How to Use Essential Oils for Skincare

by Emily Bowles

Essential oils are the perfect addition to any skin care regime. There is a wide range of oils to choose from with a wealth of healing properties. Oils can be anti-inflammatory, moisturizer, anti-microbial and anti-aging. They’re easily diluted and applicable on the skin. Listed below are different ways to use essential oils in your skin care routine and recipes for DIY treatments that can be easily made at home.

  • Face Masks

Incorporating essential oils with items from the kitchen can be a great way to enhance skin care treatments. The nutrients in food are absorbed by our skin when applied topically. Avocados, bananas, and yogurt have a lot of nutrients and are great base ingredients for face masks. Using these regularly to cleanse and soften skin will produce noticeable results.

Banana Oats & Honey

½ Banana

1 Tb Oats

2 Tb Honey

2 Tsp Bentonite Clay (Optional)

5 Drops Essential Oil

Mash up the banana, save the peel. Pour in oats and honey. Mix well. Add 1 Tb bentonite clay  (optional) and 5 drops of desired essential oil. Apply to freshly washed face and wear for 20-60 minutes. Rinse thoroughly. Take the banana peel and rub it on the face. Wash with cleanser and apply astringent & moisturizer.

Bananas contain moisture effects of vitamin A and potassium. Vitamins B,C, & E protect against free-radicals. Zinc & lectin fight off acne causing bacteria. Amino acids help maintain skin elasticity and strength.

Oatmeal is a humectant, which helps skin retain moisture. Honey is antibacterial (for acne) and full of antioxidants (to slow down aging).

Yogurt Chamomile & Honey

3-4 Tb Yogurt

1 Tb Chamomile or Lavender Tea

2 Tb Honey

2 Tsp Bentonite Clay (Optional)

5  Drops Essential Oil

Combine all ingredients. Apply to face for 20-60 minutes. Rinse well. Cleanse and moisturize.

Lactic acid in yogurt tightens pores and removes the dead skin. Yogurt also contains zinc, which is anti-inflammatory and regulates sebum, oil secreted by the skin. B vitamins aid in cellular regeneration. Calcium prevents dehydration. Chamomile tea has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Topically, it helps treat breakouts and acne scarring or spots. It is full of antioxidants. Lavender tea increases circulation—more blood flow allows the cells to receive more nutrients and oxygen.

Diluted Blends

Diluted oils are great for applying on the face after cleansing or using an astringent, as a homemade moisturizer. Store in a roller bottle to apply directly to blemishes for an acne or scar treatment. It also makes a wonderful massage oil. Create your blend by combining 20 drops of an essential oil for every 2 oz. of a carrier oil.

There are many carrier oils to choose from. If you’re looking for dry skin relief, olive oil is a reliable moisturizer. Olive oil is high in a monounsaturated fatty acid called oleic acid, which keeps the skin soft. For those with acne scars, sun spots, blemishes, and eczema, avocado oil is a good choice. Avocado oil contains sterolins, which are anti-inflammatory. For oily skin, evening primrose oil is perfect. It contains a fatty acid called gamma-linolenic acid. Linoleic acid dissolves oil in the pores. For wrinkles and anti-aging, try argon oil. Grapeseed oil, pure cocoa butter, and rosehip oil can be used to treat stretch marks. High in essential fatty acids, rosehip seed oil is known for its firming properties and improves skin elasticity.

Image by M S
  • Astringent

To reduce oil production and fight acne, create an astringent. One of the best homemade astringents is one containing apple cider vinegar. Choose an essential oil with properties specific to what you are treating, and combine with vinegar.

Apple Cider Vinegar & Essential Oil

¼ C Apple Cider Vinegar

½ C Water

10 Drops Essential Oil

First, dilute your vinegar. For normal to dry skin, use one part vinegar and two parts water. For oily skin, use a one to one ratio of vinegar and water. For sensitive skin, opt for one part vinegar to four parts water. Add ten drops of an essential oil. Apply to a cotton ball and wipe skin clean.

