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How to Use Essential Oils for Skincare: A Step by Step Guide

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Using essential oils is not as new as many people may think. Essential oils in some form have been around for centuries, providing healing and restorative benefits as well as smelling great. One of the easiest ways to boost your skincare is to add essential oils. The hard part is figuring out which essential oils you should use, and how to include them in your personal skincare routine.

That is where we come in. We have put together this step by step guide to help you enjoy the many benefits of using essential oils. Your skin would thank you if it could.

How to use essential oils as part of your skincare routine? Using essential oils can be as easy as adding a few drops to your favorite skincare product. However, because some of these products may have ingredients that may interact with essential oils, making your own may be the best option.

Here are the steps to adding essential oils to your skincare routine:

  1. Select the essential oil(s) you want to include.
  2. Select a carrier oil, butter, or another base.
  3. Combine the essential oil and other ingredients.
  4. Test a small area of skin for irritations or allergies (IF PRESENT STOP).
  5. Use your new skincare product as intended, avoiding direct contact with your eyes or mouth.
  6. Adjust your routine as needed for the best results.

Using essential oils as a regular part of your skincare routine is not as complicated as you may imagine. Read on for all of the details you should know about adding essential oils to your skincare, including what specific oils you may want to consider and an elaborated step by step guide to using essential oils correctly.

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils come directly from plants or organic materials. The plants are either pressed or distilled to remove the oil, also called essence. Essential oils are extremely concentrated and can be used directly in many skincare products or add to a carrier oil such as jojoba or almond oil, for fragrance or other properties.

NOT all essential oils are created equal. Chemically extracted essential oils do not retain the same characteristics as pure naturally extracted oils. When considering adding essential oils to your skincare routine, make sure to use pure essential oils to avoid any reactions or skin irritation.

Benefits of Essential Oils

The true scope of essential oils is still not completely understood. Many essential oils, such as lavender, sandalwood, and many others, have been used for centuries in alternative medicines and as aromatherapy to treat a wide range of discomforts and diseases.

Producers and distributors of essential oils often make wide claims that they can be used to treat a wide range of issues from acne to cancer, though there is little actual evidence. Here are the known benefits of using some of the most common essential oils.

  • The aroma of many essential oils provides natural relaxation and a reduction in anxiety and stress.
  • Some essential oils have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. These are usually also found in the plant the oil is extracted from, just in a more concentrated form.
  • Essential oils are often used to reduce inflammatory conditions. This is a great benefit for anyone that suffers from eczema or rosacea.
  • The smell of lavender oil has shown positive results with people that have poor sleeping habits.  

Safety Issues or Potential Side Effects of Essential Oils

Mostly due to the extremely concentrated aspect of quality essential oils, they should not be used full strength directly on the skin. Essential oils should also never be ingested. Depending on an individual’s personal skin type and condition, there are some things to be aware of, essential oils may cause:

  • Headaches
  • An allergic reaction
  • A rash
  • Asthma attacks

Some may be very dangerous in large amounts or if handled inappropriately. Cinnamon, for example, contains high levels of phenols that can be extremely irritating to the skin, causing burns in some people, if not used with a carrier oil to dilute it.

Adding Essential Oils To Your Skincare Routine

Now that we know the main benefits and risks, let’s get into the step by step method of adding essential oils to your skincare. Essential oils can be added to almost all of the skincare products you already use OR combine with other ingredients for a truly unique and personalized product. We’ll get into some of those in a few…

Step 1: Select Your Essential Oil(s)

Most Commonly Used Essential Oils for Skincare

Essential oils offer a wide range of benefits. Some essential oils can be used for fragrance as well as beneficial properties. Essential oils are very concentrated, so they should be used sparingly to avoid causing skin irritation or sensitivities. While there are several options for essential oils, here are the most common added to skin products.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil, sometimes referred to as Melaleuca oil, is one of the best essential oils you can use in your sugar scrub. Tea tree oil is a great choice for those with acne-prone skin. Here are just a few of the amazing benefits your skin gets from this amazing essential oil:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antimicrobial
  • Reduces swelling
  • Calms redness and hotspots
  • Reduces scars
  • Smooths skin
Lavender

Lavender is probably one of the most popular scents and oils used in all types of skin products. Lavender is a naturally soothing agent that relaxes you in addition to a number of other benefits.

