DIY Infused Oil
I touched on infusing oil in my DIY Lip Balm post a while back, but I love doing it, so I thought I would do a deeper dive.
Infusing oils is part cooking, part chemistry, part skincare. Which are the three reasons I love it.
First, there are three methods you can use to infuse oils, but one requires alcohol and I'm not going to get into that here. The other two are the heat-infusion method and the slow-infusion method.
The heat-infusion method is easy and can be done in just a couple hours, which makes it the perfect method if you need something last-minute. You have to be careful not to allow water to get into the double boiler, which is why we'll use low heat. Another option is to toss everything in your slow cooker, which will help keep water out of your concoction altogether.
The slow-infusion method is even easier, but takes at least two weeks and as many as six, so if you need the oil right away, this isn't the method you're looking for.
With both of these methods, you want to shoot for a 1 part oil to 2 parts herb ratio. If you're using tea, you can use bagged teas or loose leaf. If using herbs or other botanicals like flower petals, you can use fresh or dried.
We'll explore both here.
First, a chat about the oils we'll use. I only use non-comedogenic oils in my skincare preparations. 'Comedogenic' means pore-clogging. I have dry, acne prone skin, and the last thing I want to do is put an oil on my skin that will clog my pores. There is a scale I refer to when I choose what goes in my recipes, and you can check that out here, but the basics are oils and other stuff is ranked from 0-4. 0 means the stuff, whatever it is, will not clog anyone's pores. 4 means it will clog just about everyone's pores. I'm oversimplifying, but that's the way I think of it when I choose something new. Every oil I will use here is rated at 0. My favorites for skincare are shea, cocoa butter, argan oil, and hemp seed oil.
So, now that we've got that bit out of the way, we can talk a little about the things we will be infusing our oil with: tea and herbs or botanicals.
There are a great many herbs that you can infuse your oil with, and I like to choose those with strong skin-loving qualities. One of my favorite things to infuse oils with is tea. Most days, I can be found drinking my weight in tea in various forms and flavors. So it stands to reason I would use tea to infuse oils, right? Green tea is a great choice, as it's loaded with antioxidants, but you could use whatever tea you like.
Other plants I use are comfrey and calendula, two common flowers that are renowned for their healing abilities. Roses (of which you can use the entire flower and the hips) and lavender are also popular options, as well, as they are good for skin and also have relaxing, calming properties that make them perfect for nighttime use. Chickweed, plantain leaf, and chamomile, lemon balm, rosemary, and many many others are also great choices.
Tea-Infused Shea Butter (Heat-Infused)
8 oz. shea butter
4 oz loose leaf green tea
Add shea butter to double boiler (or slow cooker or sealed mason jar placed on a heatproof stand in a pot of water) and heat over medium heat until the shea is melted. Drop heat to low and add tea. Allow to steep for 1-2 hours. Strain into heat-safe container and cover. Keep at room temperature for up to a year. NOTE: This doesn't really impart any of the tea's scent to the oil, but the oil will be loaded with the antioxidant and other skin benefits.
Herb-Infused Healing Argan Oil (Slow-Steep)
8 oz argan oil
2 oz comfrey
2 oz calendula
Place herbs into a container with a lid (mason jars are great for this project), pour oil over them. Place lid on tightly. Shake like a crazy person. Steep for at least two weeks, shaking every few days. Strain and feel the love. Keep at room temperature for up to a year.
When you strain the herbs/tea out of the oil, you will wind up with a touch less oil than you started with. I use a coffee filter to strain into the container I plan on storing it in, and leave the tea/herbs in the filter for about half an hour, just to be sure I've gotten all the oil out that I can.
So, what do you use infused oil for? DIY lip balms, lotions, soaps, and body butters are the perfect use for either of these two recipes. You can also use it straight on your cuticles, cracked heels. It's also a great moisturizer for scrapes, scratches, sunburn, and other minor skin injuries.
Go forth and create!
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