Carrier oils are used to dilute essential oils and offer additional benefits to the skin. They are also needed in recipes for body care products like shampoos, conditioners, lotions, soaps, and serums. Unlike essential oils, carrier oils are rich in omega fatty acids and nutrients, to offer nourishment and protection to the skin.
Which carrier oil should I choosing? That is a question we are often asked by our customers who are making body care products and diluting essential oils. Below is a summary of each carrier oil’s topical uses and benefits.
Topical Uses of Carrier Oils
Almond (Sweet) Oil - Clear to pale yellow in color, sweet almond oil is pressed from the seeds of the sweet almond tree. It spreads easily, absorbs fast, and is a great ingredient for body care and soap. It is one of the most popular of all carrier oils.
It is very light in aroma and has a great slip and glide, making it a wonderful ingredient for massage and skin care products. In a soap formula, sweet almond oil helps to produce long lasting lather and soothes the skin. It is also great to "super-fat" a soap base after saponification.
Commonly used for skin protection, nourishment, and to relieve itching and dryness, sweet almond oil is excellent for all skin types. It is high in mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids, proteins, minerals and glycosides, and it contains naturally occurring vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and E. It also contains up to 28% of linoleic acid, an omega 6 essential fatty acid.
Aromaland adds additional plant-derived vitamin E oil to increase shelf life and provide additional nourishment for the skin.
Note: sweet almond oil is a fatty plant oil, and not to be confused with bitter almond essential oil, which is derived from a different plant and is potentially toxic.
Apricot Kernel Oil – Cold-pressed from the seed of the apricot fruit and then refined, this oil is similar to sweet almond oil. It is very light and easily absorbed by the skin. Its smooth and lightweight texture is especially good for facial serums. It is a very popular body oil, since it does not leave an oil film on the skin.
In soap making, apricot kernel oil offers great skin nourishment and good lathering qualities.
Apricot oil is high in vitamin A and minerals, and it contains 34% linoleic acid. It also contains the highest content of nitriloside (also known as vitamin B-17) in the plant world.
A European study showed that the skin loses more water when it has low levels of linoleic acid (an omega 6 essential fatty acid). There also seems to be a link between low linoleic acid and the formation of acne. For these reasons, apricot kernel oil is recommended for mature, dry, and acne-prone skin.
Aromaland adds additional plant-derived vitamin E oil to increase the shelf life, and provide additional nourishment for the skin.
Avocado Oil - Gained from the dehydrated flesh of the avocado fruit, this pale green oil is refined and luxuriously smooth and rich. It contains vitamins, proteins, lecithin (a phospholipid), fatty acids and antioxidants. The sterolin found in this oil may help diminish age spots and is said to offer a certain level of UV protection.
Avocado oil a superb emollient and, despite its thickness, has the ability to penetrate the upper layers of the skin with moisturizing and soothing benefits. Avocado oil is said to improve the water-soluble collagen content in the skin, which lends to a more youthful appearance.
Canola Oil - This light and odorless oil contains essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Easily absorbed into the skin and high in gamma linoleic acid, it is recommended for all skin types.
It is Aromaland's most economical carrier oil and is very stable with a long-lasting shelf life.
In soap making, canola offers only a small amount of unsaturated fatty acids, which results in soap that saponifies slowly. It should be kept at a content level of below 15% of the total soap recipe.
Castor Oil – This oil is rather viscous, yet well absorbed by the skin, to offer softening and moisturizing benefits. Herbalists make body compresses using castor oil because of its ability to penetrate into deeper layers of the skin. It is also commonly used to soften corns and dry, chapped problem-areas, and as a natural hair conditioner.
The plant is sometimes called Palma Christi or "hand of Christ" as a folk reference to its healing properties.
Aromaland offers the commonly used sulfated castor oil, since raw, unrefined castor oil contains a toxin. Sulfated castor oil is most commonly used as a natural bridge between oil and water - it can be used to emulsify oils. Hence, sulfated castor oil is a prime ingredient for making bath oils with deeply moisturizing benefits.
