Carrier oils are necessity in the oil and body care product industry. A carrier oil is simply a base oil mainly derived from nuts and seeds of different plants. Different carrier oils will offer varied therapeutic benefits and are suitable for different skin types and products.
It is possible to use them on their own or together with another oil whether as a moisturizer or to treat some problems.
One common application of carrier oils is diluting strong essential oils as well as other fragrances in order to make them safe for application on the body.
When used with essential oils, they serve to prevent them from evaporating too quickly. They also effectively ‘carry’ the other ingredients into the skin and body.
Carrier oils are also used for their therapeutic properties in formulating deodorants, soaps, scrubs, body butter and so much more.
Types of carrier oils
There are many types of carrier oils from various sources.
One mode of extraction of carrier oils can be through the cold press, which does not apply any heat to the source for the extraction. This method is the best because the extract retains its natural beneficial properties.
If a carrier oil undergoes no refinement to very minimal refinement it will keep its strength and richness. It is universally agreed that the best carrier oils include:
- Coconut oil – extracted from the coconut fruit, it can be fractionated coconut oil which has a different texture from the regular cold pressed sort that solidifies under room temperature.
- Avocado oil – refined avocado is best suited for use in cosmetics. It can also be incorporated into some massage oil blends. The cold pressed version has thick moisturizing properties.
- Emu oil – this is an almost 100% triglyceride lipid and resembles olive or cottonseed oil more than animal fat. Containing no phosphorus molecules it has short chain fatty acids like most animal fats but amazingly acts like a long chain fatty acid which you can find in plant oils.
- Sweet almond oil – rich in minerals, proteins, vitamins and essential fatty acids, it is the most widely used carrier oil as it is beneficial in nourishing and revitalizing the skin besides being hypoallergenic.
- Argan oil – can be used alone as a moisturizer and conditioner or as a carrier oil for essential oils. It is quite effective for nourishing and hydrating.
- Olive oil – has a mild and distinctive subtle smell and is popularly used as a carrier oil in cosmetics because of this. It is also a great moisturizer.
- Tamanu oil – is cold pressed from the fruit of the calophyllum inophyllum tree and is high on the list of great skin care oils. It can be used directly on the skin or within formulations.
- Neem oil – due to its richness in fatty acids and glycerides, neem oil posses amazing moisturizing and cleansing properties. It is very viscous and easily solidifies in the cold.
- Apricot kernel oil – it is very rich in vitamin A and is good for all skin types. It is notable for its very mild scent which makes it ideal as a carrier oil.
- Jojoba oil – is a popular carrier oil mainly because it does not oxidize and turn rancid. This quality allows it to extend the shelf life of the blends it is used in. It is also considered the perfect carrier for persons with ultra-sensitive skin.
- Castor oil – castor oil is extracted from the castor plant (Ricinus Communis) and is known to leave a sticky residue and will stain clothing when used with essential oils. Because of this, it is recommended that you use only about 10% of castor oil as carrier oil in your beauty formulations. It is great for hair, eyebrows and eyelashes.
Although it is not well known, tamanu oil is one of the best carrier oils for skin. This oil is agreeable with most skin types and even persons with ultra sensitive skin are likely to find themselves comfortable with this restorative oil. The most important qualities of carrier oil for skin include anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties.
Being thick and viscous with a rich scent, tamanu oil works great as carrier oil that can be used with essential oils.
Another carrier oil that is wonderful for the skin is neem. Neem oil is viscous with a strong scent and contains Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. It is popular to be found in body and skin care products and insect repellents and is favored by people with acne prone skin.
Refined avocado oil as a carrier is most suitable for hair products. It has a rich constitution of nutrients including:
It is also rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, D and E. Blended with other carrier oils and mixed with a conditioner base, it creates an amazing blend that is rich and provides deep moisturization.
Other carrier oils that are good for the hair include castor oil, coconut oil, sweet almond and jojoba oils. They also have powerful hydration and strengthening properties which they easily infuse in the hair.
Sweet almond carrier oil is very suitable for skin care especially the face. Being a light oil, it works very well with other heavier carrier oils like coconut, neem, tamanu and castor oil.
Its light weight allows nutrients to penetrate more deeply into the skin resulting in improved skin tone and complexion. Also, it is rich in amino acids and vitamins.
Apricot kernel carrier oil is commonly used in aromatherapy and massages because of its semi-oily texture and nutrients that are beneficial to the skin.
It is an ideal carrier oil in aromatherapy because its aroma is faint and viscosity is medium. As such, it does not compete nor conflict with the fragrances of essential oils when mixed.
Mixing essential oils with carrier oil
As a consumer of oils, the rule of thumb when it comes to essential oil is they should not be applied topically when ‘neat’. Neat is the word used to refer to an undiluted essential oil. Applying essential oils at full strength on your skin can be harmful.
It is sensible to dilute essential oils with a carrier oil before topical use on your skin in order to prevent developing sensitization. Proper dilution is always recommended (do not ignore the dilution instructions). Furthermore, carrier oils promote better absorption of essential oils into the skin for maximum benefits.
To create viable and effective blends the following points should be taken into consideration:
1. Chemistry and constitution of the oil
This looks at what properties the oil has, how viscous it is and its volatility. A heavy oil, like Vitamin E essential oil, needs to be balanced by a smooth carrier oil like coconut oil.
2. Purpose of the blend
Mixing correctly allows for a synergistic effect within your mixture. The action of the oil is increased and improved by mixing a carrier oil and an essential oil. For instance, the blend has better absorption into the skin, body or hair and more power to actively impact your body.
