Essential oils should never be used undiluted when you apply it topically on the skin. It should always be diluted in what is called a carrier oil. That can be a bit vague so here is a list of the best carrier oils to use to dilute essential oils. Carrier oils are not the same and many of them have specific properties that will add more benefit to using your essential oils.
What is a carrier oil?
A carrier oil is a vegetable oil that is used as a carrier to dissolve or carry the essential oils. Essential oils can only be dissolve in oil or alcohol. It will not dissolve in water and will leave an oily film on the top of the water. Even though essential oils are not oily in itself, they are volatile compounds which evaporate very quickly.
Why do you need to use a carrier oil?
1) Skin sensitivity, redness, burning or itching can occur if you apply undiluted essential oils to your skin.
2) Permanent skin sensitizing can occur that can create an allergic response to that specific oil. That can make it impossible for you to ever use that oil again. Symptoms such as headaches, hives, itching and nausea can happen every time that you use that oil again.
3) Essential oils are not really oils, they are volatile and will evaporate off the skin when you apply them neat. Diluting them in a carrier oil helps to keep it on the skin longer and therefor your skin can absorb the oil more efficient.
How to choose carrier oils?
Choose your carrier oils carefully as well. I always recommend buying organic essential oils and I incline that way when it comes to carrier oils as well.
Choose cold pressed oils and then it comes down to what the oils feel like to you. Sometimes it is best to blend some carrier oils as well to either make it more affordable or to create a blend that you enjoy the texture of.
Different carrier oils
Apricot Kernel oil
This is a very nourishing oil but light in texture and easily absorbed.
Useful for all skin types but especially for inflamed, sensitive, dry skin.
This is a heavy oil so it is best to blend this with another oil. It leaves a greasy film on the skin.
Despite the heaviness it is very penetrating. This is one of my favorite oils to use as a facial moisturizer at nighttime.
Useful for dry, dehydrated skin. Especially good for eczema sufferers as it helps to improve the skin elasticity.
Organic coconut oil or also called virgin coconut oil or VCO is solid at room temperature but easy to scoop out and use on the body. Use a utensil such as a spoon or spatula to scoop the oil out of the container rather than sticking your fingers in there every time to prevent germs and bacteria getting in your coconut oil.
Useful for hair, lips, massage and body moisturizer. It leaves a thin lipid layer on the skin which helps to protect the skin therefor it is a good oil of choice for summer and going out into the sun.
Fractionated coconut oil
Coconut oil is a solid oil at room temperature and melts very easily when come into contact with the skin but it still makes it a bit complicated to work with and especially to mix essential oils into.
Fractionated coconut oil is the liquid type of coconut oil that makes it much easier to mix essential oils with. It has been distilled so it is not a whole oil.
This is one of the most popular carrier oils for various reasons:
It has a very long shelf life
Wash out of clothes much easier than other carrier oils
Useful for dry, itchy, sensitive skin
Grape seed oil
This is one of my favorite carrier oils because it is so light and does not have a significant smell.
Useful for oily skin and great to tone and tighten the skin. A great oil to use for acne skin.
Evening primrose oil
Great carrier oil for psoriasis, eczema and to heal wounds and scars. It is very rich in omega 6 fatty acids which is the reason why it goes rancid so quickly. Keep this delicate oil in the fridge. It is also a very expensive carrier oil so it is good to mix it with another carrier oil.
Great oil to use for oily skin especially acne prone skin. It absorbs into the skin quickly which is another reason why this would be a good choice for acne skin. I had severe acne as a teenager and the last thing I would have liked would be to walk around with a greasy film on my face. It helps to maintain elasticity and strengthen capillaries so very helpful for tread veins.
Useful for cell regeneration and circulation.
Useful for psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, acne and inflamed skin
Jojoba oil is a great carrier oil to use for hair treatments and oily scalps. Also, a great oil to use for acne skin.
It contains Myristic acid which is anti-inflammatory which makes a very useful oil for rheumatism and also arthritis.
Mix it with another carrier oil to dilute essential oils because it is quite a thick oil. Jojoba has a great shelf life.
Macadamia nut oil
This is a wonderful oil but can be a bit overpowering in smell. So I suggest that you blend it with another carrier oil if the nutty smell is too much for you.
Can be use for all skin types but great for the mature, dry skin. The fatty acids help to maintain the skin's water barrier function. Great skin softener and can be used to protect against sunburn.
Useful for lip balms, baby products, facial blends due to the low toxicity level.
Rosehip seed oil
Useful for dry, dull skin. Great for people suffering from psoriasis, eczema, scars, over-pigmentation or dry scaly skin.
Goes rancid very quickly. Rose hip seed oil is a wonderful oil for the aging skin. Do not use on acne skin or oily and blemished skin.
This is a very affordable carrier oil and another all-rounder that does not have a strong smell. It has a light texture.
Useful for bruises, diaper rash, cradle cap.
Make sure you buy an organic sunflower seed oil though.
Sweet almond oil
This is another very popular carrier oil because it is very versatile and affordable. It doesn't have a strong flavor and is easily absorbed by the skin. Doesn't leave a greasy film on the skin. Can be used on all skin types.
Useful for eczema, to relief itchy, dry and inflamed skin.
Olive oil is an all-rounder oil not only in the kitchen but also in the aromatherapist toolbox. Make sure you use only extra virgin organic olive oil to ensure that you are using a pure oil. It does have a strong smell so I would dilute it with another oil as well as use if for essential oils with a strong smell like thyme or rosemary.
Useful for hair care, nail care as well as joint and muscle pains.
These are a few of the most popular carrier oils available. As you can see there is a wide variety and choosing your carrier oil is also important and can add additional benefit to your synergy blend of essential oils.
Using a carrier oil to dilute your essential oils are not only a safer way to use essential oils but also makes it more sustainable. Essential oils have gained a lot of popularity but it is just not sustainable to use it undiluted and to try to consume as much as possible just to get another sale.
We have to be good stewards of this earth and its resources.
Take care of you so that you can take care of those you love.