Field of lavender flowers

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If you’re a handmade skin care maker, learning how to use lavender essential oil for holistic skincare is going to change the way you think about your entire product line.

New to the essential oil game?

If this is you, welcome! This post is going to break it down nice and easy – lavender is the perfect oil to get introduced to first.

Or are you a seasoned essential oil veteran (…and not quite sure why you opened this post…because quite frankly, you’re ‘over’ the attention that lavender always seems to get)?

If this is you, sift through the brief introduction and sit tight for a look into the chemical composition of lavender that may rejuvenate your affection for the most well-known oil out there.

Whatever your background, you’ll walk away from this post with a handful of DIY recipe ideas to nurture your skin (and total wellness) holistically.

How to use lavender essential oil (for holistic skincare) social image

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links (at no cost to you). Please read the disclosure for more information.

Lavender Essential Oil Profile:

  • Latin name: Lavandula angustifolia
  • Botanical family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
  • Plant part: Flowers
  • Countries of origin: India, S. France, Italy, Bulgaria
  • Extraction method: Steam distilled
  • Aroma descriptors: fresh, light, floral, woody, sweet-herbal

What is Lavender Essential Oil?

Some plants have special cells inside of them that cause them to be highly fragrant.

In the case of lavender, these aromatic cells are in the purple flowers.

These flowers are put through a special process called steam distillation where the volatile components (ones that can evaporate) are separated from the plant material and voila! – these cells are what we refer to as lavender essential oil. (watch a home-based distillation process)

Close up view of a single lavender flower

Essential Oils Broken Down

As you most likely remember from your grade school science class, everything is made up of something smaller.

An apple has around 300 substances, including water, glucose, fructose, lignin, iron, calcium, magnesium, etc. Source

The composition of air includes nitrogen, oxygen, argon, carbon dioxide, neon, methane, etc. Source

So it makes sense that essential oils are made up of smaller molecules as well, and most have somewhere in the range of 200 different constituents.

This mix of molecules is what gives each oil its ‘personality’.

Some of these molecules are only in super teeny-tiny trace amounts. Others have significant percentages in a certain component.

These larger percentages of a certain molecule (or chemical family) are what ‘drive’ the use of an essential oil, meaning how an individual oil is used and for what reasons.

Most Prominent Components in Lavender

Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) has the highest percentages of Linalool (27.73%) and Linalyl acetate (29.7%).

As you can see in the charts below, these percentages are VERY high when compared to the other constituents that are outside of the red boxes (an average of 0.05%).

GCMS Report Screenshot for lavender essential oil showing linalool content
GCMS report for lavender essential oil showing percentage of linalyl acetate content

The charts above are taken from a GC/MS report for a batch of Lavandula angustifolia from Bulgaria on December 9, 2020 (LOT L40116) – however, most lavender (of the same species) are rich in the same components.

Linalool (Monoterpenol Chemical Family)

Research supports that linalool has the following therapeutic actions:

airborne antimicrobial, analgesic, anti-anxiety, antibacterial, anticonvulsant, antifungal (candida), anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive, antioxidant, antispasmodic, antitumoral, antiviral, cognition enhancement, hypotensive, immunostimulant, sedative

Linalyl acetate (Ester Chemical Family)

Research supports that linalyl acetate has the following therapeutic actions:

analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive, antioxidant, antitumoral, antispasmodic, antiulcerogenic, immunostimulant, sedative, vasorelaxant

Single piece of lavender

What Does This Lavender Chemistry Even Mean???

If the above information has been gibberish to you, no fear.

You don’t need to know that amount of detail to successfully make skincare products.

It is simply meant to illustrate the ‘science-backed why‘ behind using lavender essential oil for HOLISTIC skincare.

In the descriptions of the prominent lavender components above, notice the RANGE of benefits:

  • anti-inflammatory (definition: reduces redness, swelling, and pain)
  • sedative (definition: tending to calm, moderate, or tranquilize)
  • analgesic (definition: producing a diminished sensation to pain)
  • anti-anxiety (definition: tending to prevent or relieve anxiety)

This chemistry breakdown shows that lavender has an effect on our skin when used topically, the actual physiology of our body (the way our body parts function), and how our brains perceive and react to its current state and environment.

