Beautiful skin is…. beautiful! Natural oils, essential oils and plant butters can help keep your skin looking healthy, glowing and vibrant. In this article, we discuss the best anti-aging oils and butters for skin care. We also cover which oils work best for which skin types and skin issues. Plus, some recipes to make your own!
If you are interested in keeping your complexion blemish-free and youthful, you have probably realized that toxic chemicals are not helpful to your goal of natural beauty. Or… maybe you don’t really know why your skin is not cooperating, so you are looking for ways to repair your skin and get that fresh look you’re wanting…
Or, maybe you already have great skin and you’d like to keep it that way!
I’ve mentioned before in other articles, that I have always loved make-up and experimenting with colors and looks. And fortunately, I was blessed with naturally “clear” skin. That is, I never suffered from teenage acne or other facial skin issues. But I sometimes had “T-zone” breakouts, although not really often enough to cause me worry.
Later, I was in my 30’s, I happened to get one of those “breakouts.” Now, this happened at a time when natural cosmetics were not available, so I had been using the best commercial makeup that I could afford. My husband, herbal wizard that he is, suggested that I stop wearing makeup foundation on my face for a while. I was slightly aghast at the idea, but I was even more aghast at the unsightly blemishes on my face! I decided that it was worth an experiment.
So, I stopped wearing face makeup and guess what! My face cleared up and I have never returned to wearing overall makeup foundation again.
But I still wanted lovely skin and to keep it looking as youthful as possible. So, I began studying all about oils, tinctures and plant substances, and experimenting with natural face oil and cream formulas.
So much fun! Plant-based natural oils and nut butters have been used for skin care throughout the ages, so I had a lot of information to investigate.
Based on all that research over the years, I wrote an entire (long) article a few months ago about the toxic chemicals in commercial “regular” makeup, like the kind I had been using all those years ago. And I also wrote another article about the different types of makeup – natural, organic, vegan, non-comedogenic, etc., and how to choose what’s right for you. So if you really want to get into the details, check out those articles. But suffice to say, just because something is plant-based or “natural” or “vegan” doesn’t mean it is good for all skin-types.
Luckily, there are literally hundreds of gorgeous plant-based natural oils, butters and essential oils that are effective, each in their own ways, for resolving various skin issues. So, I’ve compiled the short lists below (oils, butters, and essential oils) that are I’ve used regularly over the last several years. My “favorites” list changes often, as I learn more and try out magical exotic oils that get discovered and become more readily available. (see below for the recipes for what I am using currently) 😊
These beautiful oils can help us protect and preserve our delicate and sensitive skin from the ravages of the environment and from aging. When making your own formulas for skin oils or balms, it’s a good idea to choose a carrier oil and then add a smaller percentage of specialty oils or butters to the mix. You can top off the formula with an even smaller percentage (drops, instead of teaspoons) of essential oils that suit your specific skin care needs.
Note: When choosing natural oils for skincare, it’s always important to purchase cold-pressed, preferably organic oils. That means, oils that come from plants grown without pesticides and that are not extracted using harsh chemical solvents that are known allergens and/or toxins.
Organic cold-pressed oils will be safer and more nourishing for your skin. If organic oils are not available, (or too costly) at least choose cold-pressed!
Natural Anti-Aging Oils For Skin Care (alphabetical order, not preference)
Natural plant oils make a perfect base for skin care oil mixtures, balms and serums. They can be used alone or in combination with nut butters and essential oils when creating face creams, massage oils or specialty skin treatments.
1. Apricot Kernel Oil
One of the most soothing and protecting oils, apricot kernel oil is moisturizing and hydrating, which makes it a top choice for dry or aging skin. (well, all skin is aging! So, even if you’re young, it’s never too soon to start treating your skin with care and preventing wrinkles!)
Apricot kernel oil ✓ is high in anti-oxidants and vitamins (K & E) that combat free radicals and provide necessary nutrients to the skin. It’s high fatty acid content creates a protective skin barrier, so is helpful in preventing sunburn. Apricot oil gives a smooth and silky feel to the skin and can even be used to massage away aches and pains and even out skin spots.
2. Argan Oil
This nearly miraculous exotic oil is extracted from the small brown seeds of the argan tree. Argan oil been a favorite for skin, hair and nail protection in the dry desert climate of Morocco since recorded history. It is perfect for all skin types and for all age groups – see, already pretty amazing right there!
Chock full of vitamins (A&E), sterols, fatty acids (Omegas 6 & 9) that are outstanding for preventing aging and rejuvenating damaged skin, argan oil is anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and antiseptic. Those factors all contribute to its ability to combat aging in the form of fine wrinkles, provide sun protection and balance skin tone/coloration.
