For centuries, people have been using essential oils to maintain health and treat various ailments and conditions. These botanical extracts can be used in a variety of ways, but because they’re so concentrated and powerful, they’ll always need to be diluted in a carrier oil or a butter like shea or cocoa butter.
As an esthetician, I’ve spent a lot of time researching the most beneficial essential oils for skin, and these are the ones I use most with my clients.
The Best Essential Oils for Your Skin Type
These are my favorite oils for every type of skin, along with recipes to use them in your own homemade beauty products.
Keep in mind that the topical application of anything has the potential to cause an allergic reaction. Essential oils should always be used with a carrier oil or in a dilution blend to avoid a skin reaction. You should do a patch test with any oil blend before applying it to a larger area of skin.
And while it is rare, if you develop any adverse reaction, such as a rash, itching, or burning at the site of application, discontinue the oil and bring this to the attention of your doctor.
For All Skin Types and Sensitive Skin
Essential oils: geranium, helichrysum, lavender, neroli, Roman chamomile, rose
Carrier oils: jojoba, sunflower seed
Geranium is a versatile oil that balances oil production, conditions skin, and works well for all skin types. This essential oil (EO) can be added to moisturizers to help with the over- and underproduction of oils from the skin.
Geranium has antibacterial properties [source] and a delightful floral aroma with hints of rose in it. Not only can it boost the oil-balancing effects of any moisturizer, but it can also boost your mood at the same time!
Recipe to try: Add geranium EO to mineral water for a moisturizing face mist.
A tiny bottle of honey-scented helichrysum is an investment. The nicknames for this healing oil are “everlasting” and “immortelle,” which are perfect because helichrysum is an anti-inflammatory with abundant antioxidant effects for restoring the skin [source].
Recipe to try: Add helichrysum to a calendula-infused oil and apply to bruises, scars, burns, or eczema. It also makes a great addition to homemade face oil.
This essential oil helps heal skin irritations, and because it is so versatile, it can be used for all skin types. It can cleanse cuts, scrapes, burns, and irritations and can also calm super stressed skin.
It’s considered beneficial for acne [source] and redness and is often used in DIY body products. It can be especially helpful for sensitive or problem skin but can be used for any skin type, including mature skin.
Recipe to try: Soothe and cool skin with a lavender lemonade body spray.
Neroli is a wonderful essential oil used to treat devitalized, mature, aging, and sensitive skin types. Due to its regenerative properties, you can also use neroli as a skin toner to tighten aging skin.
It has antibacterial properties [source] and is considered useful for acne, scarring, and stretch marks. As you can see, it would be a fantastic addition to your natural skincare routine.
Recipe to try: Make an anti-stretch mark oil with avocado oil and neroli EO.
5. Roman chamomile
Chamomile can treat a variety of skin conditions, including cracked skin, burns, acne, eczema, inflammation, sensitive skin, and rosacea—just to name a few. It’s naturally anti-inflammatory [source] and calming [source], making it a great choice for sensitive and allergic skin.
Recipe to try: Relax in a bath with this calming bath oil that won’t irritate your skin.
Intensely hydrating and naturally anti-inflammatory, rose oil plumps and moisturizes your skin without any chemical side effects. Rose essential oil can be used as a natural substitute for hyaluronic acid, a common ingredient in anti-aging beauty products. An added bonus is that it is also known to elevate your mood [source].
Recipe to try: The hydrating effects of rose oil will plump up pesky lines around your eyes and mouth, so add it to your custom facial oil or make a serum with rosehip oil.
For Oily or Acne-Prone Skin
Essential oils: basil, cedarwood, clary sage, cypress, geranium, grapefruit, juniper, lemon, tea tree
Carrier oil: tamanu oil, apricot kernel, grapeseed
Basil contains anti-inflammatory properties that make it a great option for many inflammatory issues. It is wonderful for soothing insect bites and irritation and is ideal for sensitive skin when properly diluted. It’s also great for overworked muscles, and its sedative effects [source] may even help headaches and migraines. Please note that basil should be avoided if pregnant.
Recipe to try: Add a couple of drops to a carrier oil, and apply directly to an insect bite or sting. If you are feeling sore from a tough workout, add a few drops into a massage oil to massage tired muscles.
