If you read my recent post about essential oil brands, you’ll know that Nichole asked a couple of questions including one about using carrier oils with essential oils. I’m so glad she asked this question because I think a lot of people (myself included) are confused about this when they start out with essential oils.
Do we really need special carrier oils sold by the specific companies or can we use ones from the grocery store.
What is a Carrier Oil?
A carrier oil is any oil used to dilute an essential oil. This can be regular coconut oil, fractionated coconut oil, olive oil, apricot, avocado, vegetable… well, you get the idea. Most essential oil users prefer coconut oil because it absorbs into the skin very quickly without leaving a sticky or greasy residue. I’ve seen a few people say they like olive oil just as well, but my skin doesn’t absorb it and I feel really sticky after using it.
And no, you don’t need to purchase your carrier oil from your essential oil company!
They do sell carrier oils because it’s convenient for customers to buy them at the same time, but you can use any food grade oil you like!
When Do I Need to Use a Carrier Oil with My Essential Oil?
There are a couple of scenarios in which a carrier oil is used:
- The oil is exceptionally strong, or as we call it, ‘hot.’ Oregano and Wintergreen are both hot oils, meaning they’re so strong they may actually burn your skin if applied directly. This is especially true for sensitive skin. I can apply oregano neat (direct, without a carrier oil) just fine on my feet, but I wouldn’t want to on my neck or chest where the skin is more tender.
- You’re applying oils on an infant, toddler or animal. We adults have more mature, less sensitive skin. Our bodies are able to handle stronger things that a child’s may not. So, when using oils on small children it’s usually a good idea to dilute them a bit with a carrier oil.
- You need to get a small amount of oil dispersed over a large area of skin. Take a massage for example. You don’t need more than 3-4 drops of an oil to massage into a sore shoulder or back, but that’s a lot of surface area and when you start rubbing that oil around, you may find the skin has absorbed it all before you’ve gotten the oil spread out! When I took a class on a clinical essential oil application technique we learned to use just a few drops of fractionated coconut oil to help spread the 3-4 drops of whichever oil we were using. It make a huge difference in our ability to spread the oils in and it helped our hands to glide gently over the person’s skin.
How to Use Carrier Oils
The most basic way to use a carrier oil is to place a few drops (or a dab if the oil is solid when cold!) of your favorite oil in your cupped palm, then add your essential oil to it. You can then rub the oils on wherever you’d like.
Another popular way is to combine a carrier oil and an essential oil in a roller ball applicator, or, to mix some essential oils into a hard oil like coconut and store in a salve container or small jar. I do both! I have rollers for blends the kids can use on their own because it’s handy to have them ready to go at any time. We also use some little spray bottles that make it easy to apply a diluted blend of oils onto scraped knees and small scratches. And I use the more solid coconut oil, a respiratory blend and some Eucalyptus to make my own chest rub. I keep a tiny tub of this on hand at all times and often give it as gifts as an introduction to essential oils and how well they work.
Want more on Essential Oils
When you first start out with essential oils, the information is abundant and it can sometimes be confusing.
That’s why we’ve put together a special eBook for you. Click the image below to download your free copy of our newest eBook “The Beginner’s Guide to Essential Oils.”