Argan oil is certainly what most consider a “specialty oil.” It is most often produced by women’s cooperatives. The production process is labor intensive and quite lengthy, resulting in just small amounts of the precious oil. Therefore, due to its somewhat higher price point, it’s fortunate that a little argan oil ✓goes a long way to produce its marvelous effects!
3. Coconut Oil
Coconut is probably the most versatile and healthiest oil on our earth. You’re probably already aware of the myriad health benefits to be gained from including coconut oil in your diet, but coconut oil is also incredible for skin care.
With its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, coconut oil repairs and nourishes the skin, while moisturizing and revitalizing. Also useful for diminishing wrinkles, coconut oil is excellent for reducing skin dryness… plus, it smells fantastic!
Coconut oil ✓ is excellent on its own, and in specialty oil mixes.
4. Grapeseed Oil
This amazing oil, made from the seeds of the same grapes that are cultivated for winemaking, is an incredible carrier oil for skin care. Light and non-greasy, grapeseed oil is high in anti-oxidants and fatty acids that are necessary for skin repair and for decreasing skin inflammation.
Particularly excellent for the delicate skin around the eyes, grapeseed oil ✓ can be used for all skin types, as it absorbs easily and works to heal damaged skin.
Note: As with all natural oils used for skin, it is important that grapeseed oil is organic and cold-pressed, rather than solvent-expressed as is often the case with grapeseeds that are remnants of the wine-making process.
5. Jojoba Oil
Made from the seeds of a perennial shrub that grows in the North American southwest, jojoba (pronounced ho-ho-ba) oil is exceptional for moisturizing skin. Its notable “superpower” is the ability to penetrate into the deeper skin layers to hydrate and rejuvenate, so it makes a wonderful base oil for skin care treatment mixes. Rich in vitamins (A, B,D & E) and anti-oxidants, jojoba is excellent for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
Jojoba oil ✓ is known for its anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties, so it is helpful in healing acne and in diminishing facial scars and unevenness.
6. Marula Oil
Yet another exotic plant oil is marula oil, used for thousands of years in Sub-Saharan Africa for beauty and skin care. Made from the seeds (nuts) or fruits of the Marula tree, this oil is a rich emollient that hydrates and moisturizes skin, without being heavy or greasy.
Marula oil can penetrate the deeper skin layers to reduce inflammation and even heal wounds. It also helps our skin to keep from producing too much oil.
Marula oil ✓ is perfect for anti-aging, as it prohibits skin from drying out, while decreasing fine lines and wrinkles.
7. Olive Oil
Olive oil, aside from being a nourishing culinary ingredient popular in Mediterranean diets, is also a well known cosmetic ingredient. With legendary beauties, from Cleopatra to Sophia Loren, as examples of how olive oil can help us maintain beautiful skin, it’s clear that most of us would benefit from adding olive oil to our beauty regimen.
Olive oil is high in vitamins (A, D, E and K) that are known to aid in skin protection against the sun and other oxidative environmental influences.
Olive oil also contains squalene, which is a moisturizing and cell regenerating oil produced in plants and animals (including humans!).
However, squalene is only produced by our skin cells when we are young, declining as we enter our 30’s. Therefore, if we want to benefit from squalene’s anti-aging properties, we must look elsewhere for a supplemental source.
Pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries most commonly source squalene from sharks, and this vast exploitation endangers these mighty sea creatures.
Happily, olive oil ✓is a plant-based source that provides enough squalene to help us combat aging, and olives are readily available from plentiful renewable sources!
Note: Although olive oil is excellent for most skin types, it is not recommended for those with ultra sensitive or acne prone skin.
8. Rose Hip Oil
Made from the seeds of rose bushes and suitable for all skin types, rose hip oil is light and hydrating, without clogging pores. High in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin C, this oil is regenerative and healing to damaged skin.
Its distinct anti-aging benefits, such as collagen-producing, smoothing and reducing wrinkles, make it a near perfect skin care oil. Rose hip oil ✓ can be used daily, directly on the skin, or in a mix of other oils.
9. Sea Buckthorn Oil
This natural oil is so incredible for health and beauty that I wrote a lengthy article all about sea buckthorn some time ago.
For skin care, sea buckthorn is unrivaled, as it contains all four Omega fatty acids, which stimulate skin cell growth and counteract skin aging. It not only reduces inflammation, but also promotes skin elasticity, soothes weathered skin, softens and moisturizes skin, while also reducing acne and skin lesions.
Additionally, sea buckthorn oil ✓ protects against harmful UV sun radiation, while soothing skin and diminishing wrinkles.
10. Sweet Almond Oil
One of the most useful and all-purpose oils for skin care, sweet almond oil is light and nourishing, moisturizing and hydrating for all skin types, including for those with sensitive skin. It is often used as a carrier oil for massage oils and face serums. Sweet almond oil is rich in vitamins and fatty acids, which are key in promoting radiant and healthy skin.
