The top 5 essential oils for natural DIY skincare


Our skin is our body’s largest detoxification organ. Everything we put on it goes into our bloodstream, and our organs, so what we put on it really matters. 

The problem with most skincare products is that they contain chemical nasties that mess with your hormones and are known to be carcinogenic – the use of these chemicals isn’t regulated in Australia. Charming, right?

I have to admit it was with reluctance that I parted way with the skincare products I was spending a fortune on, I wasn’t so sure that natural ones would work.

But three years into making my own natural skincare products, I can put my hand on my heart and say I have found a better way. I can’t believe the amount of money I used to spend on facials, microdermabrasion, laser treatment, retinol and other expensive beauty creams. I do my own facials, make my own face masks, face scrub and face serum, the effects are just as powerful, they don’t break the bank, and not only are they not harmful to my health, but they support me on a physical and emotional level, as well as making my skin look lovely.

A few really good quality essential oils and companion products is all you need. It’s waaaay more cost effective than buying organic skincare products, which, in my honest opinion, are highway robbery.

I was at a natural beauty workshop recently and was staggered at the price of bottles of face serum – $60-$70 odd dollars for a small bottle, with essential oils and a carrier oil. The girlfriend I was there with looked at me and said what I was already thinking “these wouldn’t be anywhere near the quality of the oils you use.” She was spot on, and the face serum I make costs less than $10 a bottle. 

There are so many different essential oils that are known for their benefits to skin, but there are a small handful that I consider essential for anyone wanting to get their DIY skincare on, and the best place to start.

  1. Lavender essential oil – known as ‘Princess of the Skin’, is wonderfully soothing and calming, it works on the surface layer of the skin.

    I use lavender in my face serum (check out the recipe here), steam facials, face mask, face scrub, and in an aromatic dressing that I massage all over my body when I am feeling frazzled, as well as to zap imperfections that may appear during times of stress or that time of the month. She’s also on high rotation in my diffuser every night before bed.
  2. Frankincense essential oil – a.k.a. the ‘King of oils’, also known as nature’s botox (check out the conclusion of this study to understand why). It’s a skincare essential for anyone wanting to maintain their youthful appearance, heck, that’s all of us, isn’t it?

    Frank’s ability to thrive in extraordinarily harsh conditions in the Somalian desert is said to mirror its ability to work on serious conditions of the human body.

Frankincense works beneath the surface of the skin, making it a great partner to lavender for skincare (and calming your farm while you’re at it – two birds, one stone, how good is that?). I use both in my face serum, face mask, and face scrub. If you were only going to start with two products I’d make it these two.

3. Lemon essential oil – is cleansing and purifying, doTERRA’s Dr Hill uses lemon oil in a number of doTERRA’s skincare products. I use it in my face and body scrub and as part of a self-care routine I do once a
to stimulate my lymphatic system.

I dry body brush before showering, and then mix a few drops of lemon oil with fractionated coconut oil and massage it all over my body before I get in the shower. The heat helps the oil absorb into your bloodstream. I’ve also found this to be a great way to beat jet lag – it it so revitalising and when you step out of the shower your skin feels silky smooth.

Note: Citrus oils can make your skin photosensitive (except Green Mandarin), so best to avoid applying topically before going in the sun.

4. Tea Tree essential oil – is best known for it’s cleaning and clarifying properties for skin (and nails). This is a key ingredient in my DIY face mask, it’s also great to have on standby for skin irritations.

5. Yarrow Pom botanical duo – is a synergistic, first-of-its kind, proprietary blend by doTERRA and is hands down my favourite natural skincare ingredient.

It’s sticky and blue and gooey and feels glorious as it’s glides onto your skin. Chamazulene, from the Yarrow essential oil gives it a blue colour.

Chamazulene is higher in antioxidants than Vitamins C and E. Chamazulene is also high in Beta-Caryophellene (BCP – the same compound as that in a plant that is in a highly sought after but illegal plant).

Pomegranate seed oil acts as the carrier oil in this powerhouse duo – it is rich in Omega 5, a fatty acid that supports metabolism (we typically consumer Omega 5 in meat and dairy).

