What comes to mind when you hear essential oils? For me, I’ve always equated them with being a natural, safe, gentle alternative to conventional fragrances. I also had assumed that they were beneficial in natural skincare products. And while there ARE numerous benefits to using essential oils (and don’t get me wrong, I looooove diffusing them!), I’ve come to learn that using them topically in your skincare products might not be a good idea if you have sensitive skin. Let’s talk about that!
This post is sponsored by Wabi-Sabi Botanicals. All thoughts are my own. Thank you for reading and supporting my blog!
This post covers:
- Benefits of Using Essential Oil Free Products
- About Wabi-Sabi® Botanicals: Essential Oil Free Natural Skincare
- A Simple Skincare Routine Using My Favorite Wabi-Sabi Products
What Are the Benefits of Using Essential Oil Free Products?
Even though essential oils are natural, they are still quite powerful and potent! The reasons someone may decide to use products that are essential oil free might vary, such as:
- Pregnant or breastfeeding (here’s a list of recommended oils to avoid)
- Extremely sensitive to strong smells
- Have allergic reactions or contact skin irritation
Now, maybe you’re like me, and you really don’t feel like you have any problems with essential oils or necessarily have any noticeable reactions when you use them in skincare. But let’s take a look at why you might want to reconsider (especially if you have sensitive skin)!
First thing’s first, it’s important to note that not all plant oils are essential oils. According to Formula Botanica director Lorraine Dallmeier, “not every plant oil will be an essential oil, and not every plant will be able to yield an essential oil. It all depends on the plant and the mechanism of extraction.” Something to keep in mind when reading an ingredient label! 🌱
The way we use essential oils has changed.
Essential oils have been used for centuries. The difference between then and today is that they used to only be used sparingly and for medicinal purposes. Now, they are so widely available (and many are not even organic or pure, but that’s a whole nother story) and we might be coming in contact with them multiple times a day. Whether that be diffusing them, putting them on our skin, or even ingesting them internally.
Repeated contact with essential oils can develop allergies.
The Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety in the EU considers 28 natural components of essential oils to be contact allergens in humans. This means that they have the potential to cause an allergy and allergic reaction further down the road even if there isn’t an initial reaction. You can use an essential oil for years without any problems, for example, and then develop a severe intolerance to it. An allergy or reaction might look like redness, itching, burning, or dermatitis. And most adverse reactions due to essential oils are caused by fragranced cosmetics/skincare and happen on the face.
Some essential oils can damage skin when exposed to the sun.
Have you ever done that trick where you use lemon juice to bleach your hair in the sun? 🍋 Yeah, imagine that same effect on your skin! The Institute of Integrative Aromatherapy states that certain citrus oils such as bergamot, orange, lemon, lime, and grapefruit contain a substance bergapten that is phototoxic. This means that it can damage your skin when exposed to UV light. Of course, in extremely small concentrations you might not have to worry, but it’s always good to be aware.
Essential oils have a massive environmental impact.
And lastly, there’s an environmental aspect to consider when using essential oils. They are super concentrated, so it often takes an enormous amount of raw product to make even a small amount of oil. For example, it takes about 60,000 roses to make just 30 ml of rose essential oil. Wow! 🌹Not to mention, this also poses a risk for over-harvesting endangered plant species (such as sandalwood).
Like I said earlier, this certainly isn’t to dissuade you from giving up essential oils altogether. But perhaps we can all be more mindful about how we use them, especially on our faces!
So this all might leave you wondering…but where can I find natural, safe skincare products that DON’T contain essential oils?! I’m glad you asked 😉 Enter Wabi-Sabi Botanicals…
About Wabi-Sabi® Botanicals: Essential Oil Free Natural Skincare
I’ve been using Wabi-Sabi products for years and they are truly one of my favorite skincare lines, but they’ve been around since 2015! The founder, Elysse Crabtree, couldn’t find products that worked for her sensitive, acne-prone skin. So she made her own! The products are special because:
- They contain NO added fragrance, essential oils, gluten, alcohol, clays, parabens, palm oil, or palm oil derivatives
- PETA Certified Cruelty-Free and Vegan 🐰
- Use eco-friendly glass bottles and the boxes are made and printed in the USA
- Use only recyclable materials for shipping ♻️
- Partner with One Tree Planted to plant a tree for every product sold
- Invest in micro-loans for women whenever possible and have invested in 22 women since 2018!
Wabi-Sabi® Botanicals marries the best of mother nature and modern science to help you get your most healthy, radiant skin ever. The phrase “wabi-sabi” is a Japanese philosophy that encompasses finding beauty in imperfection.
I really admire that Elysse is passionate about sustainable sourcing, packaging, organic ingredient purity, and giving back…all while keeping prices affordable and accessible! And as someone that formerly struggled with acne, I SO appreciate that these products are made with oily, blemish-prone skin in mind. And if you think about it, acne-prone skin IS sensitive skin!
Also, I am a total sucker for beautiful branding and packaging, and this knocks it outta the park! 😍
And a lot of my clients that I work with for consultations have really reactive skin and can’t handle harsh ingredients. I always recommend the Wabi-Sabi line to them. Here’s what one of my clients Deena has to say:
“Wabi-Sabi Botanicals has done wonders for my skin. My blotchiness and redness have subsided so much that I can’t believe it. These are my holy grails!” -Deena
A Simple Skincare Routine Using My Favorite Wabi-Sabi Products
I’ve had the pleasure of trying most of the Wabi-Sabi line over the years, and I thought it would be fun to share some of my personal top picks that work as a complete routine. By the way, you can use the coupon code ORGANICALLYBECCA at checkout for 15% off your first order!
