Carrier Oils

Carrier oils are also called Base oils.

Essential Oils in their pure state are too concentrated to use neat on your skin so they are always diluted with other oils when the recipe calls for massage or application to the body.  

These oils are vegetable, nut or seed oils and often have therapeutic properties of their own which can help in producing the most beneficial result from the essential oils they carry. 

Because of that try to use the appropriate carrier oil to the blend you are making.

Categories of Carrier Oils

Basic Oils

These are the most commonly used both for their availability and cost.

  • Grapeseed oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Sunflower oil 
  • Sweet Almond oil

Fixed Oils

These must be used with other oils because they may be too thick to use on their own or too expensive. They also have intrinsic therapeutic or nourishing value and are used for certain applications.

  • Jojoba
  • Avocado
  • Wheatgerm
  • Evening Primrose
  • Hazelnut

Macerated Oils

Distilling the essential oil from some essential oil plants can be difficult and/or expensive so a common fixed oil is used as a solvent either on its own or in water to draw the essential oil out. This is then filtered.

  • Calendula
  • Carrot
  • Hypericum
  • Lime Blossom
  • Melissa

The ratio of essential oils to base oils should never exceed 30 drops of essential oils to 30mls of carrier oil.

Important Note

Base oils will last a long time but be aware of the Use By date when you purchase the container.  If you use a carrier oil which is old and breaking down, it becomes rancid or oxidized, a chemical change takes place. This, if used on the skin, can introduce free radicals and harmful chemicals into the body.

Always buy quality oils, preferably from aromatherapy suppliers, not from the supermarket - as the ones in the supermarket are frequently processed with chemicals.

Carrier Oils Which Can Be Used 100%

Sweet Almond Prunus Amygdalus

Sweet Almond is a pale yellow oil composed of:

  • Glucosides
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, E
  • Proteins


Cold pressing

Skin Types

Sweet Almond oil is suitable for all skin types


It is especially useful for sore, itchy, dry or inflamed skin . Because of its slightly "oily" feel it is excellent for massages.

Apricot Kernel Prunus Armeniaca

Apricot Kernel oil is a pale yellow oil composed of:

  • Antioxidants
  • Oleic acid
  • Vitamins E & A


Cold pressing

Skin Types

Apricot Kernel oil is suitable for all skin types.


It is especially useful for ageing skins, sensitive, inflamed or dry skins.

Grapeseed Vitis Vinifera

Grapeseed oil is a pale green or colorless oil and contains:

  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Protein


Hot extraction as it has only about 10% of oil in the plant seeds

Skin Types

Grapeseed oil is suitable for oily skin.


It is easily absorbed into the skin and completely odorless. It is also a gentle emollient which doesn't leave the skin feeling greasy.

Sunflower Helianthus Annuus

Sunflower oil is a pale yellow oil and contains:

  • Lecithin
  • Vitamins A, B, D, E  
  • Omega-6 fatty acids


Solvent extracted

Skin Types

Sunflower oil is suitable for all skin types


It is useful for leg ulcers, bruises, skin diseases.

Carrier Oils Which Can Be Used As A 10% Dilution

Avocado Persea Americana

Avocado oil is a dark green oil and contains:

  • Vitamins A, B, D
  • Fatty acids
  • Lecithin
  • Linoleic acid


Pressed from old or low quality fruit which means sometimes the oil is cloudy.  This is okay to use.

Skin Types

Avocado is suitable for all skin types


It is especially useful for dehydrated skins, or ones with eczema.  

Evening Primrose Oenothera biennis

Evening Primrose oil is a golden or pale yellow oil and contains:

  • Gamma linoleic acid
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals


Extracted from seeds

Skin Types

Evening Primrose oil is suitable for all skin types


It is useful for the treatment of psoriasis and eczema.  It is also helpful for prematurely ageing skin. 

Jojoba Simmondsia chinensis

Jojoba is a yellow oil and contains:

  • Minerals
  • Proteins


Liquid wax extracted from a desert plant

Skin Types

Jojoba is suitable for all skin types


It is useful for the treatment of acne, inflamed skins and psoriasis by deep cleansing and moisturizing the skin. 

Sesame Sesamum indicum

Sesame oil is a dark yellow oil and contains:

  • Proteins
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins
  • Lecithin
  • Amino acids


Cold pressed from seeds

Skin Types

Sesame oil is suitable for all skin types


It is very useful for rheumatism, arthritis, psoriasis and eczema.  

Wheatgerm Triticum Vulgare

Wheatgerm is a yellow or orange oil and contains:

Vitamins A, E, D


Cold press or extraction

Skin Types

Wheatgerm is suitable for all skin types, except those prone to allergies.


It is especially useful for prematurely ageing skin, healing burns and skin conditions. 

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