3 Essential Oil DIY Skin Care RecipesReading Time: 14 minutes
If you’re like millions of women (and men), you’ve used department or drug store brand skincare products at some point to keep your skin soft, supple, and wrinkle-free. Unfortunately, it turns out that many of these mainstream beauty products contain toxic ingredients that aren’t doing your health any favors long-term. But what’s the alternative? One fun option is to create your own scrumptious, safe, and healthy DIY skin care products in just minutes using the best essential oils for skin combined with the best oil for skin.
The research is clear that we’re creating problems for our health and our environment every time we purchase mass-produced skin care products and cosmetics. For instance, a class of chemicals called parabens (e.g., propylparaben, butylparaben) are showing up in breast milk and breast tumors and are suspected of causing breast cancer .
Phthalates are chemical-binding agents that frequently appear in fragrances, cosmetics, and personal care products. Phthalates are linked to a number of health problems and may even be adversely affecting the sexual development of children . Microbeads used in exfoliation products are polluting our waterways.
DIY Skin Care Just Make Good Sense
Here are four reasons why homemade skin care that uses quality, organic ingredients (including appropriate essential oils for face and body) is a good choice:
- Better Health, Better for the Planet. One of the best reasons for making your own DIY skin care recipes is that you know exactly what’s in your products as you’ll have sourced the ingredients yourself. If you choose all organic ingredients, there are no toxic chemicals to worry about; no nasties that will come back and haunt you and your health later on.
- Customization. An added bonus with DIY skin care products is that you can customize each item to suit your own skin type and any problems you may have. Whether you’re prone to oily skin, dry skin, acne, or eczema, there are essential oils recipes for skin you can find for these issues.
- Save Money. The money you will save will truly startle you! There is absolutely no need to spend $75.00 on a jar of anti-aging skin serum when you can make a really effective one in just minutes. It is enormously satisfying!
- You Can Share Them. Homemade skin care products make great gifts. When your friends and family find out you are doing this, they will undoubtedly want to be included. Once you get the hang of it, you can make enough for yourself and any surplus can be given as gifts.
The only time-consuming part of DIY natural skin care is sourcing the ingredients. We’ve done our best to simplify this process by sharing some important information about what to look for (and look out for!).
The Importance of Choosing Organic Ingredients for Your DIY Skin Care
Buying organic ingredients for your natural skin care products is going to cost you a little more, but this step is vital.
If you are serious about getting toxic chemicals out of your life or at least reducing how many you voluntarily come into contact with, you need to purchase all organic ingredients.
Organic Certification means:
- The products have no toxic chemicals, no hidden synthetic ingredients, and no genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
- Organic farmers work hard to create a balanced, sustainable farming system. The plants grow without the use of fertilizers and pesticides.
- Organically grown plants offer a wider spectrum of phytochemicals (natural, plant-based chemicals) than conventionally grown plants.
- Manufacturing facilities creating organic products have passed a rigorous certification inspection.
- Organic farming is gentler on the planet. It encourages a healthy and diverse habitat for animals, birds, and bees. It helps protect our waterways and provides a safer work environment for farmers.
Understanding Carrier Oils for Essential Oils and Skincare Products
If you plan on making your own natural face moisturizers, body butter, oils, lip balms, etc., you will need to know something about carrier oils. Carrier oils are frequently used with essential oils. Each carrier oil offers a different combination of therapeutic benefits and characteristics. Depending upon the therapeutic benefit you are seeking, your choice of carrier oils can make all the difference.
Carrier oils provide the basis and the bulk of ingredients going into your DIY skin care products. All of these should be refrigerated when storing to maintain freshness and nutrient levels.
Here are 19 of the best carrier oils available from A-Z:
(Buying Tip: look for organic, cold-pressed oils whenever possible)
Apricot Kernel Oil
Apricot kernel oil contains beneficial fatty acids, along with vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene (the precursor to vitamin A), so it’s full of anti-aging antioxidants. It’s anti-inflammatory so very helpful for skin conditions like rosacea and eczema. Gentle and nourishing, this is a great multi-purpose oil.
