Essential oils for oily skin – recipes & blends for clear skin

Updated November 2021

by Alison Angold CIDESCO ITEC

Oily skin is when the surface of the skin is shiny, due to too much oil being produced. Oily skin can be more prone to spots and blocked pores, however, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will experience them.

Whatever type of oily skin you have; an oily sheen on your skin, or an odd spot or pimple, using essential oils for oily skin in this instance, can help to balance the skin.

Essential oils for oily skin

Typically, citrus oils are very good at treating oily skin, as they act as an astringent, however, there are other useful oils too;

  • Cypress
  • Grapefruit
  • Tea Tree
  • Juniper
  • Lemon
  • Mandarin
  • Orange
  • Petitgrain

Essential oils for oily skin

Each essential oil has a variety of properties or therapeutic actions. The properties that we want to look for in treating oily skin are;

  • Astringent – has a tightening effect on the skin & reducing and removes excess oil production.
  • Balancing – creating a balance between the amount of oil produced to the amount of oil the skin needs
  • Depurative – having a cleansing and detoxifying effect on the skin.
  • Refreshing – cleansing and uplifting a dull skin

These properties mean that the skin can be cleansed of excess oil, the production of oil can be balanced within the skin, impurities can be removed, if the skin is prone to breakouts and blocked pores, and the skin is refreshed, as often oily skin can look dull.


This is such a good clearing and purifying oil!  It is known as a depurative oil, which means it gets rid of excess liquids in the body – so particularly good for controlling oil in the skin and hugely helpful with excessive sweating too. 

(Do not use during pregnancy)


A citrus oil that acts as an astringent for dull, oily, and acne skin, meaning that it constricts the cells of the skin and absorbs any excess oil to clear the skin. Grapefruit is also a really uplifting oil and is nice to add to a facial oil for massage. 

(Be aware that grapefruit is phototoxic. This means that you should avoid sunlight whilst it is on your skin.) 

Tea Tree

Tea Tree is antiseptic and anti-inflammatory and one of the very few oils that you can use neat on the skin. Use a cotton bud to dab a small amount of tea tree oil directly onto a spot or pimple. The antiseptic and bactericidal properties of tea tree mean it will reduce the amount of bacteria in the area, and minimise inflammation, so the spot will heal faster and look less angry.


A detoxifying oil, good at cleansing blocked pores (blackheads) and helping to clear excess oil from the skin. It also has antiseptic properties, so will help prevent spots from occurring.

(Do not use during pregnancy, or by those with kidney issues)


A refreshing citrus oil that works well on any type of seborrheic conditions, which means it cleanses and controls the oil being produced. It is detoxifying, so good for breakouts, spots, or acne, as well as being refreshing, so uplifts dull skin.

(Avoid direct sunlight if applied topically)


Mandarin is an astringent, so helps to contract and tighten the skin’s tissues, not only controlling the production of oil but also tightening the tissues of the skin, to help close enlarged pores. Excessive oily skin can often have open pores, as the oil being secreted, can stretch the opening of the pores.

(Avoid direct sunlight if applied topically)


Refreshing, uplifting, and brightening for dull, oily skins. It is also a detoxifying oil, so helps to cleanse pores and ease skin congestion.

(Avoid direct sunlight if applied topically)


Petitgrain is a lesser-known citrus oil, that is a tonic for greasy skin and hair. It will help strengthen the skin and help cleanse excess oil.

Essential oil recipes for oily skin

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The best way to use essential oils for oily skin is to blend and use a facial oil.

I know that you probably recoiling in horror at the thought of using an oil on your already oily skin!! However, this oil, that I am suggesting you use will NOT make you any more oily!! Using the correct base oil, along with suitable essential oil, will actually help balance and treat your skin.

Facial oil recipes

Dull, oily skin facial oil

Revive dull, oily skin with this refreshing blend. Both the grapefruit and cypress will help to control the amount of sebum being produced. Jojoba is an excellent carrier oil as it also helps to control the amount of oil being produced and can help melt through blocked pores.

