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Previously in my posts you’ve heard me referring to carrier oils in the use of essential oils, so I thought I would take this opportunity to talk specifically about them. What about carrier oils? What are they? How are they used? Why are they used?
Essential oils can be used alone in a diffuser to inhale it’s healing powers, but what if you want to use it topically on your skin? What is the best way to do that? There are some essential oils that can be used by themselves (although some recommend using a carrier oil for all oils), but there are others that are too powerful and need to be diluted. That’s where carrier oils come in. Let me answer some of those questions.
What Is A Carrier Oil?
Carrier oils are similar to essential oils in that they also are derived from plants. Essential oils are extracted from the bark, leaves, roots and peels of plants. Carrier oil is the fatty oil, also known as vegetable oil, derived from the seeds, kernels, or nuts of a plant. These plants also contain therapeutic properties of their own, which is based on the fatty acids and the natural nutrients that they have. So these add to the healing powers of essential oils.
Why is it called a carrier oil? To put it simple, a carrier oil is an oil that carries the essential oil into your skin. Carrier oil dilutes the essential oil to help with several things. Carrier oils don’t evaporate like essential oils do. Since they don’t, the essential oils, when mixed with them, absorb into the skin better and quicker. Carrier oils spread essential oils more efficiently and thoroughly over a large area of the body.
Carrier oils are also used as a precautionary measure to protect the skin from the more powerful essential oils. It also helps protect those who have sensitive skin such as children or those with fair skin.
The Best Carrier Oils
There are many oils that can be used as carrier oils. When choosing a carrier oil, make sure to choose one that is 100% pure. This retains the chemical components of the essential oil when diluting. Also, it should be cold-pressed and unrefined, without any additives. Carrier oils also have beneficial properties and being cold-pressed, they retain those properties.
With that being said, the following are some of the most popular carrier oils to use, with information about each one.
Coconut Oil – The Latin Name is Cocos Nucirefa and it comes from the meaty part of the nut. There are two different types of Coconut oil, unrefined, which is extracted using the Cold-Press method, and refined, more commonly known as fractionated. Unrefined coconut oil is solid at room temperature, roughly below 76 degrees F, but melts as it gets hotter. This type of Coconut oil is good to use for facial masks, facial and body creams, and balms.
Fractionated Coconut oil has long-chain fatty acids removed through hydrolysis and steam distillation. Just this one difference in extraction, makes the oil liquid at room temperature. The long-chain fatty acids require a higher temperature to melt, thus taking them out gives you the liquid form and a longer shelf-life. This also makes it a non-greasy oil which absorbs better. This oil is great to nourish the hair, skin and nails. It’s good for dry skin. Coconut oil is a good oil for massages and rubs.
Jojoba Oil – The Latin name is Simmondsia chinensis and it is cold-press extracted from the seeds of the Jojoba tree. The oil is more of a liquid wax than it is an oil. It’s mostly made up of a long omega-9 fatty acid that humans can’t digest. Because of the amount of fatty acids, it has a long shelf life.
Interestingly, this oil closely resembles human sebum. It mimics the natural oil secretions of the human skin, which makes this a great moisturizer for the face and neck when combined with an essential oil. For those people who have acne-prone skin, this carrier oil may help reduce the skin’s oil production by making the skin think it’s produced enough oil. Jojoba oil is also a natural anti-fungal. Combined with anti-fungal essential oils, it can be used for topical fungal infections.
Sweet Almond Oil – The Latin name is Prunus dulcis and is cold-press extracted from the kernels of the almond nut. Being cold-pressed it has a higher content of beneficial properties, i.e., it is antimicrobial. Sweet Almond Oil is high in Vitamin E and is a great natural antioxidant. This helps protect from the damage of the sun. It has a high amount of oleic and linoleic acids, which relieve inflammation and soothes skin irritation.
For those who have dry skin, this oil is a good choice because the Vitamin E rejuvenates the skin, moisturizes, and absorbs easily. It not only has Vitamin E, but also Vitamins A and B. With all these vitamins it helps balance the moisture level in skin and helps improve complexion. It makes good massage oils, soaps and bath oils.
