What are carrier oils?

Applying essential oils to skin without any dilution is referred to as applying “neat”.   If you are uncomfortable applying essential oils neat, have sensitive skin, or just covering a large area, then you can use what’s called a “carrier oil”.

Carrier oils are simply base oils that you use to dilute essential oils before applying them to the skin.   They are usually vegetable oils derived from the fatty portion of a plant, mostly from the seeds, kernels or the nuts.

Carrier oils are typically cold pressed as heat will deteriorate any therapeutic property of the oils.  Also, carrier oils can go rancid so it’s best to read the label and know what the life span is before mixing in your precious essential oils.  Most oils that you purchase in a grocery store will not be cold pressed so you will have better luck at a health food store.

Outside of processing method (cold pressed vs. heat pressed) and shelf life, you may want to look at the color, aroma, nutrients, viscosity, feel and price of any carrier oil you are considering.

Coconut oil is very popular carrier oil.  Let’s try an experiment – go to Amazon right now and type in “coconut oil” in the search box and see what comes up.  Completely overwhelming, isn’t it.

Yeah, exactly my point

Yeah, exactly my point

Below you’ll see a chart of some common carrier oils and their properties.   (Please note this is not an exhaustive list – please fee free to mention your favorites in the comment section if I didn’t mention it!)  You’ll notice that mineral oil is not included in this list.  This is because mineral oil does not penetrate the skin and therefore essential oils will not be absorbed.

carrier oil chart



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Disclaimer: I provide my personal opinion and experiences with essential oils, and I am not endorsed by the Young Living Corporation. None of what I talk about on this site has been evaluated by the FDA, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. I am not a registered physician and I encourage you to discuss your health concerns with your own doctor. I simply share resources and tools based on my own personal experiences.

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