Making your own body oils is easy and fun. Choose one or more base oil(s) and add essential oils to make a moisturizing, nourishing or balancing oil for your skin type. Cold-pressed vegetable oils, nut oils and seed oils are the best bases for diluting essential oils. They have their own therapeutic properties, they are full of nutrients and they are easily absorbed to the skin, unlike mineral oil.
Sweet almond, grapeseed, jojoba and sunflower are popular carrier oils. You can also add macerated oils: these have been made by steeping herbs in vegetable oil so that the therapeutic properties of the herb are infused into the oil. Macerated oils include arnica, calendula, comfrey and St John’s wort.
Carrier Oils for Homemade Body Oils:
- Apricot kernel and peach kernel oil: these are light and odorless, and especially good for making your own face oils.
- Avocado oil: cold-pressed avocado oil is rich and contains many nutrients. It is a good option for dry skin. It is usually mixed with a lighter and more easily absorbed carrier, such as sweet almond, for example 4/5 of almond and 1/5 of avocado oil.
- Grapeseed oil: grapeseed is a popular massage oil. It is odorless, light and affordable, and thanks to its lightness it is particularly good for oily skin. It contains some vitamin E and linoleic acid.
- Jojoba oil: Jojoba is used in treatments for oily skin or acne, but also for dry and dehydrated skin. Its action is essentially balancing and it is also said to have an anti-inflammatory effect. Jojoba contains many minerals and vitamins, and is a good addition to massage or body oils for achy muscles, rheumatism and dry skin.
- Sunflower oil: cold-pressed sunflower oil is light but contains many vitamins, including A, B, D and E vitamins. It is a good base for massage blends.
- Sweet almond oil: a popular ingredient in body oils and in massage, sweet almond absorbs well and is suitable for most skin types. It contains vitamin A and vitamins from the B group, and it is soothing to the skin. It also has almost no odor, making it a good base for blending essential oils.
- Wheatgerm oil: wheatgerm oil is often added to other base oils (try 10% to 20% of wheatgerm blended with a lighter oil). It contains vitamin E and can be used for massage during pregnancy to prevent stretch marks.
Macerated Oils (Herbal Oils):
- Arnica: arnica oil, made with the herb Arnica montana, is excellent for achy muscles, back pain, injuries, swelling, sprains and strains, bruises and bumps.
- Calendula oil: calendula, or marigold (Calendula officinalis), is healing and anti-inflammatory. Great for cracked skin, damaged skin, wounds, scars, eczema and many skin rashes, calendula can also be added to anti-stretch mark oils. It is gentle and safe and an ideal oil for children and babies, and it is often added to oils and creams for diaper rash.
- Comfrey: Made with the herb comfrey (Symphytum officinalis), this macerated oil is useful in treating aches and pains, arthritis, scars, bruises, burns and wounds.
- Rosehip oil: this oil is rich in essential fatty acids. It is said to have rejuvenating properties and it is often added to facial oils for aging skin.
- St. Johns wort oil: this oil is made with the herb Hypericum perforatum. It is often used to alleviate sciatica and other types of nerve pain, back pain and shingles. It is useful for healing burns, wounds and damaged skin.
Once you have chosen your carrier oils, read some tips for selecting and blending essential oils.
Photo: Mariko Goda
Read more about base oils and essential oils:
Susan Curtis/Neal’s Yard Remedies: Make Your Own Cosmetics: Recipes, Skin Care, Body Care, Hair Care, Perfumes, and Fragrancing, Herbs, Essential Oils, Cosmetic Ingredients… (Aurum Press, 1997) ISBN-10: 1854104691, ISBN-13: 978-1854104694
Valerie Ann Worwood: The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: Over 600 Natural, Non-Toxic and Fragrant Recipes to Create Health – Beauty – a Safe Home Environment (New World Library, 1991) ISBN-10: 0931432820, ISBN-13: 978-0931432828