Flowers,  Natural Health,  Recipes

How to Make Calendula Oil, Plus 8 Ways to Use it!

Are you keen on calendula yet? Of all the flowers we grow, calendula is easily the favorite. Shhh! Don’t tell the others. But how could it not be? Calendula is a downright magical plant. Did you know that it is technically an herb? Yep, sure is. Calendula has many medicinal uses, is an excellent companion flower to grow alongside your vegetables, attracts pollinators, adds a gorgeous pop of color to the garden, and is also edible! Of all the ways you can use calendula, we most often dry the flowers for tea – or make healing calendula oil.

Read along to learn how easy it is to make calendula oil at home – even if you don’t grow your own! All you need is dried calendula flowers and your choice of oil. This article will go over the differences between popular oils commonly used to make calendula infusions, so you can decide which option works best for your needs! Let’s also briefly explore the healing properties of calendula, along with 8 ways you can use your homemade calendula oil!


For tips on how to grow and dry calendula, see this article: “All About Calendula: How to Grow, Harvest, Dry & Use Calendula Flowers”. Note that calendula is sometimes referred to as “pot marigold” – but don’t confuse it with true marigolds, such as french marigolds! They’re distinctly different, and not nearly as medicinal in nature.


Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links to products for your convenience, such as to items on Amazon. Homestead and Chill gains a small commission from purchases made through those links, at no additional cost to you.


A close up of many calendula flowers inside a wicker basket. They are of various colors from pink to orange to yellow and all the shades between. Some of the underside portion of the flowers are showing which illustrate the green cup portion of the flower which connects to the stem of the plant.


Healing & Medicinal Properties of Calendula


Calendula officinalis has been used by herbalists, homesteaders, and natural healers for centuries. It can be used both internally or externally to support the immune system, treat skin ailments, and heal infections. Calendula works its magic by promoting cell repair and growth, coupled with its natural antiseptic, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. Above all, it is gentle in its work. Unlike some natural remedies, you don’t need to worry about “overdoing it” with calendula. 

If you pay attention to labels, you’ll probably notice calendula as a key ingredient in many natural skin care products, and for a good reason! Topically, calendula can ease, heal, or otherwise treat a huge array of skin conditions. It works wonders on my acne-prone, somewhat oily and sensitive skin!

According to the Chestnut School of Herbs, this includes: rashes, sunburn, swelling, eczema, acne, stings, wounds, burns, scrapes, chicken pox, cold sores, and even genital herpes sores. I also find calendula oil to be very soothing after shaving, to prevent or treat razor burn. In her book “Medicinal Herbs, A Beginner’s Guide”, Rosemary Gladstar suggests using calendula oil or salve on babies to safely soothe cradle cap, diaper rash, or other skin irritations. It can also lessen the appearance of varicose veins and soften scars. 


To deliver all that healing goodness to your skin, use a calendula oil or salve!


What is Calendula Oil?

Calendula oil is simply oil that has been infused with dry calendula flowers. The flowers are steeped in a carrier oil such as olive or jojoba oil for several weeks or longer. Whole dry flower heads or just the petals can be used, but it is important that they’re fully dry (*see note below). While steeping, the natural active resins within the calendula flowers are extracted and drawn into the oil. 

The finished calendula oil can either be used on its own, or used as an ingredient to create other natural salves, ointments, or cream! The options for using your calendula oil are somewhat dictated by the carrier oil you choose to create the infusion. For example, some oils are inedible, and others may not be as great for your skin.

Making your own calendula oil is easy to do, and far more affordable than most other natural, high-quality skin care products on the market – especially considering the volume you can make. Plus, you won’t find anything this simple and pure on the shelves!

*Note: Fresh flowers can technically be used to create calendula oil. However, there is an increased risk for bacterial growth or for the oil to become rancid due to the moisture content of fresh flowers. Therefore, we suggest using dry flowers – or at least semi-dry.


A close up image of a hand holding numerous dried calendula flowers, the are golden orange to yellow and magenta. Beneath the hand lies numerous dried calendula flowers scattered across a surface as well as three glass mason jars of various sizes which are all full of dried calendula flowers.


What type of oil should I use to make calendula oil? 

Well, that depends on what you intend to use it for! Some of you may want to use your calendula oil on your skin only. If that is the case, 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 read that right. Oil, on your face.


You know that it’s totally okay (and usually beneficial) to use certain oils on your face, right? 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 overly-dry, it overcompensates by producing excess sebum. All aboard the greasy roller coaster! 

On the other hand, oils can soothe and nourish your skin, restoring natural moisture balance. When you add healing ingredients like calendula, it 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!

