What are the best carrier oils for essential oils, and when should we use them? Because essential oils are incredibly concentrated, they should almost always be diluted in a carrier oil, specifically when used topically.
Below you’ll find my favorite carrier oils, where to find them, and how to use them with essential oils.
Before we begin learning about carrier oils, it is important to understand a little about what they “carry;” essential oils.
Essential oils are natural aromatic compounds found in leaves, flowers, stems, roots, bark, resin, seeds of plants, or from the peel of a fruit.
They can be used to benefit skin, mood, health, flavor, and beauty. The oils are either steam distilled or cold-pressed from the source.
When appropriately extracted, they become EXTREMELY potent. And not to sound redundant, but it’s essential to understand; a little goes a LONG WAY with essential oils.
Let’s paint a picture to put it into perspective; one drop of pure peppermint essential oil is equivalent to 28 cups of peppermint tea.
As you can see, essential oils are far more powerful than any herb. Because of this, it is important to use caution when applying the oils onto the skin.
You’ll find that I almost always recommend diluting essential oils, especially if you are using them on a child or someone with sensitive skin.
The best way to dilute them is with a carrier oil, so without further delay, let’s see how to use carrier oils.
What is a carrier oil?
A carrier oil is generally a vegetable-based oil used in beauty, skin care, hair care products, and to dilute essential oils.
Diluting oils in carrier oils does indeed make them less potent but by no means less effective. The purpose of carrier oils is to “carry the oils onto the skin,” and aid in driving the oils into the skin.
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Carrier oil vs essential oil
By now, you probably know that a carrier oil is different than an essential oil but that they work together to become more effective.
Carrier Oils have little to no scent depending on the specific oil; they are easily dissolvable, gently absorb into the skin, and unlike essential oils, they do have a shelf life, though generally, it’s a pretty long shelf life.
Essential Oils, on the other hand, are quite volatile. Easily affected by heat, sunlight, and oxygen, all of which can affect the potency of the oils. Learn how long essential oils last here.
Carrier oil shelf life
This largely depends on the oil. Carrier oils can last anywhere from 12 months, like sweet almond oil, to the stable fractionated coconut oil, which has an indefinite shelf life. Refer to the back of the carrier oil bottle for the expiration date.
What is the best carrier oil to mix with essential oils
Mixing essential oils with carrier oils is a must in nearly every situation, with the exception of diffusers. There are a number of exceptional carrier oils that blend well with essential oils.
The one that stands out to me is fractionated coconut oil. FCO is odorless, absorbs very well, can be purchased just about anywhere, and has plenty of hydrating benefits for the skin.
TOP 10 BEST CARRIER OILS FOR ESSENTIAL OILS
1. FRACTIONATED COCONUT OIL
- First up: Fractionated coconut oil (FCO) is my favorite carrier oil because it is a very light oil and has many health benefits. Though it is different, it can be used in place of any other carrier oil.
- FCO is different from regular coconut oil because it stays liquid. It also prevents oxidation, making it effective at extending the shelf life of your oils when diluted in FCO.
- Though it is made from regular coconut oil, FCO is utterly tasteless and odorless.
- FCO is very moisturizing to the skin. In addition, it can be used as a massage oil, easily absorbing, leaving your skin with a smooth and healthy glow.
- Not to be limited to the skin only, FCO is a great hair and beard conditioner that protects against split ends while helping with unruly hair.
- Last but not least. Use a little bit of FCO on a clean cloth to remove makeup; it works great and is all-natural!
- Find fractionated coconut oil HERE.
2. JOJOBA OIL
- Jojoba oil has a pleasantly mild scent that is easily overpowered when mixed with essential oils.
- I find that jojoba oil doesn’t stain clothes like other oils, making it a good carrier oil option, especially for kids.
- Jojoba penetrates the skin well, does not clog the pores, making it an excellent option for anyone with ultra-sensitive skin.
- It contains vitamins that are great for the skin, such as vitamin E and B vitamins.
- There have been studies showing jojoba oil successful in helping with acne, eczema, and psoriasis.
- I use jojoba oil in nearly every hair product. It has been known to help prevent dandruff, help with hair growth and even prevent hair loss.
- Find jojoba oil here.
3. SWEET ALMOND OIL
- This oil has a slightly sweet and nutty aroma with a shelf life of approximately one year. This oil can cause skin irritation to anyone with a nut allergy.
- It has a medium consistency, absorbs well and is known for its moisturizing properties.
- Loaded with vitamin E, sweet almond oil keeps your skin cells healthy and may even protect your skin from UV radiation damage.
- When applied daily, it can help the skin look and feel more smooth, helping reduce the signs of aging.
- Sweet almond oil can naturally fight skin imperfections with its vitamin A properties.