Olive Oil – The Latin name is Olea Europaea and is cold-press extracted from the fruit of the olive tree. This Carrier oil has an awesome number of health benefits other than being used to cook with. It is high in vitamins and minerals. It does have a strong scent, unlike the other carrier oils and may interfere with the scent of some essential oils.
It can be used to cleanse and moisturize dry skin with all the fatty acids and plant sterols it has. Olive oil is great for skin, dandruff and frizzy hair because it does not clog skin pores and does not look greasy when used on the hair. It can also be used as a carrier oil for massage, facial cleaners and to make soap. It is best to buy the unrefined extra virgin olive oil as it contains the highest concentration of oleic acid, which is a fatty acid produced naturally by the human body.
Argan Oil– The Latin name is Argania Spinosa and is cold-press extracted from the fruit kernels of the Moroccan Argan tree. This oil contains oleic and linoleic fatty acids, Vitamins A and E, and is full of antioxidants. With all these nourishing properties, it helps in healing sunburns and reduces the appearance of stretch marks and scars as well as hydrating the damaged skin.
This oil is easily absorbed into the skin, as it is a very light oil. Argan oil can heal brittle hair and nails. It can be used in a massage blend and used in hair care to nourish, soften and strengthen it. This carrier oil is well known for it’s anti-aging properties that reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It is also known for promoting hair growth and repairing damaged hair. It is used in many hair care products for that reason.
Grape Seed Oil – The Latin name is Vitus Vinifera and is cold-press extracted from the seeds of grapes. These grape seeds are full of antioxidants and have beneficial nutrients such as vitamin E, proteins, minerals and linoleic acid, a natural inflammatory. Grape seed oil is very moisturizing because of the linoleic acid and is great for delicate skin.
If you need a carrier oil for acne-prone skin or oily skin, this is a good choice. It has antiseptic properties and is a mild astringent. This is a non-greasy oil and can be used to moisturize and nourish hair without the hair looking greasy and it works to fight dandruff problems. It’s a great carrier oil to use with essential oils for massage oils and body oils.
These are just some of the carrier oils that can can be diluted with essential oils for topical use.
How To Use Carrier Oils
After finding the carrier oils of choice, it’s time to dilute the essential oils. You may ask yourself, “How much essential oils do I use?”, “What about carrier oils? How much do I use?”. There are general guidelines that have been put into place in the Aromatherapy world. Here are the guidelines to follow when diluting essential oils.
0.5 to 1% = 3 to 6 drops essential oil per 1 ounce of carrier oil
For 1 tsp carrier oil
- 1% ratio use 1 drop essential oil
- 2% ratio use 2 drops essential oil
- 5% ratio use 5 drops essential oil
For 1 Tbsp carrier oil
- 1% ratio use 3 drops essential oil
- 2% ratio use 6 drops essential oil
- 5% ratio use 15 drops essential oil
For 1 Ounce carrier oil
- 1% ratio use 6 drops essential oil
- 2% ratio use 12 drops essential oil
- 5% ratio use 30 drops essential oil
- 10% ratio use 60 drops essential oil
How much you use, I think, depends on what you’re using the oils for. Opinions on this vary. Generally, for healthy adults the 2% ratio is good for most situations and for daily skin care. 1% dilution is recommended for children over age 6, pregnant women, elderly adults, people with sensitive skin or other serious health issues. For infants use 1 drop essential oil to 1 Tbsp carrier oil.
When you first start using these, pay attention to any adverse reactions or sensitivity and stop using the mixture. Those who are allergic to nuts, pay careful attention to the Almond and Argan oils. You may want to try another carrier oil with so many to choose from.
With all this information, I hope it answered the question “What about carrier oils?”, and that you did find out everything you wanted to known about them. Remember, carrier oils help the essential oils absorb better into your skin and they also protect you from some of the more potent essential oils like Oregano oil.
With this information, are you ready to start blending on your own? If you are, let me known how you did and what you blended? What carrier oil you used? I’ll be waiting to hear from you!! Thanks for reading!