Herbs infusing in carrier oils for future use in skin care products

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Of all the ways you can make your skin care business stand out from the rest, adding herbal infusions to your products is by far the easiest.

There are a variety of ways to create natural herb-infused oils and unlimited combinations of ingredients for a recipe tailored to fit any skin type or issue.

This post will cover it all for you:

  • the benefits of herbal oils
  • the ingredients and supplies you will need to create theme
  • 3 different infusion methods
  • how to use the herbal infusions in your skin care products that will keep your customers coming back for more.
How to make and use herbal infusions for your skin care business.

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WHY USE HERBAL INFUSIONS IN YOUR SKIN CARE LINE?

1. Infused oils set your products apart

Even before personally experiencing a product, which online description grabs your attention more?

A) “…in a base of three natural oils…”

B) “…in a base of three natural oils gently infused with calendula and lavender…”

As a customer that had to choose between the two products, the infused version would absolutely be the winner.

2. Proprietary products earn loyal customers

Adding a spin onto typical products, such as an herb-infused organic lip balm recipe, will earn you loyal, repeat customers.

Other skin care brands are less likely to have the *exact* recipe that you do when adding highly customized ingredients like herbal infusions. And that means greater customer retention.

3. Fantastic share-ability of behind the scenes

As small business owners, we have to drive traffic to our websites, which includes using social media and other forms of online marketing consistently.

There are few things as striking as showing a jar of herbs infusing in the sunshine – or showing oil being poured into a bowl of colorful herbs.

The visuals you can create just by documenting your infusion process is amazing content to share with your audience to stay top of mind.

4. Infusions are a fun way to add variety to your line

We wouldn’t be skin care makers if we didn’t enjoy experimentation and the act creating – this is just one more technique that adds creativity to our processes!

Two mason jars filled with herbs and carrier oils, infusing by an open window.

WHAT IS AN HERBALLY INFUSED OIL?

So that we’re all on the same page, an herbally infused oil is created when you add an herb to a carrier oil, keep them combined for a certain amount of time (sometimes choosing to add heat), and then strain the herbs out.

An herb-infused oil can be used directly on the skin or as a replacement for plain carrier oils in skin care product recipes.

HERB-INFUSED OILS VS. ESSENTIAL OILS

An herb-infused oil is very different than an essential oil.

Essential oils are found inside of specialized cells of certain plants. These oils have to be professionally removed for use through steam distillation, cold pressing, solvent extraction, or CO2 extraction.

Most essential oils cannot be used directly on the skin like an herb-infused oil can. However, essential oils can be ADDED to infused carrier oils in small dilutions (1-3%) for safe use.

Variety of herbs (calendula, lavender, etc) in glass mason jars with wooden scoops.

BENEFITS OF HERBAL INFUSIONS IN GENERAL SKIN CARE

So why use herbal infusions at all in our skin care products?

Here are just a few (of many) benefits: 

  • They smell good and provide a way for individuals with skin allergies to have a slight natural scent in their personal care products without the addition of fragrance oils or essential oils.
  • Infusions provide vitamins from the herbs to the skin that are absorbed and delivered to the rest of the body through the bloodstream.
  • Herb-infused oils are moisturizing and nourish dry, sensitive, itchy skin better than just a carrier oil alone.

BENEFITS OF HERBAL INFUSIONS FOR SKIN CONDITIONS

Herbal infusions are so powerful that they can even help bring comfort to more amplified skin issues that need maintained care:

Acne – a skin condition that occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells.

Eczema – a skin condition where patches of skin become rough, inflamed, itchy, and blistered.

Dry Skin – a skin conditon that causes scaling, itching, cracking, and a feeling of tightness due to lack of moisture.

Irritated Skin – a skin condition where the epidermis is inflammed and a painful reaction occurs due to an outside stimulus.

Rosacea – a condition that causes blood vessels to enlarge in the face, resulting in redness, flushing, and lesions.

INGREDIENTS AND SUPPLIES TO MAKE HERBAL INFUSIONS FOR SKIN CARE

Before blindly deciding which ingredients you’ll use in your infusions, consider the actual PURPOSE of your final product.

  • Do you want something that smells good or has a beautiful color for more of a cosmetic use?
  • Or do you want something to use as part of a dry skin or eczema skin care routine?

As there are literally countless herb and carrier oil combinations, have an end in mind as you read through the list of common natural ingredients below.

CARRIER OILS THAT WORK WELL FOR OIL INFUSION

Important note before selecting your oils:

Choose your carrier oils knowing that the shelf life of your FINAL product depends on the shelf life of your CARRIER.

If you decide to mix two carrier oils together, it will have the shelf life of the shortest-life oil.

Some carrier oils have a four year shelf life (when stored correctly), whereas others need to be refrigerated and still only last six months.

Consider shelf life PLUS infusion method PLUS the recipe you’ll be using it in.

A customer should still have a respectable window to use their product in before it goes rancid (too old or compromised to safely use).

Choose wisely and with intention!