Cedarwood has the highest level of the anti-inflammatory substance known as sesquiterpene, of any essential oil, according to the book Essential Oils. That's why it works so well on inflamed and acne-prone skin. Cedarwood is also an effective toner on oily skin and hair.
Recipe to try: This calming bath oil doubles as a skin-soothing body oil. Cedarwood oil's anti-itch and anti-inflammatory properties are especially helpful in this homemade eczema balm.
Citrus oils like lemon and grapefruit are natural astringents that work to cleanse oil-prone skin while toning and tightening. Their antiseptic properties [source] also help protect against acne-causing bacteria. Grapefruit oil is especially helpful in breaking down cellulite.
Recipe to try: Add a couple of drops of lemon to a foaming face wash, or use grapefruit in a cellulite body oil. And this lavender lemonade body spray is the perfect pick-me-up on a hot day.
Cypress oil can not only help repair capillary vein damage often found around the nose area, but it also shrinks swollen blood vessels. It’s considered beneficial for varicose veins, according to The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. This essential oil is also a good choice to use as an astringent on the skin, to kill bacteria [source], or to tackle cellulite.
Recipe to try: Add cypress to homemade deodorant for a naturally spicy aroma. Or apply it directly to cracked cuticles in a nail oil.
Juniper is a cleansing oil, and when diluted (as is always necessary) and applied to wounds, its antimicrobial properties [source] can speed healing time and help prevent infections [source]. It’s a great choice for many different skin issues, including oily skin and acne. The Art of Aromatherapy considers it beneficial for toning the skin and for use with skin disorders associated with irritation.
Recipe to try: Attack lumps and bumps with a DIY anti-cellulite oil that uses juniper oil to clear waste from the body and increase circulation.
12. Tea tree
The uses for tea tree oil for skin are countless [source]. A few of them include its antifungal and antibacterial properties. This means it’s a first choice for acne and oily skin. Tea tree oil can also treat minor cuts, scrapes, and just about any other skin condition you may experience.
Recipe to try: Make your own make-up remover wipes.
For Dry Skin
Essential oils: clary sage, lavender, sandalwood, ylang ylang
Carrier oil: avocado, sweet almond, argan
13. Clary sage
Various benefits to skin health can be observed when using clary sage EO. It not only can fight the visible signs of aging and reduce puffiness, but it also regulates the production of oil for both dry and oily skin. This makes it useful for all skin types. And due to its antibacterial properties [source], it’s considered useful for treating acne as well [source].
Recipe to try: Try a DIY deep hair conditioner to strengthen and repair hair.
This restorative oil effectively soothes the inflammation caused by dry skin [source]. And it's an antiseptic with pretty powerful antibacterial properties [source]. It has been said that this EO can also reduce hyperpigmentation and the appearance of scars.
Recipe to try: Add 6–10 drops of sandalwood oil to one tablespoon of almond oil and use it as a post-shave body oil to reduce irritation. To fight age spots or other skin discoloration, dab the diluted oil onto the skin each night before going to bed and leave on overnight.
15. Ylang ylang
Ylang ylang is excellent for treating oily or dry skin while still helping to stimulate cell growth and fight the effects of aging [source]. It’s a wonderful oil to add to any skincare routine. And with its exotic aroma, it’s also great at boosting your mood.
However, a little goes a LONG way with ylang ylang’s powerful aroma, so only a very small amount is needed. If too much of it is used, it can even cause headaches or nausea. I like to combine it with other essential oils beneficial for skin health to create a luxurious and effective product.
Recipe to try: Add ylang ylang to almond oil for a moisturizing face oil.
For Aging/Mature Skin
Essential oils: clary sage, frankincense, helichrysum, myrrh, neroli, rose
Carrier oil: rosehip seed, pomegranate
Frankincense is an incredibly popular essential oil, and it’s no wonder. If you are treating aging skin [source], have elasticity issues, or need to regenerate skin cells, frankincense is your ideal oil. It can even help with pigmentation, as well as tone and tighten skin.
It’s also useful for treating cuts, wounds, and infections [source] due to its powerful antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties [source]. Since it has a distinct woody aroma, I like to combine it with other essential oils that support skin health.
