bacteria, dirt, and grease.

Incredibly eco-friendly, castile soap bars are a main ingredient in handmade laundry powder and are added to the recipe by grating or blending into incredibly tiny pieces.

This particular link to Kirk’s is a steal and includes 18 bars for a fantastic bulk price.

Distilled Water

Using distilled water rather than tap water is incredibly important when following skin care recipes, especially when making cold process soap. The impurities in regular water will mess with the saponification process and ruin your batch.

For various sprays that require water, a distilled version keeps the spray nozzels unclogged.

(Psst…you can get gallons of distilled water for less than a dollar at most local pharmacies or grocery stores.)

Lye • Sodium Hydroxide

If you know you’re going to be doing a bit of soap making, this bulk set (16 x 2lb containers) is a great deal.

Lye has a shelf life of about a year and will need to be tested if you have some left after that point. Expired lye will make it difficult for your soap to reach trace or ingredients may separate after poured.

Grab a single container of lye if you are just starting out and experimenting.

Menthol Crystals • Mentha arvensis

Menthol crystals are highly concentrated essential oil extracts.  They are natural, cool and refreshing; used topically to relieve minor aches and pains in joints and muscles.

This is a key ingredient in our warming muscle balm recipe and creates a tingle on the skin.

Crystals are added to a recipe after all other ingredients have melted on a stovetop – ideally poured into containers immediately after the menthol is dissolved and mixed into the formulation for maximum effectiveness.

Vegetable Glycerin

Vegetable glycerin is a liquid extracted from plant oils (coconut, soy, or palm) that has a thick consistency similar to syrup. It attracts moisture to the skin, leaving skin hydrated and able to absorb more of the other ingredients in the recipe.

Glycerin is also used as a natural preservative and an emulsifier. It is added to our air &  linen sprays to help blend water with the essential oils.

Vitamin E, soy free, non-GMO • D-alpha tocopherol

Vitamin E is used for a variety of reasons in natural skin care products.

First, vitamin E contains antioxidants which help to rid the skin of free radicals (which helps to reduce age spots, fine lines, and stretch marks).

Vitamin E is also a natural preservative which helps handmade products have a longer shelf life before going rancid.

Washing Soda • Sodium carbonate

Sodium carbonate is the sodium salt of carbonic acid and is used commonly in green cleaning products. The version shown here is completely fragrance and phosphate free, making it the perfect addition to natural laundry powder recipes.

Though natural, it should still not be inhaled (wearing a mask when handling is ideal) and as most of the ingredients on this list, kept out of reach from children.

Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is an extract distilled from the bark and twigs of the witch hazel tree. It can be used on its own as a facial toner, or combined with herbs and essential oils for a more proprietary blend.

When purchasing witch hazel, be sure to look for 14% or less alcohol and preferrably double distilled.

Beware of versions online that don’t list all ingredients – there are so many varieties that include aloe vera, fragrance, or other types of alcohol.

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