Clearly with that assortment of therapeutic properties, lavender has so many more benefits than simply using it in a candle because ‘it smells good’.

Shop Lavender at Plant Therapy!

Safety Notes for Lavender Essential Oil

Before we move on to actually HOW to use lavender oil holistically, you need to hear the safety parameters.

Lavender is generally referred to as the ‘safest’ oil there is, that it is ‘kid friendly’ and gentle.

All of these are true, but you can’t just sprinkle it around without abandon.

Different types of lavender:

There are over 45 different species of lavender and over 450 varieties that have different uses.

The lavender that we have been talking about in this post is Lavandula angustifolia.

Not all lavenders are created equal.

As an illustration, there is a species called spike lavender (Lavandula latifolia), and it has stimulating components (the opposite of calming) and should be avoided before bedtime.

Similarly, people sometimes purchase lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia) in error (thinking it’s a different way to spell ‘lavender’) – this is a hybrid between ‘calming lavender (angustifolia) and ‘stimulating lavender (latifolia)’.

Long story short, make sure you are getting the lavender you intend before you purchase it.

Dilution rates:

When using lavender on the skin for daily use, you HAVE to stick to the dilution chart below.

Essential oils in general are way too strong to apply to the skin ‘neat’ (on their own), so it has to be added to a base oil in order to safely dilute.

Pregnancy/nursing:

Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) has been noted as a ‘safe’ oil for use during pregnancy, but there are still rules to follow.

  • Avoid essential oils during the first trimester.
  • During second and third trimesters, pregnancy-safe essential oils may be used for support at a 1% dilution.
  • Avoid using essential oils on a daily basis while pregnant.
  • Use essential oils under the guidance of an aromatherapist or midwife.

Kids:

Likewise, though lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) is noted as being ‘kid safe’, strict rules apply:

  • No essential oils applied to skin for children under the age of 5 years old. (Using a lavender hydrosol on the skin is a safe option to use on babies and kids in this age range.)
  • Keep to a 1% dilution for topical use for children 5-12 years old.
  • Gentle essential oils can be diffused around babies and younger children in ten-minute increments.
Essential oil dilution chart

Grab a FREE copy of this essential oil dilution chart here: Skin Care Maker’s Reference Pack

What is ‘Holistic’ Skincare?

When something is ‘holistic’ it means all of the parts (of a whole) are intimately interconnected.

In ‘holistic health’, you consider the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors rather than just the immediate symptom at hand.

When applying this approach to skincare, you’re not just going to hand over a moisturizing facial serum to combat dry skin patches.

From the view of a holistic skincare entrepreneur, you’ll also want to make sure that your customer is also:

  • Hydrating throughout the day
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Managing stress appropriately
  • Eating healthfully, exercising regularly, etc.

All of these factors (and more) contribute to skin health – no amount of skin care product can ‘fix’ skin that isn’t being cared for with a mindful lifestyle.

Handmade skin care products

Lavender Essential Oil and Holistic Skincare

Mental Wellness:

Skin care and mental wellness are so woven together.

When stress spikes (or anxiety, depression, etc.), so does hormone imbalance. Similarly, the body’s usual ability to combat inflammation and bacteria drops considerably.

The result? Acne. Eczema. Increased sebum (oil) production. Hives.

Lucky for us, lavender essential oil has profound stress-relieving effects thanks to its high linalool content.

Using lavender throughout the day can help to manage stressful situations and take that feeling of ‘being at a 10’ (fight or flight) down to a number that is in a calmer zone (rest and digest).

The easiest way to use lavender essential oil throughout the day is through inhalation methods:

Calming Diffuser Blend

A diffuser is a device that disperses essential oils in the air so that you can receive benefits through inhalation.

The one shown here is a ceramic electric diffuser.

Calming Aromatherapy Roller Blend

An aromatherapy roller is a small bottle of carrier oil and essential oils mixed together so that you can apply the blend to your pulse points throughout the day/night.

This method of application allows you to receive the benefits of essential oils through absorption and inhalation.

