How to Choose the Right Essential Oils for Your Skin Type (Updated 2020)

Essential oils and skin care have quite the history together. In fact, some people claim that they were the first forms of skin care. When you think about it, this notion actually makes sense because long before the development of western medicine, essential oils were one of the main components of healing. 

Today, the skin care industry is booming, particularly in ‘clean beauty.’ People want to find a natural alternative to treating issues such as acne, dryness, hyperpigmentation, sunspots, etc. because the skin care market is saturated with harsh chemicals that could potentially ruin our skin. 

While denatured alcohol may control sebum control right off the bat, this ingredient can be sensitizing over time as it strips the skin of its natural oils. Essential oils, however, are in tune with skin's flow and rely on the healing powers of natural compounds to fix any skin issues you may be having.

Read on to identify the best essential oils for skin. Whether your skin belongs to the normal type, dry, oily, or combination type, you'll find the essential oils that you need here. 


Identifying your skin type

Knowing your skin type is the key to crafting a skin care routine. What may work best for you, may not be the best fit for another person, and vice versa. 

The best essential oils for skin can be absolutely anything, depending on how your skin reacts to it. Some people enjoy rosemary essentials oils in their moisturizer and others prefer ylang ylang essential oil for that high-end, luxurious feel. It’s up to you and how you use them that will determine how effective they are for your skin.


Dry Skin

The lack of sebum production characterizes dry skin. It lacks the necessary lipids to retain moisture, hence the impaired barrier functions. This often results in loss of skin elasticity and premature fine lines. 

Dry skin often feels tight, rough, and flaky. In extreme cases, dry skin can be scaly and itchy. 

Individuals with dry skin tend to have a pore-less appearance, even around their nose and cheek areas. Having dry skin when you're young may seem like a blessing because it's easier to maintain, but you're at risk of sagging and developing wrinkles earlier in life because of the lack of elastin in your skin. 


What Causes Dry Skin?

Genetics. Some people have a predisposition to dry skin, mainly if eczema runs in their family. 

Age. Regardless of your skin type when you were younger, all "mature skin" is truly just dry skin. As we age, cell turnover slows, and our skin stops producing collagen. This results in a dull and dehydrated appearance as we get older. 

Environment. People who live in cold and/or dry climates tend to develop dry skin because of the lack of moisture in the air. 

Health conditions. Some illnesses, such as renal failure and diabetes, result in dry skin. 

Occupation. If your job entails frequent handwashing or dealing with astringents, the products will dry out the skin on your hands and other parts of your body.


Dehydrated Skin

One of the common 'mis-skin-ceptions' is that dry and dehydrated skin are one and the same thing. We're here to tell you that they’re not. 

Dry skin is the result of the dermis' inability to retain moisture and create sebum. Dehydrated skin is the lack of hydration in the epidermis resulting in fine lines. In essence, dry skin is a deeper issue, and dehydrated skin can be fixed by drinking water and slathering moisturizer on.


How To Treat Dry Skin

Dry skin benefits from substances called occlusives. Occlusives are ingredients that provide a protective seal over the skin's surface to trap moisture in the skin barrier. Occlusive ingredients are often thick oils that sit on the skin to ensure there is no water loss as the day goes by.


Cedarwood Shea Butter Moisturizer

Individuals with dry skin will benefit from this moisturizer. The shea butter keeps moisture locked in the skin and the carrier oil sophisticates the chemical makeup of this DIY moisturizer. Additionally, Cedarwood Essential Oil is the ideal essential oil for dry skin because it acts as a booster to attract hydration into the skin barrier to refine the skin texture and prevent flakiness.

Cedarwood essential oil

Cedarwood Essential Oil is perfect for dry skin because of its nourishing and moisture locking properties.

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  • 1/4 cup of shea butter

  • 1/8 cup of carrier oil (this can be avocado, grape seed, or coconut oil)

  • Two drops of cedarwood essential oil


  1. Create a double boiler by placing a large glass bowl over a pot of boiling water. 

  2.  Place the shea butter into the double boiler and allow it to melt entirely. 

  3.  Once the shea butter has melted, take it off the heat and incorporate your carrier oil and cedarwood essential oil. 

  4.  Allow the mixture to cool at room temperature for a few minutes. 

  5.  Let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours until it has solidified.

  6.  Take your mixture out of the fridge when it develops a creamy texture.

  7. Stir and put it in your jar of choice.

  8. Store your moisturizer at room temperature.

  9. Slather the cream day and night for a supple and dewy glow.

This moisturizer should last you a good six months. We suggest scooping it out of its container with a spatula or spoon, as opposed to using your fingers, to eliminate the risk of contamination. 

