A Review on Oils used in Herbal Cosmetics


Gite Shital S., Jadhav Aishwarya J., Zalte Amar G., Saudagar Ravindra B.

Department of Pharmaceutics, R. G. Sapkal College of Pharmacy, Anjaneri, Nasik.422214

*Corresponding Author E-mail:




Herbal cosmetics have growing demand in worldwide market because of lesser or nil side effect. The current review is on the oils used in formulation of various herbal cosmetics such as for skin treatment and hair care treatment. For e.g. Coconut oil, sunflower oil, almond oil. Cosmetics alone are not sufficient to take care of skin and body parts, it require association of active ingredients to check the damage and ageing of the skin. Herbal cosmetics are the preparations, which represent cosmetics associated with active bio-ingredients, neutraceuticals or pharmaceuticals. There are mainly two types of oils volatile oil and essential oil. Both have wide significance in cosmetic formulation. Oils for skin treatment are used for moisturizing and soothing purpose. Oils in hair care preparations used for the prevention and treatment of baldness or other ailments, aggression of hair. They also promote the luxurious growth of hairs. Hair oil containing herbal drugs are used as hair tonic.


KEYWORDS: Herbal oils. Skin care. Hair care. Cosmetics.



The word cosmetic was derived from the Greek word “kosm tikos” meaning having the power, arrange, skill in decorating. The origin of cosmetics forms a continuous narrative throughout the history of man as they developed. The man in prehistoric times 3000BC used colors for decoration to attract the animals that he wished to hunt and also the man survived attack from the enemy by coloring his skin and adorned his body for protection to provoke fear in an enemy (whether man or animal). (1)


Herbs can be utilized for cosmetics in three forms: as total extracts, selective extracts or single molecules purified from extracts. (2)The beauty of skin and hair basically depends on factors such as individual’s health, diet, habits, job routine, climatic conditions and maintenance. In summer, heat exposure dehydrates the skin and increases melanin content. It causes freckles, wrinkles, blemishes, sunburns, pigmentation and even body pain. Extreme cold in winters also damage skin as cuts, cracks, maceration and infection are generally observed. Other factors which affect are chemical agents used and environmental pollution. Similar problems occur with hair as hair fall and their graying at early age becomes a general feature. (3)


Herbal oils:

Skin care:

Rose oil:

Rose oil is an essential oil obtained from Rosa damasena and Rosa centifolia belonging to family Rosaceae. The rose oil along with rose oil is first discovered in Persia. Rose oil and rose water is used in various preparation especially facial and skin treatment. Cleotropa who is famous for her ancient beauty secretes use rose oil in her face masks. Rose oil is also act as moisturizer. It also wildly used as cleansing agent and skin tonner in dilute form. (4)



There are two species ,German chamomile (Chamomilla recutita (matricaria)) and Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis).(5) The following  10 chamomile ingredients have been used in cosmetic products:  chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower oil, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) oil, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) extract, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower/leaf extract, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower water, anthemis nobilis flower extract, anthemis nobilis flower oil, and anthemis nobilis flower water. (6)Camomile, wild Chamaemelum mixtum infusion on face, in facial steam to reduce puffy skin and cleanse pores. Camomile, German Matricaria recutita used in  Facial steams, skin and hair care; shampoo and hair rinse for light hair. Camomile, Roman Chamaemelum nobile Flower heads used in potpourris; massage oils in hair products for light-colored hairs. (7)


Sandalwood oil:

Sandalwood oil is obtained by botanically Santalum album L belonging to family Santalaceae. Sandalwood oil is expensive oil and is used in skin products. It has moisturizing, astringent, antiseptic, balancing and stimulating properties. Recommended for dry and aging skin, it can be blended with other plant-derived extracts in hair oils and body lotions. The sandalwood paste is used for its cooling properties in case of skin burns. The paste is used to decrease effects of skin tanning and blotching. Sandalwood paste is also used to attain a clear, smooth and unblemished face. (8)


Sunflower oil:

