What Is A Carrier Oil?
When first embarking into the world of essential oils you likely heard the words, "dilution" and "carrier oil." The first step to dilution is understanding the differences between a carrier oil and an essential oil. Today, EG’s aromatherapists are going back to the basics to answer all of your carrier oil questions.
What Is A Carrier Oil?
A carrier oil, or base oil, is a vegetable oil. Carrier oils are commonly derived from the following:
Examples of popular carrier oils include:
- Grapeseed Oil
- Jojoba Oil
- Argan Oil
- Olive Oil
Carrier oils are obtained mainly by being cold pressed–the process of pressing the part of the plant that holds the oil without heat. Depending on which fatty acids a carrier oil contains, each carrier oil has unique benefits towards the skin.
What’s The Difference Between Carrier Oil and Essential Oil?
At Edens Garden, we’re frequently asked what the difference is between carrier oils and essential oils. To give you an idea, try comparing the look and aroma of a carrier oil next to an essential oil. You may notice the following differences:
- Carrier oils are thicker
- Carrier oils have more subdued aromas
- Carrier oils are made up of fatty acids such as oleic and linoleic acids, whereas essential oils are a much more complex combination of volatile component
- Carrier oils are non-volatile and won’t dissipate if left out, whereas essential oils are volatile and will dissipate and oxidize when exposed to oxygen
Why Dilute Essential Oils In Carrier Oil?
The constituents which make up essential oils are extremely potent and can be irritating to the skin when applied undiluted, or they can cause sensitization over time. Carrier oils are mild and because they blend with essential oils to create a homogenous mixture, they are the perfect diluent for using essential oils topically.
How To Dilute Essential Oils With Carrier Oil
Unsure how to dilute essential oils? Here are some guidelines.
1. Check the safety section of an essential oil’s product page–some oils may have a recommended maximum dilution rate. If none exists, choose one of the following dilution rates based on your age level or concern:
1%: Ideal for facial application, pregnant and nursing women, elderly adults, children 2+.
- 2%: Skincare.
- 3%: General topical use.
- 4-10%: Short-term injury or skin issue.
3. If you have any diluted oil leftover, store in an air-tight, amber glass bottle for up to 3 months.
Tip: Worried about your sensitive skin? We recommend performing a spot test when using a new oil. Dilute your oil at the desired ratio and then apply a few drops to your forearm. Cover the oil on your forearm with a bandaid and leave it overnight. In the morning, remove the bandaid and check for redness or irritation. If irritation occurs, discontinue use of the oil.
Where Can I Learn More About Carrier Oils?
Our blog is the perfect place to learn about carrier oils. Need an oil for scars and stretch marks? Read about why Rosehip is the oil for you. Have you ever heard of Prickly Pear Seed? This carrier oil will blow you away. Curious about comedogenicity? Learn more here!
What’s your favorite carrier oil? Let us know in the comment section below!