Originally from Morocco, argan oil is made from argan tree kernels. Contains loads of vitamin E, helps repair skin, protects skin from sun damage, is deeply moisturizing, naturally anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal. It reduces sebum so great for acne. Argan oil is also beneficial for aging, dry skin, atopic dermatitis, and for preventing or reducing stretch marks.
Avocado oil is rich in vitamins A, C, D, and E, potassium, lecithin, and other phytochemicals that help to nourish and moisturize the skin. Penetrates skin well and has good wound healing abilities. Great for damaged, dry, or chapped skin. Avocado boosts collagen production, reduces dark circles under eyes, improves skin elasticity, soothes sun-damaged skin, and prevents premature aging.
Castor oil has impressive anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-aging protection. It is beneficial for acne, inflamed skin, and several studies have shown that it helps to reduce hyperpigmentation (brown spots) on the skin. Castor oil has plenty of omega-3 fatty acids that promote healthy skin and reduce scarring and stretch marks. It has a natural sun protection factor (SPF) of 5.
Coconut oil has a characteristic coconut aroma, and contains vitamin E, proteins, lauric acid, capric and caprylic acids. Virgin and extra virgin coconut oil are good for skin healing, rash soothing, are anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. It has an SPF of 7. If you have oily, acne-prone skin, coconut oil is not recommended because it can block pores.
Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil is a more delicate oil, rich in vitamins C and E, plus essential fatty acids and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). EPO is highly anti-inflammatory which makes it excellent for dermatitis or eczema. It fights acne (and taken internally via capsules it helps to balance out the hormonal fluctuations which can lead to acne), speeds wound healing, diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, redness, and irritated skin.
Not only beneficial taken internally but flaxseed oil also makes an excellent addition to your homemade skin care products. Naturally full of omega-3 fatty acids, so anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, speeds up the healing process, brightens skin, and minimizes fine lines and wrinkles. Helpful for inflamed skin and rashes, eczema, dry skin, and acne.
It’s doubly important to buy grapeseed oil that is grown organically. Grapes are highly sprayed with pesticides which do make their way to the seed. Also, most commercial preparations use hexane as a solvent (not healthy!). Organically grown, however, it is wonderful to use. Contains antioxidants and omega-6 and -9 fatty acids. Reduces scars, stretch marks, and wrinkles. Improves skin elasticity, protects skin from sun damage, may help with hyper-pigmentation. Antimicrobial, good for acne. Easily absorbed by the skin.
Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp seed oil is high in omega-3 and -6 fats so incredibly nourishing for the skin. It reduces the appearance of wrinkles and protects skin from the damaging rays of the sun. Good for all skin types, from sensitive to oily to super-dry. It rejuvenates the skin, provides long-lasting moisture, calms irritated skin, and balances oily skin.
Whether skin is dry or oily, jojoba oil can help. Contains vitamin E and is deeply moisturizing. Penetrates skin well, has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and wound healing properties. Because it is more of a wax than an oil it is highly protective to the skin but does not block pores. It is considered hypoallergenic and anti-acne as it controls the production of sebum. May help promote the synthesis of collagen; may assist rosacea.
Kukui Nut Oil
If you’re from Hawaii, you’ll be familiar with kukui nut oil which contains linoleic and linolenic essential fatty acids. It’s useful for the treatment of eczema, psoriasis, aging or weather-damaged skin, but also acne. Penetrates the skin well; is nourishing, anti-inflammatory, minimizes the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, and forms a protective barrier on the skin.
Another nut oil, macadamia oil is high in omega-3, -6, -7, and -9 fatty acids; it is a lightweight yet highly moisturizing oil. Promotes cell regeneration due to its high content of plant phytosterols, which act as the building blocks of cell membranes. Macadamia is anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and although non-greasy, acts as a protective barrier to reduce water loss from the skin. Good for mature skin, acne, wound healing, and burns, and will not clog pores. Some consider macadamia oil to be the closest match to sebum, a naturally occurring oil in the skin.
Derived from a South African tree kernel, marula oil is rich in omega-6 and -9 fats, vitamins C and E. Potently anti-aging, reduces the appearance of scars, blemishes, and wrinkles. A great moisturizer; protects skin against sun, wind, and pollution. Prevents and treats stretch marks; great for all skin types and will not block pores.
