Do you have an ample supply of lavender? Then why not turn it into a luxurious, healing, heavenly-scented homemade lavender oil? It is exceedingly easy to make your own lavender oil at home using whole dry lavender buds (flowers). While not as concentrated as pure essential oils, there are many wonderful ways to incorporate lavender-infused oil in your natural beauty, health and home care routines. Known to soothe skin ailments and inflammation, repel insects, and ease anxiety, lavender is an all-round rock star!
Follow along to learn how to make homemade lavender oil, the healing benefits it provides, and plenty ideas for how to use it.
What is Lavender Oil?
Lavender oil is created by steeping dry lavender flowers in a carrier oil of choice for a minimum of a week, up to several weeks. As the dry flowers infuse in the oil, the natural essential oils in lavender are drawn out and into the carrier oil. Popular carrier oil options include extra virgin olive oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, and many more. To help you narrow down what type of oil to use, we will briefly discuss the unique properties and benefits of about a dozen different carrier oils in just a moment.
This kind of homemade lavender oil is different from concentrated lavender essential oils, which are made through a distillation extraction process rather than infusion. While there are some home and hobby-size ‘stills’ available, distillation is most often done on a large industrial scale. Furthermore, it takes a huge amount of lavender flower material to produce a tiny amount of oil. In contrast, the method we’re using in this tutorial can create a significant amount of lavender oil with far less flowers!
What kind of lavender can I use to make lavender oil?
The short answer is: any kind! Organically-grown preferred. Rich in sweet-smelling essential oils, true English lavender varieties are the most esteemed for edible and medicinal applications. English lavender and hybrid lavandin varieties (L. x intermedia) are the most palatable types, so stick with those if you are planning to make lavender oil for culinary use.
While technically edible as well, Spanish and French lavender tend to taste more herbaceous or even bitter-tasting due to their higher camphor content. However, camphor is an excellent terpene to ease swelling, itching, and pain! All lavender types have excellent anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-anxiety properties. We’ll talk more about the various health benefits of lavender below.
The condition and quality of the lavender flowers used to make lavender oil is actually more significant than the lavender variety used! It is necessary to use 100% dry lavender flower buds to make lavender oil. If the flowers are not fully dry, the leftover moisture can cause the lavender oil to get moldy or spoil. Ensuring they’re totally dry will also help maximize how much essential oils are drawn out. After all, water and oil don’t mix!
To create the most healing and aromatic lavender oil, it is also very important to use dry lavender flowers that were harvested at the prime time (early in bloom). The flowers should also be air-dried or exposed to only low heat while drying. Otherwise, their essential oil content is far less. Be sure to check out our article all about how to harvest and dry fresh lavender flowers here!
The Healing Benefits of Lavender
We all know one thing: lavender smells good. Like… really, really good. I love to use lavender oil and salve as my natural ‘perfume’, and diffuse organic lavender essential oil to rejuvenate the energy in our home. (Pssst, lavender is one of the few pet-friendly EOs). The soothing aroma of lavender is proven to help reduce anxiety, stress, depression, and insomnia. Yet it does much more than that! It is also known to deter pest insects like mosquitoes and flies, making lavender oil a popular ingredient in many natural insect repellents.
Aromatherapy aside, lavender has powerful healing abilities when used topically or internally. Scientific studies show that lavender is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-fungal, an antioxidant, and has the ability to relieve pain. It can also help repair damaged skin tissue and heal wounds. This makes it awesome to heal rashes, bites, burns, acne, scrapes, eczema, stings, scars, and more. You can see why lavender is incorporated into so many natural skin care products!
Most of lavender’s magic comes directly from the essential oils, terpenes, and phytochemicals (natural plant compounds) found in the flower buds – namely linalool, camphor, linalyl acetate, 1,8-cineole B-ocimene, and terpinen-4-ol. These goodies are what we’re aiming to infuse our homemade lavender oil with!
What kind of oil should I use to make lavender oil?
Well, that depends on what you intend to use it for! If you’d like to use your lavender oil for baking, marinades, or other culinary adventures, be sure to choose an edible carrier oil. On the other hand, if you intend to use your lavender oil on your skin only, consider what oil will be most compatible and beneficial for your skin type – particularly if you want to use it on your face.
Yes, you can use oil on your face! In fact, since I moved away from traditional bottled facial ‘moisturizers’ to using a couple drops of natural oils instead, my complexion has never been happier. Contrary to popular belief, oil-based skin products won’t necessarily make your skin more oily, or lead to increased breakouts! So many facial products that claim to “reduce shine” or treat acne actually irritate the skin by stripping it of its natural oils. When skin is dried out, it will overcompensate by producing excess sebum. Meaning, they can make you more ‘greasy’ than ever!
