As a formulator, the ingredients you work with define your products. I only use plant based ingredients, organic if possible (and affordable), and with a robust shelf shelf still left by the time I receive them. When you progress from novice and make your way up the ladder to becoming competent, you will find the world of skin product components opening up with a variety that is droolworthy.
Please take heed though, I bought everything I saw whether I needed it or not. 10 L of organic Castile soap, about 50 essential oils (because you never know) and I had to take over the bar fridge to store my stuff in. There is stupendous stuff available, but please wait. Define what it is you are wanting to make, buy stuff for that recipe only and then wait. You will find that recipes and ideas fall by the wayside, as prices skyrocket you will change your mind and ingredient list. The idea of a water based lotion was cool but it's actually too much effort, or you might change your mind and join a pottery class instead.
Start small and proceed cautiously. All these lovely things have expiry dates or just don't do what you thought they did. Can you use Benzoin essential oil more than once, or do you just need 2 drops for a recipe you don't really love anyway? Below is my go to list of the stuff I use most often and most fervently...
Avocado Oil, Ricebran Oil, Sweet Almond Oil
Essential oils of Vanilla, Neroli, Sandalwood, Grapefruit, Ylang-Ylang, Jasmine and Rose
Beeswax, Soy wax, Emulsifying wax
An Ecocert approved preservative
You could send me off to meet the zombies with just these 17 things and I would be happy.
These are the suppliers I wouldn't have a business without -
The Soap Barn
Fun with Soap
Ask them for pricelists, update them every year and enquire after discounted almost - end - of - shelf - life ingredients that you can experiment with.