I have found in my journey of natural health and self-care, that skincare for men seems to be generally not high on their list of priorities. More often than not, they forget to put sun cream on and do not even think of applying a moisturiser – perhaps a splash of aftershave after shaving and that is about it!
Men´s skin especially benefits from a good cleanse and exfoliation followed by a nourishing moisturiser. I developed my own men’s roller face oil that is quick and easy to apply with all the benefits needed. It can quickly be applied after a shower or shaving to nourish, sooth, moisturise and offers a natural masculine scent.
I persuaded my husband to use his face oil daily due to the ease of applying, the pleasant aroma and the feeling of calm in brought about shortly after applying. His skin is nourished and moisturised with sun damage and wind burn soothed and repaired. Men particularly need a light-weight beneficial oil that goes on easily and absorbs quickly.
When making my blend I selected essential oils with the required benefits, a pleasing masculine scent and the right carrier oil. I make up my carrier oil by mixing fractionated coconut oil and Calendula oil (which is very soothing after shaving and to prevent or treat razor burn). Calendula is a key ingredient in many natural skin care products as it can ease, heal, or otherwise treat a huge array of skin conditions. It is also an effective natural health solution on acne-prone, oily and sensitive skin.
It is also thought that the chemicals in Calendula can enhance new tissue growth in wound healing and decrease inflammation. It works its magic by promoting cell repair and growth, coupled with its natural antiseptic, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.
I like to make my own Calendula oil from the Calendula flower and grapeseed oil, simply infusing the oil with dry 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. While steeping, the natural active resins within the 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.
How to Make your own Calendula Oil:
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. You won’t find anything this simple and pure on the shelves.
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, I suggest using dry flowers – or at least semi-dry. If using fresh flowers add a teaspoon of glycerin to the infusion to help preserve, keep in a cool dry place and use within a few weeks.
- You need to find dried calendula flowers – either use your own homegrown flowers or purchase organic ones but growing your own is easy and you can ensure are organically grown. Herbalists all agree that the best time to harvest calendula is during mid-morning, shortly after the new blooms have opened but after any dew has dried.
- To harvest calendula blooms, pick or cut off the flower where it meets the stem. If you plan to use it for edible or medicinal purposes, avoid collecting the heads that are already starting to dry and go to seed. Fresh blooms are best for this (use the older ones for seeds and replanting) and use the whole head. The most medicinal value is found in the green pedestal, not just the flower petals.
- Fill a clean brown or blue 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, such as bright windowsill. 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. Line a funnel with a muslin cloth, place it over a clean similar size glass jar, and then pour the oil and flowers in to drain. Then, I squeeze the sack of flowers to extract every last bit of oil.
Which Carrier Oil to Use?
This is when you need to consider skin type and where the carrier oil sits on the comedogenic scale. For example, you don’t want to reduce shine or treat acne by stripping the skin of its natural oils as this can actually irritate the skin further and when skin is overly dry, it overcompensates by producing excess sebum. Carrier oils can soothe and nourish your skin, restoring natural moisture balance and by adding healing ingredients stressed, damaged or dry skin is significantly improved back to good health! However, you should use a non-comedogenic oil that won’t clog your pores – especially if you’re prone to breakouts.
Oils are classed by the 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
Argan Oil, (Moroccan oil) is as gentle as it is highly moisturizing and also a zero on the comedogenic scale. Argan oil is proven to prevent sun damage, reduce fine lines and excess oil production, soften skin, and potentially even treat stretch marks.
Grapeseed Oil is antimicrobial, very low on the comedogenic scale at one, 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.
Fractionated Coconut Oil is an all-natural absorbent and light carrier oil that readily absorbs into the skin, making it an ideal oil for topical delivery. It is a form of the oil that has had the long-chain fatty acids removed via hydrolysis and steam distillation, a natural process (extracted without the use of chemicals) so they still contain plenty of nutrients and antioxidants. Just this one change makes the oil liquid at room temperature and extends the product’s shelf life.
Its feather-light emollient effect provides a soothing barrier without clogging pores and is excellent for dry or troubled skin. It leaves skin feeling silky smooth and non-greasy, unlike other vegetable carrier oils. FCO is completely soluble with all essential oils and is colourless, odourless, and will not stain. It is naturally antimicrobial too, making it an ideal skin Oil lotion.
Making the Facial Oil
So, now I have my carrier oil ready I add my essential oil choice. This recipe is ideal for men who have spent too much time out in the sun and suffer from sun damaged dry skin, skin lesions and after medical treatment for skin cancers. Men tend to like the masculine spicy aroma of Black Pepper and Turmeric softened with Sandalwood, sweetened with Lavender and Helichrysum and freshened with Tea Tree.
