Oat Oil

 

What is it? The liquid oil pressed from the oat kernel. It is comprised primarily of oleic and linoleic acids, and is rich in phytosterols.
Appearance Dark, golden liquid.
Texture Viscous and silky smooth.
Scent Slight oaty scent.
Absorbency Speed Slow
Solubility Oil
Why do we use it in formulations? It’s anti-inflammatory and an anti-irritant, making it fantastic for dry, irritated, or mature skin.
Do you need it? No, but it’s a nice luxury oil.
Refined or unrefined? I like unrefined.
Strengths Soothing, long-lasting moisturizing.
Weaknesses Its heavy, slow-absorbing nature can be a turn off for those who prefer faster absorbing formulations. This can be tempered by blending oat oil with faster absorbing oils and/or including it in emulsions at lower concentrations.
Alternatives & Substitutions Modern Cosmetics recommends rice bran oil as a good alternative. Evening primrose oil and castor oil have similar absorption speeds, but quite different fatty acid makeups.
How to Work with It I love it in body butter bars and soap, as well as other products for people with eczema or dry skin.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, oat oil should last at 1–2 years. I store my oat oil in the fridge.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Try combining oat oil with colloidal oatmeal and/or hydrolyzed oat protein for an extra oat-y formulation!
Recommended starter amount 100mL (3.3fl oz)
Where to Buy it Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.

Some Formulations that Use Oat Oil

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

Shea Butter

What is shea butter? Shea butter is a rich, thick, soft butter made from the seed of the shea fruit. Most shea butter we use is from Ghana or Burkina Faso.

Learn more about where shea is from and how it’s made with this video.

Appearance Thick and solid. The unrefined stuff comes in soft chunks and is beige to a pale yellow in colours. The refined stuff is pure white and can come in chunks or as a solid from being poured into its container while melted. If you live somewhere quite hot your shea might never be in chunks when it arrives if it melts during shipping and then re-solidifies.
Texture Thick and a bit tacky or sticky. You can spread a very thick layer of it on your skin, unlike thinner oils like coconut oil.
Scent Unrefined shea butter has a distinctive smokey scent that some people love and others loathe. The refined stuff doesn’t smell like much.
Absorbency Speed Slow. Shea butter is thick, rich, and heavy.
Approximate Melting Point 37°C/99°F
Solubility Shea butter is oil soluble.
Polarity High
Why do we use it in formulations? It brings great staying power and creaminess to formulations and is fantastic for dry skin.
Do you need it? I’d say so; it was one of the first ingredients I purchased and I use it all the time.
Refined or unrefined? I have both; I use the unrefined stuff in soap, and will often choose the refined variety for body butters and lip balms where I don’t want a shea scent.
Strengths Shea butter is a great moisturizer, especially for irritated skin.
Weaknesses It is really greasy and heavy, and the unrefined version can smell a bit funny. I also find it is extra prone to going grainy in projects. Learn about how to prevent greasiness here.
Alternatives & Substitutions Mango butter is a good alternative in terms of also being a soft oil, though it does absorb into the skin much faster than shea butter does.
How to Work with It Melt it gently in a water bath to incorporate it into recipes.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, shea should last at least 1–2 years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Try applying it straight to dry, irritated skin—it’s especially good for eczema.
Recommended starter amount 100g (3oz)
Where to Buy it Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier. I love Baraka Shea Butter!

Some Formulations that Use Shea Butter