  • Boosts your bodies anti-inflammatory response
  • Antibacterial
  • Moisturizing
  • Penetrates easily into the skin and pores
  • Helps to reduce and heal acne
  • Helps to soothe sensitive skin
Peppermint Oil

Many individuals love the refreshing scent of peppermint and may be surprised to learn that there are some benefits to using peppermint oil.

  • Soothes and cools the skin
  • Helps natural oil production and secretions (best for fighting acne)
  • Skin brightener and increases radiance
  • Prevents clogged pores
  • Increases circulation
  • Stimulates skin regeneration
Rose Oil

Rose oil is a more premium essential oil. When looking for essential oil, you should expect to find rose oils at a higher cost than most other oils. Lower cost rose oils are likely going to be less quality. That being said the cost is definitely worth it. Not only does rose oil provide a beautiful and delicate scent, but there are also some amazing benefits.

  • Helps improve skin hydration
  • Reduces, heals, and improves acne
  • Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
  • Minimizes the appearance of scars and skin tone variations
  • Helps reduce the irritations of many skin conditions such as eczema and rosacea
Chamomile

Many people are familiar with chamomile as a tea and the soothing and relaxing effects. It is also available in an oil form and studies have shown it has positive effects on treating migraine headaches. Chamomile also offers some physical, or visible benefits as well.

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Natural pain reduction
  • May help to stabilize blood pressure
  • Antifungal
  • Antibacterial
  • Antioxidant
  • Decreases skin irritation
  • Least likely to cause an allergic reaction in most people
Sandalwood

Sandalwood provides a comfortable earthy scent that some may be familiar with while reducing inflammation and helping the skin to retain moisture.

Bergamot

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antiseptic properties
  • Antibacterial
  • Gentle treats acne for those with skin sensitivities
  • Pain reliever
  • Natural antidepressant
  • Energizing
  • May help lower blood sugar
  • Aids digestion
  • Helps to heal skin lacerations and reduces scarring
  • Natural lowers sweating and decreases odor
Ylang-Ylang

This essential oil has been used for centuries and in a wide range of areas including alternative medicine, aromatherapy, and much more. Ylang-Ylang has been shown to have strong antibacterial properties to fight infection and even strong diseases such as malaria. Other benefits include:

  • Reduces stress and tension in the skin
  • Helps battle insomnia
  • Regulates oil production
  • Reduces skin inflammation
  • Helps decrease irritation and skin sensitivity
  • Helps to decrease acne and acne scars
  • Some claim Ylang-Ylang is an aphrodisiac
Jasmine

Jasmine is a scent that many people find to be soothing and pleasant, especially those that like floral scents. Jasmine provides a sweet, romantic fragrance that is commonly used in perfumes, desserts, and even as a floral hint in alcohol.

  • Antibacterial
  • Increases cellular reproduction
  • Balances hormone levels
  • Reduces stress
  • Lightens scars and other dark spots
  • Relieves skin dryness
  • Cools and soothes skin irritations such as eczema and even poison ivy
Lemon

Packed with vitamin C and citric acid, lemon gives any skincare product a refreshing scent. The advantages do not stop there, here are a few of the other advantages of adding lemon essential oil to your skincare.

  • Detoxifying
  • Antiseptic
  • Natural astringent
  • Natural exfoliator
  • Skin lightener
  • Fights acne and reduces scars and blemishes
  • Improves cellular reproduction
  • Makes your skin radiant
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • May help reduce asthmatic symptoms  

Please Note: Individuals with skin sensitivities will want to do a skin sensitivity test before using any essential oils of any type of product that may contain essential oils, as they may irritate the skin.


Step 2: Select A Carrier Oil, Butter, Or Other Base.

When making your own skincare products you are likely going to be using some type of base. Bases can be made from a number of different ingredients including carrier oils, butters, as well as some waxes and clays. There are several options, here are the most commonly used in skincare products:

Carrier Oils

As the name suggests, carrier oils provide a transport vehicle for other ingredients, specifically essential oils or other concentrated ingredients. The type of carrier oil you choose may offer some basic benefits as well as helping your skincare products to work better and penetrate deeper into your skin.