- Most popular in skin care products, it can also be found in hair care products such as beard oils.
- Find sweet almond oil here.
4. OLIVE OIL
- Olive oil is my least favorite out of all the carrier oils for two main reasons, smell and texture.
- With its very distinct smell that tastes fabulous on chicken and in salad dressing, the scent does not transfer well to my skin.
- It is also a very thick oil that does not absorb well through the skin. Because it is such a thick oil, it does not work well with roller bottles and will leave behind an oily film.
- Why is olive oil even on this list? Well, olive oil is high in antioxidants and is exceptionally healing to dry, patchy skin.
- It may not be a popular carrier oil because of its thick properties and scent, but it is a great oil to have on had to use in making homemade salves and ointments.
- Find olive oil here.
5. COCONUT OIL
- Coconut oil solidifies at 75 degrees, so this is another one to avoid using in roller bottles.
- However, it is great to use in homemade salves and lotions. In addition, it is an excellent carrier oil for covering a large surface area with essential oils. One example, if you are experiencing a sore back, add a couple drops of peppermint essential oil to 1/4 cup coconut oil and massage it into the back.
- Coconut oil has natural antibacterial properties making it great for skin infections, cuts, and rashes.
- It can be used to treat facial imperfections and protect the skin from harmful bacteria.
- Coconut oil is full of vitamins and nutrients that can benefit your skin and health.
- Find coconut oil here.
6. AVOCADO OIL
- Studies describe avocado oil as a superfood, the best oil to use in cooking.
- It absorbs slowly but deeply into the skin; it’s very hydrating and an excellent moisturizer for dry skin.
- Avocado oil is rich in fatty acids, vitamin E, potassium, lecithin, and many other nutrients that can nourish, help with anti-aging, and moisturize the skin.
- Avocado oil is very “oily” and thick, so it will leave behind a thicker residue than some of the other options.
- Find avocado oil here.
7. GRAPESEED OIL
- Here is another oil popular in the culinary world and a very popular carrier oil for essential oil users.
- GSO is a favorite carrier oil to use as a body oil because of its light texture, leaves little residue on the skin, and has wound healing properties.
- This carrier oil has fantastic properties for anti-aging and can help with fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots.
- Find grapeseed oil here.
8. ROSEHIP OIL
- Rosehip oil is loaded with fatty acids and antioxidants, which are essential for cell regeneration in the skin.
- It absorbs easily into the skin and can be used daily to help reduce the appearance of aging as well as protect and moisturize the skin.
- Rosehip contains many properties that can help the body to produce more collagen. The decrease in collagen is normal as you age and is the main reason for aged skin.
- Applying rosehip oil on damp skin each morning can improve skin tone and reduce wrinkles.
- Find rosehip oil here.
9. HEMP SEED OIL
- Hempseed oil is harvested by cold-pressing hemp seeds.
- It is a light green color with a slightly nutty flavor.
- Hemp seeds are great for the skin because of their source of polyunsaturated and essential fatty acids.
- Many people use it on the skin because of its moisturizing properties and its ability to soothe and reduce inflammation.
- Hemp seed oil absorbs easily into the skin and does not leave behind a residue.
- Find hemp seed oil here.
10. FLAXSEED OIL
- Flaxseed oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids and has been shown to have several benefits for the skin.
- Flaxseed oil has a number of benefits, making it a great option for those prone to skin imperfections.
- Refrigeration is required for flaxseed oil.
- Find flax seed oil here.
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HOW TO USE CARRIER OILS WITH ESSENTIAL OILS
Carrier oils are used with essential oils to allow for easier and more effective application to the body. Most often used in the way of roller bottles, lotions, creams, body oils, ointments, shampoos and conditioners.
Some essential oils are labeled “hot,” meaning they should never be applied directly to the skin.
Oils known as “neat” oils are considered OK to apply directly on the skin; however, I always suggest diluting, especially if you are unsure or have not used essential oils before.
Diluting essential oils in a carrier oil does not make the oil less effective. On the contrary, the carrier oil will, in fact, help it to penetrate the skin even quicker and more effectively.
Using carrier oils
Use carrier oils for the skin by making a roller bottle or lotion. Dilute 15-30 drops of oil in a 10 mL roller bottle topping off with a carrier oil of choice.
To make a lotion for the skin, dilute up to 15 drops of essential oils in 1 container of lotion (approximately 1 cup of lotion).
These amounts are for adults only. Refer to my roller bottles for kids post on proper dilution for kids.
Best carrier oils for face include fractionated coconut oil and jojoba oil. Both of these oils will not clog pores, are gentle on sensitive skin, and do not leave any residue.
Putting carrier oils to use: