The Basics of Essential Oils for Skincare | EOs, Carrier Oils & Non-Comedogenic Rating

The Ever Versatile Essential Oil

My Lifeblood, After Coffee of Course

Where do I begin with essential oils? How can I be expected to boil down everything I love about essential oils? Everything they mean to me? What an impossible task!

Ok I’ll stop being dramatic. Let’s start at the beginning.

Essential oils are highly concentrated essences derived from plants. The aromatic compounds found in essential oils are thought to help plants survive in the wild by attracting pollinators and warding off fungus and bacteria. Once plants are taken and distilled down to their pure essential oil, all of the unique therapeutic benefits remain for our benefit. I could get technical here and explain methods of distillation and where different plants hold most of their essence (citrus fruits hold it in their rinds!), but I bet that would get a little too technical and boring for you. You’ll just have to take my word on the fact that plants have awesome characteristics that become super powered when we distil those plants down into essential oils. I mean, have you smelled peppermint essential oil? That stuff is powerful. I personally leave distillation to the professionals. I’m more interested in the resulting oils and the wonderful benefits they can bring to my life.

So let’s talk benefits. That’s the best part of essential oils, right? All the wonderful things they can do for us! So since I’m a skincare nut...let me tell you about a couple of my favorites that I use for my skin:

Frankincense: Boy oh boy where to start with this one. I could keep you here all day talking about frank but instead, I’ll leave it to two words (or one since there’s a hyphen…): anti-aging. If you use frankincense on your skin you’ll begin to turn back time. Literally. Time. Going backward. You’ll look like a newborn baby. Ok only kidding. But to quote my mother, an avid user of the facial oil I made her, “Don’t I look younger?? Look! The lines here are gone!” Can’t you just hear her enthusiasm? It’s all because of the wonder of frankincense. Not to mention this oil can support your immune system, provide emotional grounding, and even support your joint health. I use this oil in my facial oil because it’s never too early to start fighting signs of aging.

Geranium: I remember doing a lot of research about essential oils good for oily skin but I can’t remember exactly why I landed on Geranium instead of all the other oils that would be a good choice. However now that I’ve readdressed the reasoning, I’m so incredibly happy I chose it. This magical oil has the ability to help balance the oil production of our skin, the same way it helps balance our emotions when we’re feeling a little overwhelmed. Ever since I began using my facial oil, I’ve noticed a considerable change in the amount of oil my face produces and I owe a lot of that to Geranium.

Over time I’ll get into more essential oils and the benefits they bring to your life (and your skin) but these two amazing oils should give you a taste of what’s to come. I didn’t even get into all of the benefits of Frankincense and Geranium beyond skin care just now, so you can only imagine all of the goodness these oils can offer to other aspects of your life as well!

Nourishing Carrier Oils

File Under: Inappropriate to Bathe In (No Matter How Much You Want To)

Carrier oils are your new best friend. Or..they should be. These are the nourishing oils that provide the perfect carrier for all the goodness essential oils have to offer, while also offering all kinds of goodness themselves. This liquid gold is created through cold-pressing or maceration of a certain nut or plant and most have a much shorter shelf-life than their essential oil counterparts (something to keep in mind). I love these nourishing and moisturizing carrier oils for creating facial oils - facial oils that have replaced all chemical-laden moisturizers in my life and keep my oily skin the healthiest it’s ever been. But they can be used in so many different ways - from make-up removal to dandruff treatment and even in first aid. We shouldn’t forget their most important role though - carrying essential oils for you to use them safely on your skin (that’s where the name “carrier oil” comes from..makes sense, doesn’t it?). The most commonly used oil for diluting essential oils is fractionated coconut oil, which is just a fancy name for coconut oil that’s forever a liquid. This carrier oil is perfect for combining with as many drops of essential oil as you need to help apply the oils, and their numerous benefits, to the area of your choice.

Unfortunately, I don’t have enough time right now to cover all of the carrier oils that exist in this world and the wonderful benefits they have to offer everyone. But I promise to cover as many of them as I can in the near future. I want you to consider me your oily godmother after all and in time, I will answer all of your questions about the carrier oils you need in your life (jojoba + fco are a really good place to start if you’re ready to get started).

Should I put this on my face?

The Importance of Non-Comedogenic Ratings

Everyone loves coconut oil, right? I mean..who doesn’t love coconut oil? We use it in our hair, on our face, in our food, in our oral routine (no seriously you should really try oil pulling). The only thing is...coconut oil is notorious for clogging pores. See, when choosing a carrier oil, it’s important to keep in mind the comedogenic rating of the oil. Coconut oil is a 4 out of 5 and extremely likely to clog your pores and cause acne and blackheads. For a girl with oily skin prone to acne, this is not ideal. Jojoba oil, on the other hand, has a rating of 2 and is well-known to be similar to the sebum our skin naturally produces. That’s why I choose jojoba oil as the main ingredient in my personal facial oil and my oily skin drinks it up happily. Below you’ll find popular carrier oils and their comedogenic ratings (anything 2 and under is considered non-comedogenic). Keep in mind where you’re applying your mixture when choosing your oils in order to keep blackheads and breakouts to a minimum.

Comedogenic Rating

0 - Will Not Clog Pores
1 - Low
2 - Moderately Low
3 - Moderate
4 - Fairly High
5 - High

0 Rating

  • Argan oil
  • Hemp seed oil
  • Shea butter
  • Sunflower oil
  • Safflower oil

1 Rating

  • Calendula oil
  • Castor oil
  • Emu oil
  • Neem oil
  • Pomegranate oil
  • Rosehip seed oil
  • Sea buckthorn oil

2 Rating

  • Almond oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Baobob oil
  • Borage oil
  • Camphor oil
  • Evening primrose oil
  • Grape seed oil
  • Hazelnut oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Olive oil
  • Peach kernel oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Pumpkin seed oil
  • Sandalwood seed oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Tamanu oil

3 Rating

  • Corn oil
  • Cotton seed oil
  • Mink oil
  • Soybean oil

4 Rating

  • Cocoa butter
  • Coconut butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Palm oil

5 Rating

  • Wheat germ oil
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