Jojoba Oil

Probably the most commonly used carrier oil in both DIY and store-bought skincare products, jojoba oil provides a great base for a wide range of other ingredients. The best benefit to using jojoba oil is the rich moisturizing properties, thanks, in part, to the fatty acids and vitamin E that is abundant in jojoba oil. Other benefits of quality jojoba oil are:

  • Regulating natural oil production and secretion
  • Moisturizing
  • Great for all skin types
  • Less likely to alert allergies
Almond Oil

Almond oil is a gentle oil that is great for all skin types, except individuals with severe nut allergies, although many with nut allergies find they can use almond oil. In additions to increasing skin hydration and retaining moisture, almond oil offers these benefits:

  • Natural emollient
  • Helps maintain skin pH levels
  • Decreases acne and other breakouts
  • Helps other oils and ingredients to penetrate deep into the skin
Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is one of the best oils for a wide range of uses including skincare as well as benefits when used in food preparation and many more. Skin benefits of using coconut oil include:

  • Antioxidants
  • Hydration
  • Decreases the appears of cellulite and stretch marks
  • Provides deep moisturization and softness
  • Can also be used as a makeup remover
  • Easily combines with most other ingredients, including oils, butters, and essential oils.
Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is great for balancing the skin and helps to improve other anti-aging ingredients. Other benefits include:

  • Some protection against the sun and UV rays
  • Reduces redness
  • Helps soothe skin irritations
Vitamin E Oil

Vitamin E oil is a common carrier oil that is most often combined with other carrier oils to help provide even more benefits, mostly increasing shelf life. Vitamin E oil is thicker than other oils so it may delay absorption into the skin while providing tons of moisture. Here are a few more benefits:

  • Antioxidant
  • Heals scars and damaged skin
  • Increases cell reproduction
  • Used to make the skin more pliable by increasing natural elasticity
Olive Oil

Olive oil is a great budget option for individuals just getting into making their own skincare products. Available almost anywhere, extra virgin olive oils are packed with rich nutrients, including essential vitamins and minerals that the skin needs.

Butters

Butters used for skincare are not the same thing you spread on your toast. Butters used in topical products come from many sources, including beans and seeds. Many kinds of butter are used for their deep-penetrating and moisturization properties. Here are the most commonly used butters that you may want to consider for your skincare.

Shea Butter

One of the most popular types of butter, Shea butter come from shae tree nuts and provide some amazing benefits, including:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidants
  • Anti-aging
  • Moisturizing
  • Soothing to skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis
Cocoa Butter

Another very popular butter, cocoa butter is known for its ability to help the skin heal more quickly and keep scars from becoming hard and rough. More benefits include:

  • Antioxidants
  • Detoxifying
  • Increases hydration
  • Soothes itchy skin
  • Deep penetrating butter that works well with most ingredients
Mango Butter

Mango butter is one that is less known but is an amazing butter. One of the best benefits is that mango butter is non-comedogenic, which is great for individuals who fight acne or clogged pores. Mango butter also offers:

  • Rich in fatty acids
  • Provides vitamins A and C
  • Antioxidants
  • Nearly completely unscented
  • Works great for individuals with sensitive skin

Clays

Clays are rarer in skin products but can be easily found in clay facial masks. Since they are less common, we will not go into too much detail. However, the one type of clay you will really want to know about is bentonite clay. Bentonite has some amazing skin benefits, including absorbing excess oils, detoxifies the skin, and increases skin tightness and texture.

Waxes

Waxes are usually used to thicken skincare products allowing them to be less liquid at room temperature, and melt when applied to the skin. While there are several types of waxes, the one most found in skin products is beeswax. Beeswax naturally increases healing and can help to provide extra protection to the skin from environmental contaminants.

Step 3: Combine the Essential Oil and Other Ingredients.

Now it is time to combine all of your chosen ingredients. Depending on what you choose, you will likely need to begin by softening or melting your wax or butter and thoroughly mixing them with your carrier oil.

Some people find combining essential oils with a carrier oil before adding them to any other ingredients helps the essential oil to blend more evenly throughout the product. Avoid using plastic materials that may melt easily to prevent any contamination.

Step 4: Test A Small Area of Skin for Irritations or Allergies (IF PRESENT STOP).

The most important step to any homemade skin product is to perform a skin test. Even individuals with no prior history of irritation may find that concentrated ingredients such as essential oils may cause irritations or even burn. To learn how to perform a patch test on your skin CLICK HERE  

Taking the time to perform a skin test with help to prevent any dangerous or annoying interactions. A great place to test is on the inside of your forearm, using a section at least 1-inch square. Wait 24 hours and examine the skin for any redness, itching, or other irritation. If none is present, you should be able to proceed with no worries.

