DIY Skin Care Part 3: Oily Personals

Enhance, customize, and personalize your DIY skin care recipes.

One of the most daunting aspects of diving into the DIY skin care movement is the unfamiliarity of the ingredients. When I cook, I have general notions of how using onions and peppers or adding herbs and sauces will impact my dish. Starting out, I was clueless when it came to why one essential or carrier oil might be preferable over another. As I splashed (flailed!) around in a virtual ocean of recipes and possibilities, my shopping list began to resemble the inventory list of a medieval apothecary.

My goal for this tri-part post is to simplify the jumping off point for others.

  • Oily Pantry (Click here for Part 1, a list of oils and unguents to keep on hand.)
  • Oily Starters (Click here to explore Part 2: four basic skin-care processes to help you get your toes wet oily.)
  • Oily Personals (Part 3, which follows below, is a set of charts with information to help you customize your DIY skin-care venture.)

The Oily Personals are quick references or cheat sheets that will help you make purchase and blending decisions. The information was collected from close to 100 resources. When information was contradictory and I could not resolve the contradiction, I excluded it. This post includes fourteen charts focused on specific conditions, problems, or areas. This will be expanded later with two additional charts of that list the properties of essential and carrier oils that are popular for DIY skin care.

Oily Tips:

  • Use cold-pressed, unrefined, organic oils.
  • Lavender and tea tree oils can be applied neat (undiluted and directly to skin). But most other essential oils need to be diluted in a carrier oil. A 1% or 2% ratio (essential to carrier oil or total emulsion) is a good rule of thumb.
    • 1% = 6 drops of essential oil to 1 oz. carrier oil
    • 2% = 12 drops of essential oil to 1 oz. carrier oil
  • Most essential oils have about a 2 year shelf life, but the shelf life of a carrier oil can be as brief as 3 months. Do not use rancid oils. Quinessence Aromatheray and Viva Woman offer information on why oils go rancid and tips on how to prevent that from happening.
    • Store oils in a cool place. They can be stored in a refrigerator, but a cool, dark pantry or cabinet is sufficient. Keep in mind some carrier oils become cloudy when refrigerated.
    • Keep bottles tightly closed.
  • Always test oils on “tough” skin before applying them liberally elsewhere, especially if you have nut or other allergies.
  • Avoid these citrus oils if you’re sensitive to the sun or will be exposed to it for a long period of time: bergamot,  grapefruit, lemon (cold pressed), lime (cold pressed), bitter orange (cold pressed).

Oily Personals Cheat Sheet List

These charts are provided for informational purposes only, not in lieu of professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

To jump to a cheat sheet, click on the title.

  1. Improving Skin Appearance
  2. Treating Skin Conditions
  3. Treating Aging/Damaged Skin
  4. Treating Acneic Skin
  5. Treating Fungal Problems
  6. Treating Injuries, Infections, Growths
  7. Treating Diseases and Infestations
  8. Treating Disorders and Inflammation
  9. Treating Muscle, Joint, Nerve Problems
  10. Treating Blood-Related Problems
  11. Treating and Protecting Against Exposure and Bugs
  12. Treating Feet
  13. Treating Mouth Problems
  14. Treating Hair

1. Improving Skin Appearance

Improve Elasticity

Regenerate Tissue

Rejuvenate Skin

Smooth Skin / Fine Lines

Tighten Skin

Tone Skin

Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils

Back to List

2. Treating Skin Conditions

For normal skin, oils that nourish and regenerate are advisable, for example frankincense, geranium, chamomile, lavender, neroli, and rose essential oils with carrier oils such as sweet almond, hemp seed, and jojoba. The chart lists oils for other skin types and conditions.

