How to Make Calendula Oil & 10 Ways to Use It
Learning how to make calendula oil is easy, and its versatile uses mean it has a place in everyone’s herbal cabinet.
Calendula is one of my favorite medicinal flowers to grow in my garden. It’s downright easy to grow; throw the seeds and wait for the flowers to appear. While it is a flower, calendula is technically an herb with various medicinal uses. Many of those medicinal properties can be tapped into by learning how to make calendula oil at home.
Adding calendula to your garden has many benefits. As I said, it is a medicinal herb, but it also attracts pollinators and acts as a companion plant to various vegetables. The petals are edible AND the flowers add color to your garden.
Yes, calendula plant flowers are edible, right out of the garden! Traditionally, the petals were used to enhance the color of butter, cheese, and custards. Its flavor is similar to saffron but much cheaper.
Truth be told, I don’t grow enough calendula at home yet to make all of the infused oils and other herbal products I love. So, I buy dried calendula flowers from Mountain Rose Herbs. Once you learn all the benefits, you’ll want to stockpile this herb.
Let’s look at how to make your own calendula oil.
Related: Dandelion Infused Oil: How to Make It & Ways to Use It
What is Calendula Oil?
Calendula oil is oil infused with dried calendula flowers. The flowers are steeped in a carrier oil for several weeks before straining, typically three to four weeks at a minimum. The steeping process draws out the natural active resins within the calendula flowers and draws them into the oil.
When infusing oil, it’s essential to use whole dried flower heads, but only dried petals may be used as well. Make sure, no matter what you use, they are totally dried.
Finished calendula oil is a finished product you may use on its own, but it’s also an ingredient to create various products, such as salves, ointments, and creams. The uses for your calendula oil vary based on the carrier oil you chose to create the infusion.
It’s possible to purchase ready-made calendula oil, but it’s far more affordable to make it at home. If you plan to make herbal products at home with the infused oil, you’ll save money doing it yourself.
The Medicinal Properties of Calendula
Calendula Officinalis is one of the most common medicinal herbs used by herbalists and natural healers. It holds a special place in my medicinal herb cabinet.
Most people recognize the benefits of calendula because it is a key ingredient in many natural skin care products. It is regularly used to treat and heal various skin conditions. It’s safe for you to take calendula internally and externally
Calendula has several medicinal properties, such as being:
- promotes cell repair and growth
Perhaps one of the reasons I like calendula, aka pot marigold, so much is it’s gentle when it works. You never have to worry that you use too much of it.
As I mentioned, herbalists typically use calendula to ease, heal, and treat various skin conditions. Many lotions and skin creams use calendula as one of the main ingredients. There are several ailments you may treat with calendula, including:
- Skin rashes
- Diaper rashes
- Bug bites & stings
- Cold sores
- Diaper rashes
- Cradle cap
- Varicose veins
- Scar tissue
No wonder this herb is such a powerhouse! You’ll find plenty of ways to use it in your day-to-day life.
What Type of Carrier Oils to Use to Make Calendula Oil?
Making calendula oil starts with picking a carrier oil; the oil will be used on your face, so be sure to consider that when selecting. Some oils benefit your skin more than others.
You might be hesitant to use oil-based products on your skin. Despite what you may assume, oil-based skin care products won’t necessarily make your skin more oily or cause breakouts. We tend to irritate your skin by stripping away natural oils with those “reduce the shine” products, and overly-dry skin leads to excess sebum.
That’s when you get greasy skin!
Using the right carrier oils soothes and nourishes your skin, restoring the natural moisture levels you want to have. Then, when you add healing ingredients like calendula, you heal stressed and damaged skin.
However, when picking the oil you want to use, non-comedogenic oil is ideal. These oils won’t clog your pores, which is essential if you are prone to breakouts. Oils have a comedogenic scale between 1 to 5. The oils lower on the scale are considered non-comedogenic and less likely to clog your pores. 3 is moderate, and 4-5 are very likely to clog pores.
Let’s look at some of the options for carrier oils.
Avocado oil is known for being thick and oily, providing your skin with the deep moisturization needed in many cases. It also helps to reduce scars and inflammation and eliminate age spots.
However, while this is edible, avocado is rated a 3 on the comedogenic scale, so it’s more likely to clog pores and cause acne.
Everyone sings coconut oil’s praises, but you may not know that it’s rated a 4 on the comedogenic scale. So, if you want to use calendula oil on your face, proceed with caution.
On the other hand, coconut oil contains caprylic acid and other compounds, providing it with antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
One of the carrier oils I use more often is extra virgin olive oil. It’s extremely hydrating and nourishing for dry skin and feels thicker than other carrier oils. EVOO works great for my husband’s hands, who need lots of moisturization for his dry hands when working in a mill.
