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10 Staple Ingredients for Natural Skincare by Janelle from Green & Bare

There is a monumental amount of natural skincare ingredients that you can use to create your own effective formulations, from simple clays and oils to more obscure things like snail secretion extract! All of these options can make a beginner diy-er a little overwhelmed and confused.

I thought it maybe helpful to list just 10 staple ingredients that are most commonly used, are easily accessible and that I use on a weekly basis. I’ve also linked them to some simple recipes that you can try and included my FREE Indulgent Face Mask Recipe Book download at the end of the post if you click on my website. This is the first step towards making your own effective natural skincare products, and I hope you love reading and discovering all these new ingredients as much as I have!

Carrier Oils

Carrier oils are made from the fatty portion of a plant, usually from the seeds, nuts, or kernels. Unlike essential oils that are highly concentrated and have a powerful aroma, carrier oils are unscented or very mildly scented and are used to dilute the essential oil or absolute and “carry” them into the skin, hence the name “carrier oil”. There is a massive list of carrier oils you can use for natural skin care, some of my favourites are; Virgin Coconut, Jojoba, Rosehip, Raspberry Seed, Pomegranate Seed, Castor, Argan and Sweet Almond.

You can use a carrier oil alone, mix them with other oils, even infused them to further nourish your skin, each one has different benefits and therapeutic properties. They also are categorised by a “comedogenic rating” this indicates how likely an oil will clog your pores. The ratings start at 0 and go up to 5, so he higher the number the higher the risk of that oil clogging your pores. Depending on your skin type, and the particular benefit you are looking for will determine the choice of carrier oil.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are derived from the seeds, roots, fruit, stems, bark, leaves, grasses and flowers of plants and trees and are highly concentrated. Each one has a different aroma, medicinal benefit and therapeutic quality, from treating insect bites, to reducing anxiety and aiding hair health. Because essential oils are so concentrated, a little goes a long way. You’ll only need a couple of drops in each formula, and it is crucial that you mix essential oils with a carrier oil. Never use them directly on your skin (including your scalp) as this can cause skin irritations, also some essential oils are not suitable for pregnant women or children so do your research first.

I can recommend purchasing high quality essential oils from Eco Modern Essentials.

Cosmetic Butters

Cosmetic butters are derived from the extracts of natural sources like beans, kernels, nuts, and seeds and are normally a thick consistency making them ideal for product stability and hardening. They have many cosmetic benefits such as; smoothing and softening skin and hair, reducing irritation and moisturising, they also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and often contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and essential fatty acids. 

These wonderfully natural ingredients work to lock moisture and protect the skins acid mantle, preventing signs of ageing such as wrinkles and fine lines. Some of my favourite go-to butters are; Shea, Cocoa and Mango.

Cosmetic Clays

The topical use of clay can be traced back to early civilisations such as the Ancient Egyptians and Romans for healing, detoxifying and achieving a smooth, healthy glow. When combined with mineral or floral waters, clays can bind to impurities and remove them from the skin as well as exfoliate, absorbing excess oils, removing dead skin cells, improving circulation and invigorating the skin.

There are a variety of cosmetic clays for natural skincare on the market and each type has unique mineral compositions that can work wonders for your skin. Depending on your skin type, one clay might work better for your skin than another, so when choosing a clay, it’s important to understand the differences of each one. French Green and French Pink clay is best for oily skin. Kaolin clay is good for dry to normal skin. Bentonite clay is good for normal, combination or oily skin, just to name a few.

It’s imperative that you are research who you are purchasing clay from and insure that they are a reputable source. I’ve heard horror stories of people purchasing what they thought was cosmetic grade clay, only to find out after testing it that it was in fact concrete mix!

Floral Hydrosols

Floral Hydrosols (also called floral/flower water) are a natural by product that remains after the extraction of essential oils by the distillation method. They are fresh and fragrant and also contain the healing properties of plant they are extracted from making them a marvellous ingredient for skin care. Floral Hydrosols are incredibly hydrating, they control excess oil and maintains the skin’s pH balance.

The two most common ways I use floral hydrosols is as a replacement for water in my clay masks, and as a hydrating mist. I keep my hydrosols in a spray bottle in the fridge to instantly hydrate, revitalise and moisturise my skin, keeping the fine lines and wrinkles away (for as long as possible anyway).

Flowers and Herbs

Just like with essential oils, dried flowers and herbs retain the same beauty benefits. They have potent healing properties, but are much gentler to use, especially for children and sensitive skin types. They can address a host of skin concerns such as; nourish and moisturise dry skin, gently exfoliate, reduce eczema and calm skin. Some of my favourites to use is Calendula, Rose, Chamomile and Lavender

Vitamin E Oil

Vitamin E is very thick but is easily absorbed into skin, it can make an excellent moisturiser for dry patches such as elbows and knees, it can however be difficult to spread all over the skin, so it’s generally mixed with a carrier oil for ease of application. It’s main purpose is an antioxidant that helps nourish and protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals. It’s also shown to reduce the appearance of scars, stretch marks and wrinkles making it an essential part of your skin care regime. You can also add it to your carrier oils to prolong their shelf life, but it is not a natural preservative.

Raw Honey

Applying raw honey regularly can provide your skin with a myriad of benefits, because of it’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties it’s incredibly useful in the treatment of acne, dry skin, redness, swelling and eczema. Raw honey is also a natural exfoliator, removing old dull skin, revealing new skin cells underneath. This never expiring ingredient is great for wound healing, reducing the appearance of scars and slowing down the signs of ageing. 


Along with its alluring scent, beeswax is also an incredibly versatile ingredient for DIY natural beauty and home products, generally used as a hardening agent. It’s an antibacterial, antifungal, edible, better burning, waterproof, moisturising, everlasting, eco-friendly substance straight from mother nature. It contains vitamin A which moisturises and hydrates chapped lips, cracked heals and rough elbows.

Vegetable Glycerin

Vegetable Glycerin is a natural compound derived from vegetable oils and is widely used in cosmetics, it has a long shelf life and does not easily oxidize. It has a clear, syrupy consistency and it’s pH level closely matches that of the skin, so it’s gentle enough for children and sensitive skin types to use. It’s also a humectant, which means that is attracts water to itself so is commonly used as a moisturizer, solvent, or lubricant. Perfect to use when you want to retain moisture and hydrate. 

For soft, luxurious skin simply massage a few drops of glycerine on the desired area as needed.

It might be a bit overwhelming to take in all this new information, and there is no need to rush out and buy everything that’s on the list in one go (unless you really can’t wait too!). You can always add more ingredients to your collection later on when you feel more confident, so start with a small selection of the above, and select recipes that only contain a few ingredient like my Rose Water Hydrating Mist, or Nourishing Cuticle Balm, each one only has three simple ingredients all included above. This is the exciting bit as you get to explore and experiment with a range of wonderful natural ingredients!

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