Let’s talk fatty acids. For the purposes of this post, fatty acids are the oily greasy stuff you use to cook with, cut off your bacon, burn in your beeswax candles or rub on as your Shea Butter Body Moisturiser. If you want more detail, read up on fatty acids here.

Animal & Vegetable

Fatty acids are fatty, oily, greasy or buttery

They can be harvested from plants and animals.

Main uses are cooking, cosmetics, lubricating and soap making.

Some like Jojoba should only be used for cosmetic purposes. Coconut oil on the other hand can be used for just about everything.

Animal fats are still used in soap making but not so much for cosmetics.


They come in a variety of forms. They come under the following headings but it is a rough guide only. Cocoa Butter for instance is more like a wax, while butter acts more like a solid oil.

  • Liquid Oil – never solidifies
  • Solid Oil – firm when cool but has very low melting point so sometimes counted it as an oil i.e. Coconut oil
  • Butters – a solid oil. Has a high melting point.
  • Waxes – very hard and of a candle (wax), like consistancy

Essential Oils

Are not an oil at all as they don’t contain any fatty acids.

Vegetable Derived Oils

These are obtained from the seeds, nuts and even flesh of plants. There are hundreds of vegetable oils. You might need to experiment to find what suits you.

Mains uses are cooking & cosmetics

For cooking – I use

For cosmetics

Using Them Neat

Many oils and waxes can be used neat.

Combining Oils & Waxes

Sometimes a wax is just too hard and an oil too liquid. Oils and waxes can be combined to create a more usable product. Examples would be

Making Cream & Lotions

But still there are times when oils are are just too… oily. In this case you need to dilute them using water. You can learn how to make a base cream, moisturizer or lotion here.

I can make everything I need with the following

Coconut Oil – Everything from hair care to make up removal

Shea Butter – Moisturising and balms. Making cream and lotions

Castor Oil – lip balm

Beeswax – creams and balms

Olive oil/rapeseed oil – general

Animal Derived Oils

These are mostly solid. Some are quite hard like lard, others like goose fat are softer. I use

Oils I try To avoid

Palm Oil



Oils and waxes last for ages but as soon but mix them with water and they can quickly go off. The problem is the water. It is a breeding ground for bacteria!


Find out more basic information here

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