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What Are Carrier Oils and How To Use Them

Essential oils in aromatherapy tend to be highly concentrated and potent, leading to the question – are essential oils safe? The truth is, if used undiluted, most essential oils can cause adverse effects on your skin.

For this reason, it is important to dilute essential oils with a carrier oil. The carrier oils are extracted from vegetables and nuts of different plants that possess high therapeutic properties.

What is a carrier oil

Since these oils are extracted from vegetables and nuts, they usually pack essential vitamins and minerals for your skin. As the name suggest, the carrier oil carries the whole body lotion providing the much-needed lubrication, allowing your hands to move freely over the skin.

This enhances the absorption of the essential oils into your skin. In the same breath, these oils are very safe to use and act as a non-reacting base that you can add a whole array of different essential oils. Most often, these oils are clear and do not have any strong smell.

11 Most Popular Carrier Oils for Essential Oils

  • Apricot oil
  • Sweet almond oil
  • Grape seed oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Olive oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Rosehip oil
  • Canola (Rapeseed) oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Black Seed oil
  • Argan oil

Choosing the best carrier oils

The best carrier oils are extracted using the cold pressing method. Although this process is limited to small-scale production, this is the best way to extract these oils.

This process involves placing the seeds or nuts into a horizontal press that has a rotating screw referred as the expeller and are squeezed to expel the oil naturally. Although there is a little amount of heat produced during this process, it causes minimal damage to the vitamins and minerals available.

However, the large-scale production uses another method known as the hot extraction. This method is similar to the cold press technique only that it involves the use high temperature at the end of the process to increase the yield of oil extracted.

The heat tends to destroy the necessary fatty acids and vitamins, making the oil less effective. If you are purchasing carrier oils for therapeutic use, try checking for carrier oils that have been extracted in the first method.

For the absolutely best benefits, use them with quality essential oils from these top brands.

How to use the essential oils

As previously mentioned, using essential oils directly on your skin be too strong, causing irritation or allergies. This is especially true for citrus oils, in which you will almost always want to to use with a diffuser or carrier oil for best results.

However, even with other popular essential oils, mixing them with carrier oils can be beneficial. You still get to enjoy all the benefits of the essential oil in its diluted state, but making it much safer on your skin. Whether inhaling during aroma therapy or using the carrier oil for face blemishes, they are a great way to absorb even more benefits, which work to increase your general health.

Mixing Guidelines

Below is a through guideline that you can use for diluting essential oils in a carrier oil. When mixing, it is important to keep in mind that different  concentrations of the essential oils have different effects on different individuals. The best advice is to start off with the lowest recommendation and then adjust to your preferences.

This way you will also use less of your essential oils, one of the best ways to make them last longer.

If you’re planning to use your essential oils for children, be sure to check out these dilution guidelines for their sensitive skins, or buy essential oils that are specifically made to be kid friendly, like the ones from Plant Therapy.


Dilute the essential oil down to a 1-3percent solution depending on your skin sensitivities. Use a one tsp carrier oil to dilute one to two drops of EO.


1 to 6 months

Make use of essential oils sparingly. Use a 1.5tps to dilute one drop of EO

6 months to 2 years

Dilute the EO to 0.25 percent concentration. Dilute one drop of EO per one tablespoon of carrier oil 

2 to 6 years

Dilute the OE to 0.5 percent concentration: Dilute one drop of essential oil with two tablespoons of carrier oil.

6 to 12 years

Dilute the OE to 0.5 to 1 percent concentration: Use 1.5 tsp base oil to dilute one drop of essential Oil.

12 years and above

Use a one percent solution: use one tsp of base oil to dilute one drop of OE


Although there are many to choose from, some of the best include olive, sweet almond, , avocado, apricot, coconut, and jojoba carrier oil. Choosing the best carrier oil is similar to choosing an essential oil. Go for the oil that has the properties that you need for your particular needs.

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