Essential oils come with many uses. They’re a natural alternative to toxic chemicals, and when used correctly, they make excellent additions to your daily beauty regimen. Adding a single drop of the right essential oil to your face moisturizer or shampoo can become a game-changer.
In this beauty guide, I’ll show you how to use essential oils for both skin and hair care. You’ll find the best options for your needs and a few easy DIY recipes for any issues you may experience.
Essential Oils for Skin Care
Essential oils contain properties to support your skin’s overall health. From hydration and oil control to basic daily care for ever-glowing skin, there’s an oil and carrier pairing perfect for you. Though, you may have to use trial and error to find what works best for your skin type.
Essential oils for dry skin:
- Yarrow Pom
Essential oils for oily skin:
- Tea tree
- Roman Chamomile
Essential oils for sensitive skin:
The best essential oils for glowing skin include:
- Geranium: Perfect for all skin types and ailments, geranium brings balance to your skin. Try a facial steam to revitalize dull appearing skin and get rid of dark circles.
- Patchouli: A little-known essential oil for skincare, patchouli smoothes and tightens skin while working as a natural astringent. Use patchouli in your toner after cleansing for a refreshing feel and smaller pores.
- Sandalwood: Indian sandalwood (Santalum album) nourishes the skin, reduces inflammation, and restores moisture. Add a few drops to your moisturizer each night for silky smooth skin.
- Lavender: A calming and healing oil, lavender is ideal for dry and sensitive skin types as well as multiple conditions.
- Tea tree: A powerful acne and oil fighter, tea tree is antibacterial and antiviral. It offers tons of skin-loving benefits.
- Rose: Studies show rose oil has antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory benefits to boost the overall appearance and texture of your skin.
Essential Oils for Skin Ailments
Most people have a skin ailment they would rather hide. Common issues like blemishes, scars, wrinkles, cellulite, or stretch marks plague most women. Essential oils can definitely help.
Essential oils for wrinkles:
- Sandalwood: The anti-inflammatory properties restore moisture and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
- Pomegranate: A 2014 study found pomegranate oil fights wrinkles (11).
- Carrot seed (wild carrot): Researchers found that carrot seed contains antioxidant effects, which slow the aging process (12).
Essential oils for stretch marks:
- Frankincense: Studies show frankincense effectively reduces stretch marks and scarring (13). Combine it with argan oil to boost the skin’s elasticity.
Essential oils for cellulite:
- Patchouli: Heals, fades scars, and boosts collagen to combat stretch marks and cellulite.
- Carrot seed: Promotes collagen production, which leads to smoother skin.
- Rosemary: Dry brushing with rosemary reduces cellulite appearance.
- Cedarwood: Tightens the skin, reducing the appearance of cellulite.
Essential oils for scars:
- Helichrysum: Contains properties to heal wounds and prevent scars.
- Patchouli: Helps repair new scar tissue and heal old scar tissue.
- Frankincense: Works at the cellular level to boost skin cell regeneration
- Lavender: Many studies found wound healing properties that may reduce scars in a week.
- Carrot seed: Useful for treating older scars.
The following essential oils for acne scars are best for your face:
- Tea tree
- Carrot seed
Other Skin Issues
Essential oils can even help with seriously itchy skin conditions, such as psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, and mystery rashes.
The best essential oil for nearly any skin condition is tea tree or melaleuca. Tea tree oil for skin works surprisingly well due to the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory factors. It’s ideal for psoriasis, infections, flaky skin, and more.
However, tea tree oil is highly potent. Dilute it with a carrier like coconut oil, or you may cause further irritation. Fractionated coconut oil also comes with benefits for red or itchy skin.
Avoid topically applying tea tree and lavender oil on young boys though, as studies show they may increase breast growth (2).
How to Use Essential Oil for Skincare
Topical application is the best way to use essential oils for skincare. However, you should always dilute the oils with a carrier. Not all oils are ideal for topical use either. “Hot” oils like Oregano, Cinnamon and Clove can be sensitizing to the skin and are best avoided for topical application.