In soap making, this oil consists of mostly ricinoleic fatty acid, which is a bit problematic for saponification. The bars tend to get soft and "mushy" easily, so watch the quantity (many recommend staying at or below 1%), and possibly add more sodium hydroxide. In other words, if you have a recipe calling for castor oil, follow it to the dot or the soap may be spoiled.
Not for internal use, it is a strong laxative!
Evening Primrose Oil - Extracted from the seeds of the plant, evening primrose is a precious and highly beneficial plant oil. It is supportive to the skin with rejuvenating and regenerating benefits. Plus, it is easily absorbed and seems to penetrate into deeper layers of the skin.
Evening Primrose oil is very rich in linoleic acid, the omega 6 essential fatty acid that is considered key to maintaining good moisture levels in the skin. It is also an excellent source of vitamin E.
It is a bit viscous, so add it to skin care recipes up to 10%. Even a smaller amount can offer skin-balancing benefits.
In soap making, due to its high price, this oil is not commonly used. You may, however, add a few drops at the last minute along with your essential oils, to create a luxuriously "super fatted" bar of soap.
Grapeseed Oil - Extracted from the grape seeds after the juicing of the fruit, grapeseed oil has a slightly green hue. It offers an extraordinarily high content of linoleic acid (an omega 6 essential fatty acid), and is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and a variety of plant fatty acids.
Exceptionally fine and light, this odorless oil penetrates quickly and absorbs easily. It is better for body and massage oils than the more viscous oils, and works well for all skin types. It may also offer toning action to help firm skin tissue.
With astringent qualities, it can be beneficial for oily skin.
Hazelnut Oil – This oil is unique in that two fatty acids make up 90% of its composition. Both unsaturated, this oil is very light. It has a delicious yet subtle "nutty" aroma, and is absorbed easily by the skin. Gentle and non-greasy, it is a lightweight oil that offers vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and proteins.
Hazelnut oil is recommended for oily, acne-prone or combination skin. Note: it is a valuable moisturizer for all skin types. It can also be a good astringent facial toner, and is said to help stimulate circulation and penetrate the skin more deeply than other oils.
Soap Making: With an abundance of unsaturated fatty acids, this oil needs to be blended with more saturated oils to shorten the tracing time.
Hemp Seed Oil - Hemp seed oil is cold pressed from the seeds and contains about 80% fatty acid. These fatty acids are mainly unsaturated. The oil is rich in Omega 3 and 6.
It is good to use in skin and hair care products. It does not clog the pores, and is beneficial to all skin types while offering nourishing benefits. It is added in natural body care products to help brighten the skin and add shine to the hair.
Hemp seed oil has a short shelf life, so Aromaland offers an internally-stabilized version of the oil with a proprietary blend of natural rosemary antioxidant added to offer antimicrobial and antioxidant benefits. This also lengthens its shelf life.
Jojoba Oil - This "oil" is in fact a waxy ester that is derived from the oil-rich seeds of the jojoba bush, a desert plant that grows in the American Southwest and Northern Mexico. It has a long tradition as a folk remedy with the Native Americans and Mexicans, who have used its oil for eczema, hair care, and all kinds of skin types.
It is smooth and non-greasy, and one of our most popular oils because it has a similar consistency to sebum, our natural skin oil. It is moisturizing and helps reduce the flow of excess sebum.
Further, it supports the skin as a natural barrier against harmful bacteria. It won't clog pores, and is a good carrier oil choice with acne.
Jojoba is also rich in plant fatty acids, vitamin E, and minerals, and has a 100-year shelf life!
Macadamia Nut Oil - This silky oil is a traditional Hawaiian oil that is extracted from the macadamia nut, which originated from Australia. It is odorless and clear and very similar to the body's own skin oil/sebum.
