If you’re interested in using essential oils for therapeutic uses such as massage, you'll need to learn about carrier oils first.  A carrier oil is a vegetable oil derived from the fatty portion of a plant, usually from the seeds, kernels or the nuts.  They are part of the “blend” you should make before using essential oils.

So, what do they have to do with essential oils?  If applied to the skin undiluted, essential oils and other concentrated aromatics can cause severe irritation or reactions.  Carrier oils are used to dilute oils prior to application, hence why they are called “carrier oils.”

What’s the Difference?  
Essential oils are distilled from the leaves, bark, roots and other aromatic portions of a plant.  They evaporate and have a concentrated  aroma, which is why they’re mainly used for aromatherapy.  Carrier oils, on the other hand, are pressed from the fatty portions of the plant and do not evaporate or have a strong aroma.  Carrier oils can go rancid, whereas essential oils do not.

Examples of Carrier Oils
There are several carrier oils you can use when applying essential oils.  Some are better than others when it comes to specific conditions.  For example, avocado oil is helpful to the skin whereas olive oil isn’t.  Here is a list of some common carrier oils and their proposed benefits:

-Avocado Oil: Nourishing for the skin and hair
-Sweet Almond Oil: Clean and natural moisturizer, great for massage
-Hazelnut Oil: Penetrates well, good for oily skin
-Jojoba Oil: Natural anti-inflammatory
-Peanut Oil: Helpful for arthritis
-Pomegranate Oil: anti-inflammatory, rich in antioxidants
-Sunflower Oil: Affordable, versatile
-Watermelon Seed Oil: Nourishing, good absorption, helpful for all skin types
-Coconut Oil: Good for damaged hair, rich in vitamins and minerals
-Grapeseed Oil: Good for massage blends, suitable to all skin types
-Hemp Seed: Has anti-inflammatory effects

How Do I Determine Which Carrier Oil to Use?

It all depends on the essential oil that you’re using and what you’re using it for; the best way to figure out which blend works for you is by experimenting.  However, you should always check with your doctor if you are unsure about oils or blends.  It is possible for allergic and adverse reactions to occur, although they are unlikely.  

To find each of these carrier oils in our store please head over to our Carrier Oils page. You can also check out some resources on all things Aromatherapy here on our Aromatherapy Resources page.