 

Dry

Oily

Dull

Mature

Sensitive

Thin

Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils  
Essential Oils

 

Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils

Back to List

3. Treating Aging/Damaged Skin

Age Spots / Discoloration

Cellulite

Sun Spots / Damage

Scars

Stretch Marks

Wrinkles

Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils

Back to List

4. Treating Acneic Skin

Acne

Blemishes

Enlarged Pores

Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils

 

Essential Oils
Carrier Oils

 

Back to List

5. Treating Fungal Problems

Athlete’s Foot

Candida (Yeast)

Jock Itch

Ringworm

Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils

Back to List

6. Treating Injuries, Infections, Growths

Blisters, Boils, Burns

Cellulitis

Cuts, Wounds

Skin Infection

Sores, Abscess

Warts

Essential Oils
Carrier Oils

 

 

Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils

 

Essential Oils
Carrier Oils

 

 

Essential Oils

Back to List

7. Treating Diseases and Infestations

Chicken pox

Dermatitis

Eczema

Measles

Scabies

Insect / Spider Bites

Essential Oils
Carrier Oil
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils

 

 

Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils

 

 

Essential Oils
Carrier Oil
Essential Oils

 

Back to List

8. Treating Disorders and Inflammations

Hives / Inflammation

Itchy Skin

Rosacea

Psoriasis

Heat Rash

Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils

Back to List

9. Treating Muscle, Joint, Nerve Pain

Aches, Muscle Pain

Neuralgia

Sprains, Strains

Arthritis

Gout

Rheumatism

Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Essential Oils

Back to List

10. Treating Blood-Related Problems

Broken Capillaries

Bruises

Chilblains

Nosebleed

Varicose Veins

Essential Oils
Carrier Oils

 

Essential Oils
Carrier Oils

 

 

Essential Oils
Carrier Oils

 

Essential Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils

Back to List

11. Treating and Protecting Against Exposure and Bugs

Chapped Skin

Sunburn

Sunscreen

Windburn

Head Lice/Mites

Insect Repellent

Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oil
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils

Back to List

12. Treating Feet

Athlete’s Foot

Corns

Sweaty Feet

Essential Oils
Essential Oils
Essential Oils

Back to List

13. Treating Mouth Problems

Bad Breath

Canker (Cold) Sores

Gum Disease

Mouth Infection

Sore Throat

Toothache

Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils

Back to List

14. Treating Hair

Oily

Normal

Dry/Damaged

Dandruff

Fine

Thinning

Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils
Essential Oils
Carrier Oils

Back to List

Copyright © Pennie Nichols, 2016. All Rights Reserved.

DIY Skin Care Part 2: Oily Starters

4 DIY skin care recipes to get you started

I started dabbling in DIY  household recipes as well as DIY skin care two and a half years ago. Although information, advice, and recipes are abundantly available on the Internet, navigating them can be treacherous.

Oily Starters is the second of three posts to ease others simplify into the DIY skin care revolution. Also check out Oily Pantry (a list of staple oils, butters, and waxes for DIY skin care) and Oily Personals (oil information to help you choose the best ones for you).

If navigating the plethora of information wasn’t sufficiently daunting for me, the recipes were. Even when I cook or bake, I can’t bring myself to faithfully follow a single recipe. I review three, four, sometimes more, recipes, and then go to the kitchen to synthesize or “process.”

Cooking by process in lieu of recipe allows me to use of what I have in my pantry and make substitutions. It also gives me the freedom to tweak whatever I’m preparing based on my mood or hankering. Extracting the process from skin-care recipes, however, took me longer than usual because the ingredients were not as familiar as garlic and tomato paste.

The first process I adopted was for dry, itchy skin, and it has become my most popular post: Dry Itchy Skin? Try This First.

The four processes provided here are a synthesis of recipes and information from some of my favorite DIY sites. Whether you need a jump start to launch your DIY adventure or a little affirmation or redirection for the journey you’re on, I hope these Oily Starters along with the Oily Pantry and the Oily Personals help you develop your own, personalized creams, lotions, and washes.

