Carrier Oils for Mixing with Essential Oils

Essential oils are concentrated and can cause skin irritation if used full strength. Mixed with other oils they can be used for massage, analgesics, bath, cosmetics, perfumes and many other uses.


The oils that essential oils are mixed or diluted with are called carrier oils. A good quality, cold-pressed vegetable oil is the best choice. Mineral oil is a poor choice, as it tends to destroy the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K and F as it is absorbed and metabolized.

Cold pressed oils do not have preservatives and should be refrigerated to retard the oxidation process that makes them rancid. They do not have a long shelf life, so do not buy them in larger quantities than you can use before they spoil. The life varies in the different oils, olive oil having one of the longer lives of about a year.

Almond Oil: This is a nourishing, non-drying and demulcent oil and is nearest to the oil in the skin. It has a light aroma, and makes an excellent cosmetic or massage oil for all skin types but particularly dry skin. It can help to relieve itching, dryness and inflammation. It is frequently used as a base for cold creams, hand creams and cleansing creams.

Apricot Oil: Similar to almond oil, apricot oil is good for all skins, but particularly dry, prematurely aged and inflamed skins.

Grape Seed Oil: This is a light, odorless oil that is mildly astringent and good with oily skin and acne. It makes for a pleasant massage oil.

Jojoba: Comes from the shrub jojoba (simmondsia chinensis), and is good for all skin types, especially aging skin. It is different from other seed oils and is barely oily, more waxy in texture. It is a fine, penetrating, odorless oil, stable and very long lasting. It is used as a single oil for a perfume base; and usually used about 10% in cosmetic mixes.

Olive: A pale yellow or light greenish oil with a characteristic odor that is nutritive, demulcent and considered healing in its own right. It is the best for medicinal preparations like healing salves, as it is quite oily for most cosmetic or massage purposes. It has a strong olive smell. It is good for soothing and softening eczema and psoriasis.

Sesame: A pale yellow and almost odorless oil that is considered important in the Ayurvedic healing preparations, considered rejuvenating. It is a good lubricant, especially for rheumatic conditions, and is a natural cleanser.

Infused Oils: Heating the base oil and herbs together and extracting the essential elements from the plant into the oil prepare an infused oil. The plants can be dried and finely crushed; or fresh and allowed to wilt overnight and chopped finely. For the solar method they are put into a jar, covered with oil and set in the sun. A quick method is to put the herbs and oil into a heavy kettle or water bath over low heat and simmer until the herbs are crisp. This scorches very easily, so you will need to pay close attention to it while they are on the heat.

Herbs to infuse include: arnica, calendula, chamomile, comfrey, lavender, St. John's wort and rosemary, to name a few.

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