Make It Miniseries: Body Oil

One of the easiest body products to make yourself is body oil.  Depending on what your skin likes and how fancy you want to make it, it can be as simple as a small bottle of oil or jar of coconut oil on your vanity.  Wait.  What?  People just put straight up oil on their skin?  Isn’t that what lotion is for?

If you like to use lotion and it works for you, that’s great.  But if you find that after applying lotion you have to keep re-applying over and over again, or if you would like to avoid synthetic fragrance and preservatives, using body oil might make your skin very happy.

In some cases, over-moisturizing can actually make your skin drier.  Putting on lotion too often (three or more times a day) will send a message to your body to send less water to the skin cells.  So instead of your body producing its own moisture, it becomes dependent on external sources to provide moisture.  Along with water, the body delivers lipids/proteins and other nutrients to the skin, which also decreases when your body is dependent on lotions and creams for moisture.

Of course, the best way to hydrate your skin is to drink an adequate amount of water, about two liters a day.  A small amount of plant-based or botanical oil, cold-pressed with minimal processing, will create a light barrier to hold your natural moisture in. It also softens skin and absorbs quickly.  To make your own body oil, try a few oils first to see which you like best: olive oil, castor oil, sweet almond oil, sunflower oil, or grapeseed oil.  If you want to spend a little more money, try rosehip oil, argan oil, or jojoba.  While some of these oils have little to no scent, you may want to add a few drops of essential oils for aesthetics.  A good rule of thumb is no more than 1% EO diluted in a carrier oil.  So for a four ounce bottle that would look something like this:

4 ounces = 113.4 grams; 1% of 113 is slightly more than 1 gram; 1 gram is approximately 20 drops, depending on how thick or thin the EO is.

Some EO’s that have beneficial properties for skin include (listed from least expensive to most expensive):

  • Lavender

  • Patchouli

  • Chamomile

  • Carrot Seed

  • Frankincense

  • Helichrysum

  • Neroli

  • Rose

A less expensive way to scent body oil is a little more time consuming but offers some very nice beneficial properties as well – herb infusion.  Cold infusion is done by puttiing dried botanical material in a glass jar or container with a tight fitting lid, and pouring enough oil to cover the herbs.  Put the jar in a dark, cool place (like a cabinet or closet), give it a shake every day or so, and after two or three weeks, it’s ready.  Strain the herbs from the oil with cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer, pressing or squeezing the oils from the botanical material to make sure you get all the goodness from the herbs.

Hot infusions can be done in a similar way, putting the jars (with lids on tight) in a water bath inside a large pot, covered, heating the water bath to barely a simmer.  In an hour or two the infusion is done.  Strain the same way as the cold infusion.

I’ve infused oils with dried lavender buds, dried peppermint leaves (much milder to skin than the concentrated essential oil), chamomile, lemon balm, and comfrey leaves, to name a few.  The scent is light but covers the smell of olive oil nicely.  This would be especially nice for someone with very sensitive skin, such as babies or the elderly.

Body oils are so simple, and so good for your skin – try it, you’ll love it!