The following is a guest post by Melissa Vines of Nourish Baby Organics.

My first experience in making my own skin care products began as an experiment to soothe my son’s eczema.  I had tried several over-the-counter remedies (without much success), and was now looking for something simple, effective, and without added preservatives or toxic chemicals.

So, I infused a little bottle of olive oil with Calendula and Chamomile flowers, and massaged the infusion onto his skin.  He didn’t shake or cry like I’d seen him do so many times before, and his skin calmed almost immediately.  As the redness started to fade away, I realized that something I created had finally worked.  I was hooked from that point on!

Making your own infused oil is an easy project that you can do at home too, and there are so many different ways you can customize it to suit you and your family’s needs.  Choose certain herbs to calm irritation from eczema, rashes, sunburns and even poison ivy.  You may spot apply the oil to irritated skin, use it all over to moisturize, or add it to your bathwater for a soothing soak.

Here are some suggested herbs and uses…

  • Calendula–  for slow-healing wounds, rashes, eczema, inflammation, sunburns, itchiness, poison ivy, said to be an effective insect repellent
  • Chamomile– for minor cuts, irritation, eczema, fungal infections, sunburns, calming, sleep aid
  • Chickweed– for inflammation, minor burns and skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema
  • Comfrey– for minor burns, rashes, insect bites and itchiness
  • Lavender– healing, calming effect, sleep aid, sunburns, said to be an insect repellent too
  • Plantain– for slow healing wounds, inflammation, poison ivy, insect bites
  • Rosemary– used on itchy scalps and for dandruff
  • St. John’s Wort– for wounds, sunburns, bee stings, bruises, inflammation

Ingredients & Materials

I suggest using sweet almond, jojoba, olive and sunflower oils because they are extremely moisturizing and can resist heat well.  Along with your chosen herbs and oil, you will need a mason jar, a strainer, cheesecloth and a glass bottle for storing.  Mountain Rose Herbs is my go-to source for organic herbs, oils and supplies.  They have everything you need to make your own handcrafted skin care products.  Okay, let’s get started!

Prepare the Herbs

The ratio I use is 1 ounce herbs to 10 ounces oil. You can either weigh the herbs in a food scale or measure them with a measuring cup.  For the majority of herbs 1 ounce will equal 1 cup except for Calendua which is a very light and fluffy herb, instead 1 ounce of Calendula is approximately 3 cups.

Make the Infusion

Put herbs in mason jar and cover with 10 ounces of oil. Screw lid on and give it a little shake to make sure herbs are saturated in oil.

Place in a sunny spot by a window in your house or on your porch and allow to infuse for 3-6 weeks, shaking it frequently. Optional oven method:  Best things come to those who wait but if you just can’t wait several weeks then use the oven method.  Put herbs and oil into an oven safe glass bowl, preheat oven to 250 degrees, turn off and place bowl inside.  Allow to infuse for 24 hours.

Once oil has reached desired infusion place a strainer over a bowl and line it with cheesecloth.  Pour your infused oil through the strainer into bowl.

Gather cheesecloth up and around herbs and squeeze every last bit out because that is where the good stuff is!

Storing Your Herbal-Infused Oils

Pour into a glass bottle for storing.  My favorite is an amber glass bottle because it prolongs the  shelf life.  Speaking of shelf life…add ½ tsp of vitamin e oil to your herbal infusion to keep it good for up to two years.  Without the vitamin e oil expect the shelf life to be about a year.  There is no need to use another preservative because no water is involved.  When water is added that’s when things can get funky.  Bacteria loves to grow in moist climates so make sure your jars and bottles are dry prior to getting started.

Last step is to label your infusion and date it.  Here is a source for great printable apothecary labels that are sure to look great on your handcrafted creation.  Have fun with it and enjoy your finished product!

Have you made any herbal infused oils? For what purposes? Which of these herbs do you think would be most helpful to you?

Melissa Vines resides in Tennessee where she balances life as a mom to two small children and running a organic skin care for babies, Nourish Baby Organics.  You can find Melissa blogging about her kids, work and natural parenting on her blog, the nourished nest.