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Liliana Morosini

Oils and butters chart for cosmetic formulas (properties, etc.)

This practical oils and butters chart for cosmetic formulas lists all you need to know about oils, esters and butters for DIY cosmetics.
You'll find useful and practical info about oil properties, comedogenicity, thermolability, spreadability, density, smell and much more.

At the bottom of this page you'll find useful info about why it's important to take into account the oil density to build a proper fats cascade for a better formula performance. This is why the fats listed in my chart are divided by density.
I also added some notes about fats thermolability and comedogenicity.

Looking for more DIY cosmetics practical charts? Click here for the DIY cosmetics ingredients chart.

not comedogenic = Not comedogenic, not comedogenic = comedogenic
heat= can be heated, cold= cannot be heated, heat carefully= don't overheat

Important: For a better view on your phone, rotate the screen horizontally. 

Very light density oils

 Oil name Com/Heat  Properties
Dodecane (Dry Touch) not comedogenicheat carefully It absorbs immediately and reduces the greasiness of other oils. It has a dry touch. Great for oily skin lotions. Do not exceed 70ºC. Density: 0,75.
Dicaprylyl Ether  not comedogenicheat It absorbs immediately and reduces the greasiness of other oils. It has a dry feel and tends to add a brake effect to the spreadibility. Great for dry oils formulas. Density: 0,81.
Squalane  not comedogeniccold Restores the lipid barrier. Silky smooth yet lightweight touch. Excellent texture. Density: 0,82
Coco-caprylate not comedogenicheat Good substitute for silicone oils. Silky smooth touch without greasiness. Facilitates pigment dispersion. Density: 0,85
Jojoba not comedogenicheat Seboregulating, antifungal, elasticizing, anti-aging, soothing, regenerating and hypoallergenic. Odorless and light, great base for oil  perfumes. It slows down a bit the spreadability. Density: 0,86
Dicaprylyl carbonate not comedogenicheat  Velvety touch without greasiness. Facilitates the dispersion of pigments. Density: 0,89.


Light density oils

 Oil name Com/Heat  Properties
Cherry not comedogenicheat Rich in phytosterols and vitamins A and E. Emollient, regenerating, anti-inflammatory and protective. Antioxidant and anti-aging. Excellent for dry skin. Light and smooth texture. Has an almond/cherry pit scent. Density: 0,910
Black mustard not comedogenicheat Stimulates circulation and useful against muscle pain. Helps against hair loss. Strong mustard odor. Do not use pure, should be diluted to 10-50%. Density: 0,910
Camellia not comedogeniccold Anti-aging, soothing and especially suitable for dry skin. Rich in vitamin E. Strengthens nails and hair. Useful against split ends and as a hair antistatic without weighing hair down. Absorbs easily. Density: 0,911
Argan not comedogenicheat Non-greasy, pleasant and absorbs quickly. Anti-aging, firming, antioxidant, nourishing, healing. Contains phytosterols. Effective against stretch marks and skin blemishes. Restructures hair. Density: 0,913
Evening Primrose not comedogeniccold Anti-wrinkle, antioxidant, soothing, restructuring. Improves circulation. Strong smell. Density: 0,913
Sweet almonds not comedogeniccold Soothing, repairing and antioxidant. Helps against stretch marks. Rich in phytosterols. Density: 0,913
Olive not comedogenicheat Anti-aging, antioxidant, emollient, nourishing, soothing. Strong smell. Density: 0,913
Marula not comedogenicheat Healing, anti-aging, antioxidant and nourishing. Stimulates circulation. For sensitive, dry and flaky skin. Has a characteristic smell. Density: 0,915
Coconut not comedogenicheat Pleasant, light, flowing and melting. Great hair affinity. Elasticizing, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antifungal, soothing (however, if used alone or in high doses it may irritate a little). Density: 0,915
Macadamia not comedogenicheat Flowing, pleasant and penetrating. Stimulates micro circulation. Healing, soothing, anti-stretch marks, Suitable for rosacea and sensitive skin. Density: 0,915
Apricot kernel not comedogenicheat carefully Light and pleasant to the touch, regenerating, elasticizing, especially soothing and emollient. Suitable for dry and sensitive skin and for children. Contains plenty of vitamin E. Avoid to overheat. Not  comedogenic, even if it could be potentially comedogenic for some people. Density: 0,915
Plum not comedogenicheat Antioxidant, softening and rich in vitamin E. Good anti-aging agent. For dry, parched, mature and sensitive skin. Soft and unctuous texture. Has an bitter almond scent. Density: 0,915
Abyssinia not comedogenicheat Lightweight yet smooth and pleasant. Facilitates the dispersion of pigments. Density: 0,9


