Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Newbie Tuesday: Creating a body oil

Making a body oil is quite simple - pour some oils together in a container, mix, add a fragrance, put in bottle, rejoice! The only really difficult bit is choosing the right oils for the job! As we saw in last week's Newbie Tuesday (testing our oils), each oil brings something different to the moisturizing party, and we need to know exactly how they feel on our skin so we can make something awesome.

The colour of your product will depend upon the oils you have chosen. Something with loads of olive oil will have a slightly green cast to them, while mixtures with loads of rice bran might seem a bit yellow. This body oil is clear because I used mostly esters and fractionated coconut oil, none of which have any colour. If this concerns you, choose your oils with the colour in mind or use an opaque bottle.

The skin feel will depend entirely on your oil. You can create a body oil with just one oil - for instance, olive oil or avocado oil or fractionated coconut oil - but it is nice to combine oils to get exactly the skin feel you want.

Because the purpose of this series is to help you separate the oils you have into those you love and those you don't love so much, I'm posting a generic template recipe you can try at home and see which one you like best. My suggestion is to make something like 20 grams or so (should make about 1 tablespoon) for the two oil combination and maybe 30 grams for the three oil combinations. Keep really great records about what you did so you can make larger containers. Don't worry about adding a fragrance yet - we'll do that when you know which one you want to make into a larger batch.

50% one oil
49% another oil
1% fragrance or essential oil


33% oil
33% another oil
33% yet another oil
1% fragrance or essential oil

Things to consider...
  • If you want to make something that doesn't stain your clothing or sheets, you'll want to consider fractioanted coconut oil and sesame seed oil. 
  • If you want something clear, you'll want to choose clear oils. Remember that your fragrance or essential oil could change the colour. 
  • If you want something less greasy feeling, then add less greasy feeling oils. If you want something more greasy feeling, then add more greasy feeling oils. Just keep records of how much you added to the mix. 
  • It is okay to hate a combination and throw it out! That's why we start with small batches - it's not so bad to throw out 20 grams of oil. 100 grams is a bit much! Keep records of what you hated! 
The shelf life of this product is the shelf life of the shortest lived oil. If you're using grapeseed oil or unrefined hemp seed oil, you have three months. For every other oil, consider it to be as high as 6 months, but this will depend upon the age of the oils. If you have a bottle of olive oil that is 6 months old, then you have 6 months left.

This product will not need to have a preservative, although you could use an anti-oxidant. Preservatives are intended for products that contain water or might be around water, like sugar scrubs. Anti-oxidants are all about retarding the rancidity of the oils, so you could include something like 0.5% Vitamin E to the final batch you intend to use, but I don't think you'll have it around for more than six months!

So, what do you think? What was your favourite combination? What was the skin feel of this product? What was your least favourite combination? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Related posts:
Bath oil and after bath moisturizers
Back to basics: Oil based body sprays

Other products you can make now that you know how to make a body oil:
Back to basics: Dispersing bath oils
Sesame oil: Massage and after bath oils
Duplicating products: Neutrogena's body oil
Esters: Using Cromollient SCE in other products (bath oil)
Oil based fragrance sprays and solid perfumes
Esters: Using polysorbates in your products (bath oil)

Join me next week for questions and answers about creating body oils!

Newbie Tuesday schedule...
April 16th - Making a whipped butter!
April 23rd - Questions and answers about creating whipped butters.
April 30th - Making lotion bars.
May 7th - Questions and answers about creating lotion bars.
May 14th - Making balms!
May 21st - Questions and answers about making balms.
May 28th - Making solid scrub bars!
June 4th - Questions and answers about making solid scrub bars!


catherine said...

great post! talk about simple and preservative free.

i make an after-shower pre-towel body oil with:

canola (anti irritant)
olive/grapeseed (antioxidants)
sunflower (linoleic)
hempseed (linolenic)
vitamin e

surprisingly even though it has green colored olive and hempseed oils, it has not stained my white towel.

Minnie said...

Hi Susan,

For my body oil I chose Olive Oil and Avocado Oil. The reason I chose these two is because my boyfriend got sunburned on his head. I needed something kinda thick. To this I added 6 drops of lavender EO (I used 4oz of oils) and from everything I've read Olive Oil is great for after sun exposure. The Avocado Oil I chose because it has a lot of Vitamin B to help his poor head. He loves it!

Off topic: I didn't know if I should go back to the original post on testing oils. So, I'm adding it here.

When I was choosing oils for my body oil. Some thoughts and comparisons. The Avocado Oil was not so quick to absorb into my skin. It didn't take very long though, about 15 minutes. When it did absorb it didn't leave a silky feeling on my skin like grapeseed oil or coconut oil. I prefer Olive Oil, even though Olive Oil is thicker and takes longer to absorb into my skin (almost double the time). I just don't care for the smell of Olive Oil. And just because I have them, I also tried Aloe Butter and Vanilla Butter which are not butters but coconut oil with vanilla and aloe. Anyway, I LOVE THEM! Probably because I love coconut oil, I love the light silky feel. If I could bathe in it, I would! Ok, we'll, I guess I can :D I also tried kokum butter. Umm...I was a bit surprised with this one. I had to do a deep tissue massage on my hand for it to melt!

Thank you Susan! I had so much fun!

Janine said...