Maybe you wish to use your calendula oil for more than topical applications. When infused in an edible oil like olive or avocado, calendula oil is safe and healing to consume internally as well. It makes for a stellar healthy salad dressing!


A hand is holding a pint mason jar that is full of calendula flowers that are submerged in jojoba oil. The sun is shining on the jar which shows the flowers looking strangely beautiful submerged in the oil. The background is a front yard garden with various flowering perennials, shrubs, and trees.


Carrier Oil Options for Making Calendula Oil


Here is a list of eleven different oil options for creating your calendula oil, though there are even more out there! 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. 
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • 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 calendula 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, but proceed with caution if you intend to use your calendula oil on your face! Coconut oil is a 4 on the comedogenic scale. However, it contains caprylic acid and other compounds that provide strong antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. A great choice if you’re hoping to make body butter, hand salve, or internally ingest your calendula oil! Clearly, you’d need to use a coconut oil that stays liquid at room temperature. 
  • 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.
  • 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.



Okay, do you have your oil picked out? That’s a tough decision, I know! I used jojoba oil for this batch of calendula oil. I love the long shelf life, and what it does for my skin. Next time I want to use sweet almond, rosehip, argan or hemp!


INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING CALENDULA OIL


  1. Obtain dried calendula flowers. Either use your own homegrown flowers (learn how to harvest and dry them here) or purchase some. These organic dried calendula flowers come highly recommended! Unfortunately, it is somewhat difficult to source organic calendula flowers from the U.S.

  2. Fill a clean glass container at least ¾ full of dried calendula flower heads, or about half full of loose dry petals. A glass mason jar works perfectly. I used a 16-ounce pint jar in this example, though an 8-ounce half-pint jar would yield plenty too! 

  3. Pour your choice of oil over the dried calendula flowers, until the container is full and/or until the flowers are completely submerged. Hint: The flowers don’t take up as much volume as you’d think! You’ll need pretty much the same amount of oil as the size of container you’re using (e.g. an 8 ounce-bottle of oil for an 8-ounce jar). 

  4. 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 three weeks, or up to a couple of months.

  5. When the time is up, strain the flowers from the oil. I like to line our canning funnel with cheesecloth, place it over a clean similar-size glass jar, and then pour the oil and flowers in to drain. Then, I squeeze the cheesecloth sack of flowers to extract every last bit of oil that I can! A coffee filter may also work.


A pint glass mason jar is shown three quarters full of dried calendula flowers. A bottle of jojoba oil is being poured into the jar over the top of the flowers. There are various dried flowers scattered around the area along with two half gallon mason jars in the background. One is completely full and the other is half full of dried calendula flowers.
A four image collage is shown, the first image shows and empty pint mason jar, a metal funnel, cheesecloth, and a pint jar full of dried calendula flowers submerged in jojoba oil. The second image shows a birds eye view of the calendula flowers sitting in the funnel lined with cheesecloth, sitting on the top of an empty jar. The third image shows the same image as the second yet it has been taken from the side, revealing the golden, honey colored oil that has been strained through into the jar. The fourth image shows a hand holding the cheesecloth of dried flowers in a ball above the funnel and mason jar. The bottom of the cloth is golden yellow form the oil and the flowers can be seen slightly through the cloth.


Calendula Oil Storage & Shelf Life


After the calendula oil is strained, store it in a glass container such as a jar – or you may opt to transfer it into a bottle with a pump or squeeze-top lid. Store the calendula oil in a cool, dry location. I keep my jojoba calendula oil in the cabinet under the bathroom sink. 

Read the information on your carrier oil bottle to determine the recommended shelf life of your calendula oil. The addition of calendula will not change the carrier oil’s typical storage life. 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 calendula oil in the refrigerator to extend the shelf life!

Now that we’ve made this stuff… what do we do with it?


8 WAYS TO USE CALENDULA OIL


  1. As a healing facial moisturizer. 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. I apply my calendula oil every morning and evening after washing my face, and in rotation/combination with fresh aloe vera.

  2. 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 calendula 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. 

  3. Other direct topical applications: In addition to using calendula 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 scrapes, sunburns, eczema, rashes, and more!

  4. As an ingredient in other skincare products. Many homemade natural skin care goodies call for oil in the recipe. Thus, you can use calendula oil as a base ingredient for super-nourishing body butter, cream, salve, ointment, soap, and more! Tanya at Lovely Greens has a wonderful recipe for homemade calendula lotion you should check out. Garden Therapy also shares instructions to make these gorgeous and nourishing calendula lotion bars. For even more ideas, I highly recommend this organic body care recipe book.

  5. To condition 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. Simply apply an even coat of oil to your hair, pull it up away from your clothes, allow it to sit for anywhere from 15 minutes to a few hours, and then use shampoo to wash away the oil.

