This is a listing of some of the oils and waxes used in making herbal lotions and salves and other skincare products.
There are more oils than mentioned here, but this gives you a start.
Olive Oil (Olea europaea)
- Comes from the fruit of the olive tree.
- Olive oil has good keeping qualities and doesn’t easily go rancid.
- The best olive oil to use is extra virgin. It’s high in chlorophyll and an excellent solvent for the medicinal properties of herbs, therefore it has traditionally been used by herbalists for making medicinal oils.
It has medicinal properties of its own. It is occlusive and emollient.
- High in fatty acids and vitamin E, and packed with vitamins, minerals, and proteins.
- Traditionally used by herbalists to make healing herbal oils.
Almond Oil (Prunus amygdalus)
- Comes from the seed (the nut you eat).
- Almond oil is emollient, nutritive, and skin-softening. It is rich in protein, minerals, and amino acids. It relieves itchy or inflamed skin.
It is lighter than olive oil, therefore popular as a bath and skin oil.
Apricot Kernel Oil (Prunus armeniaca)
- From the seed of the apricot fruit.
- Apricot kernel oil is light and fine, good for sensitive or delicate skin. It is a skin softener, and helps heal damaged skin cells. Rich in Viatmins A and B. Can be used as a substitute for sweet almond oil.
Avocado Oil (Persea americana)
- From the avocado fruit. Contains vitamins A, D, and E; protein, lecithin, and fatty acids. These are all helpful for dry skin or eczema.
- Helps rebuild skin collagen and diminishes age spots.
Useful for soothing sunburn.
Castor Oil (Ricinus communis)
- From the seed of the castor plant fruit.
- Humectant, soothing, emollient, and deeply penetrating.
Cocoa Butter (Theobroma cacao)
- from the cocao bean (a seed).
- Solid at room temperature, but melts on contact with the skin; has a lovely chocolate scent. It is very fatty and therefore it is great for dry skin, but not oily skin.
- Soothing, emollient, and lubricating. (Don’t use as an emulsifier for salves and lotions as it liquefies when warm.)
Coconut Oil (Cocos nucifera)
- from coconuts (seed of the coconut tree).
- Solid at normal room temperatures, will liquefy when temperatures get to about 76-80 degrees F.
- Moisturizing, emollient.
- Antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic.
- Externally it increases skin cell turnover and decreases healing time; good for pregnant bellies and breasts, stretch marks, and C-section scars. (Don’t use as an emulsifier for salves and lotions as it liquefies when warm.)
- Antioxidant, antibacterial, deodorizing.
- It is very light, rapidly absorbed, and leaves no oily residue. It is good for use on oily skin.
Hemp Seed Oil (Cannabis sativa)
- From the seed of the plants. Emollient.
Kukui oil (Aleurites molaccana)
- A seed oil. Easily absorbed. Emollient, soothing to irritated, sunburned, or burned skin.
- An oil produced by sheep to protect and waterproof their fleece. Works well as a skin conditioner.
Some people are allergic to lanolin, and some people with wool allergies may also be allergic to lanolin.
- Lanolin can be used as an emulsifier in lotions and creams. It can hold up to 2 times its weight in water.
Sesame Oil (Sesamum indicum)
- from sesame seeds. Occlusive and emollient, polyunsaturated. Antifungal. In Indias it’s used to cure athlete’s foot.
Sunflower Seed Oil (Helianthus annuus)
- from sunflower seeds.
- Lightweight, full of vitamins and minerals.
- Good for all skin types.
Shea Butter (Butyrospermum parkii)
- nourishing and moisturizing. Good for sensitive skin.
Walnut Oil (Juglans regia)
- From the nut of the walnut tree.
- The oil contains minerals and is emollient and vulnerary.
- A by-product from bees.
- Contains tiny amounts of pollen, propolis, and honey.
- Holds fatty oils in emulsion in salves, creams, and lotions.
- It is an emulsifier and skin softener. It does not clog pores. Has melting point of about 144O.
Candelilla wax (Euphorbia cerifera)
- A vegetable wax.
- Used as a substitute for beeswax in cosmetics and candle-making.
- Derived from flakey residue on stems of candelilla plant that grows in American Southwest.
- Has melting point of about 155-165O.
Carnauba wax (Copernicia cerifera)
- A vegetable wax derived from the Carnauba palm of Northern Brazil.
- Hardest of the natural waxes. Has melting point of about 172-181O.
- When using carnauba wax in place of beeswax, always use less carnauba wax than the amount of beeswax called for.
Start with an amount of carnauba ¼ that of beeswax, and gradually increase until desired consistency is reached.
You’ll probably use about ½ the amount of carnauba as of beeswax.
Jojoba (Simmondia chinensis)
- a wax ester extracted from the seeds of a native cactus that grows in the American Southwest and Mexico. It appears to be a viscous oil, but is actually a wax.
- Contains protein, minerals, and a waxy substance similar to collagen.
- Lubricant, cleanser, moisturizer; reduces wrinkles and stretch marks, helps lighten and heal scars.
- Helps protect agains UV rays.
- Antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, emollient.
- Similar in chemistry to sebum, skin’s natural moisturizer.
- Conditions and softens skin and hair.
- Good for dry, chapped skin and as a nail and cuticle conditioner.
- Doesn’t clog pores. Non-toxic, non-allergenic.
- It’s an emulsifier.
- The oil is similar to, and has replaced, sperm whale oil