The Best Carrier Oils for Essential Oils
A very popular way of using essential oils is to apply them to your skin. This enables the benefits of your chosen essential oil to soak into your skin, enabling you to enjoy their holistic benefits in multiple ways at once!
However, before you can apply essential oils topically, you will need to mix the essential oil with a carrier oil. Not only will this help dilute the essential oil (a little goes a long way!) and disperse it evenly across your skin, but the carrier oil will also nourish your skin, leaving it feeling soft and silky. A carrier oil also helps keep the essential oil from evaporating too quickly from your skin, prolonging its therapeutic effects!
There are many different carrier oils to choose from, and each of these oils has its own unique properties and benefits. The best carrier oil will depend on your skin type, as well as your individual preferences.
In this article, we'll talk you through some of the best carrier oils for use with essential oils, including the properties of each.
- Jojoba oil - Best all-around carrier oil
- Fractionated coconut oil - Best for dry skin
- Blueberry seed oil - Best for hair and nails
- Olive oil - Best for dry scalps
- Sweet almond oil - Best for nourishing skin
- Rosehip oil - Best for anti-aging
- Argan oil - Best for regenerating and renewing
- Plum oil - Best for sensitive skin
- Avocado oil - Best for delicate skin
- How to dilute essential oils
- In summary
Jojoba oil - Best all-around carrier oil
Jojoba oil is one of the most popular carrier oils because it is full of beneficial nutrients, including vitamins A, D and E, making it great for your skin.
In fact, jojoba oil is known to be the carrier oil that is closest to mimicking the natural oil secretions in human skin. This makes it an excellent moisturizer for use on the face and neck that can otherwise feel greasy with other carrier oils.
The oil is extracted from the seeds of the jojoba tree and has a slightly nutty aroma. Jojoba oil is a natural fungicide and works well when combined with essential oils that also have fungicidal properties and are used for local fungal infections.
With its ability to resist oxidation, jojoba oil has an exceptionally long shelf life of up to five years. This long shelf life combined with its high absorption rate makes it one of the best carrier oils for use in aromatherapy!
💡 Top tip: Struggling to sleep? Try combining jojoba oil with lavender and chamomile essential oils, then add the solution to a hot bath before bed.
Fractionated coconut oil - Best for dry skin
Fractionated coconut oil is the most popular carrier oil for essential oils, and for good reason.
Coconut oil, extracted from the fruit of the coconut tree, is a super-oil full of natural antioxidants and is in itself an excellent antifungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory oil. This carrier oil nourishes the hair, nails and skin, leaving your skin feeling smooth and soft.
This is a heavy carrier oil, meaning that it is best used on dry skin. It has natural moisturizing properties, so it's suitable for use on skin conditions such as eczema.
Be sure to use fractionated coconut oil, which is liquid at room temperature. This is because regular coconut oil is solid at room temperature and can block drains, causing problems in your household. Fractionated coconut oil is ideal for use in aromatherapy massage, as well as for mixing with essential oils to add to your bath. It has a shelf life of up to two years, meaning that you won't need to replace it soon after opening. This makes fractionated coconut oil an economical option for aromatherapy massage.
💡 Top tip: If you suffer from dry skin, try combining fractionated coconut oil with lavender essential oil and frankincense essential oil and massaging the mixture into the affected areas.
Blueberry seed oil - Best for hair and nails
Blueberry seed oil is extracted from the seeds of blueberries, making it a natural source of vitamins A and E. These vitamins are essential for healthy skin, hair and nails.
This carrier oil is also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to be beneficial for the skin. The oil has a light, nutty aroma and is easily absorbed by the skin.
Blueberry seed oil is ideal for use in hair and nail products, as it helps to strengthen hair and nails while also preventing breakage. It is also suitable for use on sensitive skin, as it is non-irritating.
💡 Top tip: To help your hair retain moisture, try adding blueberry seed oil and bergamot essential oil to your conditioner. You can also add a few drops to your bath for a luxurious, moisturizing experience.
Olive oil - Best for dry scalps
Olive oil is extracted from the fruit of the olive tree and has many health benefits. With 75% oleic acid, it is a popular cooking oil. It is good for the heart and cardiovascular system, and can actually lower bad (LDL) cholesterol and increase the good (HDL) cholesterol. It is also anti-inflammatory and helps reduce insulin resistance.
However, the benefits of olive oil don't end with its consumption, as it is also a popular choice for aromatherapy massage.
Olive oil is a light oil with a fruity aroma that is not overwhelming. This means that olive oil works well with most essential oils. You can use it for almost all skin and hair types, as it does not clog the skin's pores or leave hair looking oily. In fact, olive oil is great for use on dry scalps, as it helps with dandruff, frizzy hair and dry skin.
When you're buying olive oil to use as a carrier oil, look for unrefined extra virgin olive oil. This means that no heat or chemicals are used in the extraction process, making it a pure carrier oil.
Olive oil has a shelf life of 12-18 months. This means that you'll be able to use olive oil as a carrier oil over and over again in aromatherapy massage.
💡 Top tip: For itchy scalps, try combining olive oil with a few drops of lemongrass essential oil and massaging it into your scalp.
Sweet almond oil - Best for nourishing skin
Sweet almond oil is high in vitamin E and is an excellent natural antioxidant. This carrier oil is extracted from the dried nuts of the almond tree. The high vitamin E content makes it an optimal choice for nourishing the skin, regenerating new skin cells and retaining moisture. For this reason, sweet almond oil is a great choice for those with dry skin.
