Choosing a carrier oil can be a little confusing with so many choices out there but with a little know-how, it's pretty simple. This guide should help you decide which one is right for the job. Let's start with the basics.
WHAT IS A CARRIER OIL? A carrier oil is an oil derived from the fatty part of a plant, nut or seed. While essential oils are steam distilled, evaporate and are aromatic, carrier oils are pressed, do not evaporate and have little to no smell.
WHY USE A CARRIER OIL?
- USE LESS TO DO MORE. Remember how I mentioned above that essential oils will evaporate? Well, carrier oils do not. By diluting, less of the essential oil is able to evaporate and more of it is able to soak into your skin. The carrier oil effectively drives the essential oil into your skin.
- SPREAD IT FURTHER. You are able to cover larger areas using less oil thanks to the carrier oil helping to spread that drop. When you have a sore back, you could use several drops of oil to cover it, or you could use one drop (that will be driven in more effectively) in some carrier oil.
- LESS MORE OFTEN. Using one drop more often is always more effective than using lots of drops at once. So, that sore back you had, is going to be better soothed by using one diluted drop every 20 minutes instead of several drops at once.
- PROTECT YOUR SKIN. Essential oils are potent and can be irritating to the skin. Sensitization (red, angry skin) can occur when a carrier oil is not used, especially when using "hot" oils or reapplying essential oils to the same area. Luckily, not only is the carrier oil keeping your skin happy, it's making better use of the drop you do use.
- A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY. Especially for little ones or pets, one drop may be too much. Diluting allows you to use less than one drop, so you have an appropriate amount of essential oil.
HOW MUCH DO I DILUTE? Dilution does not need to be precise. There are some general guidelines, but through experience, you will likely find that exact measurements are not necessary. Keep in mind that diluting does not lessen the effect of the essential oil. A drop is a drop and it will enter your skin whether it is applied with two drops of carrier oil or ten. For dilution instructions for a specific oil, look on the label or in the Essential Oil Desk Reference for exact recommendations. Here are a few recommended ratios to use as a guideline for dilution:
NOTE: A few oils need to be further diluted to 20:80. These in include the single oils basil, cassia, cinnamon bark, clove, cumin, lemongrass, lemon myrtle, mountain savory, oregano, thyme and the blends DiGize, Exodus II, GLF, ImmuPower, Longevity and Thieves.
WHAT DO I LOOK FOR IN A CARRIER OIL? Quality. Look for words like COLD PRESSED, EXPELLOR PRESSED, UNREFINED, VIRGIN & ORGANIC. You have the purest essential oils on earth, so make sure you pair it with a carrier oil worthy of the job.
WHICH CARRIER OIL DO I CHOOSE? Here are some of the most common carrier oils and some information about each to help you decide which one(s) fits your needs.
- V-6 VEGETABLE OIL COMPLEX - V-6 oil is Young Living's specially formulated, proprietary blend of oils and is comprised almond oil, fractionated coconut oil, grape seed oil, olive oil, sesame seed oil, sunflower seed oil and wheat germ oil. These are all nourishing, antioxidant vegetables that are colorless and odorless. It has a long shelf life, does not clog pores, and will not stain clothes. This is a great oil to use in roller-bottles or making your own massage oils with your essential oils.
- COCONUT OIL - A great oil for general moisturizing, coconut oil moisturizes and creates a protective layer over the skin, helping one retain the moisture. Because it is so mild and naturally antibacterial, it's a great choice for those with sensitive or inflamed skin. It is a favorite to use as an ingredient in lotions, body butters and creams.
- FRACTIONATED COCONUT OIL - With an indefinite shelf life, fractionated coconut oil is very light and facilitates the absorption of other oils. The coconut oil has been fractionated, which means that the fatty acids have been separated from the triglycerides so that it is always liquid. Colorless and odorless, it absorbs easily into the skin. Because it does not harden, it is a good choice for using in roller-bottles or making your own massage oils with your essential oils.
- SWEET ALMOND OIL - Highly emollient, sweet almond oil is known for it's ability to soften, smooth and recondition the skin. It makes a great ingredient in lotions, creams and body butters.
- JOJOBA OIL - Actually not so much an oil, jojoba oil is a liquid plant wax. With it's bright golden color and mild odor, it is favored for it's similarity to our skins own natural sebum; because of this it soaks in easily. It is also wonderful for cleansing the scalp. It has a longer than normal shelf life and is one of the main components of our silky lotion base.
- AVOCADO OIL - This is a rich oil, chock full of amino acids, sterols, pantothenic acid, lecithin and other essential fatty acids. It is particularly good for those with skin problems. A somewhat unstable oil, it is recommended to store in the refrigerator, out of light and away from heat.
- GRAPESEED OIL - With it's pleasant aroma, grapeseed oil is wonderful for use as a general carrier oil, or in creams and lotions. It does not leave a greasy feeling and is therefore a great choice for those with skin that doesn't absorb oils well. It is also great for those with sensitive skin.
- OLIVE OIL - One of the more universal and multi-purposed oils, it is quite stable and useful as an ingredient in skincare products or on it's own. Thicker than some of the other carriers, it may leave more of a greasy feeling on the skin.
- CASTOR OIL - This shiny oil is often used in cosmetics as a barrier against harsh conditions. It is very soothing to the skin, is said to encourage hair growth and is the main ingredient in our lash serum.
SUGGESTED RECIPES FOR CARRIER OILS:
Any one of the carrier oils above can be used on it's own, but they also make great ingredients for other bases. Check out the recipes we have for you HERE.
SUGGESTED ACCESSORIES FOR CARRIER OILS:
- ROLLER FITMENTS - These are sold in packs of 10 by Young Living and turn any 5ml or 15ml bottle into a roll on.
- ROLL ON BOTTLES - make your own blends, prediluted and ready to apply! The metal rollerball on these is the cherry on top. They glide to easily and let out just the right amount of oil.
- SPRAY TOPS - These will fit on top of your Young Living 5ml or 15ml bottles, turning them into a small and convenient spray bottle. I like to fill empty bottles with water and top it with one of these to make a linen spray, disinfecting spray, etc.
- GLASS DROPPERS - Young Living sells these little droppers and they make measuring drops of carrier oil a breeze.
When all is said and done, you really can't go wrong with any of these carrier oils. They will help make the most of those essential oils we all love so much! Enjoy them, dilute them, and use them often.