Cosmetic Recipes using Essential Oils

In the 17th and 18th centuries, every large household had a still-room for making perfumes and potions, scents and soaps, scented washballs and skin lotions. Many of these recipes gained world renown - like the famous Hungary water for whitening and cleansing the skin. Herbal cosmetics are simple to make at home and can be as effective (or more so) and cheaper than commercial products
Here are some of my favorite preparations using essential oils.

baths skin hair care
hand care nail care foot care

Back to Essential Oil Recipes Main Page

Page created by Joelle Miller, 1998-2002

Back to

Bath Preparations Using Essential Oils

Taking a bath can be all things to all people. Depending on your choice of herbs, a bath or shower can help you face the rigors of the day or relax afterwards. Not only that, a bath can help soften the skin and replenish the body's natural oils.

Frothy Bath Oil

2 eggs
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup corn oil
1/2 cup almond oil
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp clear honey
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vodka
1 Tbsp mild soap flakes
3 drops essential oil of your choice

Beat together the eggs, vegetable oils, and honey. Add the milk, vodka, soap flakes, and essential oil, still beating. Pour into bottles, cover, label and store in the refrigerator.

Add about one tablespoon under the faucet when running the water for a warm bath.
Makes about 4 1/2 cups

Floral Bath Gel

3 Tbsp fresh or dried flowers, picked from the stalks
1/2 cup spring water
12 Tbsp grated castile soap
3-4 drops essential oil of choice

Pound the flowers with a mortar and pestle until they form a paste or powder. Put the water into a small pan and bring to a boil. Beat in the grated soap until it has dissolved, then remove pan from heat. Stir in the flowers and essential oil.
Leave to cool, then pour into bottles, cover, label and store in the refrigerator. Use as a soft soap.
Makes about 1 cup

Back to the top

Skin Care Preparations Using Essential Oils

Making your own skin preparations is itself a pleasurable pastime. Just to stir a handful of pot marigold petals into a bowl of steaming water is both invigorating and calming, an indirect form of Aromatherapy. The following recipes offers therapeutic and cosmetic blends to help you care for your skin or just to allow a little self indulgence.

Lavender-flower Lotion

Splash on this gentle toning lotion to tighten and refresh the skin

5 Tbsp Lavender water
5 Tbsp Witch Hazel
5 Tbsp Lemon Juice, strained
2-3 drops lavender essential oil

Pour all the ingredients into a bottle, close it with a cap or cork, and shake it vigorously. Shake well before each use.

Makes about 3/4 cup

Purifying Masks

this is a purifying, toning, soothing, and rejuvenating mask. The basic ingredients are: Green Clay - 2 ounces; Cornflour - 3 teaspoons.
Mix together and keep in a jar, ready for combining in one of the formulas below.

Blend the ingredients together to form a smooth paste. Apply in a thin layer to face, avoiding eye area. Leave on the skin for fifteen minutes. Rinse off and apply a moisturizer or facial oil. Dab the face with a tissue.

Normal Skin

1 Tbsp Basic Mask Mix
1 Egg Yolk
1 tsp water
{combine and use 1 drop of:
2 drops Geranium essential oil and
1 drop Bois de rose}

Dry Skin

1 Tbsp Basic Mask Mix
1 Egg Yolk
1 tsp Almond or Evening Primrose Oil
2 drops Carrot Oil
2 tsp water
{Combine and use 1 drop of:
1 drop Chamomile essential oil and
1 drop Rose essential oil}

Oily Skin

1 Tbsp Basic Mask Mix
1 Tbsp Brewer's Yeast
1 Tbsp Water
{Combine and use 1 drop of:
1 drop of Rosemary essential oil and
1 drop of Lavender essential oil}

Revitalizing Mask for Dehydrated Skin
1 Tbsp Basic Mask Mix
1 Egg Yolk
1 tsp Brewer's Yeast
1 tsp Jojoba Oil
1 Tbsp Water
{Combine and use one drop of:
1 drop Chamomile essential oil and
2 drops Carrot Oil}


1 tbsp Basic Mask Mix
1 tsp Water
{Combine and use 1 drop of:
1 drop of Chamomile essential oil
1 drop of Lavender essential oil
1 drop Juniper essential oil and
1 drop Patchouli essential oil}

Back to the top

Hair Care Preparations using Essential Oils

Suggested recipes for Hair Care Blends

the following recipes are based on 1/2 ounce of base oil (jojoba or sweet almond). You may increase the proportions as needed. (i.e. double the amount of essential oils used for 1 ounce of base oil.) To make an undiluted hair oil blend from any of these recipes, combine 10 drops of each oil in a 4 ml amber bottle.
Basic Hair Oil: This blend is soothing and refreshing to the scalp. Add 2 drops rosemary, 2 drops lavender, 2 drops clary sage, and 2 drops jasmine absolute to 1/2 ounce base oil.
Ylang-ylang blend: Add 2 drops lavender, 2 drops rose geranium, 2 drops ylang-ylang, and 2 drops patchouli to 1/2 ounce base oil.
Relaxing, Conditioning Blend: Add 2 drops Roman chamomile, 2 drops lavender, 2 drops sandal wood, and 1 drop jasmine absolute to 1/2 ounce base oil.
Earth Rose blend: Add 2 drops Roman chamomile, 2 drops lavender, 2 drops sandalwood and 2 drops lavender to 1/2 ounce base oil.
Scaly scalp and dandruff-prevention blend: Add 2 drops atlas cedarwood, 2 drops lavender, 2 drops rosemary, and 2 drops tea tree to 1/2 ounce base oil.