  6. To remove makeup. Yep, oil makes a great natural makeup remover! However, do some research on the recommendations for the carrier oil you chose before using calendula oil as a makeup remover near your eyes.

  7. As a salad dressing or other “finishing oil” over meals, such as drizzled over tomatoes, or even for dipping sourdough bread in.  Of course, ensure your carrier oil is edible (and tasty) before chowing down! When ingested, calendula can help boost the immune and lymph system, fight fungal infections, reduce inflammation, menstrual cramps, and gastrointestinal upset, as well as keep fevers at bay. It is also an anti-viral.

  8. Give it as a gift! While I love to use calendula oil myself, I also adore the idea of making calendula oil as a gift to share with others too! You could make a bigger batch and then divvy it up into smaller containers to give finished oil away, or just make a little jar for someone special. Alternately, you could give away small jars full of dry flowers along with a bottle of carrier oil and instructions (print them below) as a “calendula oil kit” – for the receiver to infuse themselves! I know what one of my upcoming holiday DIY gifts will be. Mom, I hope you aren’t reading this.


The finished calendula oil is shown in a pint mason jar. The oil is a beautiful golden honey color after it has been infused with the dried calendula flowers and steeped for almost a month. There are various dried calendula flowers scattered about around the jar.


Isn’t that beautifully simple?


So, what do you think? Are you totally pumped to go make your own calendula oil? I want to start another batch now… How about grow some of your own calendula flowers? By the way, I should have already mentioned that growing calendula is pretty much just as easy as making the oil (if not more so) – in any climate!


Thank you for tuning in, and happy infusing! Please feel free to ask questions, and spread the natural health love by sharing this article.


Disclosure: The information provided in this article is not intended to be medical advice. It is based on my personal experiences and research. Please seek the advice of a medical professional or conduct further research as needed.


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5 from 7 votes

Homemade Calendula Oil Recipe

Making your own healing, nourishing, moisturizing calendula oil is easy to do! It is also a very affordable option compared to so many other natural skincare products available. Use calendula oil to soothe rashes, sunburn, swelling, eczema, acne, stings, wounds, burns, scrapes, chicken pox, cold sores, razor burn, cradle cap, diaper rash and even genital herpes sores. It can be used straight on its own as a face or body moisturizer, as an ingredient in other homemade skincare products like salves or creams, or even ingested as a salad dressing – as long as an edible carrier oil is used!
Prep Time10 mins
Infusion time30 d
Keyword: calendula, calendula oil, natural beauty, natural health, natural skincare, oil cleansing method

Materials

  • Dried calendula flower or petals, 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, rosehip oil, and more! **Choose an amount that matches your infusion container.
  • 1 glass container for infusing, such as a half-pint or pint jar

Instructions

  • Obtain dried calendula flowers. Either use your own homegrown flowers, or purchase some.
  • Fill a clean glass container at least ¾ full of dried calendula flower heads, or about half full of loose dry petals.
  • Pour your choice of oil over the dried calendula 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 three weeks, or up to a couple of months.
  • When the time is up, strain the flowers from the oil. I line a canning funnel with cheesecloth, place it over a clean similar-size glass jar, and then pour the oil and flowers in to drain. Squeeze the cheesecloth sack of flowers to extract every last bit of oil!
  • Store the finished calendula 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 calendula oil.
  • Enjoy! Use your calendula 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, to condition hair, as a makeup remover, as salad dressing or other finishing oil (if an edible oil was used), or give it as a gift!



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5 Comments

  • Heather Yaeger

    5 stars
    I recently started making herbal infused oils, and prefer to use sesame oil by Banyan Organics as it is supposed to be good for vata folks like myself. So far, I have found that fresh lavender blooms infused in oil smells so soft and amazing… looking forward to trying some of the calendula varieties mentioned in this post… thank you for sharing!

  • Patti

    This is the article I have been waiting for! I just started oil cleansing because my post-menopausal face has been extremely dry, but my pores clog easily. I have all the ingredients; I just need to assemble and get to work! Thank you for the very detailed information and your photos are always gorgeous. Calendula grows great in the wintertime here in Las Vegas. It’s time to put more seeds in the ground and start my winter crop. I love your website!

  • Anita Porterfield

    5 stars
    Thank you so much Deanna. I just planted 30 calendula seeds in my garden and now I plan to plant 50 more. Love your blog and Instagram feed!

    • DeannaCat

      You’re welcome Anita! Wow, you’re going to have a whole field of calendula then! Keep in mind that as you harvest flower heads, more and more grow from each plant, so just a few plants can give you a lot of flowers too! Have fun and enjoy those beautiful blooms

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