Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Facial scrubs: Adding essential oils to an oil based scrub

I am asked all the time about adding essential oils to facial products and the short answer is yes, you can use essential oils in facial products. The long answer is slightly longer...And as usual, please treat essential oils with respect, acknowledging that they aren't just about adding scent to a product, they may also have properties you may or may not want in your product. Always check the suggested usage rate and whether or not you can expose certain people - pregnant or lactating women, small children, people with suppressed immune systems - to the product. Okay...on with the long answer...

Click here for the essential oils section of the blog.

Once you've chosen an essential oil that has some properties you like, the first thing to check is the fragrance. Things that might smell nice after a shower or in the air of a room might not be as nice under your nose all day! You might love the properties rosemary essential oil adds to your scrub, but if you can't stand the smell consider using a powdered extract or hydrosol in your product.

If you want to use water soluble extracts or hydrosols, you will need to put an emulsifier into the product or make a lotiony type product. More about that shortly...

Second - Check the suggested usage rate and don't exceed it. Make sure it is safe to add this essential oil to a leave on product.

Third - Check there aren't any major warnings like avoiding sun for some citrus types or not using it in leave on products, like lotions. And make sure your skin can handle it. You can apply some oils neat - check the one that interests you before doing this - and others not. But before adding essential oils to a huge batch of lotion, take some out and do a test batch. I know, I know, it's a pain to have to wait to see how you react to something, but it's better to spend a week trying out a lotion than to waste all that time and all those supplies putting menthol in a facial product that everyone hates!

A lot of people are eager to put tea tree essential oil in products because it can be effective against the bacteria involved in acne, and studies have shown that up to 2% can be quite effective...but can you stand the smell? And consider that if you think the type of lavender essential oil you have is too camphorous, there are other types you could use!

Are you a fan of essential oils? How do you use them in your facial products? Share your thoughts!


Michele Clarke said...

I have to agree with the smell of tea tree...not too appealing. Also my last bottle of lavender came from another supplier and it smelled more like Rosemary at first.

I use 3 three above the most. Rosemary in hair care, lavender and tea tree in my scrubs or wash. Occasionally I use Peppermint in a lotion to soothe an itch. You really have to be careful on how much you use and where.

I love citrus but yes it's not good if you are exposing your skin to the sun. I try to leave them for cleaning.

Now Patchouli I just love the smell. I avoided it for so long b/c of the stigma. It's thought to be an aphrodisiac and it sure does something nice for me.

Julie said...

Hi Susan,
I was wondering if it would be too abrasive to use a chemical exfoliant together with a physical exfoliant? I'd like to do a SA surfactant based facial scrub with a gentle exfoliator, like jojoba beads or something. What do you think?

I've been waiting on a post like this, I've wanted to make a nice thick surfactant scrub for a while. Can't wait to see how it comes out!

Tara said...

I am obsessed with anything with lavender and chamomile because my skin is always so sensitive to fragrances. These are my go to essential oils because I like the way they smell and the don't bother my skin :-)

Madeaj said...

I love tea tree but I always use it at the lowest percentage in products. To me, its effective even at small amounts. AND I love the smell of tea tree. But I hate tingles in my body and facial products. Its okay for feet and leg stuff. My favorite blend is lavender, rosemary, sage and peppermint. It has heavy green notes and is just plain relaxing for me.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Michelle! I like the smell of rosemary in my shampoo and sometimes in my conditioner, but it really can be a bit overpowering!

Hi Julie! Yes, you can, but it depends upon your skin type. My skin wouldn't be able to handle it, but others can. I'll be writing those posts next week!

Hi Tara! It just shows that you have to play with what works for you. I like the smell of chamomile, but if I never smell lavender again, it'd be okay with me!

Hi Madeaj! Lavender, sage, rosemary & mint sounds nice, but I'd leave out the lavender (see above for my feelings about lavender!). I really do like mint and rosemary together. It's such a lovely smell!