Confused by carrier oils?
We use the words “carrier oil” a lot around here, but not everyone knows what a carrier oil is! Carrier oils are VERY important when using essential oils because essential oils are never supposed to be applied undiluted to the skin. Today we’re talking about what a carrier oil is by doing a deeper dive into each one and teaching when to use it.
What are carrier oils?
First things first, what is a carrier oil? A carrier oil is a vegetable oil derived from the fatty portion of a plant, usually the seed, nut, or kernels. Carrier oils also have their own different therapeutic properties, and your choice of the carrier oil should depend on what therapeutic benefit you’re looking for. A carrier oil is used to dilute essential oils before they’re applied to the skin.
Why do you need carrier oils?
If you dilute your essential oils with a carrier oil before applying them to your skin, the carrier oil helps prevent the essential oil from evaporating, enhancing their usefulness. That means you’re getting more of the essential oil absorbed into your skin. And the therapeutic properties of the essential oil are strengthened and enhanced by the carrier oil you choose. So now you know what they are, and why you need them… let’s dive into each carrier oil’s unique benefits!
Each carrier oil brings its own benefits to the table.
The answer to “which carrier oil is best for me?” is somewhat dependent upon your skin type. For example:
- Sweet Almond (all skin types, especially oily)
- Apricot Kernel (dry, mature, or “normal” skin types)
- Argan (all types, but especially mature skin)
- Avocado (mature and very dry skin)
- Camellia Seed (mature skin)
- Evening Primrose (dry, mature, or hormonal skin)
- Grapeseed (all skin types, but especially oily)
- Hazelnut (oily/acne prone skin)
- Jojoba (since Jojoba is a plant wax that closely mimics the structure of skin’s own sebum, it’s ideal for many skin types)
- Sunflower Seed (all skin types)
And don’t worry, this isn’t a complete list. Let’s take an even deeper dive:
Apricot Kernel Carrier Oil has very little scent. It can be used in skin blends at 100% strength, which is great for simple blending. This oil is also slow to go rancid. Users can expect a shelf life of at least 1 year under proper storage conditions (cool, out of direct sunlight).
Great for these skin types: All, Sensitive, Mature
This oil is wonderful for use in massages!
Rub several drops of Apricot Kernel Oil between your palms and massage into desired areas.
For dry hair, place several drops into the palm of your hand and work into hair strands to avoid flyaways and help moisturize strands.
Combine with our Sensual Blend to help set a romantic mood with a massage.
Try making your own natural hair detangler with Apricot Kernal Oil!
Argan Carrier Oil is beloved in the cosmetic industry for its incredible conditioning and anti-aging properties. Rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids, Argan Oil is known to make dull complexions glow, help diminish the appearance of fine lines, and restore skin elasticity.
*While allergic reactions are rare, people with nut allergies should consult with their physician before using this product.
Great for these skin types: All, Sensitive, Dry, Blemish-prone
Use as a facial moisturizer to improve skin elasticity on skin that is prone to acne.
Add to natural unscented hair products to help moisturize dry hair.
Avocado Carrier Oil contains Vitamins A, B, D, E, and beta carotene. It’s a deeply penetrating monounsaturated oil, slightly thicker and with a heavier feel than most carrier oils. A small amount of Avocado Oil (5-10%) is typically added to other carrier oils to enrich vitamin content and help nourish the skin. This oil is used mostly by product makers (particularly so in soaps, lotions, and creams).
Great for these skin types: Dry, Mature, Sun-damaged
Add to other carrier oils to improve skin-nourishing properties.
Use when making homemade lotions, creams, or balms.
Try making your own homemade oatmeal mask using Avocado Carrier Oil.
Camellia Seed Oil helps protect the skin from free radical damage, refines mature skin, and helps nourish your complexion. This oil is easily absorbed by the skin, leaving it feeling silky smooth without feeling greasy, making it one of the best-kept secrets in the cosmetic and hair care industry.
This carrier oil can be used at 100% strength but often is mixed with other carriers. It also contains high levels of antioxidants that help to revitalize and rejuvenate the hair and skin.
Great for these skin types: Mature, Sensitive
Use as a moisturizer or add to creams or balms to help smooth the look of fine wrinkles.
Use in rollerball blends for quick-absorbing on-the-go use.
Coconut Oil absorbs very quickly into the skin, making it ideal for use with any essential oil or blend for quick topical application. Because it readily penetrates the skin, this oil is perfect for rollerball blends, creams, and lotions. Plus, it leaves no greasiness on the skin. Fractionated Coconut Oil also produces a barrier on the skin, but will not clog pores, making it great for all skin types.
Great for these skin types: All
Use as a skin moisturizer.
Avoid skin irritation by using as a natural makeup remover.
Keep hair lustrous and smooth by adding to natural hair care products.
Add to rollerball blends, cream, and lotions.
Evening Primrose Carrier Oil contains high levels of nourishing fatty acids and is excellent for use at up to 20% in skin blends but is not generally used at 100%.
Great for these skin types: Dry, Mature
Add to shampoo or massage into the scalp to help reduce flakiness.
Add to blends designed to support the menstrual cycle.
Smooth into rough skin to help reduce redness and irritation.
Add to homemade creams and lotions.
Grapeseed Carrier Oil is one of the lightest carrier oils available, and also has the benefit of being odorless. This oil is cold pressed and then refined to produce a light yellow-green colored oil that’s popular in cosmetics manufacturing. This versatile oil has numerous essential fatty acids. It has a rich, silky texture that is perfect for helping soothe away dryness and irritation. Grapeseed also won’t clog pores or cause break-outs and has mild antiseptic properties, making it great for acne-prone skin.