In some instances, the sequence in which you mix a recipe can be a factor. A change in the sequence can alter the properties along with the fragrance. A drop by drop mixing process is better than pouring the oils into each other.
As a general rule of thumb when it comes to mixing carrier oil and essential oils, it good to note that:
- Lighter and smaller molecules produce thinner oils (less viscous) that are more volatile and aromatic
- Heavier and larger molecules produce thicker oils (more viscous) that are less volatile (aromatic)
- Absorption to the body is faster when the molecules are lighter and smaller
For smooth flawless skin, NOW sweet almond oil 100% pure oil is what you need. Being a hypoallergenic oil, it suitable for all skin types even for those with ultra-sensitive skin.
This oil is also considered the safest for baby skin because when gently rubbed into the skin, it gets fully absorbed making it suitable for after bath application.
You will find the smell to be subtle and nutty in nature. If that does not appeal to you, you can always drop in a drop or two of your favorite essential oil fragrance to personalize it.
NOW Sweet almond 100% pure oil is naturally endowed with vitamin E which is a highly potent anti-oxidant vitamin.
With this oil as part of your beauty arsenal and regular application, you can be sure to protect your skin from oxidative stress and UV radiation damage, ensuring it remains rejuvenated, soft and supple.
Although not a cure, NOW sweet almond 100% pure oil helps reduce symptoms like itching in persons with eczema and psoriasis. When skin is broken, it weeps and makes crusty deposits. Scratching only exacerbates the irritation, paving way for fungal and bacterial infections that complicate these chronic conditions.
Sweet almond oil, being gentle and hypoallergenic, can help keep the affected skin soft and hydrated. It plays a great role in nourishing your skin without irritating it further.
With this carrier oil, you can reap double benefits by mixing with some of your favorite essential oils. It is the ideal option for healthy skin.
Viva Coconut oil is considered a tropical wonder. Harvested at peak freshness in the purest form and left unrefined, this carrier oil is packed with natural goodness.
This coconut oil brand has been harvested using the cold press method, thus ensuring flavors and aromas have been preserved.
Because Viva Coconut oil 100% pure and unrefined, it has various applications:
- Beauty – it is wonderful on the skin and has the ability to clarify, cleanse, and moisturize ultra-sensitive skin.
- Hair – Viva coconut oil is good for hair and can be used by melting a spoonful or three of this organic coconut oil and applying it to the roots and ends to promote healthier and sleek looking hair. You can create a hair mask and let it stay on the hair for an hour before showering or overnight for a deep conditioning treatment.
- Culinary – if you love the organic coconut flavor then your scramble eggs rice and stir fry will never be the same again. This organic oil can also be used for baking to add that special coconut flavor to your dessert
From the harvesting stage to manufacturing stage, viva organic coconut is engineered to provide farm to table freshness by preserving all nutrients and aroma of choice coconut.
Certified Jojoba oil comes from the seed of the jojoba (Simmondsia Chinensis) shrub. It is ideal for all skin and hair types because of its cosmetic versatility and invigorating scent.
The nutritional compounds to be found in jojoba include long chain essential fatty acids and fatty alcohols that are naturally hydrating to your skin and hair.
Jojoba makes an amazing massage oil especially when you add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for fragrance. You can apply to your skin for nourishment and it will also give you a nice lingering fragrance all day.
It is a great remedy for chapped lips and helps retain moisture with nice soothing relief.
This carrier oil makes a great mix with your favorite essential oil for enhanced benefits to both the skin and hair. It is smooth on its own yet very accommodating of other oils.
This carrier oil is cold pressed at the highest quality grade to ensure maximum effectiveness. It is undiluted with zero filler and zero additives.
It is good for:
- Hair growth
- Moisturizing and split end repair
- Hair softening
- Dry scalp
- Treats dandruff
Castor oil is also good for the skin as it bears natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
The high content of vitamin E within the oil has amazing effects on your complexion. If you are suffering from acne, pure castor oil is a great oil to consider as it helps reduce symptoms of acne, sunburn and dry skin.
Just makes sure that you test a small amount on a small patch of skin to see your reaction to it before applying it widely.
Pure castor oil for great hair and glowing skin is must-have for every beauty chest. Although it is viscous, it applies well because you need just a small amount of it for use.
NOW Grape seed 100% pure oil has mild emollient properties with no scent which makes it an ideal carrier oil. It can be used with essential oils as it does not conflict with scents and fragrances.
It contains essential fatty acids which including linoleic, stearic, palmitic, myristic and lauric.
NOW grape seed is particularly good with the skin because it is rich in vitamins E, D and C which help in reducing wrinkles and scars. It does a great deal of tightening the skin.
It’s an able moisturizer balancing both dry and oily patches of the skin. This is because it has the ability to penetrate pores and cleanse the skin making it an efficient toner. Grapeseed oil helps in treating acne because it contains polyphenols and antioxidants.
Because the oil is readily absorbed by the skin, it works well for massages and you can always add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to personalize it. Now grapeseed oil can also be used on the hair because of its rich content of vitamin E. The oil help builds the hair tissue while the linoleic acid in the oil promotes hair growth.
In addition to taking care of dandruff, the oil is thin and as such does not leave your hair feeling greasy.
Now grapeseed oil is versatile and would be a great addition to your collection of carrier oils for various beauty purposes for both your hair and skin.
It is very versatile in use but stays true to its core components of healing, rejuvenating and regenerating cells no matter what the application.
Carrier oils tend to be less known. However, having learned some of the great benefits they have, you are positioned to take advantage of their great value and stress the value of essential oils you might already have by marrying the two for incredible results both on your skin and hair.
And for good measure where applicable as seen above, some carrier oils can make for excellent culinary flavoring!