Carrier Oils 101

Introduction to Carrier Oils

Carrier oils have been given different names, such as fixed oils, vegetable oils, and base oils. Nevertheless, they remain essentially fatty oils. Their function remains the same too i.e. dilution of the essential oils. Due to their volatile and highly concentrated nature, essential oils need to be diluted before they can be applied topically. Moreover, the carrier oils are emollient and soothe the skin when applied, thus they are commonly used in skin care products. A strong aroma is associated with carrier oils and unlike the essentials oils, they do not evaporate. The carrier oil that you choose would depend on the therapeutic benefit that you want to derive from it because every carrier oil has different properties.

Types of Carrier Oils

There are three basic types of carrier oils. These types are non-drying, drying, and semi-drying.

1. Non-drying Carrier Oils

These oils are ideal for people with dry skin since they take longer to dry out, as their name suggests. Following are some examples of non-drying carrier oils:

  • Canola Oil
  • Almond Oil
  • Peanut Oil
  • Castor Oil
  • Palm Oil
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Olive Oil

2. Semi-drying Carrier Oils

People with normal-dry skin should preferably use these oils. Some examples of semi-drying carrier oils follow:

  • Sunflower Oil
  • Corn Oil
  • Sesame Oil
  • Cottonseed Oil
  • Croton Oil

3. Drying Oils

These oils dry up at a faster rate, which makes them more suitable for people with oily skin. Here are some examples of drying carrier oils:

  • Tung Oil
  • Linseed Oil
  • Soybean Oil
  • Hempseed Oil

Buying Carrier Oils

If you are out in the market to buy carrier oils, then there are some things that you should  keep in mind:

  • Read the label carefully and buy the oil only, if it mentions that it can be used for skin care.
  • Pick a brand that sells cold-pressed oils, instead of heated ones. Once the carrier oil has been heated, it loses its therapeutic qualities.
  • Stay away from all mineral oils. There are two main reasons for doing that: one, mineral oils aren’t even a natural product and, two, when used with essential oils, they might prevent absorption of the latter! 

Examples of Carrier Oils

Fractionated Coconut Oil

Unless you live in a warm part of the world, you will find that this oil remains thick in consistency. Therefore, it will remain a solid at room temperature. When in its fractionated form, it will remain liquid at room temperature. Among other things, fractionated coconut oil can be used for the production of scrubs, salves, lotions, and hair masks. It is known that this oil has natural anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. Besides that, it helps moisturize the skin and scalp extremely well. If applied to the hair, it will have a faster rate of penetration than other oils.

Sweet Almond Oil

This oil is popular among its users due to its moisturizing and nourishing characteristics. The nutty fragrant is a bonus along with high rate of absorption into the skin, good quantities of vitamin E. Use it to make eye and facial serums and body butters.


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