Medium density oils

 Oil name Com/Heat  Properties
Babassu not comedogenicheat Light, silky and penetrating, suitable for massage and oily skin. Odorless, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-aging. Contains phytosterols and vitamin E. Density: 0,916
 Avocado not comedogenicheat Excellent texture. Regenerating, healing, elasticizing, soothing and protective. For dry and dehydrated skin. Contains vitamin E and phytosterols. Slightly comedogenic. Density: 0,918
Rice bran not comedogenicheat Light, odorless and quite cheap. Suitable for perfumes, draining oils and oily skin. Soothing, antioxidant. Aids microcirculation. Density: 0,918
 Sesame not comedogenicheat Non-greasy. Soothing, antioxidant, nourishing, anti-aging and regenerating. Useful against joint pain. It has a slight sesame/nutty smell that I personally do not find bothersome. Not  comedogenic, even if it could be potentially comedogenic for some people. Density: 0,919
Prickly Pear  not comedogenicheat carefully It absorbs quickly and is very velvety. Antioxidant, among the richest oils in vitamin E. Anti-aging, healing, regenerating, brightening. Some people find its smell unpleasant. I tried Naissance's prickly pear oil few years ago and it was odorless (not sure if it's still like that). Not clear if it can be heated, avoid overheating to be on the safe side. Quite expensive. Density: 0,92
 Hazelnut not comedogenicheat Light touch but very velvety. Great for oily and acne-prone skin because it helps fight acne and is sebum balancing. Density: 0,92
 Broccoli  not comedogenicheat Great for hair because it makes it shiny and eliminates frizz. It absorbs immediately and has a velvety feel. Characteristic smell but not annoying to me. Density: 0,92
 Pomegranade  not comedogeniccold Regenerating, antioxidant and soothing. Quite expensive. Suitable for dry, mature, irritated and sensitive skin. Velvety texture. Density: 0,92
 Safflower  not comedogeniccold Vasoconstrictor, restructuring, repairing, soothing and antioxidant. Suitable for oily skin and dark circles under the eyes. Density: 0,921
 Wheat Germ not comedogeniccold Rich and velvety texture. Nourishing, regenerating, protective, anti-aging and firming. Very comedogenic, avoid in case of acne prone skin. Density: 0,921
Sunflower  not comedogenicheat Soothing and rich in vitamin E. Quite cheap. Density: 0,921
Neem  not comedogenicheat Antibacterial and antifungal. Strong and pungent odor, use in small doses. Avoid in pregnancy as it could lead to miscarriage. Density: 0,921
 Buriti not comedogeniccold High percentage of carotenoids. Antioxidant, soothing and anti-aging. Adds a lovely yellow to the cosmetics containing it. Has a strong smell, use in small doses. Density: 0,921
Kukui  not comedogeniccold It absorbs easily and is pleasant to apply. For dry, chapped skin and psoriasis. Soothing and regenerating. Density: 0,925
 Cranberry not comedogeniccold Antioxidant, regenerating, soothing and anti-aging. For dry, mature and sensitive skin. Not  comedogenic, even if it could be potentially comedogenic for some people. Density: 0,925
Blackcurrant not comedogeniccold Absorbs quickly. Anti-aging, soothing, antioxidant, elasticizing and regenerating. Density: 0,925
 Grape seed not comedogenicheat Light and odorless, absorbs very quickly. It slows down the spreadability a little. Antioxidant and sebum regulator. Density: 0,925
 Rosehip not comedogeniccold Anti-aging, antioxidant, anti-stretch mark, regenerating and particularly healing. Density: 0,925
 Soybean not comedogenicheat  Light and velvety. Contains phytosterols. Regenerating and antioxidant. Could be slightly comedogenic. Density: 0,925


Heavy density oils

 Oil name Com/Heat  Properties
Linen not comedogeniccold Strong and unpleasant smell. Restructures the hair. Density: 0,929
Tamanu (Calophyllum Inophyllum) not comedogenicheat Healing, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal. Stimulates circulation. Indicated for the treatment of dermatitis, psoriasis, erythema and insect bites. Rich in oleic acid, linoleic acid and stearic acid. Do not use pure, preferably at 10-20%. Distinctive, herbaceous odor (vaguely reminiscent of celery). Density: 0,94
Caprylic capric triglyceride (fractionated coconut oil) not comedogenicheat It absorbs easily and is silky and pleasant. Excellent as a carrier oil and particularly resistant to oxidation. Density: 0,945
Castor oil not comedogenicheat Strengthens eyelashes and hair. Healing and purifying. Useful against clogged pores and skin blemishes. Facilitates pigment dispersion. Density: 0,962