Natural oils soothe and nourish your skin, restoring moisture and balance. When you add healing ingredients like lavender or calendula, they can work wonders for stressed, damaged or dry skin! However, you should use a non-comedogenic oil that won’t clog your pores – especially if you’re prone to breakouts. See the list and descriptions of oil options below.
Carrier Oil Options for Making Lavender Oil
Here is a list of eleven different oil options for creating your lavender oil, though there are even more out there! If you tuned in to our calendula oil tutorial, this list will be familiar to you. No matter what you choose, I highly suggest using a high-quality, unrefined, cold-pressed oil. Certified organic is all the better. The goal is to create a healing medicinal oil after all!
Oils are rated on a comedogenic scale from 1 to 5. Those on the lower end of the scale are considered “non-comedogenic” and least likely to clog your pores. 3 means moderately likely, and 5 is very likely to clog your pores. All of these oils contain a high amount of essential omega fatty acids, which help rejuvenate, nourish, and hydrate skin. You may also choose to mix a couple different oils to create a custom blend!
- Grapeseed Oil is antimicrobial, very low on the comedogenic scale (1), and can help reduce acne. It is lightweight, non-greasy, and absorbs easily. Yet it may not provide quite as much moisture as some other oils on the list, making it a good choice for oily skin. It is edible cold or at room temperature, but not recommended for high-heat cooking.
- Sweet Almond Oil is a slightly stronger moisturizer than jojoba and grapeseed (2 on the comedogenic scale), and a good choice for dry and sensitive skin, including baby skin. It works to reduce excess sebum, inflammation, scars, dryness, eczema, and acne. Sweet almond oil can also lighten skin tone, dark circles, and support an even complexion. It is edible, but best to avoid heating it.
- Jojoba Oil is rated a 2 but still considered non-comedogenic. It is lightweight, non-greasy, and absorbs very easily because it has a similar chemical structure as our skin’s natural oils. Jojoba oil works to break down and reduce excess sebum – making it a great option for oily or combination skin! Some people experience an initial “purge” (small breakouts) when they first begin to use jojoba oil, only because it is excellent at unclogging pores and removing impurities. Studies also show it is anti-inflammatory and promotes wound healing. An added perk is its very long shelf life of up to 5 years. Note that jojoba oil is not edible.
- Rosehip Seed Oil is high in essential fatty acids, Vitamin E and Vitamin A that increase cell turnover. It helps to heal scars, and decrease discoloration and fine lines. Rosehip Seed oil rates 2 on the comedogenic scale, is lightweight, and absorbs easily. It is not recommended for internal use, and has a shorter shelf life of only 6 months.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is extremely hydrating and nourishing for dry skin, and is a bit thicker than some other drier oils on the list. Because it is edible, it is a good choice for a multi-use lavender oil. It is a 2 on the comedogenic scale, but can occasionally cause break-outs for those with acne-prone skin if applied too heavily. EVOO contains a rare antioxidant called hydroxytyrosol which protects against free radical damage to the skin and is considered an anti-aging compound.
- Avocado Oil is quite thick and oily, but does a great job at providing deep moisture. Avo oil can also aid in reducing scars, inflammation and age spots while significantly softening skin. It rates a 3 on the comedogenic scale, and is edible.
- Coconut oil is praised for its benefits in the natural beauty world! It is incredibly moisturizing and contains caprylic acid along with other compounds that provide strong antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. Yet virgin coconut oil is tricky to use for infusions since it is mostly solid at room temperature, and is also fairly high (4) on the comedogenic scale. In contrast, fractionated coconut oil is liquid at room temperature (great for infusions) and significantly less likely to clog pores.
- Hemp Seed Oil is the least comedogenic of all the carrier oils on this list so far, ranking in at a big fat zero! It is a very light, “dry” oil and highly absorbable due its closely similar amino acid and fat profile as our natural skin oils. Hemp oil is a great choice for any skin type, reduces inflammation, fine lines and acne – and is edible to boot!
- Argan Oil, also known as Moroccan oil is as gentle as it is highly moisturizing – another zero on the comedogenic scale! If you’ve been around the beauty product isle, you’ve seen this oil in many products – especially hair products! On skin, argan oil is proven to prevent sun damage, reduce fine lines and excess oil production, soften skin, and potentially even treat stretch marks. There are both edible and cosmetic-only types of argan oil. Argan is my current favorite oil to use on my face!