Macadamia nut oil is rich in mono-unsaturated fats, as well as oleic and palmitoleic acids. It is said that palmitoleic acid is a crucial ingredient for the health of the cell membranes, providing the lipid barrier that is needed to retain moisture and regenerate the layers of cells. Since the palmitoleic acid content of the skin decreases with age, macadamia oil is recommended for mature and dry skin.
This very light and pleasant oil is great as a base for facial, body, and hair care products. In soap making, macadamia oil is somewhat of a luxury oil and a wonderful ingredient to "super fat" a soap.
Olive Oil - Known in Mediterranean countries as a "healing oil", this oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins E and K. It is cold pressed and un-refined, coming from the fruit of the beloved olive tree.
Olive oil is green in color and has a noticeable aroma.
It is good for all skin types, especially sensitive skin. It can be found in many hair care recipe, or as a cosmetic ingredient. This oil is revered for its skin-moisturizing and hair-conditioning effects.
Note: Our fine glycerin soap is made mostly of olive oil for its mild, skin nourishing properties.
Rosehip Oil- This oil is cold pressed from rosehips, the small, round, orange/red fruit seen after the rose has bloomed. It contains equally high amounts of alpha-linolenic and linoleic acids, and is used to provide the skin with a protective lipid barrier that keeps it young and soft.
Balancing and regenerative, rosehip seed oil can benefit a wide range of skin imbalances and is commonly recommended for scarring, mature skin, and skin rejuvenation. It is considered a luxury carrier oil, and even a small amount in a recipe can be tremendously beneficial.
Note: Rosehip seed oil's high content of antioxidants make it a valuable ingredient in natural facial and body care products.
Safflower Oil - This colorless and virtually flavorless oil is expressed from the seeds of the safflower thistle plant. It contains more poly-unsaturated fats than any other oil, and is moisturizing and nourishing. Its high content of linoleic acid helps balance the oil production of skin and can offer smoother looking skin and add a healthy shine to the hair. It is also considered a good carrier oil for the face, and especially acne-prone skin.
Since it is light, odorless, and quick to absorb, it is a popular ingredient in skin care, hair, and massage therapy products.
Sesame Seed Oil – Pressed from the sesame seed, this is a light, yet rich oil with a long shelf life. Its unsaponifiable fats are naturally rich in antioxidants. Aromaland offers the refined version that does not have a strong scent. However, a slight sesame aroma can be detected.
This oil is a good choice for all skin types. It is used in Ayurvedic medicinal preparations, especially to balance Vata, and is said to be skin-rejuvenating. It is a wonderful massage oil that penetrates the skin easily, and provides highly nourishing care.
Some say that sesame is one of the oils with the highest UV protection, but final products would have to be clinically tested to make any such claims.
Soap Making: Sesame oil is a great soap ingredient because of its high content of linoleic acid and unsaponifiables that do not turn into soap. However, you need to complement this oil with other, more saturated fats, and limit its percentage to less than 10%. Also, be sure you use the refined version (such as Aromaland's sesame oil) because the unrefined oil would have a strong aroma that is detectable even after scenting it with essential oils.
Sunflower Oil – Made from cold pressed sunflower seeds, this pale yellow and light carrier oil is high in unsaturated fatty acids and vitamins A, B, D, and E.
It has a satin-smooth texture, and is a favorite carrier oil because it is light, non-greasy, and affordable. It absorbs easily and is nourishing for all skin types.
Wheat Germ Oil – The germ (reproductive part) of the wheat kernel is cold pressed to produce this deeply moisturizing and protective carrier oil. It is high in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A, B, D, and E.
This oil readily absorbs into the skin with regenerative and softening properties ideal for mature or dry skin. It also helps in reducing skin damage and scarring.
Avoid with wheat allergies.
Also, this oil tends to have a shorter shelf life, store in a cool dark area and avoid overexposure to the air.
So many carrier oils to choose from. They offer great skin and hair benefits! Aromaland offers high quality carrier oils for your natural body care recipes and essential oil blending needs!