In this post I’m going to show you how to infuse juniper berries into a blend of olive and rice bran oil so you can create oil infusions too! bought the dried berries online from Mountain Rose Herbs. They have a great selection of dried botanicals and I highly suggest them! For bulk oils I suggest Soaper’s Choice!
Juniper is great for helping to balance sebum production and is mildly astringent. Extra virgin olive oil will perfectly balance with the juniper by replenishing skin and hair. Rice bran oil is full omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and is also super beneficial for hair and skin. Overall, I’m very stoked about this combo!
This process is called the folk method! Which typically means that you’re not going to be as precise with your measurements: just add some dried botanicals to a jar with some oil. However, since this is for a cosmetic product and I want to be able to replicate this oil in the future, I actually took note of how many grams of juniper and oil I used. It’s not a necessary step unless you’ll lose sleep over it… which I would. So that’s why I call this the Kinda Folk Method.
To start, I took dried juniper berries and ground them up a bit! You don’t need a mortar and pestle like I used–you can use a coffee grinder, a blender, or even just a ziplock and a rolling pin. No matter how you do it, you want to open those little guys up so the oil can get all cozy with it!
Next I put the crushed berries in a clean mason jar and made sure the oil would have at least 1 inch of head room. It was a little close to the top, but I went with it anyway. In future batches I will definitely use less juniper as I found the dried berries expanded more than I expected!
I added my oils and I found that I had run out of olive oil! Fortunately it’s not a huge deal, and it’s why I ended up adding rice bran oil to the mix. Sometimes you have to be flexible, am I right?
When making infusions you might find that as the oils make their way down to the bottom of the jar, the dried herbs settle and trapped air rises. If that happens you can add a little more oil to top off your infusion.
After I added the oils to the dried berries it was time to put on a lid, give the jar a shake, and label my infusion. I generally label with the herb/botanical being infused, the oil it’s infused in, the date I created the infusion, and the “ready by” date. The rest of the details I keep in a small moleskine journal I call my Green Book. It helps me keep track of what I’ve made and how the process went, without having to search through my regular cosmetic making journals (which are often pure chaos!)
For the first few days I made sure to give the jar a gentle shake. I also kept an eye out for mold growth. If you find mold, you’ll need to toss the whole batch! The best way to prevent mold is to make sure the botanicals are completely dried, and that they are under the oil level (although sometimes they float, so don’t stress that one too much!). Four to six weeks later it was ready to strain and use!
To strain infusions you can use a fine mesh sieve, a cheesecloth, an old clean shirt, or even a coffee filter. I generally stick with cheesecloth and a sieve underneath to prevent the cloth from dropping into the oils. I like to squeeze the botanicals to get every drop of oil out, but you can simply let them drip at their own pace if you’re so inclined.
After that, all that was left was to label my jar and set a use by date that corresponds with the shortest shelf life of my oils. For example, since my olive oil has a shelf life of two years, and my rice bran oil has a shelf life of 1 year, my oil infusion now has a shelf life of 1 year from the date it was initially infused!
Now you’re ready to make your own cold infused oils for your handmade cosmetics! I used this juniper infused oil for a special face scrub in a live stream I did for our Bath Fizz and Foam (Bath Bomb and Bubble Bar Support Group) on facebook! If you’re interested in watching the replay, you can find it here!