  • 30ml Jojoba oil
  • 9 drops Cypress
  • 9 drops Grapefruit

Detoxifying facial oil

Another good blend for decreasing the amount of oil being produced as well as treating and preventing spots from appearing. Lemon is very refreshing for oily skin, as well as having antiseptic properties, while juniper, is cleaning and detoxifying and can draw out spots and blemishes in congested skin.

  • 30ml Jojoba oil
  • 6 drops Juniper
  • 6 drops Lemon

Cleansing facial oil

A lovely light citrus oil, that will help cleanse and hydrate oily or combination skin. This is a good oil to use to keep oily skin balanced – ideal if your skin is not excessively oily, but you just want to keep it that way!

  • 30ml Rosehip oil
  • 6 drops Orange
  • 6 drops Petitgrain

Facial oil for spots

if your skin is prone to spots and breakouts, this is a good oil for you. The mandarin is gently cleansing and good at reducing the oil being produced, while antiseptic and anti-bacterial tea tree helps to reduce and treat spots.

  • 30ml Jojoba oil
  • 9 drops Mandarin
  • 6 drops Tea Tree

Store your blends in small, glass, amber-tinted bottles.

You must use a carrier oil, to mix with your essential oils. Jojoba oil is ideal on oily skin, as it can help to dissolve sebum, thus preventing blocked pores and excessive oiliness. Rosehip oil is a good alternative, as it is a lighter oil, that is easily absorbed and nourishing too.

Why do I have oily skin?

Oily skin is producing too much oil. Our skin secretes an oil called sebum. Sebum is very beneficial as it naturally moisturises our skin and gives us protection. Sebum, along with sweat, creates an anti-bacterial layer on the skin, called the acid mantle.

The acid mantle gives us protection from bacteria, and other external invasions, that may cause spots, breakouts, and dry or sensitive patches. So we do need sebum being produced.

However, as oily skin will have too much sebum being produced, you will experience an oily shine, that often appears through makeup, and because of the excess oil being produced, you may be more prone to breakouts, spots, and blackheads, as the pores will become blocked more easily.

The production of the excess oil is out of our control as it is happening from within. However because essential oils have the ability to penetrate the lower layers of the skin, they can be very effective at treating the source of the problem.

Active products, such as retinol are very good at treating oily skin, however, natural essential oils have great benefits too.

All the information you need to determine your SKIN TYPE here

How essential oils work for oily skin

Essential oils are pure oils that are extracted from flower petals, leaves, fruit, or herbs, and are so fine and pure that they have the ability to penetrate through the skin’s surface.

Because of this, they can get to work at a much deeper level of the skin, than a lot of other skincare ingredients. Most skincare products that we use only sit in the very top layers of the skin – which is needed – but the fact that essential oils can penetrate further, means they will have more of a beneficial effect on various skin conditions we may experience.

Essential oil products for oily skin

Blending your own essential oil products is great for treating your oily skin, however, you can also try out these wonderful products for oily skin.

E’spa, Decleor, and Neals Yard are among my favorite skincare companies that base their skincare on essential oils and aromatherapy.


Find out more about TONING here.

Facial Oil



However you decide to use essential oils for oily skin, they are a great way of reducing the amount of oil being produced while nourishing and protecting your skin for the future. Chose a whole range of aromatherapy products or just add one or 2 to your normal routine.

About the Author
Alison Angold is a fully qualified (certified) beauty therapist, massage therapist, and aromatherapist from the UK. She has over 25 years of experience in this industry and has worked in a variety of beauty salons, spa’s as well as running her own successful beauty and massage business. Her career has allowed her to treat many, many clients, with skincare concerns, medical conditions, and a whole variety of other ailments and issues, which has enabled her to work closely with essential oils, prescribing specific blends for these clients to help with these conditions. Her qualifications in the use of essential oils and aromatherapy, allow her to share this knowledge with others, in a safe, reliable way.

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