This product contains no preservatives or phthalates, so you have to be extra careful when scooping it out and applying it to your skin. 


Oily Skin

Oily skin is the result of the overproduction of sebum from the sebaceous glands, giving the skin a slick and greasy overall appearance. 

People with oily skin tend to have larger pores, which tend to retain debris and mix with their natural oils, causing congestion and breakouts. Individuals that suffer from sebum overproduction tend to have pustules and acne as their primary concern. 

These pustules are often inflamed and sensitive to the touch. Additionally, oily skinned individuals also suffer from blackheads and milia as a result of congestion. 

If dry skin is easier to maintain in your youth but is a curse as you age, oily skin is the opposite! 

People with oily skin suffer from active breakouts in their younger years, but as they age, their skin improves with time. The blemishes clear up, and the elastin is retained, resulting in supple and young-looking skin even in their older years. 

Crows feet? Wrinkles? Smile lines? We don't know of them. 


What Causes Oily Skin?

Genetics. If your parents have oily skin, then it's likely you will inherit the trait. 

Environment. This part is pretty tricky because humidity and hot weather can stimulate the production of sebum. However, cold climates that dry out your skin can also cause oil glands to overcompensate—Therefore, producing more oil than necessary. 

Over-stripping the skin. People think that the way to fix their oily skin is by stripping their skin completely of any excess sebum. This has proven to be counterintuitive because their skin will overcompensate for the lack of moisture. Moral of the story: don't wash your face more than twice a day. 

Medication. Oral contraceptives and HRT or hormone replacement therapy medication cause an increase in oil production.

Cosmetics. Poor-quality cosmetics tend to be highly comedogenic and damaging to the skin. 

Hormones. This can be attributed primarily to menstruation. Women tend to get more oily when they're on their periods; this is also called the "venus glow."

Diet. The number one cause of acne is sugar. Don't believe anyone that tells you that acne is caused by eating oily food.


How To Treat Oily Skin

Contrary to popular belief, oily skin is much easier to take care of and maintain than dry skin. It's much easier to take away than it is to add. 

People with oily skin don't need to put much on their faces because their sebum is already doing the work for them! However, they need to be careful about the comedogenic level of their skincare products to avoid breakouts. 


Tea Tree Spot Treatment

Tea tree essential oil

Tea tree is known for its antibacterial properties. One drop of this and your blemishes dry up overnight!

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Tea tree essential oil is a tried and tested ingredient for treating acne and oily skin. It is often formulated as a spot treatment because of its potent ability to dry out active breakouts overnight. 



  • 12 drops of non-comedogenic carrier oil (marula, rosehip, or hempseed oil)
  • Two to three drops of tea tree essential oil


  1. In a small glass container, combine your non-comedogenic carrier oil and tea tree essential oil.
  2.  Shake until thoroughly combined.
  3. Dip a Q-tip into the solution and dab it onto your blemishes.
  4. Allow the solution to dry before layering your moisturizer.

Remember not to double-dip your Q-tip. Once it touches your skin, discard it and use another one.


Peppermint Aloe Moisturizer

Even if oily skin produces an excessive amount of sebum, it's still necessary to moisturize. Maintaining the balance of your skin barrier is key to preventing sebum overproduction. One important thing to note about aloe vera is that it contains naturally occurring niacinamide, which we all know is the star ingredient for buffering oil production. 

This moisturizer is best applied after using the tea tree essential oil spot treatment. By following up with this moisturizer, you lock in the effects of your spot treatment.


  • Five to eight aloe vera leaves
  • 100 grams of aloe vera gel extracted from the leaves
  • 500mg of Vitamin C powder
  • Three drops of peppermint essential oil
Peppermint essential oil

Peppermint essential oil is a cult-favorite for anyone with oily skin. It regulates sebum control and mattifies the skin.

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  1. Cut open aloe leaves and scrape out the gel inside. 
  2. Blend all the ingredients in a high-speed blender until fully incorporated. 
  3. Transfer to a tinted glass jar and store at room temperature. 
  4. Slather the peppermint aloe gel over your skin after spot treating with the tea tree essential oil mixture. 

The Vitamin C powder acts as a natural preservative and prevents the aloe from oxidizing. Aroma Foundry's Peppermint Oil is one of the best essential oils for acne because it will calm any redness and restore the natural balance of the skin. 

It’s important that you keep your moisturizer in a tinted glass jar because vitamin C, or L-ascorbic acid is a highly unstable ingredient in skin care. When exposed to direct sunlight and oxygen it starts to decay and the preservative is deactivated. 


Combination Skin

Combination skin is exactly how it sounds; it's a mix of oily and dry skin. The T-zone (your forehead and nose) overproduces sebum, and the O-zone underproduces sebum. 