1. Basic Cream: Whipped Face/Body Cream

Getting the right consistency and texture for lotions, creams, and body bars is a challenge. I followed some recipes faithfully and ended up with lotions that separated. Sometimes the bars were more like creams, and the creams more like bars. Finally I found posts about a process that works for me:

melt → mix → chill → whip

The first recipe I found and tried was from Trash is for Tossers. Now I use a similar process for most of my lotions and creams.

 You’ll need

  1. Double boiler (or a heat resistant bowl that fits tightly atop one of your pots)
  2. Mixer
  3. Base and Additional Ingredients that are right for you
  4. Tub or jar to store it

 Base Ingredients

  • 1 part Coconut Oil 
  • 1 part Carrier Oil (select depending on use and needs)
  • 1 part Shea or Cocoa Butter
  • 1 tbsp. Beeswax granules or flakes for each cup of the oil/butter trio

Additional (optional) Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In your double boiler, mix and melt the Base Ingredients, along with Vitamin E Oil and Vegetable Glycerin (if you’re using them). Don’t overheat the mixture, but make sure the Beeswax  is melted.
  2. Remove from heat, cover, and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Allow the mixture to harden.
  3. After the mixture hardens, take it out and break up the surface a bit.
  4. Add the Essential Oils you’ve chosen.
  5. Whip until you get a creamy, fluffy texture.
  6. Store in a sterilized container (I use re-purposed food tubs with lids that close well).

Notes

  • makeshift double boilerIf you don’t have a double boiler, place a heat resistant bowl over a pot (make sure it doesn’t the bottom).
  • I modify this basic recipe to make Face Cream, Body Cream, Foot Cream, and Lotion Bars.
  • Using different oils, I tweak the recipe to target specific problems or outcomes: thin skin for my mom, mosquito/insect repellent because I live in Louisiana, anti-fungal for feet, anti-aging for my mid-life face.

2. Eye Cream

Although the Basic Cream process can be tweaked to make eye cream, I generally prefer a simpler eye treatment.

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl or cup.
  • Whip.
  • Store in a sterilized container.

Notes

  • While this recipe is attractive due to its simplicity, keep in mind that coconut oil melts if the ambient temperature reaches about 76oF. If you prefer creamy vs. liquid eye treatment, store it in a cool cabinet or the refrigerator during warmer months.
  • This eye cream can also be used as eye makeup remover.
  • Tiny jelly or baby food jars and contact eye lens cases are great for storing eye cream.

3. Face Wash Oil

I still remember the scent of my grandmother’s cold cream. As a child I had wondered why she would use creams to clean her face. Shouldn’t she use soap? But cream- and oil-based cleaners are actually very effective, even for skin with acne problems.

Ingredients

  • 1 part Carrier Oil (e.g., Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Jojoba, Avocado)
  • 1 part Castor Oil (Wellness Mama also uses Hazelnut Oil)
  • a few drops of Essential Oil (e.g., Lavender)

Instructions

  • Mix in a sterilized jar or bottle.
  • Before each use:
    • Shake.
    • Pour about 1 tbsp. into hand.
    • Apply, massaging into your face.
    • Remove with a wet warm or hot washcloth.

Notes

  • Several DIY bloggers/sites offer oil-based face wash recipes, but I think Wellness Mama does the best job explaining the practice.
  • I use one part EV Olive and one part Castor Oils (my skin is normal).
  • For dry skin, use less Castor oil and more of the carrier oil.
  • For oily skin, the inverse: more carrier oil and less Castor oil.
  • Don’t mix more than about 1 to 2 cups total. Carrier oils have a shorter shelf life than essential oils.

4. Foaming Face Wash

This recipe comes from one of my favorite DIY sites, Body Unburdened.

Ingredients

Instructions: 

  • Pour the ingredients in your container.
  • Shake.
  • You’re done!
  • To use:
    • Pour about 1 tblsp. into palm.
    • Massage into face.
    • Rinse.