Step 1: The Giver Cleansing Oil
Words cannot express how much I ADORE this cleanser…it’s my favorite Wabi-Sabi product! The first thing I noticed when I first used “The Giver” cleanser was the aromatic coffee scent. Omg, talk about my dream come true! ☕️ The formula is designed to melt away dirt and makeup, yet effortlessly rinse way with water (no wiping needed, hallelujah!). It doesn’t leave behind any residue or oily buildup, and your skin won’t feel stripped, tight, or dry after using it. Powerful, yet gentle. It’s bliss in a bottle!
How I Use It: Lightly massage 2-3 pumps onto my face and neck (on dry skin), making sure to go slowly and pay extra attention to areas with more makeup. Then splash some lukewarm water on my skin and it emulsifies and everything rinses away with ease.
The Giver is a Blend Of:
- Honduran sapote fruit oil promotes supple and smooth skin
- Rosella hibiscus oil (aka Nature’s Botox) is a natural source of AHAs that exfoliates, smooths, and firms
- Moringa oil combats blemishes and is rich in Vitamins C & E
- Roasted coffee bean extract gives a caffeine boost, is rich in antioxidants, helps firm and brighten skin
- Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is a stable, non-irritating form of vitamin C that brightens dark spots
Step 2: The Offering Probiotic Toner
Next, spritz a few pumps of this toner all over your face and neck. I love that the mist is fine, soft, and doesn’t aggressively spray all over your face (you know what I’m talking about). It smells delicate and citrusy and feels oh so soothing. Toners are an effective way to shower your skin with extra nutrients and hydration (think of them as a little pre-boost before applying the rest of your skincare).
The Offering is a Blend Of:
- Orange blossom distillate which has regenerative properties 🍊
- Probiotics to balance your skin’s microbiome and tone
- Reishi and shiitake mushroom extracts help soothe redness and repair 🍄
- Green tea extract to control sebum production and prevent breakouts
Step 3: Age Gracefully Oil Serum
Next, while your face is still slightly damp from applying the toner, you want to lock in that hydration with a moisturizing serum! Wabi-Sabi offers a couple of different oils depending on what your specific needs are. At this point in my life, I am focusing on keeping my skin youthful so I usually grab the Age Gracefully Serum! ✨ I mean, who DOESN’T want to age gracefully?! Since it doesn’t contain any fragrances or essential oils, it smells earthy, grounding, and is scented naturally from its seed oils and extracts (slightly peppery and a hint of coffee!). I love how this one makes my skin feel; it’s heavenly and luscious. It absorbs beautifully into my skin without looking greasy or feeling heavy.
How I Use It: While my skin is still damp, put 3-4 drops in the palm of my hands and gently rub them together. Carefully pat the oil onto my face until it’s blended in. Sometimes I’ll place a drop on my ring fingers and tap around my eye area as an under-eye treatment. Rub the excess oil on my hands together to keep them moisturized!
Age Gracefully is a Blend Of:
- Cacay nut oil contains Vitamin A and replenishes collagen and promotes skin repair
- Green coffee oil for antioxidant protection
- Açai fruit oil to minimize the look of fine lines
- Lupin seed extract which plumps and smooths
1-2x Per Week: Valley of Light Illuminative 2-in-1 Mask & Exfoliant
Okay I lied, this one might be tied for my favorite Wabi-Sabi product. It’s a powder mask that you can mix with water, toner, yogurt/kefir, or even manuka honey (pro tip!). Don’t let the brown color fool you. It smells AMAZING…like brownie batter! 🍫 I dare you not to lick it and have a little taste. This mask also doubles as a mild exfoliant so you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck. My skin always feels extra smooth and looks vibrant after using this mask. If your skin is looking lackluster or feeling rough, you should totally try this!
How I Use It: Mix one teaspoon of powder with half a teaspoon of The Offering toner and half a teaspoon of manuka honey. Apply the mask to clean skin and then let it sit for about 20-30 minutes. Since I add honey to the mixture, it doesn’t dry or stiffen on my skin (honey is a natural humectant), and I can keep it on longer. Then I just rinse off the mask with lukewarm water.
Valley of Light is a Blend Of:
- Raw volcanic Balinese cacao fights the effects of free radicals and is loaded with antioxidants
- Roselle hibiscus is a natural source of alpha-hydroxy-acids (AHAs) which gently exfoliate
- Balinese arabica coffee provides a caffeinated boost to reduce dark circles, depuff, and firm skin
- Javanese turmeric is Curcuma-rich and brightens skin and calms breakouts
- Guarana fruit naturally contains Vitamin C for a more even skin tone
Wabi-Sabi Botanicals: Your Sensitive Skin’s New BFF!
There you have it! I *highly* suggest giving this line a try. You can use the promo code ORGANICALLYBECCA for 15% off your first order!
And in conclusion, I think Wabi-Sabi founder Elysse put it perfectly:
Like our predecessors, it’s best to use essential oils sparingly and with respect to the plants and the planet that make them possible. This means limiting exposure, only purchasing essential oils from trusted, certified organic sources, and not falling into the trend of essential oils-for-everything.
I hope this post shed some light on the topic of essential oils in skincare and opened your eyes to exploring natural options for sensitive skin! Wabi-Sabi is truly an incredible brand that I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone. I’d love to hear if you’ve tried any of the products and what your experience has been 💚