Updated: Jul 8, 2019
What is a carrier oil?
Carrier oils are vegetable oils with little-to-no scent that are used to dilute essential oils. They are not volatile like essential oils, and are shelf-stable. In carrying essential oils into your skin, carrier oils do dilute the potency of the oil. However, this does not mean that the oil is any less effective. Rather, it means that essential oils better absorb into your skin because the it does not evaporate as quickly.
Dilution is also necessary for certain “hot” essential oils, and always a good idea when using any oils with children or for those with sensitive skin. When in doubt, always dilute.
Most carrier oils contain long chain fatty acids that can oxidize over time. For this purpose, some carrier oils undergo a process of fractionation in order to prolong their shelf life. The most common oil to undergo this process is coconut oil, which in its whole form is a thick solid with a consistency similar to butter.
Fractionation is a physical process (no solvents are added) that separates out the shorter length fatty acid chains. Because the final product, called fractionated coconut oil, has a higher proportion of short chain fatty acids, it has a much longer shelf life than other vegetable oils. This process also changes the texture of the oil from a solid fat to a liquid, non-greasy, and lightweight oil, ideal for topical application.
Some areas of the skin are especially sensitive, so use of essential oils should be avoided in these areas. It is also important to remember that essential oils are very potent and may linger on the hands or fingers after topical application. After applying oils with your hands, wash them thoroughly with soap and water. Avoid rubbing or touching the face and eyes after applying oil as these areas tend to be very sensitive to essential oils.
Sensitive Areas to be Avoided:
Some facial areas, such as the skin around the eyes
Broken, damaged, or otherwise injured skin
Which carrier oil is best?
Researching carrier oils online can be overwhelming because there are so many different types you can use. Keep in mind that it is best to use a carrier oil that is 100 percent pure. This way, the essential oil’s chemical profile is preserved and the oil is easily dissolved. Otherwise, the carrier oil has the potential to change the results or specific benefits you desire.
Substances like butter, vegetable shortening, and petroleum jelly should not be used as carrier oils because they do not absorb into the skin at the needed level.
So what are some good carrier oils? We've complied a list of some of the best known carrier oils:
Fractionated Coconut Oil. Coconut oil is high in antioxidants and Vitamin E. But, the thick, unrefined coconut oil you find at the grocery store is not as useful for aromatherapy purposes because it doesn’t readily absorb into the skin. Fractionating coconut oil makes it ideal for aromatherapy. The process of fractionating coconut oil makes the fatty acid chains separate out and produces a liquid consistency. Nothing is added to the oil itself to make it this way. This gives the oil a much longer shelf life and creates an oil that is non-greasy, light, and better for absorption.
Sweet Almond Oil. Great for all skin types and topical applications, almond oil is absorbed by the skin fairly well. It does have a slightly nutty smell to it, but nothing overwhelming. It is a great oil to use in face care because it helps moisturize. Be aware, however, that it is not for those with nut allergies as it is often produced in the same factories as peanut oil.
Jojoba Oil. Despite being called an oil, jojoba (pronounced ho-ho-ba) is actually a liquid wax. Odorless and golden yellow in color, jojoba is another popular carrier oil because it is great for hair and leaves skin hydrated without a lot of heavy shine. It is very similar to the oil that your skin produces naturally, and can be good for oily skin.
Grapeseed Oil. This oil is high in linoleic acid and is very moisturizing, especially for delicate skin. You’ll often see it listed on the ingredients list of many cosmetics. Its aroma is light and sweet, and it is clear in color. It can be a good carrier oil to use for occasional blemishes.
Olive Oil. Though it can be heavy, oily, and have a stronger odor when compared to the others, the benefit of olive oil is that it is high in both vitamins and minerals. Depending on the quantity and how diluted you need the essential oil to be, olive oil can overpower the scent.
How and What to Dilute
Once you’ve found your carrier oil of choice, you can then begin to dilute essential oils according to the dilution ratio you need. The following dilution ratios should give you a good idea where to start:
For one teaspoon of carrier oil add:
1 drop essential oil for a 1% ratio, 2 drops for 2%5 drops for 5%
One tablespoon of carrier oil:
3 drops essential oil for 1%, 6 drops for 2%15 drops for 5%
One fluid ounce of carrier oil:
6 drops essential oil for 1%, 12 drops for 2%30 drops for 5%
When it comes to using essential oils topically, doTERRA oils are organized into three specific categories:
Oils that are in the Dilute category are those that are high in constituents that are particularly strong, such as phenols. Cassia, Cinnamon Bark, Clove, Oregano, and Thyme all belong in this designation.
For children and those with sensitive skin, the Sensitive category is especially important to pay attention to. Always dilute oils in this category when using them on your skin for the first time.
Oils in the Sensitive category include:
doTERRA On Guard®
Slim & Sassy® (Smart & Sassy CDN)
The rest of the doTERRA oils are categorized as Neat if they are meant for topical application. If an oil is categorized as Neat, for most people these will not cause sensitivity. However, if you want to be safe when trying an oil for the first time, you can always test it by diluting it in a carrier oil and putting it on a small patch of your skin.
If you are interested in this or any other natural health product from doTERRA, contact me and I'd be happy to help you:).
To purchase doTERRA essential oils and/or other natural wellness products, just go to: https://www.mydoterra.com/michellemoses6/#/ and:
1. Select join and save
2. Choose wholesale customer (if you plan to be a customer only - you can upgrade later but we can chat about that) or wellness advocate if you want to build a business with doTERRA or refer your family and friends and earn some money back for doing so.
3. Fill in your details
4. Choose whichever starter kit you feel drawn to (my pick is the Home Essentials Kit + Fractionated Coconut oil as it has everything you need to get started, otherwise select the Introductory Enrolment Packet and add the individual oils you would like to start with).
Also: My Pick for Essential Oil Storage -in Live Well with Michelle colours of course;) - is this fun carrier case by Fuzebag. I have 3 and they fit in every shelf unit in my house from kitchen cupboards to the laundry room cubbies.