I just found this site :-) I made body oils in Feb and I use them every morning after my shower. I love using them. My current blend is Avocado, Apricot and Jojoba. I found my skin was quite dry and I needed something a bit heavier as anything light e.g. almond oil on its own would disappear so quickly that I felt like my body wasn't getting the benefits. I didn't have any grape seed so chose, Avocado for its ability to penetrate into the epidermis and good for dry skins. Jojoba to balance the acid mantle of skin and in particular my dry skin. Apricot for its emollient and nourishing properties.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I am homebound at the moment and all i have is sweet almond oil, olive oil,, jojoba, tamanu, coconut oil. I am allergic to coconut so that was out. I like the smell and feel of tamanu oil but it is very dark. I love the feel of jojoba oil. My skin felt silky and non greasy. I have the natural jojoba oil so it is odorless to me at least.
I chose to mix olive oil, sweet almond oil and jojoba oils. 7g, 7g, 6 g and 1 g essential oil. Yes i do realize it s more than 20g!
The result is ok but i was wondering if i could add glycerin to make it glide. Do ineed to add a preservative if i add glycerin?


Pat S said...

I didn't make a body oil, but since I'd run out of my old eye cream, I decided to try making an oil for around my eyes. I used 1.5 tsp of apricot oil, .5 tsp of rose hip oil, and 10 drops of calendula oil. I really like that it absorbs quite easily and is very gentle to my skin. So then I decided to take it a step further and make an oil for my face (for nighttime). I used about .5 tsp of each of the following oils: calendal, rose hip, tamanu, and macadamia, and then added 2 tsp of apricot oil. I added a little bit of essential oils too. I apply this to damp skin, and it is wonderful. It only takes about 3 drops, and it absorbs quite nicely, but I think it would be too oily for daytime use. I am older (62) so my skin is drier, but gosh, this makes it feel so hydrated and soft!

Alexis said...

My blend:

16.5% Macadamia Nut Oil
16.5% Meadowfoam Seed Oil
16.5% Rice Bran Oil
16.5% Hazelnut Oil
16.5% Sesame Oil
16.5% Sunflower Oil
1.0% Covi-Ox T-50

I slightly over poured the sesame oil and reduced the sunflower oil accordingly. So sesame oil ended up being 16.65% and sunflower oil 16.35%.


At first I was disappointed that it wasn't as glidey as I was hoping it would be, then I reminded myself that my skin was damp. %-)

Second, it reminded me of why I quit using body oils because I don't like how heavy the oils feel on my legs.

Third, I told myself to ignore the feeling I know I don't like because it's not really hurting me, and I concentrated on what the oils do for other areas of my skin.

Over all, I really pleased with how my heals and pinky toenails look after using this blend. This combination made those two areas look hydrated from the first use, and they don't feel sticky. I also liked how it made my elbows and knuckles feel. It gave a good skin feel everywhere. I think the skin of my legs absorb oil more slowly which is why I'm not found of using body oils. I also think the misters I'm able to buy locally might also contribute to the issue because they don't mist the oil and I end up using more than I want to. I didn't try it on my face because previous experimentation has let me know that oil neat on my face doesn't go well. I end up will little bumps all over my face in about 48 hours, then start to break out by the end of the week.

Heather Wall said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heather Wall said...

I know it may defeat the purpose of making a body "oil" but what about adding glycerin to the mix? How much would you use or would it even be a good idea?

Stephanie said...

what other anti-oxidants are there besides vitamin E? Strangely, when I use vitamin E products on my skin in the past I tend to get rashes and even breakouts (on my chest area).

Carol said...

This might be a silly question. If a body oil is made from 3 different carrier oils, do the oils blend together or does the container need to be shaken before use to evenly distribute the oils? Thanks!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Carol. Check out this post - how do oils in a serum stay together?

Lia Chunilal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Lia. Unfortunately, grapeseed oil has a really short shelf life - three months - so it's not the best choice for any of our bath & body products. Try another light, less greasy feeling oil like macadamia oil or hazelnut oi for a similar skin feel.

Related posts:
How can grapeseed oil have a shelf life of a year? (It can't.)

Birgit said...


I made a nice body oil a while back with jojoba, sesame, argan, frac. coconut, olive squalane, vit E and EO (I think there was one more oil, but am not in my office to check right now). I decided to mix in 0,5% golden mica and it gives your body a nice shimmer that is subtle enough to be used even daily. Anyway, my problem is that the gold settles in the bottom of the bottle, and when I forget to shake it before use, I don't get the gold (which means in the end I would end up with a bottle with just mica and no oil in it). So my question is, what do I need to add to keep the mica dispersed throughout the oil?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Birgit! You have to make the liquid thicker to suspend the mica. But then you'd have a really thick body oil...

Birgit said...

Thanks, Susan for your quick reply. I think adding copious amounts of castor oil or somehow gellatinizing (is that even a word) the oil is not really what I want (and neither would you, based on your three dots in the end :-)), so I will stick to shaking the bottle. But thanks to your input I don't have to wonder about whether there is some substance that would magically make the mica stay suspended.

Birgit said...

One more thought. If I were to add an extract or two to get more benefits for skin, what kind of emulsifier should I use to combine it with the oil? I understand this means I also need to add a preservative (oil soluble).


Valia said...

Hello Susan!

This is an excellent blog and thank you for sharing all that knowledge, info, experience!!

I make CP soaps for almost 5 years and I am new in body oils. I put my oil in PET plastic bottles. Is it better / safer to use glass ones?

Also, in your recipes and lists of oils you do not mention almond oil which is easy to find in my county (Greece) and which I consider as light oil, easily absorbed. Do you think jojoba, sesame or seed oils are better?

Thanks again


Valia said...

Just to be sure the INCI name is Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil.

Thank you once again!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Valia! Check the emollients section to see my posts on sweet almond oil and others!