Carrier Oils 101

Carrier Oils 101

What are they and how do you use them?

When using essential oils it is very important to know what a carrier oil is. I get so many questions about this I figure it is worth explaining and clarifying.

Essential oils are the most concentrated form of the plant we have access to. Essential oils have the phytochemical constituents that are very beneficial and aid our bodies in powerful ways ranging from illness to mood enhancement. The benefits of essential oils are wonderful, and when used correctly without side effects. Due to the chemicals being up to 100 times more concentrated in the essential oils than they are in the plant itself, it may be necessary to dilute the oil allowing it to spread over a larger area or slow the absorption rate of the oil. This is done by using a carrier oil.

Did you know that those phytochemical constituents in essential oils are up to 100 times more concentrated in the essential oils than they are in the plant itself? You may have heard this before, but essential oils are VERY CONCENTRATED healing phytochemicals.

Essential Oils are VERY CONCENTRATED Healing Phytochemicals

That’s why you should only use USDA certified organic essential oils!

10 TOP pack USDA clearwith USDA

Because essential oils are so very concentrated, we usually use something to dilute the essential oils down a bit so they are safe to apply to the skin. How do we do this when they are fat soluble (not water soluble)? We use CARRIER OILS.

A carrier oil is a fixed, non-volatile, fatty oil generally extracted from a seed or nut of a plant. Extra virgin olive oil, Grapeseed oil, Jojoba oil, Coconut oil, Sweet Almond oil, Apricot Kernal oil, Rosehip Seed oil, etc. are all ideal. They just dilute down the essential oil in their fatty oil so that the essential oil is not so potently strong on the skin.



I have people all the time suggest that coconut oil is the carrier oil of choice. As a Certified Clinical Aromatherapist, coconut oil is not my favorite because the molecules of coconut oil are so large that they take longer to soak into the skin also keeping the essential oil from absorbing as quickly as it could. Coconut oil can often times leave the skin feeling oily or greasy. I personally never use coconut oil for these reasons. I prefer grapeseed oil because the molecules of Grapeseed oil are very small, which allows the essential oils to absorb very quickly and Grapeseed oil does not leave that greasy feeling. A good USDA certified organic Grapeseed oil, like this one, is also hypoallergenic which means it’s good, gentle, and non-irritating for any skin type.

Carrier oils can and absolutely must be USDA Certified Organic. Our emphasis at Purify Skin Therapy is that a cleaner plant will produce a cleaner oil. If they are not USDA Certified Organic then you are getting the benefit of the plant as well as all the toxic residue in that oil applied to your body–we are toxic enough and need to give our poor liver a break. I sure hope you take note of this vitally important concept! Make sure your carrier oil says USDA certified organic right on the label to get the purest application of our USDA certified organic essential oils.

Carrier oils are applied with an essential oil for several important reasons. The most essential oil you will want to safely use during one application would be up to 10 drops on a healthy adult. What if the 10 drops will not cover the entire area being affected–let’s say the entire back for this example? Using a carrier oil allows you to take those 10 drops and spread them over the entire area by combining the essential oil with as much of the carrier oil needed to cover the area needed. Another reason to use the carrier oil would be to slow the absorption rate of the essential oil. I can think of two times this is necessary.

Have you or your kids ever experienced a burning sensation after applying an essential oil? If an essential oil ever becomes hot on the skin you will immediately apply a carrier oil over the top of that hot essential oil. This will slow that absorption rate and stop the burning within just a few seconds.

When would be another time you may want to keep those oils on top of the skin rather than penetrating quickly? The best answer would be when treating the skin itself typically with a burn or rash. By applying the essential oil with a carrier oil you will keep those molecules on the skin longer allowing them to “treat” that area longer before being absorbed into the skin.

There are many schools of thought nowadays when using essential oils. The English method is diluting the essential oil down with a carrier oil to as low as 1%, and the French method uses much higher dilutions of essential oil depending on the purpose of the application. Hopefully, you will see some of the very good reasons for using a carrier oil and have it on hand for when you have that need arise.

To your safety and the safety of your loved ones!

Holly Draper

Certified Clinical Aromatherapist


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