Essential oils can be a powerful and completely natural addition to your daily skincare routine. They've been used in both ancient and modern cultures for a variety of health reasons, and skincare is no exception.
Essential oils are the extracts of various plants, fruits, and herbs and retain many botanical compounds that are beneficial for skin. Different oils can moisturize, calm, brighten, and tone skin. They could be your secret weapon to a healthy, natural glow.
Of course, because essential oils are so powerful they need to be diluted with a carrier oil before being applied to your skin. Or you can get their benefits in skincare products made with oils.
Here are 12 of the top essential oils for skincare divided into categories based on the standout benefit they have for your skin.
Essential Oils for All Skin Types
Lavender could be considered one of the best all-around essential oils for skin. It's beneficial for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
Lavender-infused soap can be a great choice for those with sensitive skin. It can nourish dry skin and help out acne-prone or oily skin.
Ways to use: Use lavender essential oil in your daily routine by mixing a drop in with your face lotion or combining with a few drops of carrier oil. Try it as part of this Baby Balm to cover small cuts, bug bites, diaper rash, and more.
Geranium is another good essential oil for all skin types because it helps to balance out both oily and dry skin. It has anti-inflammatory properties that sooth and promote healthy-looking skin. (3)
Geranium oil has been shown to have antimicrobial activity that can benefit certain skin issues, including acne. (4) It was likely used by the Ancient Egyptians as part of their beauty routines and is still included in high-end skincare products today.
Ways to use: Mix a drop or two with a carrier oil and apply to skin. Or mix a few drops with 2 ounces of water and use as a refreshing skin spray.
Essential Oils for Dry Skin
Sandalwood is a particularly good essential oil for dry skin, whether that's your skin type or you need extra moisturizing during winter. It's actually been used for centuries as part of skincare routines and to calm the mind.
Key compounds in sandalwood are anti-inflammatory, so it can also help with the redness and irritation that may come with dry skin. (5)
Ways to use: Add to bath water for a calming bath that will benefit your skin. Or add a drop of sandalwood oil into your nightly moisturizer for deeper hydration.
Myrrh is another ancient essential oil that was used as far back as the ancient Egyptian empire. It was used for a variety of skin conditions including chapped and cracked skin.
You don't hear as much about myrrh today, but it's one of the most healing choices for severely dry skin.
Ways to use: Dilute myrrh with a carrier oil and apply to dry patches of skin.
Essential Oils for Oily Skin
Citrus essential oils like lemon, orange, and grapefruit are naturally astringent and can help to reduce excessive oil production. They also have antibacterial properties that may help with acne-prone skin. (7)
Lemon is one of the most powerful cleansing oils. Grapefruit will help to tone and smooth out skin. Sweet orange is gentle and helps to soften skin. All citrus essential oils can brighten your skin tone as well.
Ways to use: Enjoy the refreshing smell and cleansing properties of citrus in this plant-based soap bar. Or add a drop of the citrus oil of your choice into your nightly moisturizer. *Citrus oils may cause skin to become photosensitive and are best applied at night.
Rosemary may not be one of the first essential oils you would think of for skincare, but it's actually a great choice for both skin and scalp.
Rosemary has anti-inflammatory properties and compounds that can prevent excess sebum production, helping oily skin. A bonus benefit is that rosemary oil applied to your scalp can help with itchiness and stimulate hair growth. (8)
Ways to use: Enjoy the herbal fragrance of rosemary in a soap bar. Or try mixing a drop in with your daily facial cleanser or shampoo.
Essential Oils for Mature Skin
Frankincense is another one of the best overall essential oils for skincare, but it's especially beneficial for mature skin. It's often used to rejuvenate skin and reduce signs of aging like wrinkles.
Frankincense oil has also been shown to reduce redness and irritation, and it moisturizes skin as well.
Ways to use: Add a drop of frankincense to your daily moisturizer, or create a serum with a carrier oil and other essential oils on this list.
Rose is one of the most recognizable fragrances, and rose oil has been prized by many cultures throughout history. The essential oil can plump, moisturize, and smooth out skin.
If rose essential oil (which can be expensive) isn't in your budget, you can try using rosehip seed oil instead. Rose hips have many benefits for skin, and the oil is loaded with vitamins and acids that benefit aging skin. (9)
Ways to use: Add rose essential oil into your daily skincare routine, or use rosehip seed oil daily on its own or as a carrier oil.
Essential Oils for Skin Issues
Tea tree essential oil is highly regarded for its antimicrobial properties. It is cleansing, anti-inflammatory, soothes dry skin, balances oily skin, and reduces redness and irritation. (10)
Tea tree is one of the top natural choices for improving acne and also has anti-fungal and antiseptic properties.
Ways to use: Dilute tea tree with a carrier oil before applying to skin or spot-treating certain areas. Enjoy its refreshing, cleansing power in this soap.
Lemongrass is a strong essential oil with antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. (11)
You may not want to use it in your daily skincare routine, but it's a good oil to have on hand for skin and fungal infections. Just be sure to dilute lemongrass properly as it's a very potent essential oil.
Ways to use: You can get the powerhouses of both tea tree and lemongrass essential oils in this Awesome Antifungal salve.
Are You Using Essential Oils for Skincare?
If you've never used essential oils as part of your skincare routine, it could be time to try them out. You can use oils daily to moisturize, cleanse, and soothe skin. Or you can keep them on hand to use for different skin issues.
Try them out on their own or in infused skincare products.