Sweet almond oil‘s particularly high Vitamin A content allows it to actually regenerate skin cells, effectively helping to counteract the aging process in facial skin.
Not to mention, sweet almond oil ✓is anti-bacterial, which allows it to naturally treat acne and other skin issues, such as psoriasis and rosacea.
10. Borage Oil
This beautiful Mediterranean plant also known as starflower, because of its exquisitely detailed star-shaped flowers, provides a truly wondrous oil for regenerating skin cells and improving overall skin quality.
With high amounts of GLA, a type of Omega fatty acid, borage seed oil ✓ increases skin elasticity and firmness, rebuilding damaged collagen.
Borage is anti-inflammatory and is good for all skin types, even sensitive skin. It is also useful for diminishing under-eye circles and for treating skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. Borage is one oil for skin that is even better when taken internally (about ½ teaspoon per day) than topically.
It’s inflammatory phytonutrients will heal your skin issues from the inside out, while also healing other inflammation related health problems. Borage is also good for maintaining moisture levels in the skin and throughout the body, and helping with PMS period symptoms.
Note: Borage is not suggested for internal use by pregnant women or for those taking blood thinning medication.
Natural Anti-aging Nut Butters For Skin Care
Nut butters are rich, creamy and thick substances that are excellent for combining with oils and essential oils to create custom facial balms and creams. They are mostly sold in solid “chunk” form, although they tend to melt when they reach body temperature.
1. Cocoa Butter
This rich and delightfully cocoa scented butter that comes from the cocoa bean is perfect for dry skin and is highly emollient. Its high polyphenol (anti-oxidant) content allows cocoa butter to aid in anti-aging.
Cocoa butter ✓ is also known to reduce stretch marks and diminish scars. It is recommended for people with sensitive skin.
2. Kokum Butter
Kokum butter is extracted from the fruit seeds of the kokum tree, which is similar to mangosteen. Widely used in skin care these days, I first heard about kokum butter about 15 years ago, when Jay and I were consulting for a natural soap company in India. Kokum was virtually unheard of in the western world at that time, and was a “secret” ingredient used by the owner of the little local soap company to “super-fat“ natural soap, making it even more rich and hydrating.
Kokum butter ✓ is lighter than cocoa butter and is non-comedogenic, (doesn’t clog pores) so it is useful for people who have sensitive skin, and dry, cracked skin.
3. Mango Seed Butter
You may love to eat plump juicy mangoes, but maybe didn’t realize that the mango seed can be pressed for its natural butter and used for skin care.
Excellent for all skin types, mango seed butter is creamy and rich, but also light, without being too greasy. It has little or no aroma so is a great addition to skin creams and lotions. Packed full of nutrients and vitamins, mango seed butter can protect against sunburn and also treat sunburn after the fact.
Mango butter ✓ is non-comedogenic (doesn’t clog pores) and is especially useful for those who suffer from drying skin ailments such as eczema or psoriasis.
4. Shea Butter
Historically prized as a skin care wonder since ancient times, shea butter comes from the shea nut of the African Shea tree.
With an abundance of anti-aging components, shea butter is preferred for those with dry, delicate and aging skin. It boosts collagen production and aids in reducing fine lines and wrinkles. It is also anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal, so is useful for skin repair and scar diminishing, as its vitamin content (Vitamin A, in particular) aids in skin healing.
Shea butter is creamy, satiny and rich; it feels heavenly on the skin! I found this Shea butter ✓ that is mild in aroma; the more yellow shea butter often has a very strong scent (sometimes to the point of being unpleasant).
Natural Anti-aging Essential Oils For Skin Care
Essential oils are quite concentrated, and can be used by drops, as powerful additions to skin creams, butters and serum formulas for skin care. A little goes a long way and these oils are not suggested here as single use remedies (although they can be, in many instances).
1. Fennel Seed Essential Oil
Full of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients, fennel seed oil is a perfect skin toner for all skin types, particularly for mature skin.
With both astringent and antiseptic properties, it not only heals bumps and bruises on any skin surface, but also fights wrinkles and improves blood circulation to the skin surface.
Fennel seed essential oil combats oily skin and helps to heal active acne and acne scars. It has a sweet and slightly peppery aroma.
2. Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense, often touted as the “Botox” of the plant world, is actually a sticky resin extracted from the sap of the Boswellia Carteri tree.
Frankincense essential oil ✓excels in anti-aging, as it contains components that counteract the deterioration of elastin in the skin, thus slowing down the aging process.
It’s unique properties allow it to excel in skin care, because it is anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. Frankincense is also useful in reducing discoloration due to sun damage, while healing skin blemishes and scars.