Otherwise, if there is even a little irritation, you may want to consider adding additional oils or butters to further dilute the essential oils in your product. If you believe either the oil or butter may be the source of irritation, you can test them directly. After making any changes, retest in a different section. Repeat as many times as necessary.

Step 5: Use Your New Skincare Product as Intended, Avoiding Direct Contact with Your Eyes or Mouth.

Depending on the skincare product you have created you are going to be eager to start using it right away. As with many other skincare products, keep them away from your eyes and mouth to avoid any accidental ingestion or irritation. You may also want to be cautious of any additional products you may use to avoid any interactions.

It is also a good idea to journal your creation process and any reactions (or non-reactions) your skin may have. Also, keep in mind that our skin changes with the climate, temperature, and environment.

A great body cream may work wonders for skin in the warmer weather, but become too thick in colder months to penetrate deep enough into the skin. Some individuals make batches of their skincare products that are adjusted just slightly to offset these changes in their environment.

Step 6: Adjust Your Routine as Needed for The Best Results.

It will take some time to adjust your skincare routine to your new product. Once you have integrated any new product successfully, you will likely want to move on to making more of your own skincare products. The best part of making these on your own, there is never a question as to the quality and amount of ingredients included; any surprises.

DIY Skincare

Now that you know the basic steps to add essential oils to your skincare, we thought we would give you some basic information to help make your DIY skincare easier and more successful.

Proper Tools

There are right and wrong ways to make your own skincare products. Our skin is surprisingly sensitive and even the most mundane things can cause irritations. A great place to start is by using the right tools for the job. Here are a few of the tools that you may want to consider gathering ahead of time.

  • Digital Scale – using a digital scale helps you to easily track the amount of each ingredient you use. This is extremely helpful if you want to be able to precisely replicate anything you make.
  • Funnels – many of the ingredients used in skin care products can be messy, using a funnel will not only cut down on the mess but make the process a bit faster. We suggest using a different funnel for each ingredient to avoid any mixing between the ingredients in your bulk containers.
  • Wooden Spoons – some ingredients can cause the plastic to weaken and become brittle. Some essential oils may cause a chemical reaction when in contact with metal. Play it safe and opt for wooden spoons.
  • Double Boiler – if you do not have to buy a special double boiler, there are many options for using your existing supplies to make your own. Double boilers allow you to use steam and boiling water to melt ingredients instead of direct heat.
  • Hand or Stick Mixer – you are going to need to mix everything together well. Using only a spoon will not only be tiring, but you will also be less likely to combine them thoroughly. A simple hand or stick mixer works great.
  • Silicone Spatulas – you will want to make sure you get every last drop of your new product out of your mixing bowl and into your storage container. Using a silicone spatula makes this quick and easy.
  • Gloves – some ingredients may be harmful in concentrated form, using gloves will help to protect your hands.
  • Storage Containers – depending on what you are making, you will need some way to store it. Creams, lotions, moisturizers, and balms can easily be stored in glass jars, while others may need to be placed in spray bottles or tubes. Save yourself some money and buy bottles and tubes in bulk if you can.

While there are tons of other tools that you may find yourself needing at some point, the ones above will get you started with most beginning skincare products.

Quality Ingredients

Taking the time to make your own skincare products is only worth it if you use quality ingredients. Essential oils are one area where many people try to cut some corners by using artificial or less than pure oils. While these are definitely an option if you are only using them for fragrance, these products will not provide the beneficial properties of pure, high-quality ingredients.

Tracking the Process

Keeping a journal, notes, or diary of not only the ingredients you use but also the individual steps will help to make it easy when you want to remake your products. This is especially important when you have to adjust a formula or decide to add ingredients after doing a skin test. Once you know the entire process, making more will be as simple as following a recipe.

DIY Skincare Options

There are endless possibilities for making your own skincare products with essential oils. Most first-timers start with a basic moisturizer, lotion, or cream. After getting used to combining different ingredients you can move on to more complicated formulations such as body balms, body butters, and even make your own facial cleansers with enough practice.

The most important thing is to not try to do too much at once. Some of these ingredients can be costly and the last thing anyone wants to do is produce something they cannot use.

If you are really nervous start by adding your favorite essential oils to a carrier oil for simple massage oil. This will give you a good idea of how well even a few drops of a good essential oil can disperse very well throughout a product.

Conclusion

That should just about cover all of the basics for adding essential oils into your skincare. We hope you have found this article informative and we look forward to hearing what formulations you come up with using great quality essential oils and the wide range of skincare options.