Recipe to try: Make your own hand sanitizer + antiseptic spray.
Myrrh has long been added to skincare products to heal wounds and chapped skin [source], prevent sunburn, and restore sun-damaged skin [source]. Its skin-toning ability is especially helpful in fighting fine lines and other signs of aging.
Recipe to try: Add myrrh to a simple homemade Aztec clay mask for dry skin.
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Holly Smith, a board-certified physician in nephrology and internal medicine with a background in nutrition. Learn more about Hello Glow's medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice, and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.529
I have started using tea tree oil and lavender oil in a base of witch hazel. I also use coconut oil on my face as a moisturizer. Great results for my oily acne prone skin. Blackheads are gone. Pop up pimples just disappear using this. Best stuff ever. Why didn’t I have this knowledge in my 18’s? Oh right, no internet back then. Lol.
all these are really good. Thank you for the post.
Karen miller says
How do you combine all the facial essence oils together to make one for the face?
Oregano oil mixed with a carrier oil is excellent for verrucas. I had a really ugly one on the sole of my foot for years. No over the counter product or chiropodist could get rid of it, but I was told about essential oils and used them consistently and properly over time, and my verucca has gone! Amazing!
How much of these essential oils, quantity has to mix for georgous skin texture,please give me that recepi
read more about hand gloves says
Could I use the essential oils like lemongrass on my face as a daily facial oil?
As a highly oil. Lemongrass and other citrus scents are highly likely to make your skin more sensitive to light. But as a nightly routine, it would work wonders. I use Rose oil and water for a toner. After cleaning my face, I spray it on, let it dry completely, then I moisturize. I'm thinking about adding some juniper berry oil to the mix as this lady just stated, it is good for circulation. I could use this for my whole body. My skin has always been blotchy due to poor circulation. Sorry for the long comment. I'm just a few months in to my essential oil journey, and I am highly excited about the results. So many oils have so many benefits.
*nightly oil. Sorry for the misspelling.
Good info but the ads are so annoying that I’m out
Mediavine ads are soooooooooooo annoying that looking through the site is a stress for me. I have to say it is making me leave the great info behind.
Silvia Dearte says
hi l would like to ask how many drops of the oils should be used for my cleaning daily routine . like l want to added to my cleanser my moisturizer and night cream.
Can I add all the 12 oils together and use them daily as a face oil regimen?? And add coconut oil as well??
Greg ONeil says
Interesting article! Do you have any guidance for which oils mix well together? It's bewildering trying to choose from so many choices. I like the idea of using a selected mix with a bowl of steaming water and then draping a towel over my head to allow the steam to open up the pores and infuse wellness.
Greg, you may want to steer clear of using frankincense this way, it can cause hallucinations.
Sibongile Tasila Phiri says
This definitely is a helpful post thanks :)
Sally Wong says
Hi Deborah, lovely post and what a beautiful picture you made. I was wondering what your favorite essential oil (blend) is that you use for your own skin routine?:)
Lorna willison says
Essential for people who like essential oils and don't really know what else you can do with them, thanks
Hi Deborah, I have been various essential oils for over 10 years, my favorite oil to use in Jojoba oil and Geranium oil for my skin.
Thank you for this lovely piece! Like another reader said --- it even makes a lovely printout for reference. I've studied the health benefits of essential oils for years and am glad that with passing time more and more people are becoming aware of their uses in place of chemicals. Do your research and you'll find wonderful sources for pure, organic oils that truly enhance your life. Thank you, Hello Glow!
Mellie Barnard says
I love the use of essential oils , my daughter is a boffin mixing all the essential oils for illments and for uplifting u
M M Barnard
Jessi Rossey says
Good post, wondering about the right hair oil that can minimize the hair fall naturally?
Sibongile Tasila Phiri says
I have alopecia and have done a little bit of research on minimising to absolutely reversing hair loss, lavender oil mixed with a base oil such as coconut oil is said to help when rubbed on affected area at least twice daily; peppermint helps as well.
Also, try having a high vit c diet, I'd suggest going ahead and simply buying high strength Vit C suppliments.
Toni atchley says
cedarwood essential oil article says its for your hair growth. I use it with lavendar
Candace Smith says
Wonderful post! A must share! XX, Candace