Butter name Com/Heat  Properties
Sal not comedogenicheat Hard consistency. Particularly melting and penetrating, non-greasy. Rich in stearic acid. Nourishing, anti-inflammatory, soothing. Density: 0,900
Mango not comedogenicheat carefully Regenerating, antioxidant, soothing. Suitable for dry skin. Non-greasy and similar to shea butter. Pleasant texture. Density: 0,900
Cocoa not comedogenicheat Nourishing, protective, repairing, soothing, antioxidant. Suitable for dry and chapped skin. Unctuous and flowing texture. Excellent as a base for solid cosmetics. Density: 0,900
Murumuru not comedogenicheat Melting, rich, creamy and penetrating texture. Anti-inflammatory, especially nourishing, emollient and protective. Great for dry skin and damaged lips. Hair affinity. Excellent for dry, frizzy and damaged hair products. Medium-hard consistency at room temperature. Density: 0,905
Avocado not comedogenicheat Regenerating, elasticizing, soothing, protective, antioxidant and nourishing. Contains phytosterols. Rich and velvety texture. Suitable for dry skin. Slightly comedogenic. Density: 0,910
Shea not comedogenicheat carefully Soothing, anti-inflammatory, healing, regenerating and elasticizing. Excellent for dry, irritated and cracked skin. Should be added at the end of the oil phase to prevent clumping. Non-greasy and with a pleasant texture. Density: 0,910
Kokum not comedogenicheat Nourishing and protective. Non-greasy at all and leaves skin velvety smooth. Suitable for oily skin. Very hard. Great for DIY eye pencils. Density: 0,910
Kombo not comedogenicheat Particularly anti-inflammatory, soothing and antiseptic. Regenerates the skin and stimulates collagen. Anti-aging, good for skin blemishes. Reduces acne scars. Indicated for arthritis, muscle and joint pain. Fights hair loss and helps with sensitive, irritated or dandruffy skin. It should be used up to 10% both because it is very potent and to prevent it from coloring the skin. Spicy smell. Density: 0,921
Cupuacu not comedogenicheat Contains phytosterols and polyphenols. Anti-aging. Gives melting and creamy textures. Perfect for lip repair products and for dry and damaged skin. Great for hair removal and after sun irritations. Distinctive smell, may not appeal to everyone. Density: 0,924

Important: please don't copy my charts and content! If you want to share them on websites, socials or any other media, please put the direct link to this page and DON'T copy and paste the content. I worked hard to create this chart (that I initially created for my previous italian blog, and I'm keeping it updated. Thanks for understanding and for respecting my work!

Fats cascade approach - how to choose oils and butters for a better performance

Which approach you should follow to choose your cosmetic formula oils and butters? Building a performant fats cascade is important to obtain an emulsion with a nice texture, a good spreadability, a better performance and that last longer.

The ‘fats cascade’ theory (also knows as emollients cascade and spreadability cascade) is taken into high consideration by Italian DIY cosmetics formulators community but is not well known abroad. Try it and you’ll see the difference!

According to this approach, when formulating a lotion, you should use at least one oil per density + one butter to avoid obtaining a cosmetic that is too greasy, dries quickly, spreads poorly, or doesn’t absorb properly. One oil per density is just fine, but if you can use at least 2 oils per type with slightly different density values it is even better.

In this theory, oils are divided into very light, light, medium and heavy based on their density. Butters are considered separately and tocopherol is usually included in the high density oils count.

In general, oils with a heavy density have a lower spreadability and the other way round when we talk about light density oils.
Of course, there are exceptions and every oil has its own characteristics. As an example, Caprylic capric triglyceride has a high density but feels very pleasant and spreadable at the touch. So, to avoid misunderstanding, I want to clarify that the oil density is important, but this is NOT the only data you should take into account when choosing your fats and building a fats cascade. On top of the density, you should ALWAYS take into consideration the characteristic of the oils you use depending on the results you want to achieve (Is it very greasy? Does it have a pleasant texture? Is it comedogenic? Is it suitable for sensitive skins...?).

A common mistake when formulating a lotion for oily skin, for example, is to use light oils only. This way, the cream will absorb immediately, but the skin would be 'exposed' after a short time, becoming greasy. If, on the other hand, we add a small amount of medium and heavy oils, the cream will last longer on the skin because the heavier oils would continue to act after the very lighter ones have been absorbed. This is a good example to understand how the fats cascade work ad why it’s useful.

