When you make your own beauty products, you know exactly what you’ll be putting on your skin. Many commercial body lotions and face creams contain essential oils, but some of them contain just tiny amounts of actual essential oil, and you can’t always be sure of the quality of the oils.
All you need for making your own body oils is a selection of base oil(s) and essential oils, and some simple blending equipment you can probably find in the kitchen cupboard. Choose the base oils for your homemade body oils, read my tips for blending essential oils, and then pick the best oils for your skin type.
Useful Essential Oils for General Skin Care:
Some essential oils, such as Lavender, Geranium and Palmarosa, are recommended for both dry and combination/oily skin types. These oils have a balancing effect on sebum production and can nourish dry skin or reduce sebum production on oily/combination skin.
- Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) was already used in ancient Egypt in skin care and in embalming. This oil is one of the best choices for anti-wrinkle oils and creams.
- Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) balances sebum production, is antiseptic and astringent, and is great for combination skin.
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia/officinalis/vera) is antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, soothing, helps the growth of healthy new skin cells, balances sebum production, helps to reduce scarring.
- Neroli (Citrus aurantium) is rejuvenating, stimulates the growth of healthy new skin cells, is especially good for dry and sensitive skin, and can help to prevent stretch marks.
- Palmarosa (Cympobogon martinii) is hydrating, helps to balance sebum production, stimulates cellular regeneration, and is antiseptic.
- Rose (Rosa centifolia or damascena) is especially good for dry, sensitive or aging skin; has an astringent and tonic effect on the capillaries and can be helpful for thread veins and even couperosa.
Suggested Essential Oils for Different Skin Types
Aging skin: Frankincense, Neroli, Rose.
Combination skin: Geranium, Lavender, Palmarosa.
Dry skin: Dry skin is often sensitive, so many oils that are good for sensitive skin are also good for dry skin in general, especially Rose and Chamomile. Other good options include Neroli, Jasmine (good for hot, dry or inflamed skin), Lavender and Sandalwood. Try also rose water or neroli (orange blossom) flower water as a skin toner.
Sensitive skin: Chamomile, Rose, Lavender. Chamomile (Roman or German varieties) is a great oil for inflamed skin, eczema and irritated skin.
Oily skin: Many essential oils can help to balance the skin’s sebum production: Geranium and Lavender belong to the best. Grapefruit, Cedarwood and Sandalwood are also good options for oily skin. If you don’t want to use body oils or face oils on oily skin, you can get non-perfumed, natural cream and lotion bases from many aromatherapy suppliers, and add your own essential oils. If you are prone to acne, try Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) or Lavender. Lavender is excellent for preventing acne scars: add it to a non-perfumed cream or lotion base.
Stretch mark prevention: Neroli, Mandarin (in a 1% dilution, and add some wheatgerm oil to the base oil blend)
Detoxifying oils, against cellulite or fluid retention: Geranium, Grapefruit, Juniper, Rosemary, Lemon.
Great books about essential oils in skincare:
Patricia Davis: Aromatherapy, an A-Z (Random House, UK, 2004)
Julia Lawless: The Encyclopaedia of Essential Oils (Element Books, 1995)
Maggie Tisserand: Aromatherapy for Women: How to use essential oils for health, beauty and your emotions (Thorsons, 1999)