Full of antioxidants and vitamins A, E, D, and K, olive oil is an excellent anti-aging moisturizer for the skin. It deeply penetrates the skin but does not clog pores. It has a natural SPF of 7, is antibacterial, and its plant sterols help to regenerate skin cells. Good for inflammatory skin conditions, aging, and weathered skin.
Rosehip oil contains vitamins A and C and essential fatty acids. It’s antibacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal. Very hydrating and moisturizing for dry skin, boosts collagen synthesis, is anti-inflammatory, protects against UV exposure, helps reduce hyperpigmentation, reduces scarring, wrinkles, and fine lines, and fights acne.
Not the cooking oil; look for a cold-pressed organic version of safflower. Full of antioxidants and linoleic acid so good for reducing signs of aging. Also fights acne and eczema because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Improves the texture of skin, hydrates, and will not clog the pores. Also good for hair and scalp.
Sunflower oil is full of essential fatty acids, and vitamins A, D, and E. Its beta-carotene content helps protect skin against UV damage. It is anti-aging, rehydrating, good for healing skin, and anti-inflammatory. Helps treat acne, dry skin, eczema, and smooths existing wrinkles.
Sweet Almond Oil
Sweet almond oil contains vitamins A and E, monosaturated fatty acids, and minerals like potassium and zinc. Great for dry, chapped, or irritated skin so helpful for eczema and psoriasis. Also great for acne-prone skin as it will not block the pores. Easily penetrates the skin and protects the skin from UV radiation damage with an SPF of around 4-5.
Derived from a nut that grows in southeast Asia and the Pacific islands, tamanu oil contains some powerful phytochemicals that heal and soothe the skin and are potently anti-inflammatory. Great for wound healing, scarring, dry or wrinkled skin, acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, yet gentle enough for babies.
A Brief Discussion of Butters and Waxes for DIY Skin Care Products
Beeswax – Anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-fungal. Helps product stay on skin longer and protects against pollution. Acts as a natural water-resistant barrier for skin and locks in hydration; gives products a creamy texture. Has emollient properties and helps to maintain smooth skin texture. Good for dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, damaged skin, stretch marks, and heals acne.
Cocoa/Cacao Butter – Not only does it smell like chocolate (yum!), cocoa butter is a marvel for protecting the skin from aging. It is ultra-hydrating and full of protective antioxidants. It is an emollient, which means it protects and shields skin from environmental factors and adds a protective layer of hydration. Wonderful for dry, cracked, aging skin, eczema, burns, rashes, and stretch marks.
Shea Butter – High in vitamin E, has great moisturizing properties, and even promotes the production of collagen in the skin. It is milder in aroma than cocoa butter.
Exceptionally hydrating and full of antioxidants, shea butter fights skin aging and offers a mild form of UV protection (around SPF 4-6). It’s anti-inflammatory, restores skin elasticity, and promotes skin healing.
Keeping Your DIY Skin Care Products Safe: Are Preservatives Necessary?
Homemade skin care products do run the risk of being contaminated by bacteria and mold unless you take steps to prevent that. If the product only has oils and waxes in it, you do not need to worry about this overly much. Adding essential oils (most of which tend to have natural antibacterial properties) to an oil-based cream is generally sufficient to protect against the growth of molds, mildews, yeasts, and bacteria. When using the product, rather than dipping your fingers into it, use a small, clean spoon or wooden stick that you wash after each use.
With any product that contains water or something like aloe vera juice, however, you will need to add a preservative to help guard against the growth of undesirable organisms. Fortunately, there are some very good ones on the market that are safe for use in your organic skin care products.
Leucidal Liquid SF – A probiotic-based ingredient created by the fermentation of Lactobacillus (one of the species of microorganisms used to produce fermented products such as sauerkraut and kimchi). A member of the lactic acid bacteria family, it discourages the growth of microorganisms by acidifying its environment. It also produces antimicrobial peptides known as bacteriocins, that are capable of providing broad-spectrum antimicrobial protection.