As a general rule, the total amount of fats to be used in a cream is as follows:

Face creams

  • oily skin: 5-8%*
  • normal skin: 9-11%
  • dry skin: 12-20%

*Not all the emulsifiers used in natural handmade cosmetics allow us to make stable creams with such low percentages of oils. If you have oily skin, you can go as high as 10% by choosing suitable oils with certain characteristics. For example, you can add a good amount of dodecane which tends to take away the greasiness of other oils without adding heaviness to the lotion.

Body creams

  • oily skin: 10-15%
  • normal skin: 16-20%
  • dry skin: 21-30%

For normal skin it is perfectly fine to use the same percentage for each density. For example, a body cream for normal skin with 20% fat might have such a fats cascade:

  • 4% very light oils (example: 2% squalane and 2% jojoba or 4% of either)
  • 4% light oils (example: 2% argan oil and 2% macadamia oil or 4% of either)
  • 4% medium oils (example: 2% rice oil and 2% grapeseed oil or 4% of either)
  • 4% heavy oils (example: 2% fractionated coconut oil + 2% castor oil or 4% of either)
  • 4% butters (example: 2% cocoa butter + 2% shea butter or 4% of either)

For oily skin, it is better to use more light and very light oils that are not comedogenic, while for dry skin, heavy oils percentage should be higher. 

Fats cascade example for an oily skin face lotion with 8% of oils:

  • 3% very light oils (example: 2% dodecane and 1% jojoba)
  • 2% light oils (example: 2% argan oil)
  • 1% medium oils (example: 1% grapeseed oil)
  • 0.5% heavy oils (example: 0.5% castor oil or tocopherol)
  • 1.5% butters (example: 2% shea butter)

As I mentioned before, also take into consideration the characteristic of the oils used: texture, comedogenicity, properties…

Fats cascade example for a body lotion with 25% of oils for dry skin:

  • 2% very light oils (example: 2% vegetable squalene)
  • 5% light oils (example: 2.5% sweet almond oil and 2.5% macadamia oil)
  • 9% medium oils (example: 3% avocado oil, 4% hazelnut oil and 2% rosehip oil)
  • 5% heavy oils (example: 3% fractionated coconut oil, 1% tocopherol and 1% castor oil)
  • 4% butters (example: 2% cocoa butter and 2% shea butter)

Oils and butters comedogenicity

Oils and butters comedogenicity is a very important factor to take into consideration when formulating a DIY lotion. Comedogenic ingredients can occlude pores and thus cause blackheads, pimples and oily skin.

Keep in mind, however, that what is comedogenic for someone could not be the same for someone else and it also depends on the % used in the formula. So, better to talk about potential comedogenicity.

Try to avoid comedogenic oils in face lotions and use them mainly in body formulas, where there is a need for more emollient and nourishing oils. Non comedogenic oils are generally lighter and "drier."

Oils, esters and butters that are non-comedogenic and especially suitable for oily skin: Dodecane, coco-caprylate,  jojoba oil, dicaprylyl carbonate, argan oil, babassu oil, grape seed oil, rice bran oil, hazelnut oil, Caprylic capric triglyceride, castor oil, shea butter.

Check my oils and butters chart for cosmetic formulas above for more info about fats comedogenicity (you'll see an icon).

Oils, esters and butters thermolability

When we choose oils, esters and butters for our DIY cosmetic formula, it is important to know if they are thermolabile ingredients (sensitive to heat). Many recipes require heating the ingredients, and if a fat is thermolabile we would lose some of its properties and ruin it.

For this reason, check the oils and butters chart for cosmetic formulas (above) to know if a fat can be heated or not (I added the related icon).

Fats that can be heated can be added to the oil phase without any issue. If they have the cold thermometer symbol, add them in the cooling down phase. The orange thermometer is for fats that require a special care when heated (check the properties column for more info).

In general, thermolabile oils to be added to the cooling down phase should not exceed the 2-5% (more info here). If you want to use a high amount of thermolabile oils, better to go for a cold emulsion using a cold emulsifier.

Butters such as shea and mango can be heated but tend to form lumps giving an uncomfortable texture to the final product. To avoid this problem, simply add them at the end of the oily phase, when all the other fats have melted already. This way you’ll heat them only for the time they need to melt, avoiding over heating.

Bookmark my oils and butters chart for cosmetic formulas!

Add this oils and butters chart for cosmetic formulas to your bookmarks to have all the oils and butters info on hands when you formulate.
I use it a lot and it's the result of a hard work taking notes while formulating. I initially created it for my personal use, but I'm happy to share it with you and I hope you'll enjoy it as well.
I'll keep it updated and will add more info and oils as soon as I have something new to share.
As mentioned before, please don't copy my charts and content! If you want to share them on websites, socials or any other media, please put the direct link to this page and DON'T copy and paste the content.