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4 November 2022 / Laura Garvin Gomez

The Best Carrier Oils for Reed Diffusers

If you're struggling to find a good base for your DIY reed diffuser, this list can help.

Reed diffuser on a white countertop

Reed diffusers are a great way to scent your home with minimal hassle.

They require little assembly, and can last up to a couple of months all on their own - with no need to invest extra time for maintenance or cleaning.

Because their so easy to use, many people choose to make their own reed diffusers as a cheap way to utilise any oils they may have lying around. Reed diffusers also make fantastic gifts for friends and family members.

The main issue with making them doesn't actually lie in finding the correct scent - as some people may assume - but rather in what base to use.

Choosing the wrong base for your reed diffuser can lead to clogged up reeds, inconsistent scents or ugly colourways that disrupt the charm of the product.

With this grievance in mind, we've decided to break down a list of the best carrier oils for reed diffusers, so you never need to worry about a failed DIY project again.

What is a reed diffuser?

Before we get into the nitty gritty of how to provide a solid base for your reed diffuser, lets deep dive into what they actually are, and how they work:

  • Reed diffusers usually come in a glass or porcelain vessel containing either essential oils or fragrance oils - depending on your preference - as well as a base oil.
  • The container they are kept in is often clear, allowing you to view the oils and the reeds as the scent is diffused.
  • This characteristic means that the colour of your base can be a very important factor in the final product, so be wary!
  • Rattan reeds, or sticks, are then placed into the vessel containing the oils and the base. These will soak up the mixture using tiny holes at the ends of the reeds, that will then allow the fragrance to travel upwards and evaporate - filling the room with a pleasant aroma.

Essential oils vs fragrance oils

You can use either essential oils or fragrance oils in your reed diffuser. Both will work and both can successfully produce a strong aroma throughout your home.

The main distinction between one and the other is the natural element. Essential oils are pure and natural products that are derived from plants, containing a number of individual benefits that can positively impact your health and wellness.

Fragrance oils, on the other hand, are synthetic products made by perfumers to mimic a particular scent profile, and so do not provide you with any of the same self-care benefits as essential oils.

They do, however, come in a much wider variety of scents, and have been proven to be slightly stronger and more long-lasting than their natural counterparts.

Learn more about the differences between essential oils vs fragrance oils.

Amber Glass bottles with dried patchouli herbs surrounding

What is the best carrier oil for reed diffusers?

Each carrier oil for reed diffuser will have a slightly different attribute that will make it a successful base.

Feel free to try as many as you like, or utilise any you may have left over from your skincare or haircare routine to experiment.

1. Fractionated Coconut Oil

Extracted from coconut trees all over the world, differs slightly from regular, or "refined" coconut oil, as it does not become solid at room temperature.

Fractionated coconut oil will keep its liquid consistency as well as provide your reed diffuser with a nice clear base, so you don't have to worry about matching the carrier oil colour to your surroundings.

Its low viscosity and thin consistency will allow your scents to flow easily though the reeds, reducing fears of them clogging up or losing potency too quickly.

Coconut oil is also virtually odourless, so any essential or fragrance oils you use won't have their smell impacted by the base. These characteristics mean it is often considered to be the best carrier oil for reed diffusers.

Because it has no odour, coconut is a great base for floral scents like or that are more gentle than other aromas.

2. Sweet Almond Oil

Made by cold pressing ripe, sweet almonds, is a great alternative if you're looking for a slightly less expensive carrier oil base.

While it has only a light, nutty scent, its beautiful shade of honey brown makes it a very good choice for seasonal reed diffusers featuring spicy and earthy scents such as or

The only drawback with almond oil is that it may spoil a little bit quicker than some other picks on this list, so be sure to choose a reed diffuser with a smaller gap for air, and change out the oil regularly.

3. Argan Oil

Argan oil is a naturally high source of vitamin E, perhaps most famous for its numerous benefits for hair and is a key ingredient in our rosemary oil for hair blend.

Referred to by many as "the liquid gold of Morocco", its bright golden colour makes it a beautiful choice for more luxurious looking reed diffusers.

Extracted from the kernels of the argan tree's fruit, the oil contains a slight hazelnut scent, so is probably not the best choice for lighter, more delicate scents.

Argan does, however, blend extremely well with earthy and herbaceous aromas including and

4. Grapeseed Oil

A by-product of the winemaking industry, comes from, well, grape seeds.

Despite its slightly thicker consistency compared to other oils on this list, grapeseed's high absorption levels allow it travel easily up the reeds, and its thickness can even serve as an advantage for making your diffusers last a little longer.

Its sweet, fruity scent pairs easily with citrus essential oils like or as well as more refreshing scents like

Grapeseed oil's light green colour also compliments these scent profiles brilliantly, providing the perfect recipe for a summertime reed diffuser.

5. Rosehip Oil

Golden and lightweight, is pressed from the fruit and seeds of the rose plant.

As rosehip is a slightly more costly oil, it may be best to only reserve it for reed diffusers if you happen to have some spare lying around, or if you want to create a more luxurious product to keep in your home.

A teaspoon of rosehip oil can also be added to grapeseed to create a more romantic vibe.

Black and white illustration of a leaf

Once you've found the perfect carrier oil base for your reed diffuser, you're free to start assembling.

When your diffuser is all made up and ready to go, be sure to place it in a high-traffic area - like your living room or kitchen - where the scent can be most appreciated.

Flip your reeds once a week to keep the scent flowing smoothly, and try to avoid placing your diffuser near an open window or high-temperature location.

Lastly, enjoy! Your home will thank you for the consistent boost of sweet aromas.

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