Geogard Ultra – An effective yet mild, non-toxic broad-spectrum natural preservative derived from naturally occurring food additives, gluconolactone and sodium benzoate. This product has a green (safe) rating at the Environmental Working Group (EWG) cosmetic ingredients database.
3 DIY Skin Care Recipes Using Essential Oils
Remember that using organic ingredients whenever possible is your best bet for DIY natural skin care. We purposely haven’t included the word “organic” in front of each ingredient, but it is implied. Keep any unused (leftover) ingredients refrigerated for maximum freshness. Essential oils are best kept in a cool, dark spot.
Ultra-Light, Rich Night Cream
This fluffy moisturizer works best at night as a face cream and can be used day or night on the body. It is rich and creamy and the addition of the essential oils make it a potent anti-aging cream. Double the recipe if you wish to make enough to share with loved ones.
- 2 to 2-1/2 tablespoons jojoba oil
- 3 tablespoons/40 grams shea butter
- 1 tablespoon/10 grams cocoa butter
- 1-1/2 tablespoons/20 grams avocado oil
- 10 drops carrot seed oil
- 10 drops Organixx frankincense essential oil
- 10 drops Organixx lavender essential oil
- 5 drops Organixx Magi-Complexx essential oil blend
- In a double boiler, melt the shea butter and cocoa butter gently, avoiding direct heat. Combine with remaining ingredients in large glass bowl and, using a hand mixer, blend for around 7 minutes to add lots of air to the mixture.
- Set bowl in freezer for 10-15 minutes (no more), then blend with hand mixer again for about 7-8 minutes until it reaches a creamy consistency.
- Using a clean spatula, transfer cream into sterilized glass jars and put the lid on tight. Store in a cool, dry spot.
Nourishing Eye Cream with Essential Oils
Easy to prepare and deeply nourishing to the delicate skin around the eyes. To use, gently dab a tiny amount under and over each eye, being careful to avoid getting it into the eyes.
- 55 grams/4 tablespoons shea butter
- 30 grams/2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 10 grams/2 teaspoons beeswax pastilles
- 1 tablespoon hemp seed oil
- 2 drops Organixx frankincense essential oil
- 2 drops Organixx lavender essential oil
- 2 drops Organixx Magi-Complex essential oil blend
- Combine all of the ingredients EXCEPT for the essential oils (which should never be heated) in a small, sterilized wide-mouth glass jar and place lid on loosely.
- Place the covered glass jar containing the ingredients into a saucepan. Fill pan with water so water level comes only half way up the glass jar. Over medium heat, melt the contents of the jar. This should take about 5 or 6 minutes. The water needs to be gently simmering, not boiling, so lower temperature if needed.
- Being careful of the steam, occasionally stir the contents of the jar so that everything combines well. Once ingredients are fully melted, carefully remove jar from pan of water and let cool for 5-10 minutes (but not too long or it will become solid).
- While ingredients are still liquid, stir in the essential oils until well combined. Once mixture is cool, cover with lid and store in a cool, dry spot.
Ultra-Hydrating Body Butter
Easy to prepare and beautifully moisturizing for all skin types; use as you would a regular body lotion. Remember it’s concentrated, so a little bit goes a long way. Makes 1 cup but the recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.
- 1/2 cup jojoba oil (or your choice of any other liquid oil)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup beeswax pastilles
- 2 tablespoons shea butter
- 1 teaspoon calendula-infused oil (OR vitamin E oil)
- 10 drops Organixx lavender essential oil
- 10 drops Organixx frankincense essential oil
- 10 drops Organixx lemon essential oil
- Combine the solids (coconut oil, beeswax, and shea butter) in a double boiler or a glass bowl on top of a pot of boiling water. As the bowl heats, the ingredients will start to melt. Stir occasionally as they melt to incorporate and make sure beeswax completely melts or it will feel grainy when it solidifies.
- When all ingredients are completely melted and mixed together, add jojoba oil (or other liquid oil), calendula-infused oil (or Vitamin E oil), and the essential oils. Stir well to combine and pour into sterilized jars or tins. Cover with lid and store in a cool, dry place.