Notes

  • I initially made this for my children because it targets acne. Eventually, I made some for myself because I love the way it makes my skin feel.
  • I alternate washing my face with this and the Face Wash Oil.
  • I often substitute out the Jojoba oil for Avocado or Grape Seed Oil.
  • Sometimes I use Lavender Essential Oil with or instead of the Lemon Essential Oil.
  • Body Unburdened uses a pump for the foamy wash. I usually pour mine into a sterilized plastic dish-soap bottle, which doesn’t shatter in the shower.

Part 1: Oily Pantry

Part 3: Oily Personals

Copyright © Pennie Nichols, 2016. All Rights Reserved.

DIY Skin Care Part 1: Oily Pantry

Arm yourself for the DIY skin care revolution.

Introduction

Japanese Facial Massage at Ten Thousand Waves. Heaven. As I became aware that my therapist was finishing, I braced myself for her spiel: what my skin needed, the routine I should follow, the products I should use.

“Your skin looks great. Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it,” she said as she wiped her products from her hands.

A bit baffled, I blurted. “Coconut oil!”

“Well, keep up the coconut oil!”

Middle-aged, pudgy, and far from fit, I take the compliments that come my way. This one was particularly pleasing. Coconut oil, however, wasn’t the whole story, not even the only story. For the last two and a half years, I have been dabbling in DIY ventures. At first I focused on laundry detergents, dish soaps, furniture oils, and other household products, but I eventually took a crack at DIY skin care.

I’m no expert and I credit other, mostly younger, women, who have explored, researched, and shared information and recipes for DIY cleaning and DIY skin care. Thanks to them, you can Google just about any condition or problem and find a DIY recipe for it. Most are good, some are great. A few, frankly, are hogwash.

Navigating the good versus bad recipes, however, wasn’t my biggest challenge. After a little exploring, I was drowning in new information and I compiled a $300 list of oils to buy. Not only had I never heard of some of the oils on my list, I also wasn’t sure why one oil versus another was necessary, except that it was in the recipe. I tumbled down the DIY rabbit hole.

This tri-part post is my effort to help others avoid slipping down that rabbit hole and arm themselves for their own DIY skin care revolutions.

  • Oily Pantry: Presented below, Part 1 is a list of oils and unguents to keep on hand, with notes about equipment and safety.
  • Oily StartersClick here to explore Part 2: four basic skin-care processes to help you get your toes wet oily.
  • Oily Personals. Click here for Part 3: charts with information to help you customize your DIY skin-care venture.

Oily Pantry

The staples of my oily pantry.

The staples of my oily pantry.

The list of products you should have on hand will vary based on your skin needs and personal preferences. You may be pleased to find out you already have some these in your kitchen pantry.

  • The Staples are your starter kit or must haves for DIY skin care.
  • The Complements are good to have.

They appear in alphabetical order, not in order of importance, because the hierarchy will vary depending on your needs. If you explore the Oily Personals, you may decide that some of my Complements are your Staples, and vice versa. Regardless, this list will allow you to try the Oily Starters.

Staples

Complements

Online sources for buying oils are abundant and many provide useful descriptions. Take care when exploring sources because not all online offerings are equal. These are three of sites I visit that provide some of the most thoughtful, useful information about essential and carrier oils, as well as DIY ideas and health/beauty advice.

Oily Safety and Equipment 

Shelf Life

  • Most essential oils have two-year shelf life, so stocking up on these is fine. However, you should avoid overstocking your pantry with carrier oils, as their shelf life is more limited.
  • Although some DIY concoctions will last much longer, you should only make amounts that you can use within six months. Including oils that extend shelf life (lemon essential oil and vitamin E oil, for example) is helpful. You can also refrigerate your lotions and creams, but this is not always convenient.
  • Store in a cool, dark cabinet.
  • Keep lids tight.

Sterilization

As with canning foods, cleaning and sterilizing your equipment and containers is important.

  • Run containers through the sterilization cycle of your dishwasher.
  • Microwave containers in a baby bottle sterilizer.
  • Place containers on a canning rack in a pot of water and bring to boil. Boil 10 minutes.