A few recommended carriers are listed below – as you research which oils you would like to use, keep in mind that organic and unrefined carriers (and butters) will give you the best quality for skin care products.

Sweet Almond Oil: Sweet Almond Oil is a carrier oil that is extracted from the dry kernels of sweet (edible) almonds. Rich in Vitamin E, proteins, and numerous minerals and vitamins. This oil is easily absorbed and can be used on sensitive skin without blocking pores.

Tamanu Oil: Tamanu oil is a carrier oil that is known for its promotion of new tissue formation, which may accelerate healing and healthy skin growth (especially for wounds and scars!).


Jojoba Oil:
 Jojoba oil (which is really a liquid wax) is extremely penetrating and closely resembles our skin’s natural sebum. This means it absorbs into our skin quickly, making it very moisturizing and an excellent carrier that doesn’t leave behind a greasy residue.

HERBS THAT WORK WELL FOR OIL INFUSION

Regardless of the type of herb(s) you use, make sure you are using DRIED herbs rather than fresh ones you’ve picked out of your garden.

Introducing water (which is present in herbs that are not 100% dehydrated) to a carrier oil can make it go rancid before it’s even done infusing.

Dried Lavender: Lavender buds smell floral, fresh, and somewhat camphorous. A commonly known herb that is incredibly versatile. Lavender has a strong reputation of calming stress, promoting sleep, relieving itching, etc.

Dried Calendula: Calendula is the dried petals of (non-ornamental) marigold flowers. It is said to reduce inflammation and minor skin abrasions. An excellent herb to use in blends meant for eczema care.

Dried Chamomile: Dried chamomile is the flowers and buds of a German Chamomile plant. Smells sweet, fruity, and herbaceous, most often used in skin care formulations and muscle ailments.

Dried Comfrey: Comfrey is a wide-reaching herb and is beneficial in many types of infused blends. It has a history of treating bruises, sprains, and strains, as well as skin rashes and dry, flaky skin.

Dried Sage: Sage is another versatile herb. It is commonly used to help soothe muscle and joint pain, to control excess sebum-production (sebum is natural oil that the body produces), and for calming skin irritations.

Dried Rose Hips: Rose petals and rose hips are both popular in the DIY product scene for different reasons. Rose hips are better to infuse for skin care intentions, as they protect the skin’s barrier, brighten the skin, and can help address acne issues. (Save the rose petals for more aromatic needs.)

Dried Arnica: Oil infused with arnica is well-regarded as a ‘first aid oil’ due to its heavy use on bruises, muscle soreness, arthritis, and other muscle support. These same properties are also said to repair skin cells from the inside out.

Row of spoons holding dried herbs and botanicals to use in herbal infusions for skin care.

SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT FOR HERBAL INFUSIONS

As with any handmade skin care recipe, make sure you are using supplies and equipment 100% dedicated to skin products.

Do NOT use items that have been used for food preparation. It is highly recommended that you store all of your skin care supplies separately so that there is never the chance of cross-contamination.

Mason Jars:  Mason jars are the ideal container to infuse herbs in, as they come in a variety of sizes, a variety of quantities, seal completely, and are very affordable.

They are also the perfect shape to flip upside down and fit in a small crockpot. The perfect infusing container on every account.

Unbleached Cheese Cloth: Cheese cloth is necessary to help you strain the herbs out when an oil is finished infusing.

The thin but tight weave catches the tiniest bits of plant material (customers don’t want to see anything floating in their final products).

Mini Crock Pot: If you are only infusing one mason jar of herbs at a time (when using the heat method as described below), there’s no reason to use or purchase a standard-sized crock pot.

This miniature version is the perfect size for the 16 oz. mason jars listed above.

Nonslip Kitchen Gloves: Oil will need to be squeezed out of the herbs after they have been strained with the cheese cloth.

Gloves are necessary when doing this for sanitation reasons, and a nonslip version is especially important when working with oil and glass together.

label

Waterproof Labels: Mason jars can be reused for making infusions over and over again, so you don’t want to write with a permanent marker directly on the lid.

Using waterproof labels is recommended so that they hold up through heat infusion, refrigerator storage, and when oil gets on the outside of the jar.

METHODS FOR HERBAL INFUSIONS FOR SKIN CARE

(3 Methods: Time, Heat, & Solar Infusion)

PREP YOUR INFUSION…

(The prep work is the same for all 3 methods.)

  • Put dried herb(s) of choice into the mason jar.
  • Pour carrier oil(s) of choice into the jar, adding enough to cover the herbs entirely plus an additional 1-2 inches over the top. Leave another 1-2 inches of space between the oil and top of the mason jar.
  • Screw mason jar lid on as tight as you can.
Mason jar with herbs and carrier oil for an infusion to use in a natural skin care product.

There are three main methods for creating herbal oils, and they each have their own benefits.

Keeping the end result of your recipe in mind, read through the different methods below before you begin.

METHOD 1: TIME INFUSION

Infusion Time: 6-8 weeks

Benefits: The time infusion method leaves you with the most vitamin-rich oil.

