But first, a distinction. The recipe we share here is for a lavender-infused oil. If you’re interested in how to make lavender essential oil, you’ll need to invest in some extra distilling equipment and have a plentiful supply of the plant.
Producing a true essential oil involves extracting the oil from the flower via steam distilling. This is usually done on an industrial scale. Although smaller hobby kits are available, it’s a process that requires caution (due to the combination of heat and pressure), thorough preparation and a sizeable dose of patience. You’ll also need access to lots of the purple flowering blooms - it takes a lot of flowers to produce even a small amount of essential oil.
In contrast, if you’re more interested in how to make lavender oil, this can be achieved simply using excess flowers from your garden borders. While not as concentrated as a pure essential oil, it brings some of the benefits associated with lavender but without any complicated chemistry.
Which brings us neatly on to how to make lavender oil from the plant in your garden. Here we share a simple method including what oils to use and how to make lavender oil with leaves as well as the flowers.
Making lavender oil
First, let’s list a few things that you’ll need.
- A large jar (for the infusion)
- Lavender (cut and dried)
- A carrier oil (olive oil or mineral oils)
- Cheesecloth or muslin (for straining)
- A bottle or glass container (for storage)
And next, the method. Here we keep it simple with the cold fusion technique.
Step 1: Harvest and dry
First, harvest your lavender. If your plant is in full bloom great, but if not, you can use lavender leaves instead.
Once you have harvested your crop, allow it to completely dry out before you start the infusion. Drying prevents your oil from turning mouldy.
Lavender drying tips
- Cut off at least six inches from the flower
- At the base of your cuttings, tie the sprigs together
- Hang the lavender cuttings upside down in a warm, dry location with good air circulation
- Leave it for 12 to 14 days. The time lavender takes to dry can vary (it could take up to a month in some conditions.) You’ll know it’s fully dry if when you break a stem it snaps cleanly in half rather than bending1,2
Step 2: Infuse
The carrier oil you choose will depend on the use you have in mind. For example, if you’re looking to apply lavender oil topically to your skin, choose an oil that has the right characteristics for your complexion. And if you’d like the option to use your lavender oil in cooking, you’ll need to select an edible carrier oil.
Here are a few examples:
As extra virgin olive oil is both edible and suitable for skincare. This makes the best multi-use lavender oil. However, it’s not always suitable for oilier skin types as it can block pores if applied too heavily.
Grapeseed oil and jojoba oil create lightweight and non-greasy moisturisers. They are better options for oily, combination, and blemish-prone skin types.
If you’re looking for a richer moisturiser for dryer skin, sweet almond oil and argan oil both work well.
- To start the infusion process, place your dried lavender into a clean jar. Fill until at least three-quarters full
- Next, add enough oil to completely cover the lavender and allow it to move around. Then secure the lid of your jar
- Place your jar on a windowsill that allows exposure to direct sunlight
- Leave it there for at least one week (or up to three weeks.) Try to remember to lightly shake it occasionally3
Step 3: Strain
Once you’re happy that enough infusion has occurred, use your cheesecloth to strain the lavender flowers. Store the infused oil in a glass container.
Summary: Are you ready to make your own lavender oil?
With this recipe and method, making lavender oil is simple and creates a versatile and delicately fragranced oil. Use it as a skin moisturiser, on your hair, as a natural cleaning product, or even as a marinade in the kitchen.
Last updated: 5 October 2020