Equipment

oily-pantry-equipment

I use a make-shift double boiler: Pyrex mixing bowl and sauce pot. Remember to use plastic or metal spatulas, never wooden, to avoid introducing unwanted bacteria into your lotions and creams.

Although having dedicated equipment is not absolutely necessary, it is advisable. Oils and scents can be hard to remove. You will need some or all of the following to whip you your DIY concoctions.

  • sauce pan
  • double boiler or make-shift double boiler (sauce pan and heat-proof mixing bowl)
  • plastic or metal spatulas: Do NOT use wooden spatulas.
  • whisk
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • mixer
  • containers and lids: I use re-purposed glass and plastic jars, food tubs, and bottles. Baby bottles are a great size for storing face and eye creams.

Part 2: Oily Starters

Part 3: Oily Personals

Copyright © Pennie Nichols, 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Dry Itchy Skin? Try This First.

Can’t focus on what you’re working on because that.itchy.spot! Can’t sleep because you can’t.stop.scratching! Don’t have the patience to deal with people because dry.itchy.skin!

When it hits, it’s exasperating. When it lingers, it becomes excruciating. Even when you take the dry itchy skin to the doctor, the cause is sometimes hard to identify or do anything about. Unfortunately, the go-to medical remedy is typically a steroid cream.

Try this easy DIY alternative before resorting to harsh medications. Find more oily DIY ideas here: 1) essential items to have on hand, 2) basic recipes/processes, and 3) oil properties to help you personalize your DIY recipes.


Creamy Itch Relief Lotion

INGREDIENTS 

The ingredients

You need three basic ingredients: 1) a carrier oil, 2) vitamin E oil, and 3) essential oil.

  1. 1 cup coconut oil: I prefer this for my carrier oil in this recipe because I can whip it into a fluffy cream-like lotion. Other carrier oils you can use include almond, aloe vera, jojoba, olive, and sesame, but they will be a skin oil, not a lotion.
  2. 1-2 tablespoons vitamin E oil: This is optional, but I like to include a little because vitamin E oil heals skin tissue and promotes new skin growth.
  3. ~ 10 drops of essential oil: The essential oils step is where you play. Combining essential oils can be fun but if you only have lavender essential oil, go with that. See below for a list of essential oils for dryness and itchiness.

DIRECTIONS

  • Place the coconut oil in a small mixing bowl, and whip with an electric hand blender or beater, using the whisk attachment. It’s best if the ambient temperature is cool as coconut oil becomes liquid around 76° or 78° F
Quick and creamy dry skin relief

Whipped coconut, vitamin E, and essential oils

  • Add the vitamin E and essential oils as you continue to whip the carrier oil.
  • Store in a clean glass jar with lid. You can keep it at room temperature, but if the room temperature is above 75° F, consider refrigerating so that the coconut oil doesn’t melt.
creamy dry skin relief

One heaping cup of dry itchy skin relief. But just a little dab will do the job.

NOTES

My recipes are not scientific formulas, but rather processes. See basic recipes/processes. I cull the Internet for information and recipes, then create my own concoctions based on my needs and ingredients I have on hand. I play around with amounts and ingredients until I get something that works for me. You should do the same.

These essential oils can help with dry skin:

  • Cedarwood
  • Chamomile
  • Clary Sage
  • Geranium
  • Jasmine
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Myrrh
  • Patchouli
  • Rose
  • Rosewood
  • Sandalwood
  • Ylang ylang

These essential oils can help with itchy skin:

  • Agrimony
  • Basil
  • Bay leaf
  • Calendula
  • Chamomile
  • Chickweed
  • Clove
  • Geranium
  • Jewelweed
  • Lavender
  • Neem
  • Nettle
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

The following are two of the online resources I used to verify the best essential oils to use for dry itchy skin. These sites have a wealth of additional DIY skin remedies.

Copyright © 2015 by Pennie Nichols, All Rights Reserved.