To a 10ml rollerball (brown or blue glass) add:
- 10 drops each of Frankincense, Myrrh, Hawaiian Sandalwood, Helichrysum and Lavender.
- 5 drops each of Tea Tree and Turmeric
- 3 drops of Black Pepper
- Top up with the carrier oil mixture (half calendula, half fractionated coconut oil)
- Keep out of the sun and heat to preserve the essential oils and apply daily after cleansing and shaving.
Each of these oils has been chosen for their particular properties which I´ll briefly explain below:
Hawaiian Sandalwood is very soothing and beneficial to the skin; it can help reduce the appearance of skin imperfections and it promotes a healthy, smooth complexion. Research suggests Hawaiian Sandalwood oil can help with the appearance of skin imperfections, in addition to being soothing and beneficial to the skin, it provides these same effects to mood – helping to lessen tension and promote emotional well-being.
Myrrh is derived from the gummy resin of the small, thorny Myrrh tree and has been used for centuries for its internal and external health benefits. It is reputed to have powerful cleansing and healing properties as well as being soothing to the skin—promoting a smooth, youthful-looking complexion.
Tea Tree oil is best known for its purifying qualities which make it useful for cleansing. It can be used to cleanse and purify the skin and to support a healthy looking complexion. Tea Tree is used on occasional skin irritations to soothe the skin and most people can use tea tree oil topically with no problems. However, tea tree oil can cause: skin irritation, allergic skin rash (dermatitis), itching, stinging, burning, scaling, redness and dryness. Don’t use tea tree oil if you have eczema.
Known as the Immortal or Everlasting Flower, Helichrysum holds many benefits for skin. Helichrysum oil can be used to help promote healthy skin cell regeneration and a glowing, youthful complexion. It contains anti-microbial, anti-biotic and regenerative compounds that promote healthy skin cell growth and regeneration. It also helps speed up healing of wounds, burns, and rashes and reduces scarring.
Due to its significant benefits, many people use Helichrysum oil for skin—particularly when it comes to shaving. With soothing and rejuvenating benefits, Helichrysum essential oil is a key part of an effective Razor Relief Serum that will leave your skin feeling fresh and clean after every shave. It works to soothe razor bumps and other irritations that are left behind after shaving.
Applied topically, Lavender oil is frequently used to reduce the appearance of skin imperfections by promoting collagen synthesis. Most likely due to its antimicrobial and antioxidant characteristics, lavender essential mixed with a carrier oil (like coconut, jojoba or grapeseed oil) has profound benefits on your skin. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties help to ease skin conditions and reverse signs of aging and age spots, especially when combined with Frankincense.
Steam distilled from the turmeric root, Turmeric essential oil has two unique chemical components, Turmerone and ar-Turmerone. It can help to promote clear, smooth, and radiant-looking skin. When needed, use Turmeric as a spot treatment to help reduce the appearance of blemishes or for a healthy-looking overall glow.
Black Pepper essential oil is high in monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes, known for their antioxidant activity. According to a 2010 study conducted at Michigan State University, black pepper extract and its constituents exhibit anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anticancer activities. The researchers found that the piperine and alkyl amides found in black pepper both had dose-dependent abilities to inhibit human cancer cell proliferation.
Frankincense oil is from the genus Boswellia. Terpenes and boswellic acids from the boswellia tree extracts are beneficial due to being strongly anti-inflammatory and cell protective. The anticancer effects have been investigated by lab researchers of frankincense and myrrh oils on tumour cells. The results showed that human breast and skin cancer cell lines showed increased sensitivity to the combination of myrrh and frankincense essential oils.
Frankincense has the ability to strengthen skin and improve its tone and elasticity of aging skin. It offers defence mechanisms against bacteria and blemishes, reduces the appearance of scars and acne, and heals wounds. It may also be beneficial for fading of scars or and for healing dry or cracked skin.
A review published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine found frankincense oil reduces redness and skin irritation, while also producing a more even skin tone. Studies suggest that it’s the pentacyclic triterpene structure of frankincense oil that contributes to its soothing effect on irritated skin.
Always use a carrier oil and patch test first for any allergies or sensitivities. Diluting your essential oils does not reduce the efficacy – in fact it improves it by allowing better absorption into the skin. If a reaction does occur apply olive oil or fractionated coconut oil to area and gently remove by dabbing with a soft cloth.