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7 March 2022 / Caitlin Devlin

A guide to the best carrier oils for skincare and massage

Carrier oils play an essential part in natural skincare and help us to get the best results.

Woman receiving a face massage.

Carrier oils are a staple of aromatherapy, but knowing how best to use them can be confusing.

If you’ve heard that you should be diluting your essential oils but you aren’t sure where to start, then read on to get to grips with carrier oils.

What are carrier oils?

Carrier oils, like essential oils, are natural products derived from plants. They are typically less potent than essential oils and are usually sourced from the nuts, seeds, or kernels of a plant, although some are pressed from the fruit.

What are carrier oils used for?

Some carrier oils are used on their own to benefit skin or hair, as massage oils, or even in cooking. However, most of the time when you hear carrier oils mentioned it will relate to the dilute and topical application of essential oils. Essential oils are potent natural products that can sometimes be harmful to skin when applied directly and without dilution. Diluting essential oils with a carrier oil decreases their potency and makes them far safer to use on skin, allowing us to experience their incredible benefits.

    Massage oil being applied to back.

    Which oils should I used as carrier oils?

    Here are some commonly used carrier oils.

    Argan oil – Extracted from the kernels in the fruit of the argan tree, argan oil is highly beneficial for dry or inflamed skin.

    Avocado oil – Avocado is a thick oil, extracted from the popular fruit. It is great for very dry skin but may encourage sebum production, so is best not to apply to the face if you struggle with breakouts.

    Coconut oil – This popular oil is extracted from the meat of the coconut and is great for use in skincare, haircare and massage.

    Grapeseed oil – A by-product of wine, grapeseed oil is extracted from grape seeds as the name would suggest. It has a neutral scent and is easily absorbed into the skin.

    Jojoba oil – Extracted from the seeds of the jojoba plant, jojoba oil is thought to closely resemble the skin’s natural oils and therefore absorbs easily into skin.

    Neem oil – Neem oil is extracted from the fruits and seeds of the neem tree. It is a natural insecticide and offers may benefits for skin, particularly acne-prone skin types.

    Olive oil – This famous oil is extracted from pressed olives and is the same oil that is often used in cooking. It also has fantastic benefits for skin and hair.

    Rosehip oil – Pressed from rosehips, rosehip oil is great for dry skin and massage.

    Sunflower oil – Extracted from sunflower seeds, sunflower oil has a neutral scent and is able to prevent infection and soothe irritations.

    Sweet almond oil – Sweet almond oil is extracted from almond kernels. It has a strong scent that can sometimes interfere with essential oil scents but is great for use in massage oils and soaps.

    How do I decide which carrier oil to use?

    It is important to research the benefits of each oil and think about which best suits your needs. You should also consider the scent of the oil – do you want a scent that compliments the oils you are using, or would you rather the carrier oil had no distinct scent at all? Once you have selected a carrier oil you should patch test to ensure that it agrees with your skin. Sometimes finding the perfect carrier oil takes some trial and error, but there’s loads of great options out there.

    Do I need a carrier oil for fragrance oils?

    There shouldn’t be a reason to apply fragrance oils directly to the skin, since they are synthetic products that don’t have the natural benefits of essential oils. However, if you do decide to use fragrance oils on skin, it is probably still safer to dilute them, as fragrance oil formulations can contain a wide range of chemicals.

    In summary:

    • Carrier oils are natural products that are less potent than essential oils.
    • Diluting essential oils with carrier oils can help to make them safe to apply to skin.
    • There are many different carrier oils and it may take some experimenting to find the right one for you.

    Shop our essential oils here.

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