Sweet almond oil also has natural antioxidant properties that protect against the harmful effects of the sun. It also contains high concentrations of both oleic acid and linoleic acid that help relieve inflammation and soothe irritated skin.
Being non-greasy and gentle on the skin, sweet almond oil makes an excellent massage oil (especially for infants), and the rich vitamin E content can help repair damage to the collagen layer in the skin, making the facial skin smooth and supple and reducing wrinkles.
Sweet almond oil is one of the best oils you can choose to nourish skin, hair and nails. With a shelf life of up to one year, sweet almond oil is an economical choice that you can use over and over again for mixing with your essential oils.
💡 Top tip: Planning an aromatherapy massage? Combine sweet almond oil with clary sage and sandalwood essential oils for a relaxing aromatherapy massage that soothes both your body and your mind.
Rosehip oil - Best for anti-aging
Rosehip oil is a natural source of vitamin A, which is known for its anti-aging properties. This carrier oil is also rich in essential fatty acids and antioxidants, making it an excellent choice for aged, weathered or damaged skin.
Rosehip oil can help to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as scars and stretch marks. It is also a good choice for dry or sensitive skin, as it helps to restore the skin's natural barrier function.
Rosehip oil has a short shelf life of around six months. This means that you'll need to use it up fairly quickly, but it's worth it for the excellent results that you'll see in your skin.
💡 Top tip: For an anti-aging facial oil, combine rosehip oil with frankincense and lavender essential oils. Apply this blend to your face morning and evening for best results.
Argan oil - Best for regenerating and renewing
Argan oil is best known for its anti-aging properties and its ability to promote hair growth and repair hair damage. If you have not heard of or used argan oil, you are missing a carrier oil that is full of rich, nourishing properties and healing benefits. No wonder leading cosmetic companies use it in their high-end formulas!
Argan oil is extracted from the fruit of the Moroccan argan tree. Argan oil is rich in antioxidants, vitamins A and E, oleic acid, linoleic acid and fatty acids. It is especially good at counteracting inflammation and sun damage. It reduces the visibility of stretch marks and scars and promotes healthy cuticles and nails.
It is one of the best oils to use to regenerate skin cells, making it an excellent choice for anti-aging ointments and creams.
Argan oil has a shelf life of up to three years, meaning that you can continue using this carrier oil for many years. After this time, the quality of the argan oil will begin to degrade.
💡 Top tip: Looking to fight the signs of aging? Combine argan oil with geranium essential oil and massage into your face before bed. Your skin will be left feeling renewed and rejuvenated.
Plum oil - Best for sensitive skin
Plum oil is a light, non-greasy oil that is perfect for those with sensitive skin. It is rich in oleic acid and vitamin E, making it an excellent choice for nourishing and protecting the skin.
Plum oil is also known for its antibacterial properties, which make it a good choice for acne-prone skin.
This carrier oil has a short shelf life of around six months, so you'll need to use it up fairly quickly. However, it's worth it for the excellent results that you'll see on your skin.
💡 Top tip: For soft skin, combine plum oil with lavender and geranium essential oils and massage into your skin. This blend will leave your skin feeling soft, smooth and silky.
Avocado oil - Best for delicate skin
The fruit of the avocado tree consists of almost one-third oil. It is one of the thickest, most luxurious carrier oils on the market.
Avocado oil is a great carrier oil to fight against the signs of aging. This is because it contains a type of fatty acid that is found naturally in human fatty tissue just under the skin. Since avocado oil is similar to this fat, the skin absorbs it easily. This provides excellent nourishment for older skin that has thinned with age.
Avocado oil contains high concentrations of oleic and linoleic fatty acids, making it a potent anti-inflammatory, along with other natural nutrients and antioxidants such as vitamins A, D and E. This carrier oil is ideal for irritable skin types such as those having psoriasis and eczema.
Due to its thickness, avocado oil dries slowly, making it a good carrier oil for massage. If you want to thin avocado oil out, you can also combine this oil with another carrier oil such as olive oil or almond oil.
The shelf life of avocado oil is around eight months. However, it needs to be stored in the fridge to maintain this shelf life.
💡 Top tip: Suffering from dry skin? Try combining avocado oil with frankincense and lavender essential oils and adding to a warm bath for a soak that leaves your skin feeling nourished and rehydrated.
How to dilute essential oils
Essential oils are highly potent substances. For this reason, it's vital that you dilute your essential oils with a carrier oil before applying them topically. This will help to reduce the risk of skin irritation, as well as helping the essential oils to disperse evenly across your skin while lengthening the presence and therapeutic effects of essential oils on your skin.
The easiest way to mix your essential oils with a carrier oil is by using a clean plastic or glass bottle. We'd recommend starting with a dilution rate of 2% - that means using around 10 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil.
However, if you plan to use your essential oils on sensitive skin, children or the elderly, it's best to start with a weaker dilution rate of 1%. This means you should use 5 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil.
After adding these ingredients to your bottle, replace the lid and shake the bottle to combine the mixture evenly.
You'll then need to perform a patch test to ensure that the mixture is safe for use on your skin. Find out more about performing a patch test here.
There are many different carrier oils available on the market, each with their own unique properties and benefits. The best carrier oil for you will depend on your skin type, your preferences and what you're using the oil for.
The best carrier oil for your individual skin type will leave your skin feeling nourished and soft, not greasy or clogged up. If you're unsure about the best carrier oil for your skin type, take the time to experiment with different oils until you find just the right one for your skin!