  • Make sure the lid is on the mason jar as tight as it will go, as you will be flipping this throughout the wait period.
  • Find a place to store your jar that is a consistent temperature and easy to access for the next 6-8 weeks.
  • Flip the jar every other day or so for 6-8 weeks. I personally have a system of having the the jar rightside up on even days and upside down (resting on the lid) on odd days.
  • That’s IT. Skip down to ‘straining your oils’.

METHOD 2: HEAT INFUSION

Infusion time: 1-5 hours

Benefits: Heat infusion is by far the fastest method for oil infusions, so it’s a good option for last-minute needs.

If you’re infusing mostly for an aromatic or tinted oil (for use in Alkanet Tinted Lip Balm, as an example) and aren’t too concerned about a vitamin-rich oil, then this method is a great time-saver.

  • Place your sealed mason jar in a crockpot and fill the crockpot with water up to the same height as the oil (do not let water surpass the lid).
  • Keep mason jar in the crockpot for 1-5 hours (you’re looking for the oil to take on the color of the herbs and/or for the aroma to transfer to the oil. The color and potency is a personal choice and will take some experimentation depending on what you want for your recipe).
  • Once you’re happy with the color or scent, remove the jar (carefully!) with nonslip gloves and potholder to set aside until cooled to room temperature.
  • Skip down to ‘straining your oils’.
Mason jar sitting in an open crock pot (no lid) with water below the jar rim at 140 degrees. Herbal infusion using the heat method.

METHOD 3: SOLAR-INFUSION

Infusion Time: 2-3 weeks

Benefits: A vitamin-rich oil in less time than the time infusion method

Solar infusion mixes time and heat infusion together. Warmth and sunshine help to speed up the time infusion process without breaking down the vitamin-rich components like higher temperatures can.

  • Screw lid onto the mason jar as tight as you can, as you will be flipping the jar throughout the process.
  • Place the jar on a windowsill that gets the most direct sunlight for a long portion of the day…the two keys here are SUNNY and WARM.
  • To lesson the chance of oxidation, you may choose to cover your jar with a cotton or muslin tea towel to help diffuse the light a bit.
  • Flip your jar every day or two for 2-3 weeks (again, my system is to have the jar rightside up on even days and then lidside down on odd days).
  • Skip down to ‘straining your oils’.
Mason jar filled with herbs and carrier oils to infuse. Solar method of infusion.

STRAINING YOUR OILS…

  • Place the cheesecloth inside of another clean and dry container.
  • Pour the contents of your mason jar slowly in, making sure all of the plant material stays on the cheesecloth.
  • Pick up the sides of the cloth and gather together.
  • With your nonslip gloves on, squeeze any excess oil out of the herbs (they will absorb quite a bit!).
  • Depending on the type of herb you used, you may need to double or triple strain your oil to remove as much plant material as possible for a better customer experience. A little bit of sediment is completely natural.
  • Transfer back into your cleaned out mason jar and write the infusion type and duration on your waterproof label (great details to include in your product listings!).
On outside of the mason jar, be sure to include what herbs are used, carrier oils used, date infusion started, type of infusion, length of infusion, customer 'use by' date.

ADDING HERBAL INFUSIONS TO SKIN CARE RECIPES

HOW LONG DO HERBAL INFUSIONS LAST?

Infused oils should only be used (at the very longest) up until the shelf life of the included carrier oil.

As soon as this shelf life hits, discard the oil.

This is assuming that the oil is stored perfectly:

  • sealed tight with as little of air as possible in the container
  • in a cool environment, and
  • out of the light

If not stored well, your herbal infusion will go rancid (bad) much faster.

HOW TO TELL IF AN INFUSED OIL IS BAD

Since carrier oils are all a slightly different color and have different aromas, this is tricky to pinpoint online.

Once you are used to the scent of your preferred carriers, you will grow to learn their personalities.

In general, you will know when your carriers (and their infused versions) go bad due to:

  • an ‘off’ odor
  • a change in coloring or texture
  • a cloudiness to the oil
  • any separation

If you ever have any doubt, PLAY IT SAFE and toss it out! 

Skin care serum bottles filled with herb infused oil.

RECOMMENDED RECIPES

To use your herbal infusions in skin care recipes, simply replace the same carrier oil type with the infused version.

For example, in our mica tinted lip balm recipe, instead of using the plain Sweet Almond Oil as indicated on the recipe, use Sweet Almond Oil that has been infused with lavender instead.

BRANDING YOUR INFUSED PRODUCTS & SKIN CARE BUSINESS

Adding herbal infusions to your skin care products are just one way to make your business stand out from the rest.

To have a high-converting product and a business that customers return to again and again, you want your skin care line to be consistently branded in every product you sell, color you use, and email you send.

Whether you are just getting started in your entrepreneurial journey or are considering a rebrand, be sure to check out the Skin Care Business Branding Guide (Ebook + Workbook) below.

Step-by-step instructions + real-life examples + printable worksheets to help you build a memorable and SCALABLE brand!

Skin Care Business Branding Guide (Ebook and Workbook)

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