 Sunflower oil is an excellent source for beta-carotene, a richly pigmented, fat-soluble compound present in certain fruits, vegetables, grains and oils. Beta-carotene can be converted into vitamin A, which compound possesses many antioxidant properties that can be beneficial towards the appearance and health of your skin. Understand the potential side effects of beta-carotene and appearance with your physician before adding sunflower oil to your diet. It is used for restoring the skin moisture, sun protection, makeup remover, anti aging. (9)(10)(11)


Calendula oil:

Calendula oil is obtained from the herb calendula arvensis, family Asteraceae. Calendula, pot marigold, is a genus of about 12–20 species of annual or perennial herbs are essential oilsus plants in the daisy. Calendula in suspension or in tincture is used topically to treat acne, reducing inflammation, controlling bleeding and soothing irritated tissue. It can use to protect the skin. Calendula oil is good moisturizer. Carotenoids present in oil can nourish the skin. (3)


Apricot Oil:

Apricot oil is obtained from kernels of Prunus armeniaca from the family Rosaceae. Extraction of oil can be done by cold pressing and refining the dried kernels. It is use as skin nutrition as it contents oleic acid and vitamin E. It promotes the healthy skin condition. Apricot oil is ideal for sensitive skin as it prevent   premature aging and provides softening and moisturizing effect. The apricot oil is used in lotion, soap, massage oil and balm. (7)(21)


Amla oil:

Amla oil obtained from fruits of Phyllanthus emblica (syn. Emblica officinalis) family Phyllanthaceae. Prevents skin damage various layers present in skin may be damaged due to UV radiation from sun is known as photo-aging which is a complex biological process. Amla reduce this problem due to its free radical assuaging nature. It improves skin elasticity by taken of dried amala powder mixed with water. Act against pimples. Pimples on face caused by impure blood and can be removed by taken of amla combined with neem. (12)(20)


Grapefruit oil:

Grapefruit oil is extracted from Citrus paradisi (also known as Citrus racemosa and C. maxima var. racemosa) from the Family Rutaceae. Lotions, creams and washes Used in a base cream, lotion or as a wash, grapefruit oil can help to clear a greasy, congested and acne skin, while also helping the tissue get rid of cellulite and drain any excess retained water. (23)


Hair care:

Coconut oil :

Coconut oil is obtained from the fruit or seed of the coconut palm tree Cocos nucifera, family Arecaceae.  The coconut oil is found easily in both solid and liquid form as the melting point is 24-25 0 C (75-76 0F). Coconut oil is excellent as a skin moisturizer and softener. A study shows that extra virgin coconut oil is effective and safe when used as a moisturizer, with absence of adverse reactions. A study found that coconut oil helped prevent protein loss from the wet combing of hair when used for fourteen hours. The lauric acid that coconut oil is rich in has significant action against viruses, bacteria and fungi and this ensures you keep away from infections of the scalp, too. (13)(14)(15)



Amla oil obtained from fruits of Phyllanthus emblica (syn. Emblica officinalis) family Phyllanthaceae. Helps in hair growth consumption of green vegetable juice with 2-3 amla fruits can prevent from hair graying. It has the potent astonishing effect on hair and skin. Amla stimulates the hair follicles and improves the hair growth and gives the complete nourishes to hair roots. (12)


Olive oil:

It is obtained from fruits of Olea europaea from family oleaceae .Olive oil is great for hair because of the several properties it has – it is nourishing oil that manages to penetrate the hair shaft much more effectively than other oils; it has good moisturizing action, and is also an excellent hair conditioner. If you use the extra virgin variety, your hair also receives vitamin E and mono unsaturated fatty acids that play an important role in promoting hair growth. (13)


Almond oil:

The almond oil is obtained from Prunus dulcis . The almond oil basically contains about 78% of this fat. This oil contains very small amounts of super-unsaturated Omega-3 essential fatty acids. It proves to be very nourishing, and softens and strengthens the hair. The almond oil also proves to be a very good cleansing agent. Almond oil has been used for many centuries, even before its spread as a commercial agro-product. (14)




Castor oil:

