The first step in preparing most herbal skin preparations is making an infused oil. This carrier oil is imbued with the properties of the herb or herbal blend you are working with. You can choose from a variety of methods to infuse oils depending on your preferences. If you wish to use fresh herbs you will have a few extra steps.
The oil you begin with is called a fixed oil. Generally I prefer to use olive oil as my fixed oil for most of my preparations. Olive oil has its own special health-giving properties and comes from a tree that has been prized and honored for centuries. If you choose to use olive oil, make sure you use one labeled “extra virgin” to assure the highest quality. A label that indicates “cold pressed” is a bonus. For cosmetic purposes some people find olive oil a bit heavy, and it does have an aroma of its own. You might also consider using lighter oils such as apricot, almond or grapeseed oil, or a combination of oils.
Adapted with permission from Earth Mother Herbal (Fair Winds, 2002) by Shatoiya de la Tour.