Using Essential Oils in Soaps and Skincare


Essential Oils in Skincare - Part One

Essential oils are split into three different categories called notes, #top, #middle and #base. The top note is the first fragrance you will smell, it’s lighter and due to its molecular structure will fade quicker than the other two notes. The middle note is the heart of the perfume and is more rounded and warmer and will last much longer. Finally, the base note which tends to be deeper in fragrance and will ‘marry’ the other two notes together.


Top notes are usually thin and watery in appearance while the middle notes tend to be thicker, while the base notes can be syrupy or very thick. In price, the top notes tend to be a lot cheaper than the other two notes and are great for using in cold-pressed soaps.

Some essential oils are allowed, however, they must be used in reduced amounts. If in doubt, I suggest you check the International Fragrance Association website on www.ifraorg.org where you will find lists of permitted essential oils and amounts that can be safely used.


Essential oils to start your collection :

Lavender, Geranium, Ylang Ylang, Lemongrass, Lemon, Lemon Vebena, Sweet Orange, Mandarin, Cedarwood and Frankincense


Essential Oils for skin types

DRY : Chamomile, Neroli, Sweet Orange, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang

OILY : Lemon, Lime, Lemongrass, Juniper berry, Bergamot

COMBINATION : Geranium, Ylang Ylang, Lavender, Neroli, Rosewood

SPOTTY : Grapefruit, Juniper berry, Lavender, Patchouli, Tea Tree

MATURE : Frankincense, Neroli, Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang

SENSITIVE : Chamomile, Lavender, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Rosewood


Great care must be taken when choosing your fragrances as not all essential oils are permitted in skincare products and the amount permitted varies. As a rule of thumb, up to 1% essential oils are permitted on leave on products i.e. moisturisers, 2% on rinse off products i.e shower gels, shampoo and cleansers and up to 3% on cold-pressed soap


The following essential oils are not appropriate for use in cosmetic products :

Parsnip, Hyssop, Parsley Seed, Celery Seed, Pennyroyal, Dill (seed/leaf), Caraway Seed Tagetes


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