Carrier Oils- The Basics

When you use different essential oils in your everyday beauty rituals, you probably see that if you are using the oils to be applied directly on your skin, you need to dilute it in carrier oils. But what is that exactly? Here is information on carrier oils and why they are essential to add to essential oils.

What is the purpose of carrier oils?

What many people don’t realize when they start using essential oils is that for the most part, oils shouldn’t be applied directly to your skin. These are pure extracts from leaves and plants, which can be a little too strong for your skin. Even if you don’t have sensitive skin, you could have a bad reaction to them. Not only that, you need to neutralize the strong scent as well so they don’t become overpowering.

Adding carrier oils helps to dilute the essential oils to help with both of these problems. Plus, the oils provide a little lubrication and moisture for your skin, so they help in that way as well.

What are some examples of carrier oils?

Not all oils can be used as carrier oils, but many of them are great to use. Some that are commonly used include coconut oil, olive oil, grape seed oil, and hazelnut oil, hemp seed oil, and sunflower oil. Typically any oil from nuts or seeds is going to be acceptable. You should not use other forms of oil or grease in your kitchens, such as vegetable oil or vegetable shortening, butter, or margarine. You also do not want to use any type of mineral oil for application on the skin with essential oils.

Why do carrier oils help with dilution?

In many cases, essential oils are diluted with water, such as if you add them to a diffuser and get steam from the oil and water into the air, or you add them to your tea or a bathtub for aromatherapy. However, when they go on your skin, water doesn’t work well.

Essential oils evaporate into your skin very quickly, going deep into the layers of skin where it irritates. The same problems exist with plain water. However, oil sits on your skin for longer so you can rub it onto the top surface of your skin with the essential oils, and it protects your delicate skin while also neutralizing the scent.

The term is half misleading. It doesn’t even have to be an oil, but it does extra carrier ingredients to a larger surface area.
Example: One drop of lavender essential oils doesn’t cover much of your skin, but 1 drop of lavender and 1 drop of almond oil will cover at least double the surface area.
A carrier oil has two purposes (in my mind anyway): you use to either dilute an essential oil or something that you use to get a specific use or consistency from (example: coconut oil makes great salves).

What is the purpose of carrier oils?

What many people don’t realize when they start using essential oils is that for the most part, oils shouldn’t be applied directly to your skin. These are pure extracts from leaves and plants, which can be a little too strong for your skin. Even if you don’t have sensitive skin, you could have a severe reaction to them.

Not only that, you need to neutralize the strong scent as well so they don’t become overpowering. Adding carrier oils helps to dilute the essential oils to help with both of these problems. Plus, the oils provide a little lubrication and moisture for your skin, so they help in that way as well.

What are some examples of carrier oils?

Not all oils can be used as carrier oils, but many of them are great to use. Some that are commonly used include coconut oil, olive oil, grape seed oil, and hazelnut oil, hemp seed oil, and sunflower oil. Typically any oils from nuts or seeds are going to be acceptable. You should not use other forms of oil or grease in your kitchens, such as vegetable oil or vegetable shortening, butter, or margarine. You also do not want to use any type of mineral oil for application on the skin with essential oils.

Another thing to consider is smell– do you want it to smell nutty (hazelnut, almond) or fruity (coconut, apricot) or maybe sweet (cocoa butter)? Carrier oils can add to the depth of scent in your DIY recipe, but sometimes they can get in the way. For an unscented carrier oil, I love jojoba oil.

How To Pick A Carrier Oil for Body Care

When we are applying carrier oils to the body, I think it’s more important to realize we need to pick an oil based on what we want.

1. Do we need to achieve a purpose (wrinkles, blemishes, dry skin, etc.)
2. Are we looking to achieve consistency (salve, body butter, balm, serum)
3. What about scent?
4. Do we just want to dilute an essential oil?

