DIY: How to Make Your Own Natural Baby Oil

Thursday, April 19, 2018

DIY: How to Make Your Own Natural Baby Oil

Baby oil is one of the essential products in a mother’s baby care kit. It is often used as a medium for baby massage and for keeping the baby skin soft and supple. Compared to an adult skin, the baby’s skin is thinner and more sensitive to external irritants so it is very important for a mother to choose the right baby oil that is mild and nourishing to the delicate skin of the baby. Unfortunately, most baby oils available in the market are made from mineral oil with synthetic fragrance added to it.

Mineral oil (also known as petrolatum or parafinnum liquidum) is often used as base ingredient in baby oil because of its low cost and long shelf life (it doesn’t go rancid unlike plant-based oils). It is an effective moisturizing ingredient but it is a bit greasy to be used on baby’s skin. It also doesn’t contain skin-loving vitamins and antioxidants as compared with plant-based oils. Depending on the purity and cosmetic grade of the mineral oil used in baby oil, it might also clog the pores of the baby’s skin. Not to mention, mineral oil is a by-product of petroleum so it is definitely not mother earth friendly!

Having said that, let’s start to learn how to formulate a natural version of baby oil. It involves
  • Replacing mineral oil with plant-based oils (carrier oils)
  • Replacing synthetic fragrance with essential oils
It is important to note that not all plant-based oils and essential oils are suitable to be used on babies.

For the base oil, select oils that are rich in linoleic acid. Oils high in linoleic acid are lightweight (non-greasy), fast absorbing and has anti-inflammatory properties which are perfect for the sensitive skin of babies.

Examples of Oils Rich in Linoleic Acid
  • Sunflower oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Hemp seed oil
Also, avoid using oils that are derived from nuts as a safety precaution especially if you have family history of nut allergies.

Examples of Nut-based Oils
  • Sweet almond oil
  • Macadamia oil
  • Hazelnut oil
  • Kukui oil
Aside from linoleic-rich oils, the following oils can also be used on baby’s skin:
  • Jojoba oil
  • Fractionated coconut oil (Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride)
Now, let’s move on with adding natural scent to baby oil using essential oils. Essential oils must not be used on infants less than 3 months old. Moreover, not all essential oils are safe to be used on babies.

Here is a list of essential oils that are safe for babies as young as 3 months.
  • Lavender oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • Roman chamomile oil (Anthemis nobilis)
  • German chamomile oil (Matricaria chamomilla)
  • Mandarin oil (Citrus reticulata)
As a rule of thumb, the total amount of essential oil(s) in a baby oil formulation should be 0.1 – 0.2%. This is where a digital scale (with 0.1 gram accuracy) comes in handy. It’s because measuring essential oil in drops won’t give you an accurate and consistent result. Worst is you might end up putting too much essential oil than the allowed dermal limit recommended for babies.

For example:

In 50 gram baby oil, you want to add 0.2% essential oil(s).

(50 x 0.2) / 100 = 0.1

You need a total of 0.1 gram of essential oil(s) in your baby oil formulation.

Let me now give you an example recipe for a 50 gram Bedtime Baby Oil using a combination of 3 base oils and lavender essential oil for its sedative and calming effects.

Sunflower Oil
Fractionated Coconut Oil
Jojoba Oil
Lavender Essential Oil
NOTE: Before using this baby oil, make sure to do a patch test on your baby’s inner arm. Check for redness or any allergic reaction after 24 hours. “Natural” doesn’t always mean “risk-free”, so this step is very important.


Your Baby’s Skin: What is the Best and Safest Oil to Use for Baby Massage. Retrieved from

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