A Guide to Carrier Oils

guide to carrier oils

What are Carrier Oils

Carrier oils are naturally derived vegetable oils from the fatty portion of plant based sources such as seeds, kernels or nuts. Each carrier oil has their own unique properties and benefits. They may be used alone or with other oils to nourish your skin and with essential oils.

Carrier oils are essential in your diy beauty routine as they play an important role in applying essential oils topically to your skin. Essential oils applied to the skin undiluted can cause sever irritation, sensitisation, redness, during and other reaction. The term carrier oils is derived from their purpose in carrying the essential oil onto your skin. Most carrier oils are unscented or lightly scented and don’t interfere with an essential oil’s therapeutic properties.
Carrier oils are also known as beauty oils, vegetable oils or base oils.

If you’re allergic to tree nuts, you shouldn’t use oils derived from tree nuts. This includes sweet almond oil, argan oil, and apricot kernel oil.

Carrier Oils vs Essential Oils

Essential oils are highly concentrated volatile plant extracts, obtained from a natural raw material of plant origin by distillation. Carrier oils, on the other hand, are pressed from the fatty portions (seeds, nuts, kernels) and do not evaporate or impart their aroma as strongly as essential oils. Carrier oils can be applied directly to the skin whereas essential oils should not.

See our Guide to Sustainable Essential Oils here.

Organic Cold Pressed Oils

We only stock organic and cold-pressed oils. Cold pressed oils ensure the highest amount of beneficial properties are retained. If heat is used during the processing it can reduce or destroy the key active ingredients.

cold pressed organic apricot oil a guide to carrier oils.

Apricot Kernel

Comedogenic Ratings

Every oil & butter has a comedogenic rating. Simply put, a comedogenic (koh-med-o-gen-ic) rating is how likely an ingredient is to clog your pores.

Now there's a lot of science behind these ratings and it takes in to consideration the fatty acids and how they react / effect your skin. 

Some oils are therefore more suitable to use on your face as a cleansing oil (ie. hemp or rosehip) than others (coconut oil).

See our other blog post, The Best Carrier Oils For Your Skin and Haircare Routine & How To Use Them.

How to choose your carrier oil

  • Odour - Some carrier oils are odourless, but generally speaking, most have a faintly sweet, nutty aroma.
  • Absorption - Your skin can absorb some carrier oils better than others.
  • Comedogenic Rating - A comedogenic rating is how likely an ingredient is to clog your pores resulting in certain oils being more suited to your body than face.
  • Skin Type - Depending on your skin type, some oils will be more suited.
  • Benefits - You may be looking to target specific issues such as fine lines or acne.
  • Application - Some oils are more suited to you face instead of your body for example.

a guide to carrier oils evening primrose oil flower.

Evening Primrose Flower

How to use carrier oils

You can use carrier oils on their own to your skin directly. See below to choose which oils are best for your skin type, what benefits you want to achieve and where to apply.
  • Face - After cleansing the face, apply a few drops of carrier oil and massage into your face and neck. Use a non-greasy oil so it will absorb into the skin quickly. 
  • Body - For the skin, you can apply a few drops to any part of the body and massage to moisturise. You can also add a small amount of oil in the bath to slowly soak into the skin. Certain oils are great for massage too.
  • Hair - Whilst your hair is dry, apply a few drops of oil in to your hair by massaging it in. This will create shine and damping frizz for a smooth and silky texture. For a longer treatment including your scalp, you can massage your chosen oil into the hair and leave it overnight. Once complete, simply wash your hair and see the results!

DIY Beauty

Blending Carrier Oils Together

Blending carrier oils allows you to make an oil that best meets your skin's needs. You’ll be aiming for your blend to contain a balanced mix of highly moisturising, drying and non-drying oils, with the additional healing properties you seek.

  • Non-drying oils: jojoba, avocado, shea butter, wheat germ, cocoa butter, coconut oil, flaxseed, olive, almond and peanut. These work well for damaged, dry and mature skin.
  • Drying oils: grapeseed, apricot, soybean, tung and the nut-based oils. While these liquids work well for oily skins, they often need to be used in combination with a nondrying or semi-drying oil to avoid a parched-skin effect.

blending carrier oils with essential oils

Essential Oils

Blending Carrier Oils with Essential Oils

Carrier oils make it possible to use essential oils safely. They also help nourish and moisturise your skin. Whatever oil you choose, avoid using it on your lips, eyes, or other sensitive areas after it’s been mixed with an essential oil. However, you can safely apply carrier oil alone to these areas.

The general rule of thumb is to aim for a 1-5% dilution. Ideally 1-3% for skincare and 3-5% for home and air care. A 1% dilution is 6 drops per 30ml.

Use essential oils more sparingly on young children since they don’t need as much wellness support and are more delicate in constitution.

Children: Newborn to 6 months
Use essential oils sparingly and use a .25% solution: dilute 1 drop of essential oil per 1 1/2 TB of carrier oil

Herbal Carrier Oils

Carrier oils can be infused with fresh or dried herbs and plants either individually or after they have been blended. Herbal-infused oils contain the healing characteristics of both the carrier oils and the herbs.

Store your blends in a cool, dry place or even in the refrigerator.

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