When I was younger, I used to think that only people with dry skin needed a moisturizer. But I know now that is not the right way:)
Yes, it makes sense that people with dry skin need to use something to moisturize their face, but did you know that some studies suggest that people with oily or combination skin may be producing too much oil because the skin is not getting enough moisture and the skin makes up for it by producing more oil?
Regardless of our age or skin type, we all need a great moisturizer to keep our skin hydrated, protect the environment, and help prevent irritation.

Roses essential oil with red roses petals on rustic background. Cosmetic, aromatherapy, spa or wellness concept.

When we wash our face, we often strip our skin of the natural oils (sebum).   By using a face serum (natural oils blended with essential oils), we are replenishing the natural oils on our face.
We all need a moisturizer, but we shouldn’t all use the same one.

I’ve seen lots of DIY face serum recipes that offer the same recipe for everyone to use whether they have normal skin, dry skin, combination skin, sensitive skin, mature skin, acne-prone skin, or oily skin.
That just doesn’t make sense.
While everyone should moisturize their face, we don’t all have to use the same moisturizer.
Our skin is different, and it has different needs.  A face serum for sensitive skin needs to be gentle and calm irritated skin.  A face serum for mature skin needs to hydrate, even pigmentation, plump fine lines, and wrinkles, and increase skin’s elasticity.

Different needs for different skin.
(After you finish reading this post, be sure also to check out my recipe for DIY foaming face wash using essential oils.  Just like this DIY face serum, there are versions of the foaming face wash for each skin type {normal, dry, sensitive, acne, oily, and mature}.

How to Make DIY Face Serum with Essential Oil

Making a face serum is effortless.  Just 2 ingredients and 3 very simple steps.
After you see the basic recipe, be sure to keep reading to see how to customize the face serum to be just right for your skin type.
Step 1:  add 2 ounces of carrier oil to a glass bottle
(see below for a list of which carrier oils work best for your skin type)
Step 2:  add 20 drops of essential oil
(see below for a list of which essential oils work best for your skin type)
Step 3:  put lid on the bottle and gently roll the bottle in the palm of your hand for about 30 seconds to mix the essential oils in with a carrier oil

That’s it.  That’s all there is to make your very own DIY face serum with essential oil.
Just 3 simple steps:
1. add 2 oz. of carrier oil to a glass bottle
2. add 20 drops essential oil
3. gently roll bottle in your hand to mix

How to Use Face Serum

Step 1:  Cleanse face (find my favorite DIY face wash for your skin type HERE)
Step 2: use a toner (find my recipe for a simple, but super excellent 3-ingredient facial toner here)
Step 3:  apply a drop of serum to forehead, each cheek, and chin
Step 4:  gently massage in using small, soft upward strokes
store bottle in a cool, dark place

What are the best carrier oils for your skin type?

Normal:  apricot kernel oil, jojoba, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil, sweet almond oil
Dry:  avocado oil, sweet almond oil, rose hip seed oil, apricot kernel oil, sunflower oil
Acne:  jojoba, sesame oil, argan oil, grapeseed oil, evening primrose
Sensitive:  sunflower oil, jojoba, sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil, rose hip seed oil, avocado oil, argan oil, grapeseed oil, evening primrose
Oily:  jojoba, argan oil, grapeseed oil
Mature:  rose hip seed oil, jojoba, sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil, tamanu oil

What are the best essential oils for your skin type?

Normal:  lavender, frankincense, geranium
Dry:  geranium, lavender, myrrh, patchouli, rose, frankincense, ylang-ylang, cedarwood, clary sage, Roman chamomile, sandalwood, jasmine
Non-Cystic Acne:  geranium, cedarwood, lavender, patchouli, tea tree, rose, Roman chamomile, lemongrass, rosemary
Sensitive:  helichrysum, lavender, rose, jasmine, geranium, frankincense, sandalwood
Oily:  frankincense, geranium, lavender, patchouli, tea tree, ylang-ylang, clary sage, Roman chamomile, cypress, peppermint, rosemary, sandalwood
Mature:  rose, frankincense, myrrh, helichrysum, sandalwood, geranium,  lavender, patchouli, cypress, jasmine, rosemary, ylang-ylang

First, you have to identify your skin type (take this quiz if you aren’t sure). Once you figure out your skin type, then it’s a lot easier to narrow down your selection for oils.