Calming Aromatherapy Inhaler Blend

An aromatherapy inhaler is a small container that holds a cotton wick inside that soaks up essential oils. This allows for quick and easy inhalation of oils without them touching skin.

Muscle/Physical pain:

Can pain actually affect skin care? You betcha.

When in pain, we all tend to breathe more shallowly, taking short, irregular inhales and exhales instead of deep, rejuvenating belly breaths.

Lack of oxygen intake and carbon dioxide output doesn’t allow the body to ‘clean’ the gunk out as it was designed to…which reduces cell turnover…which leads to dull skin and breakouts.

We also know that if we’re in physical pain, we’re less likely to exercise.

If we don’t exercise regularly, we’re not getting that necessary respiratory and circulatory work. Our bodies have a harder time managing stress. We don’t sleep as well. EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED.

Lavender for the win again.

Lavandula angustifolia is a natural analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and sedative (thank you linalyl acetate and linalool).

You can use lavender in stress and tension blends such as:

Tension Massage Oil Blend

For massage purposes, sweet almond oil is one of the best options to try. It is odorless, has skin-loving nutrients, and doesn’t immediately absorb for extended massage use.

Massage Oil Blend for Tight Muscles

If dealing with a nut allergy or working with dry and/or sensitive skin, apricot kernel oil is another great option to use for massage.

Bath Salt Blend for Aching Joints

When choosing types of salt for use in baths or foot soaks, a coarse grain Himalayan salt has the best blend of minerals (magnesium, potassium, calcium chloride, and bromides).

Sleep:

You’ve heard this. You know this.

Sleep is essential to having healthy skin.

At nighttime (or ‘sleep time, for those of us with weird schedules), the skin repairs itself – attacks those dreadful free radicals from sun exposure and makes more collagen.

Our stress can’t be in the ‘Red Zone’ when we’re sleeping, so our immune systems are able to address bacteria and inflammation a heck of a lot better.

Using lavender essential oil for holistic skincare takes the cake again for its sedative properties that help us to deal with insomnia and overly-active brains before bed.

The ways to use lavender to enhance sleep are infinite. Some tried-and-true blends are:

Bedtime Diffuser Blend

If you’d prefer not to run an electric diffuser at night (or don’t have an outlet available), there are clay and lava stone diffuser options as well.

Simply drop the essential oils above directly onto the lava stones or clay discs, depending on the version you decide on.

Bedtime Massage Oil Blend

Grapeseed carrier oil is an excellent base for nighttime massage, as it is light and easily absorbed – no worry about being greasy and rolling over onto clean sheets.

Bedtime Inhaler Blend

If you find that you love to use aromatherapy inhalers and/or would prefer a reusable aluminum and glass version, the set below is ideal. You will need to purchase extra cotton wicks on occasion.

Shop Essential Oils at Plant Therapy!

Lavender Essential Oil and ‘Regular’ Skincare

Outside of holistic uses, lavender essential oil is still the queen of ‘regular’ skincare, meaning you can use it very effectively by using it topically (diluted) on many skin concerns.

This is a fantastic ‘first-aid’ oil to have on hand for applying to burns, bug bites, rashes, irritations, infections, and other superficial damage.

All of the recipes linked below I have developed as a certified aromatherapist and have made them to sell in my own handmade skin care product line.

If you are a fellow skin care entrepreneur looking for products that go over well with a natural-living-loving target market, these recipes will be a goldmine for you.

Topical Lavender Skincare Recipes

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The Best Place to Purchase Lavender Essential Oil

As a certified aromatherapist, Plant Therapy is my go-to essential oil distributor.

You can buy lavender essential oil in 5, 10, 30, and 100 mL sizes, as well as bulk sizes if you’re a high-volume maker.

Plant Therapy also carries Organic Lavender Hydrosol and pages of pre-made lavender products if you’re not ready to make your own yet.

Bottle of organic lavender essential oil from Plant Therapy

All my best to you, fellow maker, as you begin using lavender essential oil for HOLISTIC skincare – starting to blend with a lens of overall wellness is a gamechanger.

I look forward to hearing how this approach strengthens your handmade skin care journey!

Grow Your Skin Care Business!

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