Combination skin is the most common skin type out there, but it's the trickiest to treat. If you use products that are too occlusive, you're at risk of developing breakouts. If the products are too astringent, then you might strip your skin.

What Causes Combination Skin?

Genetics. Similar to both oily and dry skin, combination skin could be the product of genetics. 

Comedogenic products. When your pores are larger in the T-zone area, they're at higher risk of being clogged—using highly occlusive products results in congestion and sebum overproduction. 

Lack of exercise. The dryness could be caused by the lack of nourishment in your body. Aside from maintaining a healthy weight, exercise helps your skin glow!


How To Treat Combination Skin?

People with combination skin need to find ingredients that have a good balance of moisture and astringency. Often, natural skincare works best with combination skin because you can layer as much or as little product you want without worrying about any harsh chemicals.


Sage Serum

One of the best weapons in your skincare regime is a good serum! This sage-infused serum packs a punch of antioxidants to keep your skin looking young and fresh while reducing congestion and sebum buildup. It decreases inflammation and protects your skin against microbes and free-radicals. 

Sage essential oil

Give in to the indulgences of luxury skin care with sage essential oil. It’s refreshing, hydrating, and luxurious.

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  • Three drops of sage essential oil
  • 50ml of Grapeseed oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of honey


  1. In a high-speed blender, mix all the ingredients until fully incorporated. 
  2. Fill a dropper bottle with the mixture and shake well. 
  3. Use 2-3 drops of this Sage Serum before applying your moisturizer. 

This serum will last you virtually forever because of the presence of honey, which is both a preservative and antimicrobial agent. 


Normal Skin

If you have normal skin then you’ve basically won at life. Normal skin is a rare skin type and can only be found on close-to-perfect individuals like Beyoncé or Anne Hathaway. All jokes aside, normal skin is the ideal skin type because it is low-maintenance and virtually blemish-free. 

Nobody truly knows what causes having a normal skin type. Believe it or not, it’s a matter of chance. And if it happens to be you, then care for this blessing and do everything to maintain your perfect skin. 

Individuals with normal skin can tolerate just about anything. The best essential oils for face use can be anything from the DIY skin recipes from the dry to oily skin range. 


How To Maintain Normal Skin

The best thing you can do for normal skin is absolutely anything. Whatever you do, your skin will look good. So, amp up the perfection and further induce your glow with a good face mist. 


Ylang Ylang Face Mist

Keep your skin supple with this nice, hydrating toner. Ylang Ylang is known to be antimicrobial so it’s the perfect ingredient for a face mist! This mist can be applied before or after makeup, or even as a refreshing pick-me-up to get you through your day.


YlangYlang essential oil

Keep your skin supple and glowing with Ylang Ylang essential oil.

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  • 2 drops of Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
  • One green tea bag
  • 350 ml of water
  • One vitamin E capsule


  1. In a small pot, boil the green tea bag for ten minutes. 
  2. Take out the tea bag and allow the liquid to cool for a few minutes.
  3. Drop in the vitamin E capsule and Ylang Ylang Essential Oil while the tea is still warm.
  4. Transfer the liquid into a spray bottle once the liquid has cooled. 
  5. Spray the mixture on your face for a supple glow!

This face mist works best when it’s kept in the fridge. It can also help depuff your face in the morning if you’ve had too much sodium the night before.


Safety Precautions When Using Essential Oils In Skin Care


Mind you that essential oils are extremely potent ingredients and they shouldn’t be used in pure form, hence the need for carrier oils and agents. Essential oils should not be used directly on the skin without a buffer, so please take the proportions of the ingredients seriously. 

If you develop any reactions or allergies, stop using the skincare products and consult your physician.

Patch Test

As always, do a patch test before applying a product all over your face. Apply some product in your inner elbow or behind your knees and wait 24 hours for a reaction. If you don’t see a reaction, then it’s safe to use on your face. The best essential oils for face use vary from person to person. This just serves as a guide for what you can use and experiment with.

Show us your interpretation of our DIY skincare recipes on Instagram! Tag us @aromafoundry and use the hashtag #AFEssentialOilSkinCare for the chance to be featured.



Author Profile

Trish Suarez

Trish Suarez is a writer with a love for all things living and breathing. Working as a writer means contending with deadlines and ensuring your pieces appeal to every reader. So when things get hazy, she whips out a bottle of Lavender Essential Oil from Aroma Foundry and she’s good to go.

  1. Overview
  2. Identifying Your Skin Type
  3. Dry Skin
  4. Oily Skin
  5. Combination Skin
  6. Normal Skin
  7. Safety Precautions
    1. Potency
    2. Patch Test