It has a spicy, musky and sweetly subtle aroma that is quite pleasant in skin care formulas, and is also known as an anti-depressant and mood balancing essential oil.
3. Helichrysum Essential Oil
Also known as Imortelle or Everlasting, it is not surprising that helichrysum (hell-ee-kriss-um) essential oil is a favorite for anti-aging facial treatments.
It’s anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory components inhibit cellular destruction, while assisting in collagen production. This counteracts the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and diminishes scars.
Helichrysum essential oil is healing to the skin. It can be as an antiseptic for cuts and wounds, as well as for healing newly acquired bumps and bruises anywhere on the body.
With its fruity and honey-like flowery scent, a little bit of helichrysum essential oil is excellent addition to face serums and oil mixtures. Here is a nice mix of helichrysum in a base of jojoba oil ✓.
4. Neroli Essential Oil
This spicy, citrusy, flowery essential oil comes from the flowers of the Bitter Orange tree and is one of the best essential oils for anti-aging.
Neroli aids in skin tightening by eliminating inflammation, which allows the skin to regenerate its elasticity by producing more collagen. With powerful anti-oxidant and anti-microbial actions, neroli helps to create tighter, brighter and more youthful skin.
Neroli oil is highly moisturizing, and can be used by all skin types, even for those with oily or dry skin. Here is a nice mix of neroli oil in a base of jojoba oil ✓.
5. Rose Geranium Essential Oil
This lovely essential oil is excellent for balancing out all skin types. With its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory actions, geranium oil aids in skin repair due to sun damage and aging. Especially good for oily skin, this essential oil balances sebum production and sloughs off dead skin cells, allowing the skin to appear more fresh and clear.
Rose Geranium essential oil ✓ also helps to unclog pores and tighten skin. With its spicy, slightly sweet scent, it is a welcome addition to any skin care potion.
And, In A Class All Of Its Own…
Finally, I often add a little bit of castor oil to any curative or regenerative face oil or balm, because it is so amazing for skin and health… so much so that castor oil deserves an entire article dedicated to it! If you are interested, it explains how castor oil can be used to dissolve cysts and tumors as well as how fantastic it is for skin. This is an excellent quality castor oil ✓ especially if you want to use it for other skin care or hair care treatments that require more than a few drops; I always like to keep some on hand.
My Most Recent Skin Care Recipes
1. My Favorite Face Oil Mix
Right now (which I use morning and evening) consists of:
3 parts apricot kernel oil
1 part sea buckthorn oil
½ part sweet almond oil
¼ part grapeseed oil
¼ part rosehip oil
several drops (up to 20) of Neroli Essential Oil
2. Soothing Balm For Super Sensitive Skin
I also have a skin balm that I use every evening. I tend to have dry sinuses that used to result in sinus headaches, so for the last several years I have used this mixture to soothe my sinuses. I just put a smidgen on the end of my finger and place it inside my nose and then gently pinch my nose together a couple of times to melt the balm and release, while sniffing the (then more liquid) balm up my nostrils. Sounds strange, but it works!
This mixture is a very mild and simple mix of:
beeswax – enough to firm up the coconut oil
several drops of castor oil
I use these oils because nostril skin is soooooo very sensitive and these oils are the best… I initially tried olive oil, but it can have a little “sting” to it on sensitive skin. Although, I have never had a problem using it on facial skin.
I recently read a blog post about a couple who moved to a Caribbean Island and she told the story about how, at first, she was so excited about island living that she decided to just wear her (wet) bathing suit – ALL THE TIME! After a few weeks, she ended up with a vicious skin rash (like diaper rash!) all over her inner thighs, her lady parts and her backside! (ugh… I can’t imagine!) She was literally crying from discomfort and could barely walk and I thought that she really could have gotten relief and healed her skin faster with some of my Super Sensitive Skin Balm!! 😊
3. Shea Butter Balm
I found a little pot of shea butter in a random market and made a nice mix of shea butter, coconut oil and beeswax. There are many varieties of shea butter and some can have a strong aroma, (this one was not really fantastic, in my opinion) so I didn’t want to use it all over my skin. It even overpowered essential oils, so I didn’t add any of those into the mix. It is amazingly effective for softening rough, dry skin patches, though! Nowadays, I use it on my heels, feet and elbows if they get dry or rough and it works really well.
Skin can be delicate! And no matter how much we care for it, we’re inevitably going to see signs of aging over time. The good news is, we can make the most of our skin by starting an anti-aging skin routine when we are younger. That way, we can have glowing and radiant skin for many more years to come. But anytime you start is better than not starting at all, so jump right in no matter what age you are!
These sumptuous and exquisite natural oils, butters and essential oils can really help us to have (and keep) the healthy skin that we love.
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