Carrier oils are vegetable oils from the fatty part of a plant such as in the seeds, nuts or kernel. The main purpose of using carrier oils is to dilute the essential oils. Spreading the essential oils on your skin without combining it with carrier oils can be harmful. It can cause redness, burning or other reactions. It is named carrier oils because it carries the essential oils onto the skin.
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Guidelines on Using Carrier Oils
Essential oils have a natural aroma. It is volatile and evaporates fast in the air. Carrier oils do not have a strong smell and it does not evaporate. Thus, carrier oils are perfect in diluting strong essential oils. Some people want a stronger mixture of essential oils while others want it mild. Below are dilution guidelines you can follow:
- Use a 1-3% solution, higher for acute concerns: Dilute 1-3 drops of essential oil in every 1 teaspoon of carrier oil.
- For Newborn to six months
Use essential oils in moderation and use a 0.25% solution: Dilute one drop of EO in every 4 tablespoons of carrier oil
- For six months to two years
Use a 0.25% to 0.5% solution: Dilute one drop of essential oil per three tablespoons of carrier oil
- For two years to six years
Use a 0.5% solution: Dilute one drop of essential oil per two teaspoons of carrier oil
- For six years to twelve years
Use a 0.5% to 1% solution: Dilute one drop of essential oil per one and half teaspoon of carrier oil
- For 12 Years Old and Above
Use a 1% solution: Dilute one drop of essential oil per one teaspoon of carrier oil
Properties and Storage of Carrier Oils
The best storage container for carrier oils is a dark glass bottle, with a tight cover. Store it in a cool dark place. You can also store it in the fridge to extend its shelf-life. Before you use it, bring it to room temperature since otherwise it could be cloudy. Some carrier oils have Vitamin E as a preservative.
Top Ten Popular Carrier Oils
Apricot kernel oil is a Chinese medicine to treat nephritis. It contains vitamin A and C and fatty acids that nourish and soothes the skin. The oil has an anti-aging property. Apricot kernel oil absorbs well into the skin with no greasy feeling. The oil has deep golden color with a faint nutty aroma.
- Useful for treating inflamed, sensitive and dry skin
- Moisturizes and nourishes the skin
- Prevents wrinkles
- Safe for sensitive skin
- May irritate super dry skin
- Storing requires refrigeration
It was in 1918 when the British Imperial Institute brought up the use of avocado oil as a carrier. Unrefined avocado oil has dark green color with a strong, sweet and herbal aroma. This oil is high in fatty acids and vitamins. It increases the collagen production for a more youthful skin. The oil has a thick consistency and is best combined with other carrier oils for dry skin.
- Treat eczema
- Contains essential proteins, vitamin A, B, and D and lecithin
- Hydrates the skin
- Perfect for mature and parched skin
- Soothes itchy skin problems
- Improves skin elasticity
- Removes impurities from skin
- Blends well with other carrier oils
- It does not absorb well into the skin
- Thick and heavy
- Not recommended for oily or combination skin types
This oil is abundant in the Mediterranean and used for centuries in skin care, cooking, and medicine. It is rich in antioxidants that soothe the skin. The oil is compatible with any skin type, used in body lotions, in making soaps and as anointing oil. It has deep green color with olive, fruity smell. The shelf-life is up to two years.
- High in antioxidants
- Great for dry and mature skin
- Promotes healthy digestion
- Contain vitamin E, K, minerals and proteins
- Good for bruises, acne, and inflammation
- Have strong aroma
- Thick and oily on the skin
The oil is an Ancient Chinese medicine for skin problems like eczema and psoriasis. Sweet almond is rich in vitamins A, D and E. It nourishes and moisturizes the skin. This oil can help other heavy carrier oil to absorb better. It has a golden pale yellow color with a sweet nutty aroma.
