We often hear about carrier oils when talking about essential oils and aromatherapy. But, what exactly are carrier oils, and why are they important? Carrier oils I believe can sometimes be underestimated. The reason being is that they are so beneficial on their own, that many think of them as “secondary” ingredients to serve the purpose of diluting a blend. Carrier oils are so amazing that they can be used on their own. As a matter of fact, because I work as an Aromatherapist professionally, I have a higher exposure than the average person to essential oils. So, in my personal use, many times I find myself using carrier oils on their own, without any added essential oils. Either way is ok, but I just want to make a point that carrier oils are excellent with or without essential oils in them. We don’t want to take for granted the nourishing qualities of these fantastic oils.
These oils are high in a variety of nutrients such as fat-soluble vitamins, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids. For the most part, carrier oils we use in aromatherapy are generally odorless with the purpose of not overpowering the aroma of the Essential Oil. Some carrier oils might have a light, nutty aroma that many find pleasant.
Carrier Oils, vegetable oils, whats the difference?
Carrier oils are vegetable oils. Many times you will hear the words “carrier oil”, “vegetable oil”, or “base oil”, which can all be used interchangeably. But when we are using these words we are talking about the natural plant oil. In aromatherapy, we do not use oils derived from petrochemicals such as mineral oil. Essential oils should not be diluted in non-plant oils which include oils derived from fish or from animal fats.
Essential oils are rarely used undiluted, this is where bases such as carrier oils come into play. Carrier oils can be blended together for many purposes, including adjusting the viscosity (depending on what we are formulating) and blending for a particular skin type. For example, Avocado oil is very nourishing, however, it is thicker than most other carrier oils. So, some individuals will add it to other carrier oils at around a 10% to enhance its skin nourishing qualities.
Each oil has its own benefits and therapeutic properties. What many have in common is that they contain omega 3, 6, and/or 9 fatty acids, vitamin E and other beneficial nutrients for the skin and body. They are skin healing and rejuvenating overall.
Here are a few of our organically grown carrier oils available:
- Grapeseed– A great all-purpose oil suitable for all skin types. Light green color, light consistency.
- Coconut Oil– Skin protecting, Emollient (soothes and softens the skin). Fractionated coconut oil is a fraction of the coconut oil from which almost all the long chain triglycerides are removed, thus leaving mainly the medium-chain triglycerides and making it an absolutely saturated oil. This saturation gives it a very, very long shelf life and greatly increased stability. If you need a light oil that will mix well with the other oils, absorbs into the skin easily and will moisturize without clogging pores, then fractionated coconut oil is a good fit. It is predominantly composed of Capric and Caprylic acids.
- Sweet Almond- A great all-purpose oil. Suitable for all ages and skin types. Can be used up to 100% in body or facial oil blends. It is nourishing, non-irritating and easily absorbs. Medium consistency.
- Apricot Kernel Oil– Skin nourishing and softening, light consistency, great for dry, sensitive or inflamed skin.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil– Nourishing, regenerating, moisturizing, anti-aging. A thick and heavier oil that can be used between 10-100% on body or face. Great for all skin types especially, dry, mature skin. Does contain a natural smell, can overpower aromas, so keep in consideration when formulating blends.
- Avocado– Rich in omegas and high in antioxidants. A heavier consistency, and is often used to increase nourishing qualities by blending with other carrier oils. A great skin healer. Read blog on Avocado oil benefits here.
- Jojoba – A liquid wax with a light, fine texture, very similar to our own body’s natural sebum. Natural anti-inflammatory properties, great for soothing eczema, psoriasis and inflammatory skin conditions. A wonderful all around skin care oil.
- Pumpkin Seed– Deeply moisturizing, high in zinc and vitamin C. Soothing and anti-inflammatory for the skin. Read blog on Pumpkin Seed Oil here.
What is an Infused Carrier Oil?
An Infused Oil is a carrier oil that has been infused with herbs. Infused oils are generally made with Extra Virgin Olive Oil or grapeseed oil as the base. The beauty of using an infused oil is that not only will it contain the natural properties of the carrier oil itself, but you will also receive the benefits of the nutrient-rich herbs that have been infused in it.
Some Essential Oils are very rare to find, but by using infused oils we can still receive the benefits of these amazing botanicals.
What are your favorite types of carrier oils? Please share!