Why Use Carrier Oils?
When people start talking about essential oils the term “carrier oil” is bound to pop up eventually. Carrier oils are an important (and often overlooked) part of proper essential oil use. Simply put, carrier oils are a vegetable, nut or seed oil that is used to dilute essential oils. They are often called “carrier oils” because they “carry” the essential onto or into the body. Learning to properly use carrier oils will make using essential oils safer, easier, and more efficient.
Essential oils are highly concentrated. Each bottle of oil is created from thousands of condensed plants, and the resulting mixture is quite powerful and can potentially cause irritation to your skin if not applied properly.
That’s where carrier oils come in. Carrier oils serve two purposes: they help dilute the highly concentrated essential oils (allowing a smaller dosage to cover a wider area), and they don’t evaporate quickly (giving the skin time to absorb the oils properly). Combining essential oils with carrier oils allows for the best essential oil experience possible.
It’s important to note that water is NOT a suitable replacement for a carrier oil. Essential oils are hydrophobic, that is, they do not mix or dilute in water, they will sit undiluted on top of the water. In fact, this is the very principle used in the distillation of essential oils. However, essential oils will dilute or disperse in a fat-based liquid-like full-fat milk or milk-based products, or vegetable, nut or seed oils, which are otherwise known as carrier oils.
Which Carrier Oils Are Best?
There are a number of carrier oils that can be used. Most carrier oils are extracted from nuts, kernels, or seeds, and the majority of those oils are suitable to be used alongside essential oils.
For those unfamiliar with carrier oils, here are a few choices to get started:
Coconut oil is by far the most popular carrier oil–and it’s no surprise why. Coconut oil has antifungal, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. It has almost no smell and long shelf life. Sometimes the coconut oil has been “fractionated” which means it has had the long-chain fatty acids removed via hydrolysis and steam distillation. This one change makes the oil liquid at room temperature and extends its shelf life. For those new to using carrier oils, coconut oil, or Fractionated Coconut Oil is a fantastic place to start.
Sweet Almond Oil
Sweet Almond carrier oil is an excellent choice for softening and reconditioning skin. This nourishing oil contains vitamins A and E, beneficial fatty acids, and zinc. Sweet Almond oil is easily absorbed by the skin, soothing dry, irritated areas. It’s great for all skin types and may be used to help improve your complexion and skin tone. Sweet Almond oil is also said to possess anti-inflammatory properties which may reduce swelling of the skin and improve under-eye puffiness. It is also a popular treatment for scars and to prevent and treat stretch marks.
This nutrient-rich carrier oil is loaded with vitamin E and fatty acids. It’s gentle for those with sensitive skin and has a smooth and silky texture. Grapeseed oil can help slow the loss of water from the skin and is ideal for creating homemade skin moisturizing recipes. It can aid skin elasticity, help prevent sun damage and soothe sunburns, and reduce acne outbreaks, among other uses.
Jojoba oil is a heavier carrier oil loaded with vitamin E and is excellent for hair and skin. This highly moisturizing oil is ideal for any skin type, but if you suffer from dry, chapped, or rough skin, Jojoba might be just what you’re looking for. But because it closely matches the oils the skin naturally makes, it can have a balancing effect on oily skin as well. Jojoba is great for removing makeup, moisturizing hair and scalp, soothing sunburn, and promoting healthy blemish-free skin.
The most important thing when picking a carrier oil is to pick one that works for you. Avoid any oil that causes skin irritation or allergic reaction, and have fun experimenting!
To buy essential oils that come pre-diluted with our favorite carrier oils check out Davina Wellness’ rollerball collection.