- Safflower Oil is a great choice for both dry, irritated skin or oily, acne-prone skin alike. It is gentle, a 0 on the comedogenic scale, lightweight, but highly moisturizing and healing. Safflower oil balances natural oil levels and helps unclog pores. However, those with allergies to the ragweed family should avoid this oil. It is edible both at low and high temperatures.
- Sunflower Seed Oil has very similar properties to Safflower oil, listed above. However, it is even higher in Vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals and reduces or repairs skin damage. Note that sunflower seed oil comes in either high, moderate, and low oleic acid content. Choosing an oil on the lower end will make it close to zero on the comedogenic scale! Sunflower Seed oil is edible.
INSTRUCTIONS TO MAKE LAVENDER INFUSED OIL
Without further ado, what you all came here for – the easy part!
- Fill a glass container at least ¾ full of dried lavender flowers or buds. The size container and amount of lavender oil you make is totally up to you. I used a modest ½ pint jar for this example, which would be great if you only need a small amount – such as to fill a few rollers to use the lavender oil straight. If you intend to make lavender salve or other homemade body care products, I recommend using at least a pint jar or more. Note that you’ll need about the same volume of oil as the size container you select.
- Pour your carrier oil of choice over the dry lavender, filling the container enough so that all the flowers can be fully submerged and move freely in the oil. Add a tight-fitting lid. We often blend two types of oils, such as almond oil and olive oil.
- Place the jar in a sunny warm location to infuse for at least one week, or up to 3 weeks. If possible, set it somewhere you’ll remember to stop by and shake it on occasion. Lavender tends to float in oil, so you’ll want to lightly turn and shake the jar to keep things mixed up (this is most important during the first few days). A sunny windowsill is the perfect spot for this method of solar infusion extraction. A warm room with bright ambient light works as well. Avoid excessively heating the oil.
- When the time is up, strain the lavender flowers and reserve the oil. We do this by positioning a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl and pouring it all through. For an even ‘cleaner’ product, I recommend using cheesecloth or reusable nut milk bag. That way, you can also wring out the cloth or bag of lavender to squeeze out every bit of oil possible.
- Viola! You just made lavender oil. Our lavender oil always has a wonderful noticeable-yet-mild aroma. It will never be as strong as the essential oils you may be accustomed to. To give our oil some extra oomph, we often add a few drops of our favorite organic lavender essential oil too. This is totally optional. Homemade lavender-infused oil will have ample healing powers, but I do enjoy the enhanced aromatherapy that essential oils can provide. The commonly recommended safe dilution ratio for essential oils is about 2%, or 12 drops of EOs per fluid ounce of carrier oil. Yet since the oil was already infused with whole lavender flowers, you can use far less here – whatever suits your sniffer!
Storage & Shelf Life
Store the finished lavender oil in a clean glass container with a tight-fitting lid. Keep the container in a dry, cool, dark location. The shelf-life of homemade lavender oil can vary depending on the type of carrier oil and condition of flowers used. Read the information on your carrier oil bottle to determine the recommended shelf life of your lavender oil. Some oils are more prone to becoming rancid than others; most have an average shelf life of 1 to 2 years. You can also store your lavender oil in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life!
Now that we’ve made this stuff… what do we do with it?
9 WAYS TO USE LAVENDER OIL
- As a healing facial moisturizer. Lavender is known to heal acne, after all. A little goes a long way though! You’ll only need a few drops, avoiding a thick oily sheen. Spread evenly across your skin, and lightly massage in.
- As part of your oil cleansing method, if you’re into that! If you haven’t heard of the oil cleansing method (OCM) here’s the scoop: it is basically like washing your face, but with oil. Lather up your face with lavender oil (more than you’d use for moisturizing), and massage it in for 30 seconds to a minute – as you would with face wash. Next, heat up a clean washcloth with hot water and steam your face for about 30 seconds. This opens up your pores and draws out impurities with the assistance of the oil. Rinse the cloth and repeat. Finally, wipe away the excess oil with a moist towel.
- Other direct topical applications: In addition to using lavender oil on your face, you can also use it on other parts of your body as a general moisturizer, or for other needs! For example, as a massage oil, or applied directly to areas that need soothing attention such as bug bites, sunburns, eczema, stings, rashes, scars, scrapes, and more! Add homemade lavender oil to essential oil rollers to apply on your neck, wrists, and temples as a soothing natural perfume or bedtime relaxant.