Find the best carrier oil for your skin type:
- Dry: Olive, sweet almond, avocado, rosehip, or fractioned coconut oil
- Normal: Sweet almond, sunflower, or grapeseed
- Oily: Olive, sunflower, sweet almond, jojoba, or grapeseed oil
- Sensitive: Sweet almond, jojoba, or apricot oil
- Mature: Apricot, almond, jojoba, or rosehip oil
For sensitive skin, you should also dilute the essential oils further than you would for normal skin.
One way to add oils to your routine is to add a drop to your facial cleanser or moisturizer at the time of application. You receive the same benefits with much less risk.
Essential Oils for Hair Care
Using essential oils in your hair can help many issues, from healing dry scalps to protecting against damage. Your hair may appear shinier and healthier, without harsh chemicals. Benefits include:
- Stimulating growth
- Combating dry scalp or dandruff
- Balancing oil
- Preventing and fixing heat damage
The right essential oil and how you use them, however, depends on your hair. Some of the best essential oils for hair include:
- Lemon to clarify and remove product buildup
- Sandalwood for nourishment and super hydration
- Geranium for moisture and shine; removes excess oil
- Ylang-ylang for sensitive and dry hair
- Tea tree for daily cleansing, itchy scalp and dandruff
- Lavender for fuller, thicker, and well-balanced hair
You can also use essential oils for hair loss, dandruff, and other issues. However, you may want to combine them with a carrier like honey or olive oil for extensive hair treatments.
Essential oils for hair loss:
- Rosemary: The best for hair loss, research shows rosemary is as effective as Rogaine. Add a drop or two to your shampoo and massage it into your scalp to strengthen hair and stimulate regrowth (3).
- Tea tree: A powerful cleaner that can unplug hair follicles, boost growth, and aid dandruff (7). A 2013 study even shows tea tree oil is more effective than Rogaine (8).
- Lavender: A 2016 study found that lavender promotes hair thickness (4).
- Cedarwood: Slows hair loss and stimulates natural regrowth, making it popular for thinning hair, alopecia, or dandruff (5).
- Thyme: Prevents hair loss (9), but works best in small amounts.
Essential oils for dandruff:
- Peppermint: Promotes growth and treats dandruff (6) in around four weeks.
- Lemongrass: A study shows lemongrass significantly reduces dandruff after a week (10).
How to Use Essential Oil for Haircare
The easiest and safest way to use essential oils for hair care is to add a drop or two to your shampoo. Mix them directly in your palms before applying them to your scalp. Rinse well.
For an added moisture boost, add a couple of drops to your conditioner following the same steps. Repeat regularly for the best results.
You can also mix essential oils with a tablespoon of carrier oil rather than using shampoo. The best carrier for you depends on your hair type:
- Dry: Argan, jojoba, sweet almond, olive, grapeseed, or coconut oil
- Damaged: Coconut, jojoba, sweet almond, apricot kernel, or olive oil
- Normal: Coconut or avocado
- Oily: Argan, avocado, coconut, or grapeseed oil
- Sensitive: Coconut or Kalahari melon seed oil
Essential Oil for Beauty Recipes
Whip together these DIY recipes for an added boost to your beauty regimen.
Honey-Lavender Facial Cleanser
For a gentle face wash ideal for all skin types, try this recipe. Your skin will come out hydrated and soft. Just make sure to remove your makeup first.
Mix a penny-size amount of raw honey with a drop of lavender in your palm and massage it on your face. Allow the cleanser to sit for five to 10 minutes and rinse.
A clay face mask that draws toxins from the skin, tightening the pores, fading scars, and smoothing fine lines and wrinkles.
- 1 tablespoon of rhassoul or bentonite clay
- 1 drops of Blue Tansy
When you’re ready to use the combination mix ingredients together to create a paste and apply to the skin. Allow the mask to sit for 5-10 minutes and rinse.
