Evening Primrose Oil

What is it? A carrier oil pressed from the seeds of the evening primrose flower.
INCI Oenothera Biennis Oil
Appearance Yellow liquid oil.
Usage rate Up to 100%
Texture A thick, heavy oil.
Scent It smells very distinctly oily/fishy; I recommend blending it with other carrier oils and perhaps some essential oils to dilute/mask the scent.
Absorbency Speed Sloooooow.
Solubility Oil
Why do we use it in formulations? It’s an amazing serum ingredient that is incredible at battling acne thanks to its high percentages of linoleic and gamma linolenic acid.
Do you need it? I can’t recommend it enough if you struggle with acne.
Refined or unrefined? I have the unrefined stuff, but if you are quite scent sensitive you might prefer the refined variety.
Strengths It’s amazing for battling acne and tacking problematic skin.
Weaknesses It’s pretty heavy and doesn’t smell amazing, so if your skin is already really well behaved you can probably skip it.
Alternatives & Substitutions Black Currant Seed and borage oils have a similar fatty acid profile. They are also similarly heavy and oily-smelling.
How to Work with It Include it in the oil phase of your recipes; avoid extended exposure to heat where possible. I typically aim to dilute it with a lighter oil or in an emulsion.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, Evening Primrose Oil should last a year, if not more. It tends to have a pretty short shelf life. I’d store it in the fridge to extend it as much as possible.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Try blending it with a faster absorbing oil, like argan or pomegranate seed, to help it sink into the skin faster.
Recommended starter amount 100mL (3.3fl oz) or less
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.

Some Formulations that Use Evening Primrose Oil

Argan Oil

What is it? A liquid oil pressed from the kernels of the Moroccan Argania Spinosa tree.
Appearance A golden liquid oil.
Texture Smooth and rich, though relatively light.
Scent The unrefined variety has a slight nutty scent that I really like, the refined variety doesn’t smell like much.
Absorbency Speed Average; if you apply very little and spread it around it absorbs in a flash.
Why do we use it in formulations? It’s a beautiful, rich oil that’s high in Vitamin E MT-50 (USA / Canada). It’s beautiful in lotions and serums, but due to it’s relatively high cost, I prefer to use it in projects like serums rather than soaps and lotions so it can really shine; like all carrier oils, if you use it highly diluted in a lotion or body butter, you won’t be able to appreciate its awesomeness as much.
Do you need it?  Argan oil was one of the first oils I ever purchased and I’ll never be without it. I only ever purchase 100ml/3.3fl oz at a time as I tend to only use it neat or mixed with one other pricier carrier oil.
Refined or unrefined?  I prefer unrefined.
Strengths  A fantastic all-in-one serum, rich in vitamins and minerals. Your skin and hair will love it!
Weaknesses  It is a little pricey as far as carrier oils go.
Alternatives & Substitutions  As a serum ingredient, it’s irreplaceable. If you are planning on using it in lotions, body butters, or soaps, you can easily swap it for other average absorbing carrier oils like jojoba, sweet almond, or olive.
How to Work with It I love it in serums and used neat. A funnel always helps getting it from one bottle to another, and I recommend discarding the orifice reducer/dropper top your bottle might come with—it’s a pain!
Storage & Shelf Life  Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, argan oil (USA / Canada) should last up to two years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks  Try transferring some to a 15ml/half ounce glass bottle with an eye dropper lid for easy daily use.
Recommended starter amount 100mL (3.3fl oz) or less
Where to Buy it  For the love of your pocketbook, don’t buy it from shops like Sephora, even though you can. Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.

Some Formulations that Use Argan Oil