- As an ingredient in other skincare products. Many homemade natural skin care goodies call for oil in the recipe. Thus, you can use lavender oil as a base ingredient for super-nourishing body butter, cream, salve, ointment, soap, and more! Stay tuned – I will be sharing a lavender salve tutorial in the coming weeks! For more ideas, I highly recommend this organic body care recipe book.
- To condition hair, moisturize your scalp, and potentially thicken hair. While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend using oil as your daily hair conditioner, all of the oils listed above are awesome for an occasional deep moisturizing hair treatment. Coconut oil, olive oil, and argan oil are especially popular for this. Furthermore, this study showed that lavender can actually help stimulate hair growth! Simply apply an even coat of oil to your hair, massage it into your scalp, pin your hair up away from your clothes, and allow it to sit for anywhere from 15 minutes to a few hours. Then use shampoo as usual to wash away the oil.
- To remove makeup. Yep, oil makes a great natural makeup remover! Oil naturally draws out impurities, while the lavender soothes redness, inflammation, and targets acne. Please avoid contact with sensitive areas around your eyes!
- As part of a marinade or other sweet and savory recipe. Lavender is especially popular to use in meat marinades and baked goods. Have a recipe that calls for oil? Simply swap out all or part of your usual selection with lavender oil instead. Of course, ensure your carrier oil is edible (and tasty) before chowing down! When ingested, lavender works the same way it does topically to help boost the immune system, fight fungal and bacterial infections, and reduce inflammation.
- In natural cleaning products. Homemade cleaning spray recipes often call for oils, to help make countertops or stainless steel surface shine! We often incorporate a little lavender oil to our favorite homemade vinegar and citrus cleaning spray (a tablespoon or two of lavender-infused oil, or just a few drops of straight lavender essential oils per 16 ounce bottle). The antibacterial and odor-cutting punch of lavender is welcomed with open arms in the bathroom and kitchen. However, it is best to avoid acidic cleaners (like our vinegar spray) on granite, marble or sensitive stone surfaces. Here is a different gentle DIY countertop recipe that utilizes essential oils, perfect for granite.
- Give it as a gift! You could make a big batch and divvy it up into smaller containers to give away, or simply make a little jar for someone special. Include a note to clue them in on the many ways to use it, or direct them here!
Can you smell it already? I hope this gave you plenty of ideas and inspiration to start making your own healing lavender oil at home. As you can see, it is quite easy to to do! Be sure to check out our guide on how to harvest, prune, and dry lavender to maximize the health of your plant – and oil quality. If you enjoyed this article, please consider leaving a review or sharing it on social media. As always, thank you for tuning in!
Homemade Lavender Oil Recipe
- Dried lavender flowers or buds, homegrown or organic if possible
- Carrier oil of choice. Select a high-quality, unrefined, cold-pressed, and organic oils for the most healthy and healing calendula oil. Popular options for natural skincare include jojoba oil, olive oil, argan oil, hemp seed oil, grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil, sunflower oil, and more! **Choose an amount that matches your infusion container.
- 1 glass container for infusing, such as a half-pint or pint jar
- optional: lavender essential oils
- Obtain dried lavender flowers. It is important to start with 100% dry flowers.
- Fill a clean glass container about ¾ full of dried lavender buds.
- Pour your choice of oil over the dried lavender flowers, until the container is full and/or until the flowers are completely submerged.
- Place a lid on the container, and store it in a sunny, warm location to enhance infusion. A bright windowsill is a popular choice! Allow the oil and flowers to infuse for at least one week, up to several weeks. Shake/turn the jar on occasion to keep the floating flowers coated with oil.
- When the time is up, strain the flowers from the oil. Line a fine-mesh strainer or canning funnel with cheesecloth (or use a reusable nutmilk bag), place it over a clean glass container, and then pour the oil and flowers in to drain. Squeeze the cheesecloth sack of flowers to extract every last bit of oil!
- Optional: Add lavender essential oils for little extra oomph of aroma. The commonly recommended safe dilution ratio for essential oils is about 2%, or 12 drops of EOs per fluid ounce of carrier oil. Yet since the oil was already infused with whole lavender flowers, you can use far less here – whatever suits your sniffer!
- Store the finished lavender oil in a cool, dry location. It can also be stored in the refrigerator to extend the shelf life. Read the information on your carrier oil bottle to determine the recommended shelf life of your lavender oil.
- Enjoy! Use your lavender oil as a daily facial moisturizer (only a few drops needed), as a massage or body oil, as part of your oil cleansing method, an ingredient in other homemade skincare recipes such as salve or soap, to condition hair, as a makeup remover, as marinade or in baked goods (if an edible oil was used), in homemade cleaning products, or give it as a gift!