  • Sugar Scrub

A sugar scrub makes for a great exfoliation in the shower. It leaves skin feeling smooth and supple. You can use either brown or white sugar. Consider creating a blend of different essential oils unique to your taste. For the carrier oil, you have several options. Check out the list above under “Diluted Oils” to find one that’s right for you.

Brown Sugar Scrub

½ C Sugar

¼ C Carrier Oil

20 Drops Essential Oil

Mix the ingredients and store in a jar. Use a tablespoon or two in the shower as an exfoliant.

  • Bath Salts

When creating your own bath salts, the possibilities are endless. Feel free to get creative. Find a blend of essential oils that suit your skin care needs.  Add any dried or fresh herbs, flowers, and twigs. Include a carrier oil like sesame seed or almond oil. You can complete your recipe with a couple of drops of food coloring. Below is a basic recipe just to get started, and it can be expanded upon.

Essential Bath Salts

1 C Epsom Salts

1 C Sea Salt

½ C Baking Soda

20 Drops Essential Oil

In a bowl, pour dry ingredients. Add herbs or flowers, and any additional product. Mix thoroughly. Stir in essential oil blend of twenty drops, and any other oils. Once combined, pour into zip lock bag or jar and leave the lid off or the bag open for a while so the salts can dry out before sealing.

  • Sunburn Treatment

Lavender essential oil is amazing at treating burns. It provides immediate cooling relief. It contains antiseptic, antibacterial, and circulatory stimulating properties. Lavender prevents infection from occurring, so the skin can heal. Peppermint also has a soothing cooling effect. It is a natural analgesic, so it relieves pain and stimulates blood flow and circulation. In conjunction with aloe vera and coconut oil, the skin stays soft and its repair is stimulated.

Sunburn Spray

½ C Witch hazel (or Aloe Vera Juice)

2 Tb Coconut Oil

2 Tb Aloe Vera gel

10 Drops Peppermint Oil

10 Drops Lavender Oil

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. Mist the affected area as needed.

Direct application

You can always apply an essential oil directly to the skin. Place a few drops on a cotton ball and dab the affected area.

Which Oils Should I Use?

Now to determine what essential oils are best to use in your blends and skin care recipes, note your skin type and see which oils correspond below.

For Acne:

Tea tree, lavender, clary sage, juniper berry, oregano, bergamot, patchouli, geranium, neroli, rosemary, lemon, eucalyptus, lemongrass, basil, sandalwood, frankincense, chamomile, avocado.

For Stretch Marks:

Frankincense, helichrysum, rosehip, lavender, neroli, patchouli, jasmine, geranium, myrhh, sage, castor, grape seed.

For Wrinkles:

Lemon, sandalwood, clary sage, frankincense, geranium, patchouli, myrhh, ylang ylang, rose, pomegranate, rosemary.

For Eczema:

Lavender, tea tree, chamomile, thyme, frankincense, rose geranium, basil, helichrysum, eucalyptus, bergamot, turmeric, sandalwood, avocado, olive, sweet almond, jojoba, rosehip.

For Dark Spots:

Lemon, carrot seed, lavender, sandalwood, frankincense, rose, chamomile, geranium, bergamot.

For Oily Skin:

Tea tree, lavender, clary sage, juniper berry, rosemary, neroli, cedarwood, fennel, lemon, orange, lime, geranium, cypress.

For Dry Skin:

Lavender, helichrysum, neroli, rosemary, rose, German chamomile, geranium, roman chamomile, frankincense, myrhh, sandalwood, palmarosa, carrot seed, olive.


Emily Bowles is a Yoga Alliance certified Hatha yoga instructor—currently living and teaching in Northern California. She is a Reiki level II practitioner and essential oil wellness advocate, engaged in daily healing and self-liberation. She is about to release her first children’s book, and currently studying pre-med sciences to become a naturopathic physician. Emily maintains a personal piyo, core power, and yin yoga practice, believing that all things are possible—yoga being the dance, the lifestyle, and the vehicle that bridges us closer together, to our higher selves, and to home. She wants to remind you that you must never give up. Your dreams are alive within, waiting on you to manifest the courage and make them real. Her website link: Queenbeeapiary.com ॐ

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