Great for these skin types: All, Oily, Blemish-prone
Use when making homemade aromatherapy creams and lotions.
Add to a massage blend of carrier oils for use in aromatherapy.
Use as a natural moisturizer.
High in Vitamin E, Hazelnut Carrier Oil is known for its astringent qualities. It’s great for those with oily skin and can also help tone and tighten the appearance of your skin. Hazelnut is non-greasy and is best used for those who have oily skin but still want to enjoy the many benefits of carrier oils.
The one thing that’s important to note: This oil is made from hazelnuts (a tree nut). Although our expert states skin reactions to nut oils are rare, those with nut allergies should consult their medical practitioner before coming into contact with Hazelnut Oil.
Great for these skin types: Oily, Mature
Use as a moisturizer for oily skin.
Tone and tighten mature skin by adding to your skincare regimen.
Hemp Seed Oil can be applied topically as a moisturizer or used as a carrier oil for essential oil application. This oil is extracted mechanically without the use of chemicals, preservatives, or additives, and is cold pressed at low temperatures. It is then filtered to remove any natural suspended solids, leaving this oil with a slightly nutty scent.
Great for these skin types: All
Add to body care, including creams, lotions, facial or body oils, massage oils, shampoos, lip balms, and soap.
Add a few drops to your favorite natural hair care products to increase manageability and shine.
Meadowfoam Carrier Oil is highly resistant to oxidation due to naturally occurring tocopherols and is one of the most stable lipids known. As a result, it has an extremely long shelf life. This oil has superior moisturizing and rejuvenating properties and is highly recommended for use in cosmetics and skin care products. It has mild ultraviolet (UV) protection properties, making it especially good to add to homemade products for outdoor use. Meadowfoam Carrier Oil is a key ingredient in products like suntan lotions, massage oils, and body lotions, hand/facial creams, hair and scalp products, cuticle repair cream, foundations and face powders, lipsticks, shampoos, shaving cream, and various balms.
Great for these skin types: Sensitive, All
Rub several drops of Meadowfoam Oil between palms and massage onto hair to help smooth the cuticle and add shine.
Add to skin essential oil blends, balms, body butter, and lotions to boost UV-blocking benefits.
GMO-free Jojoba (golden) is a favorite carrier “oil,” but Jojoba isn’t actually an oil. It’s a liquid wax! It closely resembles the natural sebum (oil) our own skin produces and is rich in vitamin E. Because it is high in antioxidants, it can help slow down the rate of oxidation when added to other carrier oils. It has become a very popular carrier in the cosmetic and aromatherapy industries because of its excellent skin care properties.
Great for these skin types: All
Use as a skin moisturizer, ideal for any skin type.
Remove makeup naturally by using Jojoba oil to promote overall healthy skin. Additionally, it’s non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores.
Use a few drops to moisturize and nourish hair.
Treat a dry scalp, keep it flake free, and help with hair regrowth by adding to your hair care products.
Use to soothe skin after too much sun.
Smooth onto chapped/reddened skin to help relieve redness.
Gently pat around the eyes to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Rosehip Oil contains high amounts of vitamin E, vitamin A, and essential fatty acids, which promote collagen and elastin levels to increase and assists with cell regeneration. It is a key ingredient in creams, lotions, massage oil, face oil, and body oils. It’s best added at a concentration of 5-10%. This is due to its bright orange-red color that may discolor those blends. In high concentrations, Rosehip Oil may aggravate oily skin and will stain linens and clothing.
Great for these skin types: Dry, Irritated, Weathered, Scarred
Combine with Helichrysum Italicum to help reduce the appearance of scars.
Use to soothe dry, irritated skin.
Organic Sunflower Carrier Oil has high amounts of Vitamins A, B, D and E, and minerals. Plus, it has beneficial amounts of lecithin and unsaturated fatty acids making it a wonderful skin softener and conditioner. Sunflower is a versatile cost-effective carrier oil that has applications in both massage and aromatherapy.
Great for use with these skin types: All
Add to massage oil blends.
Use in topical aromatherapy roll-on blends.
Sweet Almond Carrier Oil is an excellent emollient that helps to soften and recondition the skin. It penetrates easily and can soothe dry, irritated areas. Also, it’s excellent for all skin types. This is a great carrier oil for roll-on topical essential oil blends. Also useful as a bath or massage oil; Sweet Almond is a great addition to lotion bars, sugar or salt scrubs, and balms.
*Made from almonds (a tree nut). Although skin reactions to nut oils are rare, those with nut allergies should consult their medical practitioner before coming into contact with Sweet Almond Oil. Massage therapists: note that this oil may stain linens.
Great for these skin types: All, Irritated, Dry
Add to lotions, bars, sugar or salt scrubs, and balms.
Add to massage oil blends.
Great for these skin types: Stretch marked skin, Irritated/Reddened
Help sooth bug-bite irritation by applying Tamanu at 100% to reddened, irritated, or small bites.
Reduce the appearance of scars when combined with essential oils.
A small amount can be used on the face after it is cleaned to moisturize, reduce and relieve blemishes, and keep the face fresh, toned, and even.Use Tamanu to make nourishing homemade bar soap!
Want to learn more ways to use all these amazing carrier oils? Head on over to our Safe Essential Oil Recipes Facebook page to learn more!