- Rich in vitamins and minerals
- Does not clog the pores
- Prevents wrinkles
- Moisturizes and nourishes the skin
- Good for burns, sore muscles, hair loss, dry skin, and eczema
- Removes dead skin and other impurities
- Can stain clothes/sheets
- It requires refrigeration
Moroccans have been using this oil for over 3500 years as hair conditioner, skin moisturizer and treat skin blemishes and chicken pox scars. It has light, fatty and nutty aroma with a golden color. If stored in a cool, dark and dry place it can last up to 6 months. The oil contains vitamin E, phenols, tocopherols, carotene, and squalene. It is recommended to any skin type.
- Very potent
- Help get rid of acne
- Dissolves excess sebum
- Very hydrating
- Reduces wrinkles
- Reduces stretch marks
- Strengthen the nails and hair
- Lighten scars
- It’s strong nutty smell may interfere with aromatherapy
Coconut Oil (unrefined)
The coconut oil is very versatile. It has an antimicrobial property that makes it all around oil for the skin. The oil is thick and produces a lather or film to keep the skin protected. The oil is solid at room temperature but it melts fast when applied. It can be combined with other oils. The scent of the oil is mild, and it has a white color. If stored properly it may last for two to four years unrefined.
- Compatible with all skin type
- Absorbs well in the skin
- Very stable with zero incidences of rancidity
- Does not clog pores
- Non-greasy and it does not stain
- Helps extend the shelf-life of other carrier oils
- Solidifies at room temperature
It has been cultivated only for the last century but it has been used by Native Americans for many years. The oil’s composition is similar to our sebum, or the body’s natural oils. It has a moisturizing effect without being greasy. Jojoba oil does not clog the pores. The oil contains vitamin A and E, which is ideal for healthy skin. This is also helpful in treating acne. The color is lightly golden brown with a slightly nutty-odorless aroma. If stored well, it may last two to five years.
- Good for oily skin
- Absorbs fast in the skin
- It has protective properties
- Dissolves excess sebum
- Can extend the shelf life of other oils
- Has antioxidant property
- Contains vitamin B and E, zinc, silicon and chromium
- May become rancid if not stored in the right way
Found in North America, it started to grow in the mid-19th century in Russia. It is inexpensive and versatile oil and ideal for psoriasis and eczema. The oil is high in lecithin and oleic acid and is perfect for dry skin. It has a deep yellow color with faint, sunflower seed smell. The shelf-life is 6 months to 1 year. The oil is added to the skin care and hair care products.
- With faint odor and best for dry skin
- Quickly absorbs in the skin
- Great for massage
- Break down fat cells
- Reduces bad cholesterol
- Ideal for any skin type
- Contains vitamin A, B, D, E and minerals
- Could result in breakouts for those with oily skin
Borage Seed Oil
The borage seed oil is native to Syria but is now also growing in North Africa, Europe, Middle East, South America and other Mediterranean regions. It has a deep yellow faint green color with light and sweet aroma. If stored in the refrigerator, it can last up to 6 months. The oil contains fatty acids like gamma linolenic, stearic, isosenoic and others. It is used in skin care and dietary supplement. Borage oil has cosmetic and therapeutic properties. The consistency is light and oily.
- Stimulates skin cells
- Very penetrating
- Can heal damaged skin
- Treat psoriasis and eczema
- Use in massaging
- If used in high percentage, it can be harmful
- Pregnant women should avoid using the oil it may cause premature labor
The oil is native to the tropical areas of India and Africa. It is popular for its oil-rich castor beans. Castor oil has light golden color with light, nutty aroma. If stored in the right way, it can last up to 5 years. The oil is rich in vitamin E. This oil is ideal for skin care products and cosmetics. It contains fatty acids like linolenic, oleic, ricinoleic and palmitic. it is sometimes called Geisha’s beauty secret.
- Heal damaged and inflamed skin
- Good for dandruff, cosmetics, itching and blackheads
- Fight signs of aging
- Reduces acne
- Moisturizes the skin
- Fades blemishes
- Prevents stretch marks
- Promote hair growth
- It may cause allergy reactions on your skin
These carrier oils have their own therapeutic and helpful benefits. You can try several oils. Pick the one you think will provide the result you want. Keep in mind that each person is unique, our body responds to these oils differently. What works for you might not work on others.