EVOO is a multi-use oil rated a 2 on the comedogenic scale, but if you have acne-prone skin, avoid it or apply it too heavily. It may cause breakouts for some people.
Another reason to use extra virgin olive oil is it contains an antioxidant called hydroxytyrosol, protecting your skin against free radical damage and reducing aging signs.
If you have oily skin, grapeseed oil is an excellent choice, and it’s low on the comedogenic scale, rated at 1. Not only does it not clog your pores, but it helps to reduce acne due to its antimicrobial properties.
The only downside to grapeseed oil is that it’s not as moisturizing as other oils. If you have dry and cracked skin, this may not provide enough moisturization needed to fix your problems.
Jojoba oil is lightweight, non-greasy, and non-comedogenic, rated at a 2 on the scale. It breaks down and reduces excess sebum, so if you have oily skin or a combination of dry and oily, this is a great choice.
Some studies indicate jojoba oil has anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties, so it works for healing salves. Plus, it has a long shelf life lasting up to 5 years.
One thing to note is that some people experience small breakouts when they initially use jojoba oil. This is due to its ability to unclog your pores and remove impurities.
Also, jojoba oil is NOT edible.
Rosehip Seed Oil
If you want to make products to heal scars and reduce fine lines, rosehip seed oil is ideal. It is non-comedogenic, rated a 2 on the scale. So, it feels lightweight on your skin and absorbs easily.
Rosehip seed oil is high in essential fatty acids, vitamin E, and vitamin A, increasing cell turnover. It’s more likely to reduce stubborn scars and problematic skin areas than other oils.
The downside is that rosehip seed oil has quite a short shelf life, lasting only up to six months. You also cannot use this for internal purposes; it is NOT edible.
Sweet Almond Oil
Those wanting to make a deeply moisturizing infused oil may opt to use sweet almond oil; it’s better than jojoba and grapeseed. It’s ideal for dry, sensitive skin, even baby skin! It is non-comedogenic, rated a 2 on the scale.
Sweet almond oil reduces excess sebum, lessens inflammation, and reduces scars, dryness, and eczema. It also can lighten skin tone and dark circles.
This is edible oil.
How to Make Calendula Oil: Step-by-Step
There are two ways to make calendula oil: a slow infusion process and a fast infusion process. If you don’t want to make it at home, I trust the Herb Pharm brand!
Ingredients & Equipment Needed to Make Calendula Oil
- Dried Calendula Flowers
- Carrier Oils – see above choices
- Glass Jars
1. Get Your Dried Calendula Flowers
The first step is to gather your dried calendula flowers. You might use homegrown flowers or purchase dried ones. Be sure that you trust the source of your flowers.
These calendula flowers come highly rated, or I suggest looking at Mountain Rose Herbs and grabbing a bag or two there.
2. Pick the Carrier Oil You Want to Use
Next, use the list above to select the carrier oil you prefer. Think about how you intend to use this infused oil. Do you want to make a calendula salve for your hands or a lotion for your face? What skin problems do you or your loved ones have?
These questions help you pick a carrier oil, or you may want to make a variety of infused oils with different types.
3. Fill a Clean Glass Container with Dried Flowers
Glass containers are best when making infused oils; grab a mason jar – either a pint or quart jar – and fill it with the dried flowers. Fill the jar 3/4 of the way with the flowers. If you use only loose petals, fill the jar halfway.
4. Pour the Oil Over the Dried Calendula Flowers
Then, pour the carrier oil over the flowers in the jar until it is full or all the flowers are completely submerged.
You may think you won’t get a lot of oil, but believe it or not, the flowers take up less space than you think. The oil will soak into the flowers, so pour slowly. Typically, if you use an 8-ounce jar, you’ll get 6-7 ounces of oil out of the container.
5. Let Rest for Weeks
Now, put the lid on the jar and keep this in a warm location. Some keep it on a sunny window, but your countertop works as well. The infusion process takes a minimum of three to four weeks, but leaving the flowers in the jar for months is safe.
6. Strain the Flowers From the Oil & Use It!
After letting the oil steep, it’s time to strain the flowers out of the oil. I put cheesecloth over the top of a new, clean, glass jar with a canning funnel; the flowers may fall out otherwise.
Pour the flowers and oil into the cheesecloth, allowing it to drain. After it stops draining, I squeeze the cheesecloth to get the rest of the oil out. You’ll be surprised how much comes out when you squeeze it!
How to Make Calendula Oil the Quick Way
If you don’t want to wait weeks to prepare infused oil, you have another option. Some use a double-boiler and heat a jar of petals and oil. I prefer to avoid this method; I don’t want to burn – on accident – my herbs.