Hair Oil Treatment

6 to 8 drops undiluted hair care oil blend
1/2 ounce sweet almond or jojoba base oil (or 1/4 ounce of each)

Combine base oil and essential oils and mix well. Double recipe is needed for long hair so oil will cover all of the hair. Apply oil gently throughout hair. Wear a shirt that you don't mind getting a little oily, or cover your shoulders until oil is absorbed into the hair well. Cover your head with a plastic cap or your pillow with a few bath towels if you plan to sleep with the hair oiled. Leave oil on hair for at least 1 hour.
To rinse, add shampoo directly to the oiled hair before you rinse or wet it. The shampoo emulsifies the oils, resulting in a much more thorough rinse.

For scenting a brush or a comb: Add 2 to 3 drops of hair care oils directly to a hair brush or comb before using. If you have a wooden comb, the oil can be rubbed directly into the comb.
Hair absorbs scent quite readily. The oil also conditions hair as you brush or comb. This is a good treatment for both men and women.

To massage scalp: Place 3 to 5 drops of oils on your fingertips and lightly massage into scalp. In summer, try this while your hair is still damp; sit in sun and enjoy being surrounded by aromatic oils as your hair dries. In winter you can get the same effect with a blast or two from the blow drier.

To add to shampoo, conditioner, vinegar, or base oil: Add 6 to 8 drops of undiluted essential oil blend to 1 tablespoon of selected base.

Back to the top

Nail Care Preparations Using Essential Oils

Nail Massage Oil

4 ml pure jojoba and sweet almond oil base
2 drops each lemon, sandalwood, lavender, tea tree, and benzoin absolute resin
1 vitamin E capsule punctured and squeezed into the bottle

Combine all the ingredients and mix well. (unscented hand lotion or cream may be substituted for the oil base.) Apply 2 drops of this oil to each nail and 4 droops to each hand and massage in. The massage is as important as the blend. It stimulates circulation and relaxes hands that have been busy all day. This blend works equally well on toenails.

Back to the top

Hand Care Preparations Using Essential Oils

Aromatic Hand Soap

One 4-ounce bottle of high quality liquid castile soap
40 drops of up to four essential oils of your choice (see suggestions below)

Combine soap and essential oils in an old lotion or hand soap pump bottle. Add a pump or two of soap to a moistened nail brush and work up a good lather, then rinse thoroughly. Push the cuticle back gently with a hand towel. This is a high concentration of oils, but it is necessary to disinfect and much of it is actually washed down the drain with the dirt and grime.

Suggested Oils: Lemon, Lavender, Juniper, Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Pine, Bergamot, Sweet Orange, Grapefruit, Tea Tree, and Clary Sage.

Cuticle Soak

1 tsp liquid castile soap
1 drop each lemon, lavender, and sandalwood essential oils

Add ingredients to a small basin of warm water and mix well. Add 2 drops of tea tree oil if suffering from a nail fungus problem. (or add one teaspoon of Aromatic Hand Soap) Soak in this mixture for five minutes to soften the cuticle and cleanse the nails. Gently push the cuticles back with a hand towel or orange stick wile they are pliable. Apply Nail Massage Oil as directed.

Back to the top

Foot Care Preparations Using Essential Oils


Foot baths are especially helpful in treating tired, aching feet, cases of ingrown toe nails, foot fungus problems such as athlete's foot or ringworm, injuries or sprains.
Foot bath blends usually contain 8 to 10 drops of essential oils to 2 gallons of warm water. One cup of Epsom or sea salts can be added as well.


1/2 cup arrowroot (or an equal part blend of baking soda, cornstarch and clay)
8 drops essential oils of your choice (see suggestions below)

Combine the arrowroot and essential oil, crushing the small clumps of oil between your fingers to evenly distribute them. This is made only with pure essential oils, no base oil is added. Be sure to wash you hands after handling pure essential oils to avoid any contact with the eyes or delicate mucous membranes.
Find an airtight container, preferably with a closable shaker top (like a baby powder bottle. Pry off the top, add the powder, then replace the top. Aromatic foot powder is nice sprinkled in socks, tennis shoes, and boots to keep the feet dry and cozy.

Suggested Oils: Any of the foot bath recipe blends or; cypress (especially useful for sweaty feet), pine, juniper, ylang-ylang, grapefruit, rosewood, and frankincense are all suitable.

Tired Feet Bath

3 drops lavender
3 drops rosemary
4 drops lemon

Add oils to 2 gallons of warm water and mix well. This blend comes in handy when you've been on your feet all day. The lavender soothes the feet and the rosemary and lemon refresh, revive, and stimulate circulation.

Athlete's Foot Bath

4 drops tea tree
4 drops lavender
2 drops sandalwood

Add oils to 2 gallons warm water and mix well. This combination of pure essential oils works wonders for people plagued with chronic athlete's foot problems. Tea tree is anti-fungal, as is lavender. The sandalwood conditions, softens and soothes sore, cracked feet and toes. Its antiseptic and soothing properties help keep feet safe from secondary problems that can arise from the open cracked skin. Patchouli could be substituted for the sandalwood as a skin regenerator. Patchouli also has fungicidal properties.

Burning Foot Bath

3 drops peppermint
4 drops lavender
3 drops Roman chamomile

Add oils to 2 gallons of warm water and mix well. This blend is great for hot, weary feet that have been on the move all day. The peppermint cools and the lavender and chamomile soothe both feet and spirit.

Back to the top

Back to main Herb Index