What are carrier oils and how to I choose one

Text-only Preview

What are carrier oils and how to I choose one?

Carrier oils are an crucial yet overlooked element of aromatherapy. Essential oils are too powerful to use
in their natural form, so they will need diluting with a carrier oil. Carrier oils have their own health
benefits, ranging from treating arthritis to anti-aging , so it is important to find one to suit your needs.

Carrier oils (or base oils) are vegetable oils made from the fatty part of plants like the seeds, nuts or
kernals. They are used to dilute essential oils (which are too strong to use in their pure form), and can be
used to produce a massage oil or a facial oil, and treat a number of skin problems. Typically classed as
`fixed oils' because they do not evaporate, carrier oils make up 98% of a typical aromatherapy
treatment, so are more important than you may first think. On average it is advised that you use just 2-6
drops of essential oil for each tablespoon of carrier oil. Choosing appropriate carrier oils is an important
part of aromatherapy, and although the choice is wide, it might not be as hard as you think.

Because Carrier Oils derive from the fatty parts of the plants (and are lipids), they tend to possess a
faintly sweet and nutty aroma. Sweet Almond Oil is almost odourless however, and the scent and
properties of carrier oils greatly vary. Most are extracted from nuts and seeds, but Coconut Oil is
produced from the fruit's white flesh and Jojoba Oil comes from a leathery-leaved shrub, making more
of a liquid than an oil. Adding an essential oil or two will give extra health benefits to your carrier oil and
give them a more pleasing smell of your selection. Carrier oils do however, have their own
aromatherapy qualities. The majority of oils are softening to skin because of their fat content, so they
work as an efficient moisturiser when rubbed into skin.

Sweet Almond Oil is the most common of all of the carrier oils. It is rich in minerals, vitamins, proteins
and fatty acids, so is nourishing and revitalises skin. It is versatile and is used extensively in cosmetics
and therapeutic skincare, and resists oxidisation so it is a good choice for purchasing in large quantities
for massage treatments. Peach and Apricot carrier oils are similarly versatile and can be used for both
body massage and facial treatments, as they are light and can be absorbed easily by the skin. If you are
nervous about nut allergy reactions then try Sunflower or Grapeseed. They offer similar properties but
are extracted from seeds.

Evening Primrose carrier oils are rich in an Omega-6 fatty acid named gammalinolenic acid. This is
known to reduce the signs of aging and helping to repair weather or atmospheric skin damage. It is also
believed to sooth hormonal fluctuations and can help with chronic skin conditions such as eczema and
psoriasis, and is heavy so ideal for use in facial treatments. Evening Primrose Oil is among the more
pricey carrier oils, so it is best to combine with another essential oil like Almond Oil if using for body
massage. Jojoba is also a good carrier oil for facial treatments, but may also need diluting for use on the


Another health benefit of carrier oils is helping to battle arthritis, which Peanut Oil is said to do. Extra
Virgin Olive Oil is used in many cosmetics, and has been long used in its native Mediterranean countries
as a successful skin treatment, and it can help heal skin conditions and cuts and wounds. Unrefined
Wheat Germ Oil and Avocado Oil are full of vitamin E which make them an ideal oil to use for skin with
environmental damage. These have a strong odour though so are best for overnight treatments.

It is advisable to look for carrier oils which are blends of two or less plants, and ones which have no
additives. The selection of carrier oils is wide, and each have their own qualities and benefits. Think
about what properties you are seeking in an aromatherapy treatment and look for carrier oils which
match these.


Base Formula are expert importers, exporters and analysers of 100% natural aromatherapy products,
and have been supplying aromatherapists around the world for the past fifteen years. They provide a
huge choice of carrier oils and provide information about the properties of each so you are sure to find
one to suit your needs. They also sell 100% pure essential oils, organic essential oils, pure hydrolats and
other aromatherapy products, and are registered members of the Aromatherapy Trade Council. Visit