Geranium Face Mist
A face mist you can use as a toner or as a pick-me-up for too dry or oily skin throughout the day, geranium and witch hazel both are powerful astringents.
- 8-10 drops geranium
- 2 tablespoons witch hazel
- 4 tablespoons water
Shake the ingredients together in a 4-oz glass spray bottle. Spritz your face as needed.
Hair Growth Moisturizer
Ideal for beginners, simply combine these ingredients with your conditioner to create thicker, well-conditioned, and faster-growing hair.
- 1 drop cedarwood
- 1 tbsp of conditioner (or carrier oil)
Repair Hair Mask
To repair dry or damaged hair, massage the combined ingredients into your scalp. Wrap a towel around your hair, allowing it to sit for at least 30 minutes before rinsing. Leave it overnight for an added boost.
- 1 drops clary sage
- 1 drops rosemary
- 1 drops lavender
- 1 drops tea tree
- ½ to 1 ounce jojoba oil
While essential oils are excellent natural tools for skin and hair care, they can also cause serious skin reactions and even allergic reactions, phototoxicity, and chemical burns if used incorrectly.
Always combine your oil with a carrier and test new oils on a small patch first. Make sure to also avoid citrus oils if you plan to spend time outside and further dilute the oils for use with children.
- Calabrese, V., et al. (1999). Oxidative stress and antioxidants at skin biosurface: a novel antioxidant from lemon oil capable of inhibiting oxidative damage to the skin. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10713866
- National Institutes of Health. (2007). Lavender and Tea Tree Oils May Cause Breast Growth in Boys. Retrieved from: https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/lavender-tea-tree-oils-may-cause-breast-growth-boys
- Panahi, Y., Taghizadeh, M., Marzony, E. T., & Sahebkar, A. (2015). Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trial. Skinmed, 13(1), 15-21. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25842469
- Lee, B. H., Lee, J. S., & Kim, Y. C. (2016). Hair growth-promoting effects of lavender oil in C57BL/6 mice. Toxicological Research, 32(2), 103. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27123160
- Hay I.C., Jamieson, M., & Ormerod, A.D. (1998). Randomized trial of aromatherapy. Successful treatment for alopecia areata. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9828867
- Oh, J. Y., Park, M. A., & Kim, Y. C. (2014). Peppermint oil promotes hair growth without toxic signs. Toxicological Research, 30(4), 297. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4289931/
- Carvalho, I.T., Estevinho, B.N., & L. Santos. (2015). Application of microencapsulated essential oils in cosmetic and personal healthcare products – a review. Retrieved from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ics.12232
- Sakr, F. M., Gado, A. M., Mohammed, H. R., & Adam, A. N. I. (2013). Preparation and evaluation of a multimodal minoxidil microemulsion versus minoxidil alone in the treatment of androgenic alopecia of mixed etiology: a pilot study. Drug design, development and therapy, 7, 413. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23807837
- University Herald. (2019). Stop Acne and Prevent Hair Loss Using Thyme Oil. Retrieved from: https://www.universityherald.com/articles/77098/20191218/stop-acne-and-prevent-hair-loss-using-thyme-oil.htm
- Chaisripipat, Lourith, Kanlayavattanakul. (2015). Anti-dandruff Hair Tonic Containing Lemongrass (Cymbopogon felxuosus) Oil. Retrieved from: https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/432407
- Zarfeshany, Aida, et al. (2014). Potent health effects of pomegranate. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4007340/
- Kamlesh, Singh, et al. (2012). In vivo antioxidant and hepatoprotective activity of methanolic extracts of Daucus carota seeds in experimental animals. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3609303/
- Mikhaeil, Botros R., et al. (2002). Chemistry and Immunomodulatory Activity of Frankincense Oil. Retrieved from: http://www.znaturforsch.com/ac/v58c/s58c0230.pdf