As well as using Yarrow Pom in my face serum, I add it to my moisturiser, I also take 2 drops under my tongue when I am doing my skincare routine, it’s also a key ingredient in a blend I use on my melanoma scar (along with Frankincense and lavender).

The quality of the essential oils you use absolutely matters.

The essential oil industry isn’t regulated and 95% of essential oils are adulterated. Most brands you see on shop shelves claim to be 100% pure, but say on the label “not to be used topically and not to be taken internally – this should send alarm bells ringing.

I use doTERRA oils because they are 100% pure, tested grade (they go through multiple stages of independently third-party testing) – they are even approved for use in food by Food Standards Australia. There’s no synthetic fillers, heavy metals or pesticides, just 100% pure oil.

It’s important to note that synthetic oil molecules are bigger than therapeutic grade – and that the bigger molecules cannot penetrate your cells. So if you want to experience the benefits of essential oils to skin (and myriad of other physical and emotional benefits they can offer), it’s imperative that you use a 100% pure, tested grade oil.

How much do these oils cost, and how much you can save by making your own skincare products?

First things first, these essential oils are really potent (50 – 70 times more powerful than the plants from which they are derived) and a little goes a long way – three to five drops of essential oil to 10ml of carrier oil is the dilution ratio for adults (kids, two to three drops, babies 1 drop to 10ml).

So in a 20ml bottle of face serum, you would use 6-10 drops of essential oil, and it will last you for a few months.

Each 15ml bottle has 250 drops, so a bottle each of lavender and frankincense can be used to make 50 bottles of face serum, that’s a heck of a lot, isn’t it?

Here are the doTERRA wholesale prices (in AUD) for each of these oils:

Lavender (15ml) – $28 wholesale (25.50 PV), 0.11 cents per drop
Frankincense (15ml) – $90 wholesale (77.50PV), 0.36 cents per drop
Lemon (15ml) – $13.50 wholesale (12.50 PV), 0.05 cents per drop
Tea Tree (15ml) – $24.50 wholesale (Tea Tree (22.50 PV), 0.09 cents per drop
Yarrow Pom (30ml) – $140 wholesale (106 PV), 0.46 cents per drop

Here is what it costs to make a 20ml bottle of the most luxurious face serum you’ve ever experienced.

5 drops Frankincense – $1.80
5 drops Lavender – 0.55 cents
20ml organic jojoba oil – $2.80
Bamboo dropper bottle – $3.90
TOTAL: $9.05

If you want to pimp your serum – I highly recommend adding 10 drops of Yarrow Pom (taking the grand total to $13.70).

Are you ready to get your DIY skincare on?

I’ll be doing a live online DIY natural skincare masterclass for members of my essential oils community on the evening of Sunday 17 November

I’ll provide the list of ingredients you’ll need at the beginning of November (including companion products and where I source mine), and together we’ll make luxe face serum, silky skin face and body scrub, detoxifying face mask, face toner, and goddess body oil. (I’ll share the recipes in a printable pdf after the class, too).

If you’re ready to venture into the world of essential oils with me as your guide, here’s the info you need on how to get started (or feel free to reach out to me directly – I can help you work out the best option and set up your account over the phone).

Note: Most people will start with the the Home Essentials Kit (it includes four of the top five oils for skin – lemon, lavender, frankincense, and tea tree) and a bottle of fractionated coconut oil, so that you’re ready to get blending when your oils arrive, or you can purchase the oils individually.


Zara is a healthy home coach and keynote speaker on a mission to empower 1 million people to takes steps towards a healthier home. Zara learned about the link between our homes and our health after going through two different types of cancer. Zara is passionate about shining the spotlight on what she believes to be the least understood health challenges of our time, and sharing the things she wishes she had known, that could have prevented the illnesses she has been through. Recognised as one of Australia’s leading health influencers, Zara was a finalist in the 2014 Bupa Health Influencer of the Year Awards. She has appeared on TEN News, Today Show and The Project, been featured in the Herald Sun, I Quit Sugar, and contributed Medibank’s Be. Magazine and Fairfax health online publications. Zara contributed to the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s first comprehensive report on breast cancer in young women in Australia.

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