1. Fill the Clean Jar with Petals & Oil
Start by filling a clean, glass jar with calendula flowers or petals. If you use petals, fill the jar half full and 3/4 full if using whole flowers.
Then, pour olive oil over the flowers; they should be covered by over one inch of oil. The petals absorb the oil, so adding extra ensures you get as much infused oil as you hoped.
Cover the jar with a lid, shake it a bit, and you are ready to start infusing.
2. Put a Towel in a Slow Cooker
Grab your Crock Pot and put a kitchen towel in the bottom; the glass cannot sit directly on the bottom of the slow cooker. That may cause the jars to crack.
Then, add enough water to cover half the jar; it doesn’t need to cover the top. It should reach the middle of the jar. This will only work for pints or half-pint jars unless you have a deeper slow cooker.
3. Let Heat for Hours
Once the jars are in the slow cooker, put them on the lowest setting for two to six hours. I keep mine in a warm setting because my low setting is too strong.
You may not have to keep the lid if you are infusing for upwards of six hours. You don’t want too much heat retained, but if you only want to infuse for two to three hours, the lid will help hold in the heat.
4. Strain & Store
After the infusion process, let the jars cool down and use a cheesecloth to strain the flowers from the oil into a clean jar. Then, store the jar in a cool, dark place.
Calendula Oil Storage & Shelf Life
Store calendula oil in a glass container, such as a labeled mason jar. Another idea is to store it in an amber glass bottle with a pump. This lets you take out what you need if you want to apply it directly to your skin.
Keep the infused oil in a cool, dry, dark location, such as a cabinet. I have a budding apothecary cabinet that keeps the infused oils out of direct sunlight.
The storage life of your calendula oil is based on the carrier oil you pick. Adding calendula to that oil doesn’t increase or decrease the shelf life. So, it’s important to understand the oil you picked. For example, some become rancid faster than others.
In general, expect your newly-infused oil to last one to two years. So, if you make a large batch, you have plenty of time to use it.
Can I Use Fresh Calendula Flowers?
No, when you make herbal-infused oils, it’s best to use dried flowers. If you infuse fresh flowers, you increase the risk of spoilage and mold.
10 Ways to Use Calendula Oil
1. Facial Moisturizer
One of the easiest ways to use homemade calendula oil is as a facial moisturizer, as long as you pick the right carrier oil. Use a thin layer and spread it over your skin.
Make it part of your skincare routine and see if it makes a difference in any skin ailments you have on your face!
2. Topical Applications
Pick up the oil for topical use! Not only does it work for skin problems, but don’t forget calendula belongs to a class of medicinal plants. So, it treats various skin irritations, such as:
- Bug bites
- Skin rashes
- Diaper rash
- Minor burns
3. Massage Oils
Use the pump bottle and turn the infused oil into massage oil. Spread it over any areas on your body that may have irritations or soreness.
4. Make Calendula Salve
I use calendula-infused oil to create calendula salve. It treats my husband’s dry hands at work and any irritated skin my kids have.
Learning how to make calendula oil is essential if you want to create a healing salve with it. Combined with beeswax pastilles, a salve is easy to make and a versatile product to have.
5. Create Other Calendula Skincare Products
That’s not the only thing you can do with this! Combining this with cocoa butter, shea butter, essential oils, and other items, you can make so many things!
- Calendula lotion
- Calendula lotion bars
- Homemade calendula soap
- Soothing calendula lip balm
- Shelf-stable calendula cream
- Whipped body butter with calendula
6. Make DIY Baby Wipes
Calendula is gentle and eases diaper rashes and skin irritation. Baby wipes are typically full of chemicals you don’t want (or need) on your baby’s bottom.
Try making DIY baby wipes with these awesome instructions; sub the olive oil for infused calendula oil.
7. Condition Your Hair
It’s not a good idea to use oil as your daily conditioner, but calendula oil works great if you need an occasional deep moisturizing hair treatment. Ideally, if this is how you plan to use the finished product, coconut oil, olive oil, or argan oil will provide the best results.
8. Remove Your Makeup
Oil is an excellent makeup remover, but be sure you use a good carrier oil for your face.
9. Use as a Salad Dressing
I mentioned calendula is edible, so you can use the infused oil over salads or other meals. It tastes great over tomatoes, or use it for dipping bread. Ingesting calendula oil has many herbal benefits, such as:
- Boosting the immune system
- Fighting fungal infections
- Reduces inflammation
- Prevents menstrual cramps
- Eases gastrointestinal upset
Just make sure you use an edible carrier oil!
10. Gift a Bottle of Calendula-Infused Oil
If you have an herbalist friend, share your calendula oil! Give them jars of ready-made infused oil, or create a kit with the dried flowers, carrier oil, and instructions in a jar.