• Normal Skin: Any light carrier oil such as Hempseed, Coconut oil, Grapeseed, Sunflower, Sweet Almond
• Oily Skin: Grapeseed, Sweet Almond, Apricot Oil, Jojoba, Sunflower, Hempseed, Tung oil
• Dry Skin: Avocado Oil, Sweet Almond, Olive Oil, Rosehips
• Sensitive Skin: Jojoba Oil, Sesame seed, Sweet Almond, Apricot,
• Mature Skin: Jojoba, Avocado, Apricot, Sesame seed, Rosehips

*Note that if you have a food allergy or sensitivity to a food product listed in the oil, then do not use that oil on your body or face

It’s important to note that being on this list doesn’t promise that it will work for your skin type. Our skin will decide which oil it likes the most and remember that skin takes two weeks to turn over, so anything that pops up between week 1-2 was probably already going to happen.

You’ll know which carrier works for your skin type because your skin will readily absorb the oil and you shouldn’t feel oily or sticky afterward, AND you don’t get any comedogenic acne. (Pssst. don’t worry– we will talk about that!)

Some of my favorite skin care recipes using these carrier oils are…
• DIY Facewash
• Lavender Rosehips Moisturizer
• Eye Serum

Blending Carrier Oils

Some people chose to use two or three carrier oils at a time to maximize the benefits. Feel free to mix one or more of these oils, but be careful not to overdo it because if you react to one– then it will be harder to narrow down which one cause a problem!
A lot of people use oils like Coconut oil with a lot of success, but it does mean that if you react, then you may want to remove the oil with the highest comedogenic rating first.



Carrier Oils for the Body

The body isn’t nearly as sensitive as the human face! So we don’t have to worry as much about the comedogenic ratings even with people who have super sensitive skin, 

you’ll find many carrier oils for the body including all the ones listed above for skin care, plus you can use shea butter, cocoa butter, beeswax, aloe vera, rose water or mango butter.
Here is my formula:
1/3 coconut oil, 1/3 beeswax, 1/3 butter =  basic lotion, balms, body butter. You can change the consistency by putting it in the fridge for 30 – 60 minutes then beating it with a blender or hand mixture.

If you’re using the essential oil on children:

As a generality ALWAYS dilute essential oils when using them with children, but remember some essential oils are to be used with caution in children, so I always recommend educating yourself.


How about Cleaning?

You can dilute with castile soap, vinegar, alcohol, or any of the regular DIY household products.

What about DIY Wellness recipes?
I always suggest buying a guidebook -you can find recipes and Ebook on my website  http://www.purebeautyfactory.com  so that you can use your essential oils safely and effectively for your goal.

Remember to dilute to the instructions on the back of the bottle, but you can dilute more to stretch the essential oil.

Which carrier oils do you use and where do you buy them?
I buy most of the mine on Amazon because they have such a wide selection and it’s easier to buy organic or non-GMO.



I can’t find the right blend of oil for my skin, what should I do?

1. Be Patient. Skin turns over every 2 weeks so if you see something pop up right away– it may have been coming anyway. I encourage most people to wait 2-4 weeks before changing their routine.
2. Look at the chart at the top of this posts and see if you are using the right oils for your skin type. Adjust if you need to.
3. Next look at the chart that has comedogenic ratings remove or replace any oil that is high on the comedogenic rating list.
4. Be MORE patient. Most people take 2-4 adjustments before they find their right carrier oil for skin care.

Take time on yourself, love and appreciate your journey and don’t forget, I’m here if you need advice, tips or if you just need a platform for sharing your journey, please fill free to comment below.

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With love and respect,

Tunde