Ricinus communis, is a species of flowering plant in the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae The natural castor oil can treat and cure your hair for three steps. In the scalp it work to clean and moving dead cells with the new without injuring your scalp. Castor oil can kill the bacteria thoroughly your scalp so the blood vessels facilitate in your head, dandruff will not occur on the scalp. You hair is free from hair fall now. Next, if you have used another chemical product before, Castor oil can healing from side effect of your chemical treatment product. This can cure your hair to be brittle and dry. The last, this oil is pure and having an emollient specific good for hair roots. We know that healthy hair having strong roots. Castor oils can make as conditioner to your hair, that’s make your hair smoothly and beauty. (15)


Jasmine oil:

Approximate 200 jasmine plant species, only two, Jasmine grandiflorum and Jasmine officinale, family oleaceae are used as raw materials from which to extract the essential oil, Jasmine essential oil has a sweet and floral aroma. The flowers should preferably be picked at night for extraction of essential oil. It takes huge quantities of petals to prepare one ounce of jasmine’s essential oil and hence the oil is expensive and is highly sought after. Hair care and improvement - Jasmine essential oil makes great nourishing moisturizing oil for the hair. Some claim that it can enhance hair growth and lessen hair loss. If you have dry and frizzy hair, you can simply add the essential oil of jasmine to your current organic shampoo to bring about fresh bounciness and healthy shine (16)


Sesame oil:

 Sesame oil is obtained from Sesamum indicum Linn. Family  pedaliaceae. There are many varieties of sesame oil that range in flavor and color. (17) Sesame oil is highly nourishing, healing and lubricating. Other than being used as flavour enhancing cooking oil, it has great beauty benefits and works great for scalp and hair growth. Sesame oil is enriched with Vitamin E, B complex and minerals such as magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and protein which strengthens the hair from the root and gives deep nourishment. (18)


Grapeseed oil:

Grapeseed oil which can be commonly seen in grocery stores comes from pressed grape seeds. It is lightweight, colorless, and odorless, making it very versatile. Because of its moisturizing and regenerative properties, it has become one of the most popular ingredients for cosmetic products, aromatherapy, and even shampoos and conditioners. Compared to other oils that can also be used for the hair, it can easily be absorbed into the skin and hair much faster. And since it is lightweight, Grapeseed oil for hair won’t weigh you down, so it’s not at all irritating or annoying to use. A great reason for using Grapeseed oil for hair is to ward against dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. A number of studies have proven that with continued use of Grapeseed oil for hair, there will be a reduction, if not an elimination of the problem. (22)


Mustard oil:

 Mustard oil is extracted from the seeds of the mustard plant, which refers to any of the family in the genera Sinapis and Brassica. Examples are Brassica nigra or Black Mustard, which is also grown in the US. Meanwhile, Sinapis hirta is grown in the Mediterranean Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Mustard seeds are rich in antioxidants, protein and fatty acids, many experts advise using natural or herbal remedies for such common problem as hair thinning and loss. Such product as high quality mustard oil can be used to treat hair loss effectively and with no fears for having possible unwanted side effects. At that, the effectiveness of mustard oil for hair loss can be improved by teaming this herbal remedy with a little bit of henna. This herb is more commonly used for making hair a little reddish and darker, but it can assist in hair lost treatments as well. The practice of using mustard oil in massaging the scalp dates back at least 4,000 years ago, in India. Aside from moisturization, using mustard oil for scalp massage can also strengthen muscles in the head and firm the skin. This is one of the secrets of Indian women in keeping their hair long and silky. (24)



The herbal cosmetics wildly used nowadays and having wild scope. The bioactive ingredient which is present can help to influence the biological function of skin and hair. There is a tremendous scope to launch numerous herbal essential oils proteins and other additives. The current herbal scenario of Indian market is very poor which could be enhanced through the systematic R&D efforts but it required active collaboration of cosmetic industries, scientist and government.



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Received on 30.01.2013                    Accepted on 12.03.2013        

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Res. J. Topical and Cosmetic Sci. 4(1): July –Dec. 2013 page 61-64